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Within a healthcare organization, nurse managers are the connection between the administration and the rest of the workforce. Nurse managers supervise organization performance, productivity, and nursing practices which reflect on staff engagement and patient satisfaction (Keys, 2014). Meanwhile, leaders, particularly at the executive level, are responsible for influencing the professional environment of nursing practice.
They must consider all aspects of patient care delivery, staff training, and optimization of productivity. There is an aspect of setting standards, creating policy, and ensuring regulatory compliance. In this position, nurse leaders can introduce a shared vision for the organization that inspires and implements reform in a health care setting (Leach & McFarland, 2014).
A leader creates value within an organization by inspiring better performance and working alongside everyone else. A manager is inherently counting value based on assigned duties since there is a responsibility to report staff productivity. Management emphasizes control and organization, while leadership focuses on setting standards and increases the effectiveness or morale of the staff. Leadership is a more dynamic process while management requires discipline and tedious attention to details (Marquis & Huston, 2015).
The unit nurse manager is fulfilling her administrative and supervisory duties. However, she maintains a weak relationship with the staff because of the tendency to maintain discipline by publicly disrespectfully criticizing employees. The behavior is tolerated by the staff fearing for the security of their job and by the human resources department currently facing a shortage of unit nurse managers. Despite the competent performance of managerial duties, the nurse is not a leader, lacking an interpersonal connection with her subordinates. The communication process is dysfunctional which leads to poor morale in the department.
However, it is possible that such situations can be mitigated by improving access to leadership training for management staff. New guidelines redefine the roles of many managers to have leadership duties. Through appropriate training programs, managers can be aware of their role as leaders in a clinical setting. This helps to maintain accountability and develop an awareness of their respective position in the workforce (Stoddart, Bugge, Shepherd, & Farquharson, 2014).
An example of leadership can be seen in a shift-lead nurse of the medical-surgical unit in a general hospital. She has been a nurse for a long time but maintains a humble position without the perks and power of executive positions. However, she has the respect of practically the whole nursing staff, serving as a mentor and confidant to many. In stressful or hectic situations that can occur in clinical settings, she can bring stability and inspire those around her.
It is a unique example of leadership in nursing that is never formalized or supported by an extensive list of accolades. Instead, a person is fulfilling the job with the vision of helping patients, encouraging colleagues, and improving the hospital environment. Despite her extensive experience, she has somewhat poor organization and struggles with small managerial duties that may be delegated to her as a lead nurse.
The healthcare industry is continually undergoing rapid changes which make it critical for nurses to develop both leadership and management skills in their specific positions. The roles should be integrated for the most efficient functionality within a healthcare organization (Marquis & Huston, 2015). The aspect of leadership has been an active focus of nursing programs, especially regarding nurse managers.
However, management experience is necessary as well. Leaders choose the ideology which drives forward the organization, such as providing patient-centered care. However, it is managers that are faced with the task of developing an organizational structure that supports and makes any idea a reality. Ideally, the roles should be combined to maintain a balanced approach (Kerridge, 2013). It is critical to developing nurses who could create new models of health care with the managerial competencies to implement such changes. Respected managers maintain a good working relationship with the staff by acknowledging feedback and responding to concerns, which requires the emotional intelligence and inspirational influence of a leader (Wong, 2015).
Kerridge, J. (2013). Why management skills are a priority for nurses. Nursing Times, 109(9), 16-17. Web.
Keys, Y. (2014). Looking ahead to our next generation of nurse leaders: Generation X nurse managers. Journal of Nursing Management, 22(1), 97–105. Web.
Leach, L. S., & McFarland, P. (2014). Assessing the professional development needs of experienced nurse executive leaders. Journal of Nursing Administration, 44(1), 51–62. Web.
Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2015). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Stoddart, K., Bugge, C., Shepherd, A., & Farquharson, B. (2014). The new clinical leadership role of senior charge nurses: A mixed methods study of their views and experience. Journal of Nursing Management, 22(1), 49–59. Web.
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Wong, C. (2015). Connecting nursing leadership and patient outcomes: State of the science. Journal of Nursing Management, 23(3), 275-278. Web.