The current shortage of medical professionals in the US means that healthcare providers face many challenges. They need to have facilities that are prepared to cater to a range of patient needs; they need to attract and retain skilled practitioners, and they must improve outcomes for the people in their care. To enable this, effective nurse leadership is part of the agenda for any successful facility.
These people ensure that the hospital’s resources are effectively distributed, enabling teams to deliver optimal care with every interaction. They are involved with decision-making at a senior level, ensuring that the strategies agreed upon deliver the best possible results for patients. Moreover, their experience, training, and dedication influence how nursing is practiced in their workplace.
Training for a career in leadership
Nurses with an active RN license and the ambition to progress are always needed. Clinical nurse leader programs are a great route, as on the Master of Science in Nursing at Cleveland State University, students can graduate within 19 months of part-time study. They leave with the skills required to lead teams of medical professionals in the highest levels of healthcare, but they also have the option to teach upcoming nurses in an academic setting.
How does effective leadership work in nursing?
A good nurse leader connects the policies put in place by senior managers with the practice work nurses undertake. Their efforts ensure that everyone on the team understands the safety requirements of their role in terms of patient care. Leaders also work to maintain the standard of care that each patient and their family needs. They do this through inspections, nurse supervisor briefings, and one-to-one staff meetings. Furthermore, they use their interactions with employees to inspire and motivate. This establishes a sense of shared goals and achievement that everyone on the team can feel part of. Finally, they nurture feelings of positivity and job satisfaction among the group. They encourage employee engagement through health workshops and seminars and support the career aspirations of those working in their ward.
Which skills are most important in nurse leadership roles?
Nurse leaders can most impact patient outcomes when communicating well with their team. This means acting on feedback, being ready to resolve problems, and delegating tasks to create a positive working environment. By setting an example of great leadership, they can prompt the people around them to continue their professional development, improve their clinical skills, and aim for more senior roles. As well as using their knowledge and skills to motivate their team and enhance the experience of each patient, nurse leaders have a range of other attributes. Below, we take a look at some of those attributes.
Valuing diversity and having respect for others
When nurses feel valued, they are more engaged with their role and their workplace. Nurse leaders show that they love individuals by listening to their feedback and respecting their beliefs and cultures. This involves understanding the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equality. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, diversity competency is essential in nursing, as it directly impacts patient outcomes.
By supporting a diverse team, nurse leaders can ensure that patients see people who look like them when they are in the hospital. This makes building trust between patients and nurses easier, which is essential for effective care and swifter recovery times. Moreover, a diverse nursing team can be better at solving problems because of a wider range of perspectives. This can lead to creative solutions and fresh ideas, which result in better patient care.
Being a compassionate mentor
If the profession grows and the vast number of vacant spaces are to be filled, excellent mentorship of new nurses is essential. Nurse leaders in these roles should work to share the knowledge they have gained, as well as their skills and advice on best practices. This ensures that the next generation of nurses can grow as professionals and are ready for leadership responsibilities when their time comes.
Building an effective team
Stressful situations in a clinic or on a ward are a daily occurrence for nurses. Nurse leaders build effective teams to make them more manageable and ensure that the standard of patient care remains high. Through team-building exercises, reward programs, and in-person recognition, nurse leaders highlight each person’s strengths and show the team how to work well together. This ensures that employees can trust and count on one another and feel supported and confident when caring for patients.
Successfully resolving conflict
It is impossible to avoid conflict, and nurse leaders must resolve issues quickly before they can inhibit patient care. They consolidate their team by tackling the root causes of a problem and then working with both sides to reach an amicable solution. This ensures that productivity levels remain high and patients are satisfied with their experience.
Communicating with patients and the team around them
Nurse leaders must frequently connect with others through digital media and be excellent written and verbal communicators. To get the best treatment plan for their patients, they need to speak with the patient themselves, along with the nurses, doctors, and consultants who make up their team. As well as remaining non-judgmental, they must adapt their communication style to fit each situation and individual.
Great nurse leaders continue to be needed.
The US healthcare system is in a constant state of change, from the introduction of new legislation to the adoption of technologies that significantly alter working practices. To guide these improvements and advise the professional teams involved, experienced nurse leaders are vital. They bring together practical knowledge of patient care with managerial competencies and insight. This ensures that healthcare employees feel fully supported and that care standards remain high.