Leadership | Specialties Transitioning to Charge Nurse in Long Term Care The charge nurse role is a leadership position in which one delegates tasks and supervises other nurses or CNAs. The charge nurse role in a long-term care facility (LTC) looks different than the...
Placing Emphasis on Nursing Leadership for a Better Future
- The concept of nursing leadership is relatively new compared to other industries.
- Author, Cynthia Lehman, took matters into her own hands, to advance her nursing career, by obtaining additional business education to apply to her own leadership and managerial roles.
- Emphasis needs to be placed on equipping nurse leaders with a business foundation to become better, more rounded nurses, which in turn will retain nursing staff, as well as increase the quality of patient care.
Cynthia D. Lehman
Leaders can be found everywhere in the business sector from government and corporate leaders to those leaders in neighborhood communities. Regardless of the venue, we look toward front-runners at the wheel. And, it goes without saying that the profession of nursing is no exception.
In fact, the kingpins of nursing impact healthcare organizations to a great extent in every way. “While nursing leadership is considered a relatively new role in the healthcare setting, the impact, and influence of leadership [in the nursing profession] throughout history has been well-documented,” remarked Mandy T. Bell, DNP, MSN, RN, clinical faculty of graduate nursing programs at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
After all, the concept of leadership is “not confined to individuals who possess traditional positions of authority or scope of responsibility. Rather, anyone within an organization can be a leader,” boasts Bell.
The Gap Between Business and Nursing Leadership
As a baccalaureate-prepared nurse, I have attained over 31 years of a wide gambit of experiences both as a registered nurse and a leader/manager. It appears that there is a common thread throughout nursing in general regarding leadership and management styles, techniques, and methods.
While nurses exceed in caring for the ill due to excellence in nursing preparatory schools, they are for the most part ill-prepared to take on the business world and the many facets of responsibility and decisions that are thrust upon them as managers.
Of course, I have witnessed some making rash decisions based on rumors from their former coworkers, showing favoritism in promoting their close friends, failing in selecting either the right candidates for jobs, or just do not have the foresight in hiring before there is a critical need for staff.
In fact, this is the pivotal reason that I decided to return to school to achieve a Master’s degree.
My Journey to Nursing Leadership
More Importantly, instead of seeking a nurse practitioner’s degree, I chose the MBA track at Saint Leo University in 2016 online. I finished with an MBA with a specialization in healthcare management in 2018 with a 3.5 GPA.
As previously mentioned, I found throughout the spectrum of various facilities, everything is related to professionalism and nursing leadership and management. We probably all agree that leadership in nursing begins at the bedside.
The nursing profession in and of itself regarding professionalism and leadership still has a long way to go to be up to par with the other healthcare professionals. Attaining further education to include business, management, leadership, and human resources is the first step in achieving that.
Why Is Nursing Leadership Advancement Essential?
Bell adds, “Nurses are the cornerstone for any healthcare organization. Effective nurse leadership “is critical for strengthening [the] integration of safe, effective, and high-quality care. This, in turn, creates a positive work environment and promotes positive patient outcomes and experiences,” for patients and staff alike.
The ability to transform business practices as well as patient care is profound. Strong leaders manage staff effectively. Confident and capable staff members who trust in their leadership result in “increased staff productivity, morale and job satisfaction,” Bell said. That’s good for everyone.
Due to staffing shortages, particularly in long-term care facilities, I have walked miles in my coworker’s shoes while caring for the residents yet still acting as the unit manager or supervisor. Consequently, I have directly suffered through the fundamental issues related to staffing shortages at every facility.
However, in every case, my suggestions for positive change include enabling a hiring draft, regular employee meetings, employee education programs, and other positive motivators that would serve to engage, empower, and show support to staff.
The result being improved employee morale and job performance, job retention, and decreased employee dissatisfaction. The aim is to reduce turnover and the loss of our most valuable asset—educated, loyal, and content employees.
The Bottom Line
Coupled with the major stressors that were thrust upon everyone in healthcare over the past 2 years related to Covid-19, and now with the world events of a raging war in Europe, it’s no doubt that we are going to experience a whiplash of events of the likes we have never seen before.
Years ago, nurses and other healthcare professionals rose to the challenges of major historic events including war, famine, and the Depression. Given these facts, there is no end to what could occur today if the powers to be, (the CEOs of companies), joined in for the many positive changes in nursing leadership and management.
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