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nurse leader interview


Leadership is a process of social influence in which an individual enlist the aid and support of others towards accomplishment of a common goal (Lorber & Skela-Savič, 2011). However, achievement of such common goal is done by leaders using varied strategies that include cohesive behavior and teamwork.  In healthcare setting, leadership plays a critical role in imparting a sense of positivity in delivery of healthcare services in order to attain specific health-related objectives (Casida & Parker, 2011). As a result, the leaders in healthcare settings normally embrace and integrate different leadership styles, approaches and models in order to ensure effective healthcare services delivery. In this paper, an interview with nurse leader in the med surg unit will be analyzed. The paper will describe in depth the leadership styles the practitioner has utilized to ensure proper delivery of healthcare services in the patient care unit.

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Summary of the Nurse Leader Interview

As a nurse student, I was interviewing nursing leaders in order to find out their perspective in regard to leadership and management in the nursing context. As a young nurse student, understanding leadership perspective of professionals with well-rounded leadership experience is crucial towards my professional development. With this aim, an exhaustive interview was held with X, a professional nurse with 5 years’ experience as a medical surgery floor nurse in Miami. X has a triple master’s degree and is planning to finish her doctorate in strategic planning and development career path. X has been working as a nurse since 2009, when she started as a nurse aide.

The nurse manager acknowledged management as a formal leader. On the other hand, patients and her staff were recognized as informal leaders. Before becoming a director, the interviewee held an informal position as a nurse aide within the hospital. X worked as a nurse aide for two years before assuming the managerial role, which she had held for 4 years. Maintaining an open relationship with both informal and formal leaders is necessary toward achievement of the organization mission. Apparently, this has enabled her to gain great skills in leading a team within the nursing setting and in the hospital. However, before acquiring the current position, the organization offered her numerous training sessions that aimed to develop her leadership skills. With regard to a team in the hospital, X managed to affect organization changes within the hospital in order to enhance efficiency in the delivery of healthcare services.

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The interview started with the evolution of her personal leadership style that has evolved from democratic styles that are open and appreciative of the staff and team members’ input. X noted that being a nurse leader requires flexibility and adaption in order to accommodate the views and perspectives of junior employees. She further states that open communication is essential in overcoming the personal and professional challenges of being a nurse leader. In her career, maintaining an open network with both informal and formal leaders has been crucial for the achievement of organization goals. The job of a nurse leader involves the use of acquired skills to motivate and encourage others to accomplish specific organizational goals.

Leadership skills can be both inborn and developed through the application of appropriate techniques, training, mentorship and timely education. X describes a leader as an individual who is as good as the team. X further explains that without proper training or education, good communication skills and ability to guide the team efficiently, a leader will fail in their mandate. Other qualities that X feels a leader needs to possess include the ability to establish great working relationships with the team members and the ability to lead by an example. Moreover, X emphasizes the need for a leader to be willing to do what is requested of the organization staff at any given point. X further states that a real leader needs to have the ability to request their employees to move above and beyond if the need arises and to be a good steward of their word. In her setting, X notes the acknowledging that the client is always the most important person who forms the fundamental cause of being a great leader. The most significant attributes of a leader identified by X need to be encompassed in their clinical knowledge and educational experience. In the healthcare environment, organizational learning impacts upon numerous elements of organizational experience that enhances the quality of nursing care, patient safety and job satisfaction.

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Description of the Interview Findings

Leadership Style

According to Casida and Parker (2011), a leader is critical in establishing networks and connections with team members to encourage high levels of performance and quality results. X’s insight into the field of nursing, leadership and the field of home healthcare as well as acute care shows a high level of professionalism. As the healthcare cost continues to rise, the government is striving to find ways to reduce the cost while providing more affordable care. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are key units that accept the responsibility for both quality and cost of the healthcare provided to the specific population of patients and offer performance data. Home Healthcare Agencies are under the authority of ACOs and are responsible for offering care and services necessary to sustain the patient in home setting and reduce the danger of re-entering the acute care context. Therefore, for a nurse leader in home healthcare agency to meet such challenges, a wealth of knowledge and varied experience in leadership remains critical (Casida & Parker, 2011).

When queried about her personal view on leadership, X stated that it is essential to remember that staff members are one’s organization teammates who define a leadership style. According to Lorber and Skela-Savič (2011), it is essential to appreciate that they are people who steer one’s leadership and management approach. X credits the mentorship program in her previous hospital situated in Wichita as having impacted on her personal development as a nurse leader. The opportunities that were accorded clearly depicted her as a true leader. X remembered her second day in the eye unit while working as a licensed practical nurse where she was assigned to the ICU department because of staff shortage. X spent the next two days in the ICU and, consequently, decided to make the department her new home. The RN mentor offered numerous opportunities for X to expand her learning and enhance her clinical skills. Afterward, X became the scheduler of all departmental units in the hospital to move to a twelve-hour shift rotation.

X perceives true leadership as always inclined towards a problem area that requires decisiveness. She further notes that the best nurse’s leaders were the diploma nurses. However, X’s reasoning behind the statement supports the fact the education alone will not drive the nurses to the level required to develop effective leadership skills. The best nurse’s leaders are those who have progressed from the position of a nurse aides to their current leadership positions (Lorber & Skela-Savič, 2011). According to X, staffing remains the most challenging issue in her current position as a nurse leader. It is explicit that nurses lack the same work ethics they had before. All over the country, staffing remains the key challenge in the nursing field. American Nurses Association and media have repeatedly cited that a looming nursing shortage will elevate to drastic levels if not countered on time (Stanley, 2010). In response to how to remedy the problem, X notes that it is essential for leaders to create open channels of communications with their staff in order to discover and put into consideration their concerns. X’s pivotal moment and achievement was credited to her former employer, a mentor at a hospital in Kansas, who trusted her with the ability to execute her mandate without much supervision. X reaffirms that best leaders acknowledge their limits and always make efforts to secure current information that keeps them updated. According to Stanley (2010), trust factor with other staff members remains the greatest attribute a leader can possess in any organization.

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X Advice to Novice Nurse Leader

With respect to aspiring leaders, X notes that novice nurses need to always be at the top of every difficult situation where critical decisions are required. Confidence in one’s knowledge and clinical skills are essential before assuming any leadership position. In nursing setting, a nurse learns the basic and ground work first and shares knowledge with individuals willing to nurture success (Stanley, 2010). In leadership, everyone has a way of learning and embracing the ideals that best suit individuals on their way to becoming effective leaders. Furthermore, it is easy for a leader to get to the top, but the challenge comes with the ability to maintain the position. Aspiring leaders must be willing to surpass the expected.

Technique of Empowering Staff/Colleague

Empowering nurses through leadership remains a crucial objective of every nurse leader. It is the nurse’s leader ultimate goal to make other staff become visionary and equipped with strategies, plans and desires to direct their teams and services (Duffield, Roche, Blay, & Stasa, 2011). X believes that to empower the colleagues or staff effectively, a leader needs to maintain group efficacy and promote group identification. They need to be zealous, enthusiastic, and have a motivational effect on other staff members to become result-focused (Duffield et al., 2011). Through such attributes and techniques, it is usually easy to inspire other individuals. Furthermore, as a nurse leader, X believes that to empower other staff members, it is essential to use accommodative leadership strategies that entail openness in order to win the admiration and faith of other employees. Through the demonstration of effective leadership styles, nurse leaders will be in a position to inspire the successful development of other staff members (Harris, Bennett, & Ross, 2014). As a result, this will insure that professional standards are maintained and adhered to, thereby enabling the growth of competent staff members.

To empower fellow nurses, a nurse leader needs to be a driving force for admiration. Such attributes act as a source of inspiration for the future leaders within the nursing team. X emphasizes the leadership role of senior nurses as a primary force of empowering nurses. It is essential to delegate appropriately and to act with integrity in order to impart fundamental decision-making principles required for every nurse. The role also entails fostering others and being cognizant of people’s feelings of being emotionally in tune with the staff (Harris et al., 2014). Such techniques are the core elements in connecting leadership with the effective development and empowerment of other team members. Furthermore, such techniques are largely achieved by mentoring and coaching the staff.

It is an acceptable principle for successful leaders to develop other staff members through leadership trainings and mentorship programs. X notes that one-to-one supervisory relationship is a crucial element in clinical setting. Research further indicates that mentorship forms key foundation in the empowerment of staff members. Mentorship enhances learning opportunities as well as assists in supervising and assessment of the staff practice setting. Therefore, it is essential for nurse leaders to adopt not only ‘tell me’ approach but also ‘show me” approach in illustrating instructions (Harris et al., 2014). A culture that is based on continual learning through support and best-practice method will play a crucial role in empowering and motivating staff in an organization. Although dynamic nurse leaders and supportive clinical environment are essential in staff empowerment process, it is crucial to acknowledge the presence of innate leadership trait within an individual. The empowering program needs to build upon the existing leadership potential in order to realize the far-reaching impact on the individual leadership outcome (Casida & Parker, 2011). The key factors attributed to successive empowering in the nursing context encompass the provision and access of effective role models, intentional successive planning, mechanism for mentoring and supervision, and the presence of organization that values leadership development across its team.

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Summary and Reflection

It is apparent that throughout her career, X has acquired skills that are essential for becoming an effective leader, and she faced the obstacles that befall nurses in the leadership position. X has established a culture of trust and loyalty based on actions she displays toward her staff. X attributes her success as a nurse leader to the inspiring individual who has supported her along her career development path. However, her democratic style of leadership has been highly accommodative, thereby cultivating conducive relationships with the entire organization team. Feeling comfortable has been a fundamental pillar that has navigated her rise to the current position of leadership. It is apparent that though earliest studies strived to pinpoint inborn traits of successful leaders, modern leaders are still defined using the same attributes as used in the past. Through the interview and discussion with X, it is possible to point out many leadership traits of great importance to the future of nursing leadership that need to be nurtured to develop effective nursing leaders. When I was young, I was once told that I was destined for greatness because natural leadership was evident. Though I may not be a natural inborn leader, I have strived to bring this idea to fruition.

Leadership styles differ significantly, and what works for one leader may lead to the downfall of another. The duties and responsibilities of the leaders are challenging and may sometimes appear to be impossible. However, it is apparent that the success encompasses going through failure after failure without losing enthusiasm to continue (Casida & Parker 2011). It is my point of view that a nurse leader who lacks enthusiasm about her profession is just another paid labor person. A nurse leader needs to be more of a perfectionist and enthusiast in their own right. As a nursing professional, I will be required to take a more open approach to leadership in order to develop accommodative attributes that cultivate appropriate working networks within the organization. However, continued educational growth and training is essential for one to remain conversant with gradually evolving leadership trends. It will significantly facilitate my autonomy by interacting directly with other members in the health care team. I have also learned that it is essential to keep the staff informed about the undertakings and activities since it is a fundamental leadership trait that shows their opinion and input are valued.