Nursing leadership entails the act of influencing others in order to enhance the quality of services being provided. Appropriate leadership in nursing includes having a clear vision and working in an environment that motivates and empowers its staff. Leadership in nursing is determined basing on the interactive process in which the followers are always motivated and supported to achieve a specific set of goals. Research has detailed that it is integral for all nurses to establish an efficient leadership role for them to offer high-quality care while at the same time ensuring that they deliver safe patient care. For effective leadership to be attained, every nurse should ensure that they support cooperation in terms of nursing education programs and the healthcare organization (Bender, 2016).
Currently, many healthcare organizations are undergoing numerous complex challenges, especially in the provision of quality, safe and cost-effective care. However, the field of nursing and healthcare, in general, has been undergoing many changes. The onset of technology has however brought significant improvement within the sector. It is thus imperative for nurse leaders to ensure that they engage in evidence-based practice through research to ensure that healthcare is improved. Leaders are always challenged within their work environment, therefore, effective leadership should be critical thinkers, good communicators, uphold integrity, dedicated in their work and respect even their subordinates (Hudson, 2017).
Nurse educator: Leadership role tool
Nurse educators play a significant role in the course of strengthening other nurses and also acting as role models. Additionally, they are also responsible for offering leadership services that are required in the while putting into action evidence-based practice (EBP). Their key roles entail designing, implementing, assessing and re-evaluating the academic programs for nurses (Grassley & Lambe 2015).
Basing on the educator role tool, numerous responsibilities are accorded when one assumes this leadership position. Basing on the scenario provided of my receptor, he is the backbone of every unit. Their role entailed ensuring that all the nurses meet their educational needs as standardized by the hospital. As a nurse leader, one is expected to incorporate clinical skills and the urge for teaching in order to ensure that the nurse workforce is up to date especially in matters pertaining to nurse education (Godshall, Wilson & CHSE 2016).
Usually, nurse educators work both in teaching settings and even practice settings. They are the backbone of mentoring the present and even future workforce in nursing. Therefore, their roles are often associated with leadership. Since they have a lot of workloads, at times they engage other nurses to help them disseminate their knowledge. As a result, they at times delegated some of their responsibilities to other nurses. For instance, my preceptor at times delegated the duty of teaching to other nurses. Here, nurses were expected to teach one another of the different things that should be done while attending to patients in specific units.
Even though there is no specific mode of delegating responsibilities, the nurse educator can escalate things to their nurse manager if it needs their direct attention. However, most of the time, the educators of each unit utilize each other. Usually, they come together regularly to meet and even having their scheduling set up on one excel program in order to balance and assists one another. Numerous studies have confirmed that nurse educators showcase high levels of satisfaction while working. High levels of satisfaction in this kind of job are integral basing on the fact that they are expected to interact with nursing students and see their careers advance as per expectations of the teaching fraternity (Grassley & Lambe 2015).
A nurse educator has the leadership role basing on the fact that they have more duties compared to the nurse manager. I realized this after working with both the nurse manager and my preceptor. Some of the benefits accorded to one when they are nurse educators are the advantage of collaborating with other healthcare professionals, access to teaching and learning materials and a flexible work timetable.
Godshall, Wilson & CHSE (2016) notes that there is an increasing shortage of nurse educators. However, there is a significant number of students who are interested in becoming nurse educators. For one to be a nurse educator, they are required to have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) as the minimum requirement but a master of science in nursing is preferred. However, what is more, important between the two is gaining experience. There are numerous nurse educators who are only registered nurses (RN) but they have more working experience with CMC. It is integral for educators to be one step ahead of their basic certifications (Grassley & Lambe 2015).
In conclusion, even though there is a shortage of nurse educators, this is an advantage for nursing students to pursue this niche. There is a possibility that students pursuing this niche will have an easy time securing a job due to the scarcity of nurse educators. It is an interesting career basing on the fact that nurse educators can have dual roles whereby they act as educators and at the same time perform their direct patient care services.
Nurse Educator: Leadership style tool
There are multiple leadership styles practiced in healthcare settings. Some of these leadership styles comprise of democratic, autocratic, laissez-faire, strategic, transformational, transactional, coaching and bureaucratic leadership. The choice of the ideal leadership depends on a person and the setting at which the leadership services are being offered. Even though no leadership style is considered superior to another, I think a democratic leadership style is the most suitable leadership style for an individual who is a nurse educator. The reason behind this is because democratic leadership enriches the participation of junior workers when it comes to performance and decision making. This leadership style is also effective because it makes every employee with an organization to feel valued. For nursing educators, they work with different groups of nursing employees, therefore, they must foster participation which is best attained when everyone feels like they are valued (Hudson, 2017).
Drawing from my preceptor, the exhibited leadership style is democratic leadership. He also depicted attributes of pacesetting and coaching leadership styles. Some of the characteristics which qualified him into this category are the fact that he encouraged people to be responsible for their education but also make themselves available when needed. As a democratic leader, one has to have good listening skills and involve their subordinates in decision making (Bender, 2016).
For any leader, it is common to have various strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, a leader needs to uphold their strengths and work on their weakness. Deducing from the case of my preceptor, there are moments when he would get stuck in the past and on how it “use to be.” Even though this could be a hindrance they use it as examples for a person to better themselves or to give suggestions on things thus this is a mechanism of working on their weakness. For example, CMC is undergoing policy and procedure revamps. While many on the board are newer nurses this person was able to give input on how things were once unsafe for instance the issue of not using gloves and how things have improved over time. With this, they have given input to help guide conversations to have a meaningful outcome instead of a group of people talking at each other without a solution (Bender, 2016). Therefore, it can be seen that a good leader is one who has the ability to solve problems.
Also, a leader, particularly a nurse educator should be an individual who uses their knowledge and own experiences while working. For the case of my preceptor, he started as the “low man on the totem pole” as a nurse aide and has worn many hats before entering their current position.
Another quality of a good leader is someone flexible. This quality is well exemplified in my preceptor. A good leader is one who understands that different people have varied personalities and thus they should be handled differently. Leaders should learn to work in stressful conditions since it is always a challenge working with many people. Not everyone within a working environment is understanding and conflicts are always common when a leader is flexible, they find it easy interacting with different people from all works of life (Bender, 2016).
There are several challenges associated with applying democratic leadership. One of the disadvantages is the fact that it is not possible to get feedback from the entire team and the process of interacting with every member is time-consuming. Moreover, some employees might be aggressive and since a democratic leader always listens, those who are not aggressive might not have the chance of airing their views or contributing their feedback.
Generally, the practicum experience was very insightful. During the practicum, I had the chance to take part in an actual clinical setting and offer patient care services just like qualified nursing professionals. I got to learn the different roles that different nurse professionals have inclusive of the roles and responsibilities of nurse educators and nurse manages. One of the things that I learned and I think is very important is that education, leadership qualities, and experience are the core features that make up a successful and effective nurse. It is imperative for nursing students to be dedicated to their studies to ensure that they pass with flying colors. This will help them scale higher heights in education to achieve a master’s degree and even a Ph.D. Having a high level of certification gives one a chance of getting leadership roles and a chance to offer more services within the healthcare system. Experience is also important as it is through experience that one can understand the complex challenges being faced in healthcare. From the experience garnered during the practicum, I feel differently since I have learned a lot about leadership. I have realized that being a leader is not all about giving directions but also being able to interact and solve complex challenges within the healthcare setting. In my practice. I have learned that to be an effective nurse, one should have good communication skills and I will always ensure that I practice these skills while working.
Bender, M. (2016). Conceptualizing clinical nurse leader practice: an interpretive synthesis. Journal of Nursing Management, 24(1), E23-E31.