The interesting thing about leadership is that it thrives at all levels. Take the nursing profession. It achieves a tremendous advantage with nurse leadership thinking. The roles and responsibilities of nurses are vast, varied and intensely demanding. Round-the-clock patient care is a complex web of systems with nursing at its core. Nurses have a range of functions such as hands-on attentiveness, scheduling, intra- and inter-department collaborations, support functions, decision-making and adherence to value-based care.
These are diverse responsibilities, and they must all be undertaken in a seamless manner. Nurse leadership qualities and thinking are the glue that helps this entire system and sub-systems of care to hold together for healthy functioning.
Who can be a nurse leader? Every nurse can become a leader, and every nurse has a ‘Voice to Lead’. The nature of nursing is a crucible for acquiring leadership qualities because it involves hard skills such as training, education, experience, and advanced clinical and technical and technological knowledge. Having nurses with leadership roles or a leadership mindset is vital because every system is a sum of its thinking and performing parts. In a hospital setting, the nursing department is intrinsically linked to the rest of the departments. Leadership thinking creates highly efficient processes, enhances informed decision-making, and leads to better patient safety and quality outcomes overall. Nurse leadership is an excellent motivator for team spirit and cohesive role play. Intra-department helps goal setting, staff morale, and performance tracking review move away from the status quo. In a hospital system that requires several imperatives for patient satisfaction, a nurse leader will delineate roles, streamline responsibilities, and unclog communication channels to match expectations and delivery. And nurses with leadership thinking offer valuable support. However, the fruition of nurse leadership remains an incomplete mission if it is outside the institutional transformation goals. Nurses must be encouraged to adopt leadership thinking from the start. Regular nurse training, making them accessible to updated information, empowering them through competency-building, and paying attention to the nursing workforce’s views, insights, observations, and aspirations are valuable investments. They will help nurture nurse leaders and leadership thinking, leading to multiple rewards and, most importantly, enhances the core goal of healthcare: patient satisfaction.