Leadership behaviors in healthcare environments should be influenced by evidence-based practice just like evidence-based practice is used to develop patient care strategies. By using evidence-based practice decision making, leaders can boost performance, contribute to accreditation criteria, and may even indirectly influence the improvement process of the health of the people in the community (Duggan et al., 2015).
One trait that has been shown by evidence to be effective for leaders is providing relational exchanges with staff. In a meta-analysis by Shirley (2017), this was one of the four key themes found throughout the top 10 research articles studied in the analysis. This rapport with staff has been shown to decrease nurse cynicism, increase job satisfaction of staff, and even increase nurse retention (Shirley, 2017).
A second key trait that has been proven by evidence-based practice to be a characteristic of effective leaders is availability of the leader. Leaders that make themselves available and assessable to their staff have shown to make nurses feel that they have a voice in their job and on patient care (Sherman & Pross, 2010). This trait, combined with the previously discussed rapport with staff, embraces a shift from the older leadership style of the one person in command over the others, to one that is a group working towards a common goal.
I currently am the assistant manager of the intensive care unit at my hospital. It is my job to assist the manager of the unit, Josh with tasks and support of staff. Josh is someone that I worked with on the floor for years before we both took our current roles. He has always had great rapport with his coworkers and with other leaders even before he was a manger. Now that he is in the management role, he has had to maintain that level of rapport with the staff, while also assuming his place as the leader. Josh is someone who knows when it is time to be serious and when it is time to be social and form working relationships with his staff. It would have been easy for him to come in to the manager role and not be taken seriously due to his friendly nature, however he has made the transition perfectly. For example, when there are issues with a staff member not performing their job adequately, he is not afraid to step in and discuss these issues in a serious manor. His staff respects him and understands the expectations that have been set for them by him. They do not push the boundaries of what is acceptable and expected of them just because they have a working relationship with their manager. Instead, they are more inclined to perform their jobs well because of it.
Duggan, K., Aisaka, K., Tabak, R., Smith, C., Erwin, P., & Brownson, R. (2015). Implementing administrative evidence-based practices: Lessons from the field in six local health departments across the United States. BMC Health Services Research, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-015-0891-3
Sherman, R., & Pross, E. (2010). Growing future nurse leaders to build and sustain healthy work environments at the unit level. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 15. doi: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol15No01Man01
Shirley, M. (2017). Leadership practices for healthy work environments. Nursing Management, 48(5). 42-50. doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000515796.79720.e6
Healthcare today has faced many challenges, from staffing shortages, cost, and the global pandemic. One of the main challenges that health systems facing globally are the shortage of the nursing workforce (Tamata & Tamani, 2021). (Chakraborty et al., 2021) states that understanding what drives quality in the delivery of healthcare services is critical to improving the patient care experience. Teamwork promotes quality care, but this outcome requires that hospital leadership prioritizes, and commits resources to sustain effective healthcare delivery teams. What makes a good leader is having knowledge and being self-aware.
One of the leaders that I admire in my organization, is my nurse manager. She worked on the floor with me as a nurse before she was offered an interim position as a nurse manager. She consistently influences staff to bring ideas and suggestions to her as changes are constantly being made in the unit. “Hospital leaders continuously encourage their healthcare teams to work effectively thereby improving the quality of patient care delivered” (Chakraborty et al., 2021). Leaders are to lead by example. She’s consistently asking questions to keep nursing in practice. Another example is after she meets with administrators for our care standards within our organization, she then comes back to the unit and shares the information with us to keep us in the loop with changes or just updates within our organization.
Leadership skills are developed accomplishes through experience, knowledge, wisdom, and reflection. My nurse manager demonstrates the knowledge and skills, that make her a great leader in our unit. Her leadership skills are very strong and effective, while she remains focused on what is best practice for our dialysis unit. This allows us the autonomy to provide safe practice while continuing to be motivated by her leadership skills.
Broome, M., & Marshall, E. S. (2021). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.
Chakraborty, S., Kaynak, H., & Pagán, J. A. (2021). Bridging hospital quality leadership to patient care quality. International Journal of Production Economics, 233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2020.108010
Tamata, A. T., Mohammadnezhad, M., & Tamani, L. (2021). Registered nurses’ perceptions on the factors affecting nursing shortage in the Republic of Vanuatu Hospitals: A qualitative study. PLoS ONE, 16(5), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251890