I interviewed Hannah, a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), to help attain the objectives of this assignment. Hannah (not her real name) is an APN with both BSN and MSN qualifications. As a CNO, Hannah’s position involves the cooperate linkage of her hospital’s CEO to a range of issues including servicing, policy making, administration, and budgeting. Her ten years of experience also sees her offer the leadership and strategic direction needed for all nursing care at the facility. The following is a further summary of our interview.
First, Hannah reported that the primary difference between a nursing leader and manager would be that the former has colleagues follow while the latter is task-oriented and has them work for their causes as subordinates. I share similar views concerning these two concepts. Hannah added, however, that successful CNOs display both strong leadership and management qualities. Thus, they should concentrate on guiding and mentoring people into great job performance (Achua & Lussier, 2009).
She then differentiated leadership theories and styles as disciplines that see the latter fall under various theories. In essence, leadership theories are vital as they concentrate on the elements that describe and develop great leaders. Contrarily, style concentrates on describing the specific leadership behavior. Thus, future nursing leaders should choose and identify themselves with specific theories. Given this insight, they can then learn the various ways of professional success through proven strategy and tactics (Achua & Lussier, 2009).
Third, Hannah regarded situational leadership as the preferred style in healthcare. However, she described herself as a transformational leader. According to Hutchinson and Jackson (2013), use person management, integrity, vision, and motivation to enhance commitment and productivity. Hannah inspires her followers into utilizing their creativity during an active engagement in decisions and projects at the facility. She reasoned that careful role modeling, challenging, follower-leader alignment, and strength-weakness assessments led to high employee job satisfaction and quality service delivery (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013). As seen in the last assessment, I qualify as a situational leader with the ability to adjust to the dynamic nature of my organization. The Galford and Maruca (2011) reflection shows ambassadorial, advocacy, people-moving, truth-seeking, creativity, and guidance qualities as my primary strengths. However, like Hannah, I do not control but offer direction and encourage maximum participation for a productive organization (Galford & Maruca, 2011).
Hannah also noted personal changes from situational to transformational leadership to more inclusive operations following evolving organizational roles. She is, however, happy in her current role as an administrative leader to apply transformational leadership. The new style means that she can mentor and develop talent with clear consideration of her followers’ opinions. She figures that the situational leadership style is still common in most hospital set-ups (Guyton, 2012).
Nonetheless, the two primary challenges that Hannah faces as a contemporary leader includes the following. First, she finds it challenging to tackle the constant changes that occur with payments and regulations. Ideally, the administration keeps changing their operational strategies to comply with regulations, cater for the staff and deliver quality services. Second, there is also a challenge in attracting and keeping patients following a persistent growth in competition and threat to sustainable profitability. Based on Achua and Lussier (2009), such challenges mean that patient satisfaction has become increasingly important in nursing leadership (Achua & Lussier, 2009).
Thus, she follows the transformational/situational leadership model as an influence to help combat these challenges. The leadership model idealizes influence, inspiration, consideration, and simulation. Through influence, they are role models that followers admire and aspire to offer positive results. Second, her charisma gives Hannah the ability to inspire and motivate followers for ultimate performance. Third, such leaders display a consideration for the feelings and needs of their followers. Finally, simulation allows the leader to tap into the followers’ innovativeness and creativity (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013). I am more of a situational than the transformational advocate. This followership emphasizes the need for dynamism in leadership when identifying distress and immediate needs. The idea here is that the relationship between leaders and followers remains important for the success of assigned duties.
Furthermore, according to Hannah, a nurse leader should identify their presence in the facility using suitable nursing theory. This identification helps drive care provision and high professional engagement at individual and organizational levels. Hanna shares similar sentiments concerning the influence of the leadership theories on nursing practice. As CNO, she values leadership as a way of life that would use leadership styles to determine the extent of the practice. Thus, there is a need to use the influence of suitable theories in the development of a leader that understands the function of their strengths to the hospital (Denehy, 2008).
Finally, she considers the concern for values, quality, and safety as important in securing her role as a nursing leader. Hannah reasons that CNOs that value quality and safety make great administrators, policy makers, and budgeters for exemplary patient service delivery. According to her, excellent leaders should emulate respect, the need to make a difference, authenticity, and integrity. She demonstrates that through self-respect, leaders become compassionate, empathy, and dignity as primary characteristics in practice. Second, the need to make a difference best exists in an individual’s efforts to make a positive effect on systems, organizations, and colleagues. Third, integrity means that leaders have the courage and ethical strength needed to fulfill the patient-centered hospital expectations. Finally, authenticity means that leaders remain consistent, transparent, and congruent with their purposeful leadership behavior (Guyton, 2012).
In summary, a reflection of this interview teaches that exemplary nurses are those that eagerly assume leadership roles. Also, nursing leadership looks beyond the title and concentrates on serving the needs of others. Such lessons have the following influence on my nursing career. First, it is vital that nurse leaders choose a leadership theory that reflects their ideologies for efficiency. Second, new generation nursing leaders should dedicate their responsibilities to the creation of an environment that is not only effective but also motivating to their colleagues.
Achua, C., & Lussier, R. (2009). Leadership: Theory, Application, & Skill Development. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Denehy, J. (2008). Leadership Characteristics. The Journal of School Nursing, 24 (3), 107-110.
Galford, R. M., & Maruca, R. F. (2011). Your leadership legacy: Why looking toward the future will make you a better leader today. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
Guyton, N. (2012, August). Nine Principles of Successful Nursing Leadership. Retrieved from American Nurse Today Web sit: http://www.americannursetoday.com/nine-principles-of-successful-nursing-leadership/
Hutchinson, M., & Jackson, D. (2013). Transformational leadership in nursing: towards a more critical interpretation. Nursing Inquiry, 30, 11-22.