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Nursing Leadership Philosophy

Susan Hensler

Delaware Technical Community College

NUR 400 Nursing Leadership

February 15, 2018


Nursing Leadership Philosophy

Nursing is a dynamic field requiring an adaptable leadership model able to adjust to the

increasing and ever-changing demands of the contemporary healthcare system (Doody & Doody,

2012). Finkleman (2016) explained that the Institutes of Medicine’s (IOM) 2011 report, The

Future of Nursing, pointed to transformational leadership as the model most effective at meeting

the needs of today’s nurses. Lifelong learning in the form of higher education and workplace

training further challenges nurses to reach their full potential and take leadership roles. In order

for a nurse to advocate for her patient, good interpersonal communication skills are required for

both dissemination of information and for motivating the interdisciplinary healthcare team to


Nursing Philosophy

In addition to having authority, Curtis, de Vries, and Sheerin (2011), explained that a

leader is a person with the charisma to inspire others to succeed, someone who educates and

helps others. If that is the case, then all nurses have the potential to be leaders. Every moment

spent with a patient and the interdisciplinary healthcare team is an opportunity to create a

positive experience with the potential for individual and collective growth.

Choosing an effective leadership style is fundamental to guiding a team to success. The

transformational leadership model has the potential to bring out the best in a healthcare team.

Doody and Doody (2012) described transformational leadership as a theory that embodies shared

goals for the future and a model that embraces change, empowers staff, and encourages

innovative thinking. An effective transformational leader demonstrates high morals and values.

They earn the trust of their team and inspire open communication while acting as a liaison

between staff and administration and advocating for their patients (Weller, 2014).

Role of the Nurse Leader

In 2013, Lacasse suggested that nursing leadership must be grounded in both formal

education and experienced nursing practice. Yet, while the IOM would like 80% of nurses to

hold a baccalaureate degree and the number of nurses with doctorate degrees to double by 2020,

they also have recommended that nurses at all levels take on leadership rolls, not only those with

higher-level degrees (Weller, 2014). Lacasse (2013) outlined three specific competencies that the

National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) deems essential to successful nursing

leadership: transformation, execution, and people. The transformation and execution domains

focus on leadership-oriented thinking, systems analysis, budgetary concerns, informatics and

organization. The people domain focuses on professionalism, human resources and staffing,

personnel development, and team leadership.

Thompson (2012), built on both the NHCL leadership competencies and on the

transformational leadership model when discussing the five practices of exemplary leadership:

Leaders must model the way by examining their personal and professional values in order to

develop and convey their vision. They must inspire their team to share in their vision and goals.

Good leaders must try new methods and lead the way to change. They must enable others to act

by giving them autonomy and voice; and leaders must encourage, recognize, and celebrate the

successes of both individuals and the team.

Lifelong Learning

Transformational nurse leaders encourage an environment of professional development

for the benefit of improved patient outcomes and the clinical education of nursing staff. Keeping

the focus on researching new evidence-based practices, staff are encouraged to obtain higher

level degrees, certifications, and continuing education and are asked to share their knowledge

with other team members through informal training sessions. Thompson (2012) expressed the

importance of creating feelings of equality and a sense of contribution with both on-the-job

training and having staff deliver evidence-based education to their peers on topics they

researched and prepared themselves. Encouraging staff to share their knowledge with other

employees allowed them to enjoy intellectual satisfaction and feel empowered to take ownership

of the success of the team (Doody & Doody, 2012).

Maintaining the educational qualifications, licenses, and certifications of staff members

ensures credentialing of staff and eases the route to preserving facility accreditation, an important

consideration for insurance reimbursement (Finkleman 2016).

Communication and collaboration

Successful leadership involves effective communication and collaboration between all

members of the interdisciplinary team, the facility administration, and with the patient. Leonard,

Graham and Bonacum reported in 2004 that the leading cause of inadvertent patient harm was a

failure in communication. Transformational leadership encourages open communication in a safe

environment that empowers all staff members to voice their onions and concerns during

meetings or privately, as warranted. Multiple studies show that when communication is enriched,

Curtis and O’Connell explained in 2011, positive working relationships form, improving both

staff efficiency and job satisfaction which ultimately results in improved patient care and safety.

Leadership Plan and Goals

Macauley (2015), informed us that not only new supervisors and managers, but also those

with years of experience, face the challenge of developing leadership skills that will motivate

nurses to be engaged and successful team members. So, what is the best way to lead and

motivate staff to be engaged? According to Finkleman (2016), transformational nurse leaders


must begin by developing a vision for the future that correlates to the mission statement of their

organization. This clearly-stated vision enables both administration and staff to come together in

achieving common goals.

My personal goal is to motivate others to provide the highest level of care resulting in

optimum patient outcomes, and to encourage personal and professional growth and education in

a safe, comfortable environment conducive to success. I agree with Curtis et al. (2011) that

shared leadership teams give voice to staff and that allowing staff members with a vested interest

create solutions increases the motivation to succeed. As a member of a shared leadership team, I

have seen positive changes and morale improvements and realize shared leadership has an

important place in the collaborative success of the entire interdisciplinary team.

Education committees involving bedside nurses have been shown to enhance the clinical

competencies of the entire team which in turn improves patient care and outcomes (Curtis &

O’Connell, 2011). Tinkham suggested in 2013 that mentoring new nurse leaders helps to

increase their confidence. Initiating, perhaps through the shared leadership committee, a clinical

mentorship that pairs experienced nurses with new nurses can boost clinical confidence while

providing better patient care.

Perhaps the most important lesson gained from observing an effective transitional

leadership model is that an environment of staff empowerment leads to higher productivity,

improved career satisfaction and less resistance to change, which ultimately results in better

patient outcomes (Doody & Doody, 2012).


Even the best team will flounder without good leadership. A strong transitional leader has

the power to motivate team successes, inspire positive change, and encourage collaboration and

communication between all constituents of the healthcare sector, including administration,

interdisciplinary team members, and the patient.

Although I enjoy my position as a bedside nurse and am not seeking a managerial

position at this time, transitional leadership skills play a role in my position as a bedside nurse.

Effectively communicating while inspiring and encouraging the success of clinical team

members and patients alike is an ongoing process. Being an active member of our shared

leadership committee enables me to participate in promoting both my goals and those of the

leadership team. Furthering my education both academically and clinically through use of

evidence-based practices improves my clinical skills as a nurse, strengthens my leadership

abilities, and promotes superior patient outcomes.



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