A great nursing leader sets the gold standard for all others to follow by being committed and passionate about their work. A true leader is able to mentor, to coach, to listen to others, offer advice, provide feedback, and to provide encouragement. When reflecting upon great nursing leaders, most exhibit the transformational leadership style which focuses on inspiring and motivating others (Giddens, 2017). This leadership style is linked to higher performing teams and improved patient-care (Fischer, 2016) and has helped shaped my own practice and personal philosophy of nursing.
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In transformational leadership, there are generally four components involved. The first component is idealized influence, where the leader is modelling the way (Fischer, 2016). This includes holding yourself to a high moral standard, exhibiting ethical behavior, and being passionate about your work. The second component is inspirational motivational, where the leaders inspire clear and shared vision (Fischer, 2016). The third component is intellectual stimulation, which encourages staff to question and challenge long standing practices and to look at problems from new ways. The fourth component is individual consideration where individual differences and needs of staff are both recognized and accepted. This helps to create a supportive environment for success and empowers followers to reach their full potential and may include coaching, mentoring, advising, encouragement and feedback (Giddens, 2017).
Transformational leadership has a strong positive influence on workplace empowerment due to raised levels of self-esteem and increased self-efficacy. Workplace empowerment increased nurses’ job satisfaction and decreased the frequency of adverse patient outcomes or preventable medical errors such as medication errors, pressure ulcers, and pneumonia. Transformational leadership in nursing improves the quality of patient care by creating a work environment where nurses feel empowered to provide the best care possible (Boamah, Spence-Laschinger, Wong, & Clarke, 2017).
My clinical instructor demonstrates transformational leadership perfectly and is a great mentor. She demonstrates high morals and ethical behavior and is passionate about her job. She is authentic and genuine in her interactions with her patients. She is concerned and focused on helping each member of our clinical group to make sure we succeed and recognizes we are all individuals with different skill sets. When a student gets discouraged or overwhelmed, she creates a supportive environment by encouraging us and providing feedback on how we can correct a situation in the future. She is there to coach and mentor us as future nurses and goes the extra mile to ensure we reach our full potential. Transformational leadership helps to promote an individual’s goals and aspirations.
The basis of my personal nursing philosophy comes directly from my upbringing and what my mother has taught me since early childhood. The simple concepts such as passion, kindness, respect, honesty, compassion and integrity have provided me with a solid foundation of core beliefs which accompanies component one of transformational leadership, idealized influence. These traits are the cornerstone of being a great nurse and a great leader.
My nursing philosophy is also shaped by my need to gain knowledge and to help people. It is not difficult to remain motivated when doing your best at work really does make an impact and a difference to the patients. It is an empowering and rewarding field: patients truly trust us with their lives. The healthcare field is ever-changing with new advancements, discoveries, technology, and policy. I owe it myself and to my patients to strive to deliver the most up to date evidence based care which intertwines with component three of transformational leadership, intellectual stimulation. I have accepted the fact I will never know everything and I will spend my entire career constantly learning, but that’s okay! I will be continuously seeking the best care for my patients.
A nursing leader provides comfort, warmth, and a smile to a patient in a cold, unfamiliar stressful place. As a nurse, we are seeing the patient and their support system at their low and cannot take their actions and words personally. In these situations, it is hardest to be compassionate but a true nursing leader does not let it affect the level of care given to the patient. A nursing leader provides equal treatment and quality care to the patients and allows themselves to be compassionate through the tough situations. It is simple to treat patients and go through the motions but when a nurse allows themselves to care about the person in the hospital bed, we provide truly exceptional care. I believe compassion is what separates the good nurses from the great nurses. Great nurses go beyond what’s necessary to provide quality patient care. I personally have always felt best after going the extra mile to help someone in need.
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Participating in clinical practice as a student nurse has provided me the opportunity to spend extra face time with patients. I use this time as open dialogue to understand their illness and history but also to better understand who they are as a person. I am able to discuss their struggles, deficits, and personal barriers which allows me to provide an improved level of care. I aim to develop trusting relationships with the patients. Through trust, I believe the patient is more likely to be receptive and understanding of their treatment and teachings by the nurse.
- Boamah, S., Spence-Laschinger, H., Wong, C., Clarke, S. (2017). Effect of transformational leadership on job satisfaction and patient safety outcomes. Nursing Outlook, 66(2), 180-189. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
- Fischer, S. (2016). Transformational leadership in nursing: a concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(11), 2569-2948. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
- Giddens, J. (2017). Transformational leadership: What every nursing dean should know. Journal of Professional Nursing, 34(2), 117-121. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
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