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Leadership Styles in Nursing

Leadership styles in nursing management play a very significant role in the management of a nursing facility. This article throws light on management and leadership styles practiced in the nursing profession.
CareerStint Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
A nursing leader might either be a nurse manager who is assigned the obligation of handling one unit or a nurse executive who is responsible for the operations of all in-patient nursing units. Usually, a successful or effective nurse leader, typically has a repertoire of leadership skills that she employs according to situations that are being faced.

Leadership Skills in Nursing

After a nurse graduates from a nursing school and gets her Registered Nurse (RN) license, she normally possesses some fundamental leadership skills to apply to direct patient care. As she gets more experienced and advances in her post, she would be required to learn more on leadership. There are many leadership courses that are available in colleges and universities, professional education facilities, and even large public and private hospitals. It is truly crucial for a nurse to seek advice, mentoring, and coaching from a senior nurse leader who would render honest feedback regarding her leadership style.

Types of Leadership Styles in Nursing

Broadly speaking, there are two types of fundamental leadership styles, democratic and autocratic. A nurse leader who is democratically inclined would engage his nurses in decision-making and let them carry out work in an independent manner. Whereas, a directive autocrat would provide instructions without looking for inputs and superintend his nurses in a close manner. This can also be thought of as direct leadership and positive leadership. In direct leadership, the nurse leader would direct all the nurses under his command as to what to do, and see to it that it gets completed accordingly. In positive leadership, the nurse leader tries to ensure that the whole unite works as a team to get the tasks done. In positive leadership, incentives and positivity are usually used as tools.

A nurse leader who has a considerable amount of work experience would select a leadership and management style that would work best in any circumstance. For instance, he might play a democratic kind of role when it is time to purchase new equipment for his nursing section. He can arrange to buy equipment that is required by nurses, and then allow them to utilize it individually as needed. But from the other point of view, he might act as a directive autocrat when dealing with less experienced nurses, giving only one-sided instructions, while he closely oversees their work. Nurse leaders most importantly need to be very stress and tension-free while managing things, as they work in a critical life and death situation where every moment counts, and where temperamental or emotional behavior is not accepted. They need to be able to fully concentrate on what they do, as it may be a question of someone's life and health.

Some Considerations of Leadership Styles in Nursing

A nurse leader might change his leadership style according to the age and expertise of nurses working under his supervision. There can be many cases where veterans would like to share their hard-earned expertise with new recruits who are in responsible positions, whereas younger and less-experienced nurses might benefit from close supervision along with sufficient guidance and feedback. Nursing has veered towards a shared model of management which involves nurses in decision-making. In this leadership model, a nurse leader employs a democratic style of leadership, encouraging nurses to actively get involved in medical decision-making activities along with monitoring their patient results.

This is in essence about leadership styles in nursing, however, a nurse manager may change his style according to situation and the way nurses respond to his instructions. His/her style may also change according to situational demands of the medical facility. Effective leadership would certainly make nursing professionals work in the best possible manner.