Nursing Leadership, Management, Skills and Style

Nursing has been one of the most fundamental careers in a large number
of economies. This is especially considering that large number of
individuals that it employs, as well as the immense role in enhancing
the health of the nation at large and the individuals in particular. It
goes without saying that the health of individuals has a bearing on the
economy of a nation’s wealth as only healthy individuals would engage
in wealth creation. While there is a variation on the environments in
which different nurse manager operate, their typical days are more or
less the same. This interview was conducted with Dr. L.M, nurse manager
at an acute-care health facility in Pennsylvania. The 60 years old
nurse manager has been working in the institution for the last 24 years.
Question: Dr. L.M, what is your educational background?
Dr. L.M: A career as a nurse manager requires that an individual
undergoes a demanding education, as well as highly intensive training.
In most cases, individuals must complete a minimum of 4 years of
undergraduate school and another 4 years in medical school. After this,
they would have between 3 and 8 years in residency and internship
programs depending on their area of specialization. In some instances,
relevant experience may substitute some formal qualification. However,
on-the-job training and relevant experience would undoubtedly be
required part from formal qualification. After my undergraduate
schooling, I had 4 years in the University of Pennsylvania, where I
graduated in 1979. I had a two-year internship at the Michael Reese
Hospital and Medical Center, after which I had my residency in the same
Question: How long have you been a physician in this hospital?
Dr. L.M: I have been working in this hospital for the last 24 years in
this same unit.
Question: How does your typical day look like?
Dr L.M: A typical day as a nurse manager involves the overall management
of a health service unit of the hospital where I supervise the varied
activities of the nursing staff. I also supervise the financial
resources so as to allow for the provision of cost-effective and safe
nursing care within a particular unit or specified field. I would then
monitor the clinical standards, quality, as well as the professional
development of the nurses. In addition, I would oversee the paperwork
such as medical records, as well as any activities or issues that
require disciplinary action.
Question: What is your leadership style in the institution?
Dr. L.M: I like to think of myself as a democratic leader. As much I
have the final say as to the decision that is made, I involve some
doctors, as well as employees in the process of decision-making. This
style comes in handy especially considering that I do not have a
monopoly over knowledge, in which case I must engage skillful and
knowledgeable employees in the decision-making process. This would not
only allow the employees to own the hospital but also give me an
opportunity to make better decisions.
Question: Do you work with other leaders?
Dr. L.M: The performance of one’s duties as a nurse, physician or
surgeon requires that one works with different kinds of leaders
including political, religious leaders, as well as leaders in the
healthcare sector. This is especially with regard to policies that touch
on the healthcare sector, as well as in instances where a patient needs
a religious leader around for example when he or she would be undergoing
intensive surgical operations or in end-of-life care (Barr & Dowding,
Question: Do you participate in political activity?
Dr. L.M: While there is an element of ambiguity in the term
“politics” the healthcare sector involves a healthy dose of
politics. This is especially considering that every sector and
institution is guided by specific policy guidelines (Barr & Dowding,
2008). While I may not engage in politics in the conventional sense of
the word, I participate in the formulation of policy concerning
healthcare. Indeed, healthcare professionals must participate and engage
in politics if they wish to make any changes to policy outcomes.
Question: In your opinion, how will nursing look like 5-10 years from
Dr. L.M: There is bound to be an increase in demand of nurse
practitioners especially considering that they can carry out a large
number of routine practices done by physicians, in which case they would
be increasingly used to lower the cost pertaining to outpatient care and
hospital services (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Nurses willing to
practice in low-income, rural areas would have good job prospects as
these areas have problems attracting physicians. This is the same case
for nurses that specialize on issues that affect aging baby boomers
(Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013).
Question: Do you view yourself as a change agent?
Dr. L.M: Yes, I do. This is essentially what transformational leadership
entails. In my work, I have undertaken intentional succession planning
and provision of clear career pathways in the realization of the fact
that different individuals will have different skills needed in
different times. The sustainability of the institution and the
healthcare sector in general requires that these individuals take up
responsibility and imbue in it their particular skills.
The role of nurse managers in the healthcare sector cannot be gainsaid
as far as the sustainability of the sector. Overall, the interview was
eye-opening especially with regard to the role of managers in effecting
change, as well as their engagement in political activities. Indeed,
nurse managers would only have the capacity to effect change through
participation in policy formulation as every activity and procedure is
guided by the policy framework. On the same note, it is imperative that
nurse managers or leaders engage their juniors or team members actively
in decision-making as only then would they own the process of change and
take responsibility for their actions in their institutions.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, (2013). Occupational Outlook handbook:
Physicians and Surgeon. Web retrieved 10th September 2013 from
Barr, J., & Dowding, L. (2008). Leadership in Health Care. London: Sage

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