Developing of the prospect nurse leaders is among the greatest challenges that the nursing profession faces today despite the need for powerful leadership skills for all nurses. Any nurse who is in authority, such as one taking care of a patient, or a nurse responsible for assisting other nurses is a leader (Harris and Roussel, 2010). One should not view leadership as a mere sequence of tasks or skills, but an attitude that affects behavior and that good leadership is reliable finer performance that allows long-lasting benefit to all the stakeholders.
The health care system is undergoing radical transformations to meet the consistent cost increases, in addition to the declining economic, statuses of countries. The capability to pay for health care is an increasing apprehension for businesses, governments, and individuals calling for transformational change, which will necessitate leaders to form the future health care organizations. Historically, has not been considered a source of leadership for change, but because of the core skills, competencies, and the sheer nursing size, nurses could be a feasible resource. This, therefore, calls for a need to train and prepare nurses for the leadership role in leading change to advance health care.
A change area
One of the areas that need to change is the need to involve all nurses to involve nurses in decision-making and allow them to take up leadership positions. According to one of the recommendations by the Institute of Medicine (2011), nurses, nursing associations, and nursing education programs need to train the nursing employees to take up leadership positions throughout all levels of management. The recommendation also states that the private, governmental and public health care decision makers should make sure that there is availability of leadership positions to and for nurses to fill. This implies that the nursing professionals and the entire players in the health care systems have seen the need for managements at the health organizations include nurses in the decision making process.
The key stakeholders for this change include the nursing associations, nursing education programs, nurses, and private, governmental and public health care decision makers (Institute of Medicine, 2011). These various stakeholders have varying roles that they play in ensuring that there are changes in the role of nurses as leaders and decision-makers. First, nursing associations have the responsibility of providing mentoring programs, leadership development, and opportunities to take up leadership tasks for all the members of such associations (Institute of Medicine, 2011). This will imply that these associations will have to invest a significant amount of their funding in ensuring that they meet this proposition. On the other hand, the nursing education programs should include leadership concepts and organizational practice to ensure that all nurses have the ability to make critical decisions and take up leadership positions at all levels in a clinical setting (Institute of Medicine, 2011). This will imply that organizations with the responsibility of developing curricula for nurses should have to involve nurses and commit many resources in carrying out investigations, to ensure that they include the best practices that will enhance leadership skills.
It is also imperative that healthcare decision makers include representation from the nursing profession in key leadership positions such as executive management teams, and boards among others (Institute of Medicine, 2011). This will mean that the decision making process, in these organizations, will occur in a horizontal way rather than the conventional way which is hierarchical in nature. Lastly, nurses should take part in enhancing leadership skills and looking out for prospects that will let them to build up and practice leadership skills and competencies (Institute of Medicine, 2011).
Strategies to manage the change
Health care organizations and other stakeholders can employ a number of strategies to ensure that nurses participate fully and effectively in leadership and decision-making. The first method is the introduction of shared governance, which can help in strengthening leadership and including all nurses in clinical leadership. This type of leadership empowers all the staffs for decision-making processes in the health care systems (Scott & Caress, 2005). It also enables the staffs to work in inclusion in developing multi-professional care. All team members will have responsibility while the managers will only have the task of facilitating rather than controlling.
Another strategy to ensure that all nurses participate effectively in decision-making and take up leadership positions is through education for leadership. This calls for the health organizations to invest in educating nurses to be effectual leaders. The programs should introduce leadership at the initial nursing preparation curriculum, and there is a necessity for mentoring programs for aspiring nurse leaders. For instance, these organizations can use evidence-based practice, which call for nurses to be able to assess evidence and come up with solutions because of the best existing evidence. For nurses to be able to make such critical decisions, it is paramount that nurses receive educational preparation for headship in the process of training to prepare them to possess a better understanding and to be in charge of situations that may come about in work settings.
The last strategy that organizations can use to allow nurses to participate in leadership and acquire the necessary skills, that will enhance decision-making, is to initiate projects that enhance transformational leadership. Such programs should aim at helping professionals to give them power through accountability, responsibility and authority. The programs should also aim at helping the professionals to take risks, articulate responsibility, solve problems, and develop autonomy. Setting up such programs is useful in ensuring that nurses and the nursing leadership acquire and practice the leadership skills that they may have learnt in the education programs.
Barriers to the needed change
Several barriers may hinder the process of changing the leadership of medical organizations to include nurses in decision-making and leadership positions. For instance, nurses often work in a self-led setting, but there is no mechanism for decision-making or self-control at the point of service thereby stifling innovation (Harris and Roussel, 2010). In addition, if the nurses who initiate change do not receive the support, they may lose conviction and confidence, and this may make them feel disempowered and incapable of supporting one another. The management often centers on the quantity of services that nurses provide, leading to a loss of dependence and self-esteem. This causes workers to become disturbing, or leave the institution.
Nurses as agents of change
In nursing leadership, it is paramount that nurse leaders be agents of change in order to transform the operations of the health organizations. A nurse should go beyond the duty of managing the process of change to include instigation of change. The nurse leader should anticipate change and ensure that only the best systems are in place. In preparing nurses for leadership positions, there is a need for the nurse leaders to foresee the need for transformative leadership to be able to initiate the programme. On the other hand, there is a need, for the nurses, to take the initiative of advancing their education in leadership and looking out for any chances that will enable them to advance and exercise the leadership skills that they have acquired. They should not wait for the leadership to begin the process for them to participate, but they should be in the forefront of foreseeing and initiating the change.
According to Harris and Roussel (2010), a change agent should have the capacity to change, bring about change in others, and be willing to commit resources such as energy, money, and time in order to accomplish the change. This in essence means that, as agents of change in leadership, nurses should be able to implement the change in leadership style, enable others perceive leadership as a team process, and commit resources in ensuring that they…