Nursing leadership is the trait that helps a nurse to inspire others to work and achieve the goals set out in patient care and brings about patient well being. It is basically a combination of several personality traits, administrative skills and also inherent nursing talents. As a leader, the nurse must exhibit qualities of energy, optimism, courage, perseverance, integrity and ability to handle stress in almost every practical situation. The nursing profession is an intensive one, with nurses having to provide patient care on a continuous basis and in the course of their work, they have to be professional, compassionate and show focus in their activities for a long periods.
Nursing leadership can be in the form of authoritarian, democratic, laissez-faire and bureaucratic leadership. In the authoritarian leadership style, the leader makes all decisions and directs other nursing staffs activities in patient care. Every stage of patient care involves a correspondence with the leader. The opposite of this form of leadership is the democratic style, in which the leader coordinates with nursing staff members in dealing with all matters related to patient care. In the laissez-faire leadership style, there is little direction coming from the nurse and all nursing staff has to carry on with their work, take decisions and perform all action on their own accord. The bureaucratic style of leadership has the leader giving directions according to laid down rules, procedures and policies.
The leadership structure is determined by the hospital environment. Nurses must function as a member of the health care team and leadership should effectively turn into this. They must have good interpersonal skills and must be able to coordinate with team member effectively, make use of data and resources with respect to patient care and must be able to delegate work to staff members to function as an effective team
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