Health providers consistently strive to improve team morale, patient care and staff retention. These are among the most important factors that hold healthcare organizations together.
Nurse leaders play a critical role in achieving these goals by motivating their colleagues and setting up a culture of quality patient care. They act as role models for their nursing teams and influence healthcare organizations at various levels. An effective nurse leader will help create a culture of better patient care, staff retention and high morale in the workplace.
Here is a comprehensive look at how good nursing leaders can improve the quality of nursing teams.
The role of a nurse leader
Most people think nurse leaders are defined by their position of authority. However, this is not always the case. Good nurse leaders are, instead, defined by their actions and the roles they play in creating a safe, civil workplace.
Nursing leaders strive to create a suitable learning environment for others while being passionate about patient care. They demonstrate behaviors and qualities that establish them as authoritative and confident healthcare providers. This makes it easier for them to communicate expectations and motivate their teams to achieve predetermined goals.
Nurse leaders need to quickly adapt to new treatment modalities, ever-changing payment methods, fluctuating legislative environments, and technological advancements. The role combines crucial leadership, business and nursing skills, gained through practical experience and further education.
Registered Nurses (RNs) interested in attaining an advanced nursing leadership degree while continuing to work full-time would find the Baylor’s Online DNP in Executive Nurse Leadership a great fit. It also offers the students the option to complete their doctoral project locally. The program builds competencies in transformative care models, data-driven business strategy and influential leadership, empowering them to become nurse executives who can lead & drive the change in healthcare.
Why nurse leaders are needed
Nurses form the backbone of the healthcare industry. They spend the most time in direct contact with patients compared to the rest of the healthcare workforce. Therefore, nurses have an undeniable impact on patient outcomes, safety and satisfaction.
Good nursing leadership helps elevate nursing values within the healthcare industry. Doing this drives the healthcare profession to become more inclusive and compassionate. There are some significant benefits which effective nursing leaders can offer.
Improve team morale
When nurses have a leader to help them collaborate, stressful situations become manageable. The entire nursing team acts as a support system for each other. Feeling supported improves both staff satisfaction and patient outcomes.
Nurse leaders will start by identifying the individual strengths of team members. They can then motivate the staff to work as a team and solve complex problems within the ever-changing healthcare industry. Doing this boosts team morale and encourages every member of the team to hone their skills.
Effective nursing leaders also understand that conflict is unavoidable in the healthcare industry and can greatly affect team morale. They work round-the-clock to resolve any conflict that may arise as soon as possible. Having strong conflict resolution skills ensures these leaders develop a supportive work environment in order to maximize teamwork.
Good leadership in nursing, therefore, has a significant impact on team morale. With the right leaders, nursing teams can participate fully while feeling valued and respected. They develop a cohesive healthcare team that is motivated to put patient satisfaction and safety first.
Better patient care
Nurse leaders do more than deliver quality care to their patients; they become advocates for better patient care within the industry. Good leaders act as thoughtful strategists who use their experience and education to improve the quality of care.
These leaders inspire their nursing teams to become more than just functional doers. Instead of waiting for the physician (MD) to make decisions that influence patient care, they can become informed decision-makers. Doing this ensures continuity of care, which greatly improves overall patient care while providing learning opportunities for staff nurses.
Equally, a nurse leader encourages their team to suggest strategies that could help improve the quality of care. Nursing teams may subsequently carry out these strategies more effectively since they feel included within the workplace. It is a simple strategy that allows nurses to gain control of their careers while making a difference.
Finally, nurse leaders help their nursing teams navigate ethics in healthcare. These include beneficence, efficiency, non-maleficence, justice, respect for autonomy, proportionality and health maximization. Keeping to these seven principles for public health ethics guarantees better patient care.
Increase staff retention
High stress levels can be caused by nursing shortages. However, nursing leaders can help reduce issues related to staff retention. For starters, nursing leaders can help ensure adequate nurse-to-patient ratios. If they can achieve this, their teams will not have an overflow of job duties, which minimizes employee burnout. In these situations, nurses tend to convert to full-time, permanent employees because their workload is fairly adequate.
Nurse leaders can also advocate for a smooth onboarding process for new and training nurses. For instance, simulation for new nurses can help them learn to cope with high-stress situations. Bringing out the best in new nurses and developing their clinical skills improves staff retention.
Establishing an open line of communication between the administration and nurses also helps improve retention. Good nurse leaders encourage their teams to communicate their feelings whenever they feel overwhelmed. Doing this helps manage conflict within nursing teams while reducing stress levels in the facility.
Lastly, nursing leaders can streamline processes to ensure nurses don’t spend a lot of time filing documentation and paperwork. It is quite easy for nurses to feel overwhelmed when they spend more time completing paperwork than helping patients. Allowing nurses to complete tasks quickly by leveraging new technologies improves staff retention.
The bottom line
Nursing teams are hugely influenced by how their leaders behave and act. Therefore, having quality nursing leaders helps set a good example while establishing clear objectives. The healthcare facility gets to benefit from increased staff retention, improved morale and better patient care.
Erik Jackson has been a senior editor at Health News Tribune for three years. Fluent in French and proficient in Spanish and Arabic, he focuses on diseases and conditions and the newest trends in medicine.