A nurse leader is a registered nurse who oversees and ensures good care of a distinct group of patients for a hospital or health care facility. The profession of a nurse leader requires a Master’s degree in Nursing and just like many professionals, nurse leaders are required to obtain a license to practice professionally. Licensing is administered through each state's board of nursing. The nurses develop quality improvement strategies, oversee patient care coordination, facilitate team communication, assess health risks and implement evidence-based solutions at the unit level (Douglass, 1996).
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Advocacy maybe defined as an act of pleading for or arguing in favor of something such as an idea or policy in which active support is needed. It can also be defined as a way by which an individual influences both public policy and resource allocation decisions in political, social economic, and systems. Advocacy depends on someone’s morals, because it is mostly motivated by faith, moral, and ethical principles or it can be a desire to protect something that one has interest in (Tilley & Watson, 2004). The combination comes in where the nurse leader is required to influence decision-making and resource allocation within her/his profession.
Personal and Professional Accountability
Nurse leaders that are considered as good role models encourage and motivate their staff to engage in self-reflection in relation to awareness. For a nurse leader to achieve the results she/he really wants, he/she has to take responsibility for his/her own profession (Jasper, 2011). You have to make plans for your life and career; you should not have any assumptions but rather know what you want and how far you are willing to go or want to go in your career. Never underestimate how far you can go in life and, most important, never aim low in life when it comes to achieving your goal. After identifying your goals, you should find some key ways to grow in a direction that will help achieve them even if it means going back to school to get another academic degree. You may be afraid to fail, because there is always some discomfort getting out of your comfort zone, but do it anyway because risk-taking is always worth it (Tilley & Watson, 2004).
Ethics is an integral part of nursing practice, and it entails respect for human rights of the person in their care. The nurse leader’s role is to advocate for the interests of the people in their care and the society at large. Morale is linked to productivity, and it’s your job as the team leader to instill a positive energy (Daniels & Daniels, 2007). She/he must have respect for the patients and the society he/she serves and do all within his/her powers to ensure quality image of the profession respecting the religion and culture in caring for the patients; this is mainly because patients practice different religions and cultures, and the nurse leader has to inquire so that she/he can know the best way to handle the patient without disrespecting their religion or culture (Hugman & Smith, 1995).
Nurse leaders are also required to enroll in professional associations with others and actively participate. Professional associations’ aim is to bring people of the same profession together to share their experience hence expand their knowledge in the process. Having the courage to stand alone, the tenacity to not succumb to pressure, and the patience to keep fighting until you win the day is a key quality of being a nurse leader (Sagor & Barnett 1994).
One needs to know what she/he is expected to do as part of his/her job. As a nurse leader, you should know your functions which are basically coordinating or overseeing the care of a distinct group of patients for a hospital or health care facility. After identifying your role, you need to plan for the future and where you want to take your career. A nurse leader should keep in mind the change of environment hence development of new diseases and the advancement of the already existing ones and plan on how to deal with them in the future (Daniels & Daniels, 2007). She/he has to be prepared to face the future challenges as they come.
Personal Journey Discipline
A nurse leader should commit him/ herself to a personal journey thus becoming more authentic in their leadership. In one of Bill George’s books, he said that the leaders constantly test themselves “through real-world experiences and reframing their life stories to understand who they were at their core. In doing so, they discover the purpose of their leadership and learn that being authentic made them more effective” (American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2004). On a personal journey, leaders can learn a lot about themselves, and they can even discover new things about themselves; most importantly, they can develop awareness about their strongest capabilities, their leadership attributes, and their greatest needs for the development as a leader. It is also important and much needed for a leader to think carefully in advance how you will handle situations where your ethical boundaries and values are in conflict with decisions you are asked to make. In these instances, your staff and even fellow leaders will see what exactly your stand will be, whether you will stand by your ethics or you will choose to ignore it; in this case, they will most likely judge you.
Reflective Practice Reference Behaviors/tenets
Communication between the staff and their leader is very important. Nurse leaders proactively provide information to others who need it and seek information from those who have it, mostly their fellow leaders. Nurse leaders should treat the patients and each other with dignity, respect, and sensitivity. The leaders should be role models, coach and mentor staff by guiding them using situational leadership to promote the growth and development of staff (Sagor & Barnett 1994).
The most likely weakness to encounter in leadership, including nurse leadership, is procrastination; once a leader procrastinates doing his/her work, it is the beginning of failure. The strength, on the other hand, is good planning; with good planning; one is sure to get good results. Being a nurse leader requires one to be ready to take risks that come with it. Sometimes they are required to swallow more reactions and sometimes negative ones from more people than the other nurses. Lastly being a nurse leader requires a good personality and highly qualified personnel to tackle the issues that come with it.
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