Clinical Leadership

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Clinical leadership refers to attributes and some tasks necessary to ensure improvements in the provision of safe and quality health care. Active clinical leaders may develop a quality and safe program that attains positive and sustainable progress in patient’s wellbeing, which is the most valued thing in the clinical setting. Clinician contribution to safety and quality enhancement is crucial for disseminating new ideas in and across professional and clinical boundaries. Moreover, it is important for sustainability of change since clinicians and medical consultants are usually part of the clinical team for a very long period (Wong, Cummings, Ducharme, 2013).

Clinical leaders have a wider view of the clinical setting than their colleagues since they comprehend their health service, have a good perspective of health care and understand the local and global clinical setting. Clinical leaders model the desired behavior by their involvement in the health service and motivating others to participate through effective communication, validating outcomes and recognizing achievements. They also tend to update their skills in quality and safety enhancement and motivate others to do so (Vesterinen, Suhonen, Isola, Paasivaara, 2012).

Clinical managers play a significant role in the enhancement of clinical practice, decision-making, routine care procedures and the way a patient is taken care of at the bedside. Clinical managers know that the provision of safe and quality care in the clinical setting depends on the decisions they make. Moreover, they understand that for changes in clinical processes to be successfully and sustainable, they must engage all clinicians in the process of change (Hutchinson and Hurley, 2013). Effective clinical programs depend on the way clinical leaders understand, accept and execute their clinical duties and further delegate them within the clinical setting. Supporting and inspiring clinicians to assume this role involves organizational support and teamwork between clinical managers and other clinicians, to shape the governance role to best match with medical roles. This will involve clear role definition, training, and the establishment of motivations and elimination of hindrances (Keenan, Galloway, McAlinden, Workman, Redley, 2014).

Clinical leadership activities entail taking part in setting the safety and quality agenda and taking the lead in implementing the agenda. Clinical leaders should also play a significant role in defining priorities for distribution of resources to result in best practice health care provision (Wong, et al., 2013). They need to act as supporters of medical and systems enhancements. Moreover, they should attach administrative and professional status to participation in quality and safety activities. Clinical leaders need to take the lead in prioritizing, planning and implementing better-quality processes of care. Above all, they need to ensure that training and administrative support is available to motivate clinical participation in improvement activities (Vesterinen et al., 2012).

Clinical leaders need to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge needed to initiate and drive suitable quality and safety activities at the team and professional level. They should ensure that services and care are provided as per the health service, evidence policies and protocols established. Moreover, clinical leaders are supposed to openly communicate and report on quality and safety problems and take part in developing solutions. Above all, they must adhere to procedures and policies for preventing, disclosing and reporting adverse events (Hutchinson and Hurley, 2013).


Hutchinson M, Hurley J 2013, ‘Exploring leadership capability and emotional intelligence as moderators of workplace bullying’, Journal of Nursing Administration, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 39-47.

Keenan C, Galloway J, McAlinden F, Workman B, Redley B 2014, ‘Integrated leadership capability: building a model for today and tomorrow’, Asia-Pacific Journal of Health Management vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 19-23.

Vesterinen S, Suhonen M, Isola A, Paasivaara L.2012, Nurse managers’ leadership styles in Finland. Nurs Res Pract.

Wong CA, Cummings GG, Ducharme L 2013, ‘The relationship between nursing leadership and patient outcomes: a systematic review update’, Journal of Nursing Management, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 709-724.