Clinical Nursing Leadership Essay Example

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In clinical nursing, leadership is an integral aspect that helps in ensuring the health outcomes are sufficiently achieved. In addition, through effective clinical nursing leadership, clients are able to acquire accessible, acceptable, available, affordable and quality health care from their care providers as supported by (Wong & Cummings, 2007). Leadership in clinical nursing can be defined as the process of establishing the clinical nursing goals or mission, empowering and inspiring the concerned stakeholders to act and help in achieving the mutually agreed goals and outcomes and ensure each client is receive the best possible health care solution (Wikström & Dellve, 2009). Effectiveness in clinical nursing leadership refers to the competence and the ability of clinical nurses to adequately and comprehensively deliver quality clinical care while collaborating with other concerned stakeholders, consulting and communicating with their clients, offering direction, mobilizing support for effective policies and standards in health care and fostering the required change in order to guarantee quality clinical care is delivered (Marshall & Coughlin, 2010). This report critically discusses effectiveness of critical nursing leadership.

Effectiveness of Clinical nursing leadership on patient and staff outcomes

According to Roussel and Swansburg (2006), patient outcomes are mainly concerned with receiving quality clinical care which is not only accessible and affordable, but also available, quality and which is in sync with their ideals, beliefs and cultural outlooks. On the other hand, staff outcomes are concerned with clinical nurses having the adequate skills and knowledge to effectively carry out their clinical duties and having a favorable working environment where they are treated as professional, they are able to grow and develop both as individuals and as career people (Wong & Cummings, 2007).

In a rapidly changing health care environment where the patients are more aware of their needs and are more demanding and where the need to offer quality is widely advocated for, effective clinical nursing leadership helps clinical nurses to adapt to their new roles (Cummings, et al., 2008). This is because, clinical nurses are no longer care givers but they now have to fit into other roles as educators, communicators, motivators, change agents, managers, evaluators, advocates, reformers, supervisors and researchers (Hix, McKeon, & Walters 2009). By suitably fitting into their new roles, they are able to exploit their best skills and potential and form correlations with other health related stakeholders such as the government which translates to better care for their patients through enhance professional relationships and communication between the two and flow of knowledge and information which helps in making better health decisions and efficiently solving health problems whenever they arise (Bowcutt, Wall, & Goolsby 2006).

Through effective clinical nursing leadership imparted on clinical nurses during their training and sustained through their professional service, it helps them know the best strategies to incorporate in order to develop favorable healthcare environments which support both the patient and staff outcomes for better patient-centered health interventions and satisfactory clinical nursing jobs respectively (Roussel & Swansburg, 2006). According to Sorensen, et al (2008), effectiveness of clinical nursing leadership allows for the nursing leadership to take on a consultative approach and engage all clinical nurses from varied organizational levels and the clients to participate in making critical decisions thus, implementing health interventions that are fit for the intended clients which helps in holistic healing where the physical, mental, social, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs are adequately met. This is impeded by autocratic nursing administrations that are not willing to challenge the status quo and implementation of strategies, policies and legislations that hinder staff and patient autonomy which is required to safeguard from paternalism in nursing (Wong & Cummings, 2007).

Wikström and Dellve (2009) indicates that achieving better staff and patient outcomes based on clinical nursing leadership relies on having clinical nurses who are equipped with leadership skills and proficiency to offer guidance, solve problems and make effective decisions. However, this is easier said than done since majority of clinical nurses are rarely trained to be leaders and instead much focus is geared towards equipping them with theoretical knowledge and the technical aspect of nursing (Roussel & Swansburg, 2006). This approach makes it hard for clinical nurses to deliver health care as good leaders which in turn, lead to delivery of poorly designed health interventions programs and solutions, which leads to poor patient outcomes and relatively low staff outcomes as well associated with low job satisfaction, lack of morale, burnouts and disorderliness (Rusch, & Bakewell-Sachs 2007).

Therefore, effectiveness of clinical nursing leadership can only be obtained where clinical nurses are equipped with the knowledge, autonomy and the resources to exercise leadership during their work performance and are allowed to learn from their mistakes (Cummings, et al., 2008). This helps greatly in enhancing the self confidence, self efficacy and self esteem of the clinical nurses which helps them make better healthcare decisions promptly, consult with others when need be and engage with their clients (Wikström & Dellve, 2009).

This significantly influence the rate of service delivery, it fosters properly organized patient’s records and their follow ups, it helps in improving the overall healthcare environment, it minimizes repeat healthcare services for patients which has catastrophic impact which can lead to life long harm or death to patients and helps in adequate use of resources which all help in ensuring the patients are overly satisfied and the staff needs are met (Sorensen, et al2008). In addition, they focus on teamwork, group cohesiveness and success and each clinical nurse is accountable and committed to ensuring quality, accessible, acceptable, available and affordable care is delivered to patients and at the same time, the needs and goals of each clinical nurse are totally met thus, providing a balance since neither the patients nor the patients feel short changed or left out (Marshall & Coughlin, 2010).

How, why and where one can apply effective clinical nursing leadership as a new graduate registered nurse in a clinical practice environment

There are various ways effective clinical nursing leadership can be applied by a new graduate nurse. Among them are being a team player where as a leader, one can lead by ex ample and instead of offering direction to the team, allowing the team members to self direct (Roussel & Swansburg, 2006). In addition, ensuring as a team player one recognizes the efforts and achievements made by others and using other’s experience as a learning ground.

Effective leadership is sustained by acquiring new knowledge regularly by keeping up to date with changes in the organizational and industrial environment. As a graduate student seeking to apply effective nursing leadership, one can regularly attend refresher courses and regular training to receive updates on clinical care which is then shared with colleagues (Wikström & Dellve, 2009). It is by keeping up with changes and acquiring new knowledge and sharing it that patient are better catered for and the needs of the staff are adequately met.

Other ways include engaging all the relevant stakeholders such as Nurse supervisors and the patients in solving problems and making decisions by developing effective professional relationships and developing open lines of communication to narrow the power gap between the patient and the care giver and allowing exchange of knowledge and information from fellow colleagues and patients respectively (Wong & Cummings, 2007). In addition, fitting well in the role of a leader by identifying health needs and risks and accordingly, establishing suitable solutions and designing patient-centered interventions (Harris & Roussell 2010). At the same time, being professional by adhering to set rules and standards, being accountable and committed to delivering quality care to patients and engaging in activities that fosters good change.

The reason for applying effective clinical nursing leadership is to ensure that as a graduate registered nurse one is able to fit into the varied roles of a clinical nurse, help in developing a favorable working condition that will help in easing work pressures and enhance job satisfaction, and ensuring all patients irregardless of the cultural background, race, ethnicity, literacy level, health status, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, ideals, beliefs and social status are able to obtain quality clinical care (Roussel & Swansburg, 2006). The other reason for it is to ensure patients receive holistic care while as a graduate nurse one is able to grow and develop professionally and personally.

Effective clinical nursing leadership is applicable in relationships among nurses, between the clinical staff and the administration and more importantly between the clinical nursing staff with the patients which ensures all health processes; structure and systems are focused on offering quality care that totally satisfies the relevant stakeholders (Wong & Cummings, 2007). In addition, it can be applied in key planning processes such as in making decisions and solving problems where all concerned parties are consulted and engaged to ensure solutions implemented are mutually agreed upon (Marshall & Coughlin, 2010). Effective clinical nursing leadership is applicable in developing and implementing health policies and reforms that are meant to ensure health outcomes are effectively and efficiently achieved.


Effective clinical nursing leadership is essential for clinical nurses in delivering quality care that is patient centered and it is vital in helping them adapt to their new roles as educators, communicators, motivators, change agents, managers, evaluators, advocates, reformers, supervisors and researchers. It can be applied though teamwork, engaging each other in critical organizational processes and in designing health interventions in order to foster cohesiveness and deliver accessible, acceptable, available, affordable and quality clinical care for patients and generate a favorable working environment for the staff. Effective clinical nursing leadership can be applied by developing effective professional relationships and in developing and implementing policies that ensures holistic care for patients and favorable working conditions for nurses.


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Harris, J.R., & Roussell, L. (Eds.). (2010). Initiating and sustaining the Clinical Nurse Leader role: A practical guide. Boston: Jones and Bartlett.

Hix, C., McKeon, L., & Walters, S. (2009). Clinical nurse leader impact on clinical Microsystems outcomes. Journal of Nursing Administration, 39(2), 71-76.

Marshall, E. & Coughlin, J.F. (2010). Transformational Leadership in Nursing: From Expert Clinician to Influential Leader. New Jersey: Springer Publishing Company.

Roussel, L., & Swansburg, R.C. (2006). Management and leadership for nurse administrators. Sidney: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Rusch, L., & Bakewell-Sachs, S. (2007). The CNL: A gateway to better care? Nursing Management, 38(4), 32, 34, 36-37.

Sorensen, R. et al(2008). Beyond profession: nursing leadership in contemporary healthcare. Journal of Nursing Management; 16 (5): 535-544.

Wikström, E. & Dellve, L. (2009). Contemporary leadership in healthcare organizations: Fragmented or concurrent leadership. Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 23 Iss: 4, pp.411 – 428

Wong, C.A., & Cummings, G.G. (2007). The relationship between nursing leadership and patient outcomes: a systematic review. Journal of Nursing Management, 15: 508–521. doi: 10.1111