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How to write a leadership in nursing essay

When you think about nursing, and more specifically nurses, you probably have an image of a uniformed female in your mind. However, there are now male nurses too. When it comes to the hierarchy in the nursing profession, there are sisters, matrons and so on, but all qualified nurses are leaders. This is because they need to train students and trainee nurses, so having leadership skills is necessary for all.

Leaders need to exercise good judgement and they have to be confident that they can handle difficult situations. The ability to control a situation and any difficulties that arise is crucial to the smooth running of a busy hospital ward. Leaders also need to have problem-solving skills and hey have to be able to use them if there are difficulties.


Nurse leaders must also have the following skills: -

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In 300 AD there were ‘nurses’ and hospitals all over the Roman Empire. During the time of the Byzantine Empire, two hospitals were established in Constantinople (modern Istanbul). At that time nurses were male and female.

In medieval times nursing developed although patients were cared for in religious establishments.

Nursing as a profession went into decline in the 17th and 18th centuries for a number of reasons. After the Reformation the hospitals in monasteries and other religious establishments were not operational so there were few in Europe.

The origins of modern nursing are rooted in the 18th and 19th century.

Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) known as the ‘Lady of the Lamp’ certainly had leadership skills. She was a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, and it was she who ensured the hospital she was assigned to, Scutari, in what is now Istanbul, was clean and hygienic. When she got there, she realised that soldiers were dying from infectious diseases rather than their wounds. She and her team of nurses, along with the patients who were fit enough to help, set about making the hospital a fit place for patients to live.

The first Black British nurse was May Seacole, who established the British Hotel for servicemen in the Crimea War behind enemy lines. The British War Office did not give her permission to go to Crimea as a nurse, but she travelled there independently to pursue her ‘calling’.

Nursing leaders need to train and develop others, so they need to influence the staff in their charge. They need to have good interpersonal skills and the ability to

  • delegate
  • influence the beliefs and attitudes of others
  • influence the behaviour of their staff
  • empathise with staff and patients
  • the ability to build trust between staff and patients.

As managers of their teams, nursing leaders also need managerial skills. Managerial skills include: -

  • quick and effective decision-making
  • an ability to coordinate available resources
  • an ability to motivate staff and empower them
  • the ability to confidently challenge traditional practices and be innovative.
  • the ability to build good relationships between staff and patients.

Several leadership styles have been identified, and these include: -

  • transformational
  • transactional
  • servant
  • democratic
  • authoritarian (or autocratic)
  • laissez-faire
  • strategic
  • team leadership
  • facilitative leadership and
  • coaching leadership.

Transformational leadership brings about positive change both in groups and individuals. The transformational leader will focus on the needs of the individuals in his or hers charge. He or she will also provide the stimulation, inspiration and motivation to bring about change.

Transactional leaders offer staff rewards and punishments to achieve a goal. This type of leader will concentrate on organization, supervision and performance.

Servant leaders develop their staff’s relationships with each other and encourage them to build up trust with each other and the leader. They are very good listeners, plan and think in advance and have an ability to respond appropriately to the needs of others.

Democratic leaders seek to build an effective team and value the opinions and ideas of all members of the team.

Authoritarian or autocratic leaders don’t ask for the opinions of others, they simply tell others what they must do.

Laissez-faire leaders don’t give staff much direction, or even supervision. Staff are basically left to their own devices, which in the long run could prove disastrous.

Strategic leadership involves leaders having the ability to exert their influence on team members so that they can make their own decisions that will be to the benefit of all.

Team leadership involves providing staff with guidance, training or instruction and direction, as well as leadership. All members of the team share a common goal and purpose.

Facilitative leadership involves the ability to create a cohesive team. The facilitative leader will be able to ensure that discussions are on track and productive. They spell out what their expectations are and what the role of each individual is. This type of leader will encourage his or her team to become involved in the decision-making processes. They encourage staff development and the ability to think critically.

Coaching leadership involves mentoring and nurturing staff. Coaching leaders work very well in settings where performance and or results need to be improved. This style of leadership is most suited to teams that have responsible, amenable and experienced team members. This style is about training or teaching and supervision. The coaching leader will work out which areas can be improved and provide training so that they can be made better. Skills can be enhanced and theoretically at least, staff will be more motivated. A coaching leader will always offer encouragement to staff.

There are other types of leadership that have been identified such as visionary leadership, think Florence Nightingale in the nursing field, and Dr. Martin Luther King, the American human rights activist.

There are an ever-growing number of leadership courses all over the world, for nurses who want to develop professionally. For example, there is a free course leading to the Diploma in Nursing Leadership and Care Management. This course is offered by the AMEDD (Army Medical Depatrtment) Center and School, based in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The US military trains there. The center also offers other free courses for medical staff and those wishing to join the profession.

The UK’s Open University also has a variety of courses which are of interest to nurses and others in the medical profession. However, these are not free. There are Bachelor’s degree course as well as Master’s degree ones, as well as Post-graduate Certificate courses and Diploma ones.

In order to write your essay, you shod take a look at the courses that are on offer in the internet. These can give you ideas for your essay. They will also give you some helpful ideas for useful vocabulary to use in your essay.

If you have been asked to write a leadership in nursing essay, you may be a little worried for any number of reasons. For example:

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