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Leadership versus Management in a Nursing Environment

Career News June 29, 2013

In a nursing environment, there are clear distinctions between a leader and a manager. While a manager has generally been given, or delegated authority that is not necessarily true of a leader. A nurse can be a leader because of his or her skills or personality. These are not traits that have been delegated. Learning the differences in management versus leadership can help nurses become both a better manager and a good leader, and therefore, a better nurse.

Definitions

Leadership is usually identified with focus and vision. Leaders tend to influence those around them in a positive manner. In a nursing environment, this influence is not just limited to peers. Nursing leadership can have some of its greatest impact on patients and their families.

Management can be defined as a system for the best use of resources. While resources includes items like funding, facilities, and supplies, management’s most critical resource is its people. Management has control of all of these resources, but is best served by using its interpersonal skills to help manage its people. It is in managing these human resources that leadership has its greatest impact.

Impact on Patients

The management versus leadership discussion without question affects patient care. Efficient and effective management can make sure staffing levels are sufficient, and the right combinations of skill sets are available. Management obviously also has an impact on timeliness of care, record keeping, and patient follow-up. Effective management can also make sure there are nursing leaders placed on shifts for effective guidance of less experienced staff. The impact of a well-managed team on the patient experience cannot be over-stated.

Nursing leaders can also have a profound effect on patient care. While nurses are most often viewed as care-takers, nursing leaders help empower patients to take ownership and responsibility for their care. This empowerment can not only help the patient in their current situation, but in going forward into the future. A nurse may care for a patient while he or she recovers. A nurse leader will show a patient the way to recovery, and lead him or her there.

Qualities of a Good Nurse Leader/Manager

In a column for NurseTogether.com, Stephanie Staples, a nurse, advocate and speaker, shares her top five leadership qualities that she feels every nurse should have. They include:

•Communication – Getting a message across effectively.
•Growth – Dealing with the unknown and change.
•Courage – Knowing when to take risks.
•Appreciation – Gratitude for others and self-appreciation.
•Self-confidence – Knowing what needs to be done.

A list of ten top nursing manager qualities was published by the American Journal of Nursing in August of 2004. Its qualities include:

•Be a great communicator
•Be accessible and available to staff
•Be a staff advocate and reliable source
•Be reasonable, consistent, fair, and honest
•Have a good sense of humor
•Empower and motivate staff
•Be an effective decision maker, as well as crisis and conflict manager
•Be organized, yet flexible and creative
•Set standards and a clear professional example
•Respect for staff as professionals

Today, an advanced nursing degree is required for most nurse manager positions. There is little debate that better management skills and better leadership skills can make the nursing environment a happier, healthier environment for healthcare professionals and their patients alike.

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5 Program(s) Found
  • Why study nursing at Grand Canyon University?
  • Our bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing are CCNE-accredited and the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions (CONHCP) is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
  • We provide many options to prepare you to begin or advance your nursing career, including bridge programs and dual degrees.
  • GCU provides a low student-to-teacher ratio and a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients.
  • Request more information today about program offerings, CCNE accreditation, start dates, financial aid and more!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Earn your Bachelor of Science of Healthcare Management degree online
  • South University brings over 115 years of achievement and tradition to a supportive, online classroom
  • Program focuses on the business, management, and healthcare skills necessary for healthcare organizations to run smoothly
  • Courses include Principles of Management, Healthcare Delivery and Organization, and Healthcare Finance
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

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