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Running head: LEADERSHIP EXPECTATIONS

Expectations in Leadership
Davinder Bassi
XXX XXX XXX
NURS 250
Professor X
February 28, 2015

LEADERSHIP EXPECTATIONS

Leadership qualities are essential for todays practicing nurse. Over the past century,
advances in science and technology have created a rapidly evolving healthcare industry with an
ever-increasing need for effective nursing leaders. Along with healthcare innovation, the role of
nurses has had to transform from one of following orders to that of directing practice, education,
research and administration (Kelly & Crawford, 2013). Hence, acquiring these leadership skills
is an integral part of the current nursing role and must be developed through education and
clinical experience. This reflection is based upon what I, as an effective follower, expect from
and have observed from a nursing leader as well as the leadership style demonstrated in my
employment settings. Lastly, I will discuss how leaders are made, not born.
To be an effective follower, we must be supported by a leader with strong communication
skills. In order for us to be successful, our leader must be able to express them self clearly,
concisely, and patiently, remaining as factual as possible and allow the follower to ask questions
for clarification. Good communication skills also give rise to conflict resolution skills. In any
fast-paced healthcare environment such as acute care, conflicts arise and the sooner they are
resolved the better for everyone. I was able to see the effects of speedy resolutions whenever my
resource nurse would take both conflicting parties into a back room to have private discussions
the same day problems arose. All I would see is that everyone would come out smiling and Id be
left wondering what magic words had resolved everything? Another characteristic that I would
be most encouraged by is an intelligent leader. Learning from someone with great depth in
knowledge and expertise is highly motivating for me, as I am one who takes it as a challenge to
improve myself. The more intimidating I find my leader to be, the harder I try to impress them. It
may take some time, or even seem unnecessary, but the satisfaction I receive from my leaders
look of surprise when I can accomplish this is always something I aspire to. This was most

LEADERSHIP EXPECTATIONS

evident when working as unit clerk with my resource nurse on Respirology for 8 years. She was
always prepared with the latest information in every patient chart for any specialist that would be
consulted. I quickly learned why she came to work 20-30 minutes before her shift everyday: to
read over every chart history, progress note, test result and night shift report so shed be prepared
for rounds with the doctors. She may have been retiring soon but her memory was amazing!
Intelligence is followed closely by a leaders level of self-confidence. The more a person in a
leadership role presents with confidence, the easier it would be for me to follow any new process
or information that is taught. My resource nurse also exhibited this quality and I learned to
understand her quicker because of it. She most likely acquired it from all her years of experience
in ICU. We were a great team as I was able to be more efficient for her, which ultimately
shortened our patients length of stay. Lastly, the integrity of a leader in a nursing role is very
important for me to be an effective follower. Whether they are diploma- or degree-trained, the
ethics that my nursing leader follows would be evident in every shift from their punctuality to
honesty and ethics. Integrity is a very strong motivating factor for me to emulate. As a follower, I
would learn my utmost from such a person. Again, this was very true of my resource nurse. She
was always early for every shift, sometimes having to start her day with a code blue, and the
team knew that she would always do her best to handle the situation. This, in turn, made me want
to do my best to help her on these very busy days, again resulting in improved patient care.
In my experience, the best resource nurses exhibit transformational leadership. They are
able to empower others to work together to achieve a shared vision (Kelly & Crawford, 2013). I
was able to see this quite often with my resource nurse. She could get the most difficult nurse to
perform an extra duty, willingly. This task could be tidying a utility room, putting up Christmas
decorations or working an extra shiftall for the good of the unit shed say, which would

LEADERSHIP EXPECTATIONS

improve staff morale, leading to better patient outcomes. I have worked as a unit clerk for 20
years and have never seen anything like it! The passion she had for our department, the way all
staff, including doctors and specialists respected her even more than the manager. They followed
her rules (efficiencies developed over her 30 year career) and, in my opinion, became better
nurses because of the experience, empowering me to do exactly the same. She was the first
colleague to believe I could not only do the PN program, but do it well! Before I had even begun,
she said I had great critical-thinking skills! I have never forgotten her and try to perform my
nursing duties to her standards even though she is retired and will never see me practice. I know
I wasnt the only staff empowered by my resource nurse. Whenever she was away and other
nurses had to relieve her, I could see them following in her foot-steps and read every chart before
the doctors were to arrive. In this way, she would build their confidence and train the next
generation of resource nurses. In my time working with her, I saw 3 other nurses promoted to
resource nurse status on other units. Through her passion and dedication, she was an excellent
role model and, I believe her contribution to our organization was immeasurable. She was truly a
transformational leader in every sense!
There are those, like Vince Lombardi, who believe that leaders are made, not born. With
respect to nursing, I believe this statement to be true. Each of the skills and qualities discussed
above (communication, conflict resolution, intelligence, self-confidence and integrity) can all be
developed through education and clinical experience. One may be born with partial qualities, but
to be an effective leader, each needs to be well-developed and utilized appropriately. It is the
combination of all these characteristics and others, such as critical-thinking skills and developing
trusting relationships with staff, patients and their families, that make a great leader.

LEADERSHIP EXPECTATIONS

In summary, the College of Nurses of Ontario states all nurses, regardless of their
position, have opportunities for leadership (CNO, 2009). For that reason, we must endeavor to
obtain a leadership skill-set through education and/or practice to become exceptional nurses at
any level. Research has shown that effective clinical leadership is associated with optimal
hospital performance (Daly, Jackson, Mannix, Davidson, & Hutchinson, 2014). Developing
communication skills, conflict resolution skills, intelligence, self-confidence and integrity will
provide patients with more qualified nurses to assist them with their care, build a trusting,
respectful relationship from which to promote health, eventually decreasing patient length of
stay, thus saving valuable tax-payer dollars. Therefore, an investment in nursing leadership skills
would be an investment in Canadian healthcare.

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References

College of Nurses of Ontario. (2009). Professional Standards, Revised 2002. Retrieved from
http://www.cno.org/Global/docs/prac/41006_ProfStds.pdf
Daly, J., Jackson, D., Mannix, J., Davidson, P., & Hutchinson, M. (2014). The Importance of
Clincal Leadership in the Hospital Setting. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 75-83.
Kelly, P., & Crawford, H. (2013). Chapter 8: Nursing Leadership and Management. In Nursing
Leadership and Management, Second Canadian Edition (pp.160-177). Toronto: Nelson
Education Ltd.