Nursing used to be an ambiguous and unacknowledged profession that was largely left to the discretion of patients’ close family members and relatives. It was only until Florence Nightingale’s efforts that it was recognized as a full-fledged profession and integrated into the healthcare system. Concepts like nurse leadership and nurse management arose as the profession increased in stature. Both terms can be used interchangeably by a layperson.
However, there are some significant discrepancies between these two notions in the context of healthcare. The similarities and distinctions between leadership and management in the nursing profession are explored in this essay. It focuses on how nurse leaders and managers see patient satisfaction and ongoing quality improvement.
Overview of Patient Satisfaction and Continuous Quality Improvement
Governments all throughout the world are concerned about the quality of healthcare. Quality is a multidimensional notion in the healthcare system. It includes, among other things, resource management, personnel management, patient happiness, efficiency improvement, and safety promotion. Until recently, healthcare institutions placed a premium on some of these factors while overlooking others.
This trend resulted in underperforming healthcare systems, prompting the creation of a comprehensive framework that encompasses all quality pillars in the healthcare system. Clinical governance was the name given to the framework. Every healthcare institution must commit to quality improvement and accountability on a constant basis. As a result, patient happiness is central to this paradigm.
Nurse leaders and managers have similar and differing perspectives on continuous quality improvement and patient satisfaction.
Nurse leaders are persons who encourage, motivate, inspire, and influence their peers without necessarily having delegated authority. A nurse manager, on the other hand, is a person who has been professionally designated to oversee the operations of a healthcare organization or a department within it. In essence, the nurse manager is a traditional manager who works in the healthcare industry. In terms of ongoing quality improvement and patient happiness, both leaders share the following characteristics.
To begin with, they both think in terms of the long term. Because the nurses in their teams turn to them for direction and motivation, both nurse leaders and managers consider beyond the horizon in their leadership positions. Their ability to think beyond the present makes them invaluable to the healthcare system, especially since ongoing quality improvement in the healthcare system necessitates experts who can predict future trends and guide nurses in the proper direction. The nursing profession would not be able to keep up with the rapidly changing quality requirements in the healthcare system without this kind of leadership.
Second, both nurse leaders and managers go beyond their units to grasp the connections between their units and their immediate surroundings. Nurse leaders and managers, for example, in a healthcare company have a thorough awareness of how their units influence or are affected by other departments. This understanding enables them to provide leadership that enables their units to positively contribute to the organization’s objectives.
Because it is impossible to increase quality by only focusing on one unit within a system, this way of thinking is important for continual development of quality and patient satisfaction. Rather, the heads of each unit should understand their unit’s function in the quality improvement process and then lead it to efficiently fulfill that duty.
Finally, both nurse leaders and managers have the political skills to balance the competing demands of the various stakeholders in the healthcare system. While every well-intentioned nurse wants to improve the health-care system, resolving the conflicts that arise between the various elements that make it up is often impossible. Nurse leaders and managers, on the other hand, show daring without being irresponsible, and caution without being branded cowards.
This capacity is linked to their ability to think beyond the present moment and know what to do in any situation. It assists them in displaying courage and drive, when necessary, as well as taking timely preventative measures when certain measures prove to be ineffective. This capacity is critical to the process of continuous quality improvement and patient satisfaction since it necessitates not just brave individuals, but also meticulous persons who can discover and change counterproductive approaches.
After looking at some of the fundamental similarities and contrasts between nurse leaders and managers, it’s crucial to remember that they also have some significant distinctions, which are explored further below. The first major distinction between nurse leaders and managers is that, while leaders are concerned with affirming nursing ideals while challenging those that are not, nurse managers are concerned with upholding existing organizational values.
As a result, rather than the nurse manager, the nurse leader can make the necessary adjustments in situations when organizational values are in conflict with the situation on the ground. As a result, a nurse leader will be better able to adapt to changing trends. In terms of continual quality improvement and patient happiness, this feature puts them in a better position.
The second key distinction is that, as opposed to the nurse management, the nurse leader is in a stronger position to develop workable unity among nurses. To establish coherence and mutual tolerance while simultaneously controlling rising tensions, the nurse leader relies on earned trust.
The nurse manager, on the other hand, is solely responsible for ensuring that the allocated duties are completed in a timely manner. As long as there is obedience, a nurse manager may not care about unity, coherence, or trust. As a result, due to a deeper grasp of what goes on among unit members, the nurse leader is in a better position to enable continuous quality improvement and patient satisfaction than a nurse manager.
Personal Beliefs and Justifications
There are several other examples of distinctions between the two types of nurse leadership, but for the sake of this essay, the two discussed examples will serve. However, it’s important mentioning that, after evaluating these parallels and contrasts, it’s clear that each leadership style has advantages and disadvantages in terms of ongoing quality improvement and patient happiness. Despite the fact that nurse leaders do not have delegated authority, their leadership style is preferable.
They have the ability to carry out their agenda without the need for formal authority. People prefer to be led rather than managed; therefore, this ability is advantageous. As a result, they may reject and detest the nurse management, particularly if the manager is overbearing. As a result, if bureaucracy does not get in the way, a nurse leader can bring beneficial change to the nursing profession in a shorter period of time than a nurse manager.
Finally, leadership is required in any situation that necessitates the collaboration of numerous people. It is especially critical for the nursing profession since nurses have become crucial to the healthcare system, and leadership guarantees that they continue to provide high-quality, safe, and dependable care. As a result, when leading nurses, the best leadership strategy should be used.