Nursing shortage and turnover are prevalent issues facing health care institutions in the US and across the continent. Notably, the nursing shortage and turnover are not entirely nursing issue. However, it requires a collaborative effort that encompasses leadership and management so as to establish long-term solutions. No one is born a leader but instead, leadership skills are taught and learned. Nurses can study, practice, and develop personal leadership abilities. Some of the characteristics of leadership include charisma or idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and individualized consideration among others. On the other hand, functional characteristics of management include planning, staffing, controlling, organizing, leading, and motivating. The features of leadership and management provide a basis upon which one can assess the reaction of leaders and managers to a nursing shortage and turnover.
Leaders’ versus Managers’ Approach
Leaders recognize that there is a serious issue that one needs to address and claim responsibility in case of any damages. They typically concern themselves with questions such as, what should be done, what goals can help contain the situation? What amounts to performance and results? Leadership is not about ranks. Rather, it is about responsibility. In cases of a nursing shortage and turnover, a leader will acknowledge that there are insufficient nursing staff and high staff turnover (Tappen & Weiss, 2011). The leader then takes responsibility and embarks on seeking the appropriate solution to inadequate nursing personnel and turnover. A good leader is one capable of working independently without a sanction, power, and support of the management hierarchy. In addition, leaders take action immediately to contain a situation. The risk-taking aspect of leadership entails taking appropriate action by engaging their environment with activities of influencing, doing, and moving forward. Since leaders are active, not passive, they quickly take necessary measures to resolve the nursing shortage and turnover issue. They also use a focused vision to offer guidance while considering the possibility of adventures into new territories and taking risks inherent in innovation.
Both leaders and managers highly influence employee retention. As a result, they play a significant role in reducing employee turnover by maintaining a personal relationship with their staff and inspirational behavior influencing others to achieve set goals (Doh, 2014). Leaders, however, unlike managers can better develop high trust relationships, founded on high ethical standards and provide adequate support to accomplish common organizational goals. Leaders also make long-term goals that are beneficial to the organization. They can aid in resolving the issue of the nursing shortage and staff turnover by planning ahead, encouraging higher education, recruiting more youths in the nursing profession, and raising the number of nursing educators.
Management and leadership approach use similar strategies in accomplishing organizational goals. For this reason, it is imperative that managers and leaders familiarize with and understand well the abilities, skills, strategies, and functions of management and leadership. Leaders and managers have an obligation to decide the number and blend of staff required for health care facilities and services. To help resolve the issue of a nursing shortage and turnover, managers through the relevant human resource departments can develop job descriptions and prepare to hire new nurses. Managers can set attractive salaries and improve workplace conditions so as to maintain staff. The staffing role enables managers to acquire and retain human resource while developing and maintaining a team of competent staff at the same time, through various approaches and tactics (Rigolosi, 2013).
Managers can also resolve the issue of nursing shortage and turnover through planning. The planning role for managers provides them with a useful tool in formulating organizational goals, objectives, and goals. Managers are responsible for developing essential packages of health care services, clinical and public health protocol, and procure equipment for the health facility. As a result, they overcome these nursing issues through appropriate planning and management of service delivery (Doh, 2014). In addition, managers’ decisions regarding operational and strategic objectives of a health facility should aim at retaining staff and enacting effective approaches that will ensure availability of adequate staff at all times. Decision-making function is critical compared to all other managerial functions and implies making practical decisions based on consideration of benefits and consequences of alternatives.
Leaders have the ability of boosting a person’s morale and accessing the relevant resources necessary for implementing plans. Managers just coordinate the use of the materials and ensure prudent use to realize set objectives. For this reason, leaders can easily negotiate for more nursing staff when there is a shortage and motivate employees. This way they reduce employee turnover. Leaders also plan ahead in getting solutions to issues, in this case, shortage and turnover in nursing. Leaders can recruit more nurses, persuade nurses to advance their education, and influence the number of nursing educators (Gwen, 2014). Leaders will scrutinize each nursing staff while making use of available information to discover the causes and ways to resolve the issue of employee turnover. The leaders motivate, inspire, and empower nurses so as to realize an optimal functioning health care system.
Leaders often lead by example by educating, listening, mentoring, and instructing other people with the aim of realizing a common goal. They engage collaborative effort in handling issues such as the nursing shortage and turnover. Managers, however, view each nurse as an expense and focus more on short term problems (Tappen & Weiss, 2011). For instance, when an employee quits, the management will hire a new nurse instead of investing in each staff or persuading the worker to stay in the facility. In this case, management may set better salaries and award staff incentives.
Personal Nursing Philosophy and Leadership Style
Since there is no one, who was born a leader, we can all be managers and good leaders in various activities whether it is at work, home or during sports. Leadership skills are taught and learned. Each nurse needs to be a leader and a manager. One can illustrate this fact by the care that nurses give to patients such as coordinating, directing, and working together with colleagues (Gwen, 2014). It is preferable for students to be more of leaders than managers so as to inspire and mold people to work. Transformational leadership style is my preference given that everyone wants to lead by example. As a nursing student, I want to lead by example, inspire people, have followers, and build trust so that we collaboratively accomplish organizational goals.
Clearly, the features of leadership and management provide a basis upon which one can assess the reaction of leaders and managers to a nursing shortage and turnover. Leaders tend to take responsibility for the outcomes of activities that happen on their watch. Management tends to focus on getting certain things done. Different aspects of both leadership and management work to achieve an optimum outcome when it comes to finding a solution to the issue of a nursing shortage and turnover.
Doh, J. (2014). Responsible Leadership and Stakeholder Management: Influence Pathways and Organizational Outcomes. Academy of Management Perspectives, 28(3), 255-274.
Gwen, B. (2014). Leadership Support for Ward Managers in Acute Mental Health in Patient Settings. Nursing Management, 21(2), 26-29.
Rigolosi, E. (2013). Management and Leadership in Nursing and Health Care an Experiential Approach (3rd ed.). New York: Springer.
Tappen, R., & Weiss, S. (2011). Essentials of Nursing Leadership and Management. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.