The interviewed nurse, Mrs. M., is the senior nurse in the surgical department of one of the city’s hospitals. She has eight years of professional experience, and three years ago, she landed the position she holds today. Eight years ago, Mrs. M. graduated from college and started working as a nursing associate at this clinic. In 2019, she received a BSN degree and was promoted to a leadership position. Mrs. M. notes the hospital management’s loyal attitude, and in her practice, she promotes flexible leadership styles, which allows her to find a common language with subordinates and avoid conflicts in the workplace.
According to the respondent, in her practice, she most often practices transformational leadership as an approach that allows her to control a dynamic work environment and face any challenge with confidence. Mrs. M. confirms the findings by Wu et al. (2020), who state that this style of leadership “is known to have a significant positive effect on work environment and job satisfaction” (p. 804). The senior nurse is convinced that for her team of seven subordinates to work successfully and harmoniously, flexibility in monitoring the implementation of direct duties is a must. In addition, she notes the ability to quickly adapt to any changes in the workflow due to this leadership approach.
The respondent notes that she has been developing her current leadership style for several years. At the beginning of her career in the clinic, she did not think she would have to take a leadership position in the future. However, when she started her BSN program, she realized that due to her education, she could count on a promotion. In addition, Mrs. M. agrees with Tran et al. (2019), who notes that recently, many leadership development programs have been offered to train nurse executives. She began to study the relevant materials and identified the optimal approach for herself, which, in her opinion, corresponded to her ambitions in the nursing field.
As she worked in a leadership position, Mrs. M. interacted with subordinates and acquired valuable knowledge from senior colleagues. Over time, she managed to rally the team by creating favorable working conditions that stimulated job satisfaction and encouraged engagement in the work process. She began to pay more attention to the operational nuances that affected the performance of the staff, which allowed her to increase productivity and, at the same time, not overburden her subordinates. She confirms that her efforts paid off, and her colleagues adopted her mindset, participating in team tasks and performing direct duties responsibly, which met the criteria for effective leadership.
According to Mrs. M., she promotes the principle of talent management to maintain a sustainable practice in preparing new nurse leaders. She argues that an approach based on retaining and rewarding promising employees pays off due to the staff’s loyalty to a favorable attitude from leaders. In addition, she cites Cabral et al. (2019), who notes the importance of inspiring young colleagues by senior nurses to develop the formers’ leadership potential. Talent management and open communication are the approaches that Mrs. M. promotes in her practice as the critical component of increasing the confidence of future highly qualified professionals.
In addition to being a member of the hospital’s labor union, the respondent is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AAPN). According to her, she joined it immediately upon admission to the hospital, a year after the formation of the community in 2013. Mrs. M. underlines the importance of this association to her professional growth and notes that the conferences that AAPN hosts, including online, help nurses across the country share experiences. These meetings, as Thomas (2021) argues, correspond to the main mission of the community to rally nurses in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, according to the senior nurse, professional organizations are convenient knowledge-sharing platforms for both young employees and experienced professionals. Such associations allow for new acquaintances and the broadening of the nursing worldview, which, in turn, enhances the success of leadership interventions and contributes to gaining valuable skills in controlling subordinates.
Current Issues and Trends
During the interview with the respondent, she noted some challenges at the initial stage of work in the hospital. As a recent graduate, she had to adapt to new working conditions. However, even five years later, when she assumed the position of senior nurse, she had a difficult time due to the challenges associated with the professional environment. The specifics of working in the surgical department require high dedication, and sometimes, she experiences symptoms of professional burnout. Mrs. M. mentions the study by Peters (2018) in which compassion fatigue is seen as a frequent occurrence among nurses observing others’ suffering. Today, difficulties are encountered in dealing with some patients who are often uncompromising in their demands. As a result, she periodically has to participate in resolving conflicts between subordinates and patients and defend the interests of the clinic and her department. These challenges distract Mrs. M. from the effective performance of her immediate duties and cause stress in the workplace. Nevertheless, the respondent is aware that interaction with the community is essential, and she strives to establish a caring environment in which each patient receives due attention and support.
As Mrs. M. notes, at the local level, the presented challenges are solved within the clinic, but at the same time, they can affect the reputation of the department and the entire healthcare institution. If patients complain and the responsible employee cannot organize a smooth working regime, this, in turn, may cause the removal from the leadership position. At the national level, the aspects of professional burnout are a concern for the entire nursing community. Mrs. M. cites disappointing statistics: according to Denk and Köçkar (2018), the level of compassion fatigue among nurses working with traumatized people ranges from 25% to 50% (p. 238). As she says, this is a crucial reason for the supervising authorities to think about introducing free psychological assistance for nurses throughout the country. Finally, in the global context, the social and economic consequences of poor communication and underperformance manifest themselves. The senior nurse argues that governments around the world need to promote the idea of providing proper working conditions for nurses to avoid losses caused by patient readmissions and inefficiencies due to professional burnout.
The interview with the senior nurse has provided valuable information about her leadership style, methods of interaction with colleagues, professional plans, as well as concerns, and challenges. This data will be useful to me as a future BSN-prepared nursing leader because the respondent’s reasoning touches on deep developmental nuances and describes both achievements and operational gaps. In my practice, I intend to communicate with colleagues, as Mrs. M. did, to create an inclusive work environment and ensure subordinates’ job satisfaction. In addition, I plan to learn more about compassion fatigue and burnout to avoid the loss of productivity due to these causes and maintain high performance without harming my psyche.
Cabral, A., Oram, C., & Allum, S. (2019). Developing nursing leadership talent – Views from the NHS nursing leadership for south‐east England. Journal of Nursing Management, 27(1), 75-83. Web.
Denk, T., & Köçkar, Ç. (2018). Compassion fatigue in nurses working in surgical clinics. Yaşam Becerileri Psikoloji Dergisi, 2(4), 237-245. Web.
Peters, E. (2018). Compassion fatigue in nursing: A concept analysis. Nursing Forum, 53(4), 466-480. Web.
Thomas, S. L. (2021). The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) shaped my career. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 17(6), 646. Web.
Tran, A. N., Nevidjon, B., Derouin, A., Weaver, S., & Bzdak, M. (2019). Reshaping nursing workforce development by strengthening the leadership skills of advanced practice nurses. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 35(3), 152-159. Web.
Wu, X., Hayter, M., Lee, A. J., Yuan, Y., Li, S., Bi, Y., Zhang, L., Cao, C., Gong, W., & Zhang, Y. (2020). Positive spiritual climate supports transformational leadership as means to reduce nursing burnout and intent to leave. Journal of Nursing Management, 28(4), 804-813. Web.