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Leadership Roles in Nursing

Madhurjya Bhattacharyya
With a dearth in the number of nurses with each passing year, leadership roles in nursing have become an important aspect in the health care sector. Read ahead to know more about their importance so that you can inculcate them in your day-to-day activities and reach greater heights.
Over the years, the role of a nurse has changed from assisting the doctor to taking important decisions of how a patient can be treated. Moreover, they have also taken a decisive role in the administration of hospitals, and as such, they can positively or negatively impact the way health care is provided.
Due to the position nurses are in today, it has become extremely important for nurses to assume leadership roles so that they have a positive impact on the patients. Leadership roles in nursing are not only about caring for the patient, but they involve planning, leading, controlling, and organizing the activities of others.
Leadership program involves a process wherein decision taken influences the actions of others in a group, and these actions should be such that they attain the ultimate goal of the health care provider.

Leadership Roles for Nursing

Leadership roles in nursing has a number of aspects, which must be looked after and each individual has different approach to handling things. The types of leadership styles are - autocratic, bureaucratic, participative, situational, and transformational leadership.
Autocratic leaders set a goal and do not allow others to take any decisions. If a person strictly sticks to policies, rules and regulations, it's called a bureaucratic style. A participative leader allows others to participate in the decision-making process. She makes it a point to make others realize the importance of attaining a goal.
If a leader combines all the three mentioned styles, it's called situational style. A situational leader adjusts her style of functioning depending on a particular position at that point of time and the competency of a person and this is said to be one of the most effective styles.
As a nurse, you need to be able to coordinate the shifts of work of your team. It all depends on how you deal with your team members when it comes to managing difficult situations like staff morale, working of your team during shifts and the ways you can motivate the people under you perform better.


Nursing leadership qualities also involves responding to changing environment in the health care sector and it involves changing expectations of patients as well. Today, nurses are equally accountable to the patient just like a doctor as they have a specialized roles.
As a leader of several nurses, you need to prove that you are resilient while responding to a challenging situation, besides you need to be sensitive and supportive to grievances of others.

Importance of Leadership Qualities

Besides the mentioned roles which you will need to play as a leader, leadership qualities involve helping others to establish a connect between theory and practical life, mentoring juniors, follow a disciplined work culture and handle conflicting opinions. Take a look at all these aspects and how they can help not only the nurses but the patients as well.
When a new nurse joins a hospital or any other facility where health care is provided, it's the responsibility of the senior nurses to train the new joiners in such a way that they can apply theory to practical environment.
Leadership roles involve encouraging new nurses to test their skills, besides inculcating a supportive environment where patients are taken care of in the best possible way. This helps not only serving the sick, but also gives a sense of satisfaction to the team and helps them in the long run to serve patients better.
As a mentor, senior nurses should supervise and provide leadership training wherever required on the core values of the organization. If the seniors are highly supportive, it reduces the negative effects of the surrounding environment. So a sense of emotional support helps a great deal, which in turn trickles down when the nurse is dealing with patients.
Seniors should provide enough feedback, whether positive or negative so that juniors can keep on developing the skills they have acquired, besides imbibing leadership skills. This would help improve performance and self-esteem.
If there is a conflict of opinion between two people, it's the senior nurse who resolves these differences, and as such it's important that you develop people handling skills. Resolving differences help build a healthy team environment, which in turn helps in serving the patients better.
So, leadership roles in nursing is a necessary aspect of providing good health care to patients. If you are looking to become a nurse, you need to imbibe leadership qualities over time, so that you can be effective while dealing with people.
As a nurse, you need to keep observing your seniors carefully, and analyze whatever decisions your seniors take, so that when you reach their position, you are ready to take over the responsibility.