EnsuringContinuous Quality Improvement
NursingManagers and Leadersapproaches in Ensuring Continuous QualityImprovement.
Allnurses are considered as managers and leaders at some level. Althoughthe terms ‘manager’ and ‘leader’ are used interchangeably tomean the same thing, it is easy for someone who has worked for eithera manager or a leader to identify the error in assuming that theterms are synonymous. The term leader best defines one who guides,influences and leads their followers towards a given direction. It isthe science and art of influencing people in a positive manner. Incontrast, management is the set of skills required to control andmake decisions for people. It is synonymous with supervising, andjudicious use of various means to accomplish a given outcome(Marquis&Huston, 2009).
Theneed for continuous quality improvement.
Nursingmanagement and leadership are not similar, and neither are the skillsrequired for both areas, in fact, the skills tend to be multilayered. The nursing profession is characterized by the unending paradigmshiftconcerning continuous quality improvement. There are newdiseases emerging now and then that require customized handling. Forexample, there is the need for nurses to be highly trained, criticalthinkers, and well educated in the modern days. Training enables thenurses to make more complex clinical decisions that were only made bydoctors 50 years ago. Besides, the change in healthcare needs has ledto a similar shift in the scope of practice for nurses(Kelly, 2008).
Leadersare proactive while managers are reactive.
Thedisparity of leadership and management in the nursing professiondictates the approach to ensure continuous quality improvement andpatient satisfaction. First, management is reactive while leaders areproactive. A nurse leader can forecast the future needs of patientsin the nursing realm. Consequently, a leader will initiate actions toensure that nurses are well equipped to meet potential challenges inthe future. For example, a leader can anticipate the need for moreeducation among nurses in the future. Consequently, the leader takesaction by sensitizing the nurses to upgrade their training andskills. For instance, the leader may call upon the nurses withdiplomas to improve by obtaining undergraduate degrees. For thosewith degrees, he /she may call upon them to upgrade to a Mastersdegree and a Ph.D. consecutively. The skills increase the ability ofthe followers as a contribution to enhancing their skills relevancyin the future. The main characteristic is the capacity to foresee andact before time(Feldman, 2011).
Incontrast, a manager in the nursing profession is reactive. Forexample, the manager lacks the foresight to foretell the future sincethey are more focused on the present. The manager is more concernedabout the daily productivity and behaviors of the followers.Consequently, he / she only act after the future has unveiled.Managers are consequently more likely to fire under-qualified nursesin search of more qualified nurses to meet the current demands. Theinability to foresee translates into more conflicts between themanager and the followers therefore it reduces the possibilities forcontinuous improvement. The manager is unable to assist the nurses tobecome relevant by improving the skills and expertise. The step toincrease employee’s skills may require an increase in salaries sothat the employees can afford to pay for their training. Besides, itmay demand the allocation of time to the employees to attend theirclasses. The manager’s obsession with daily performance overwhelmstheir ability to facilitate for employee advancement(Kelly, 2008).
Leadershave followers while managers have employees.
Second,managers will observe lower level colleagues as their employees. Incontrast, leaders view their colleagues as followers. With regards toensuring continuous quality improvement, a manager is in charge ofdeciding the best alternative to improve situations so that thecolleagues might follow. Consequently, managers are led by theiropinions on what is the best course of action(Tappen, 2001).
Incontrast, a leader values the opinion of their colleagues. To ensurecontinuous improvement, the leader calls upon the colleagues to airtheir opinions. In the calls for dialogue, the opinion of eachemployee is evaluated and together, there is a decision on the bestcourse of action. For example, a leader will call for the employeesto brainstorm on hindrances they face in their effort to improve thequality of service to patients. The nurses are in a better positionto provide the issues on the ground based on their directinteractions with the patients. Besides, they are better placed topropose solutions for the problems, as they are the ones in charge ofimplementation. The involvement of colleagues in decision-makingleads to a better understanding of decisions. Consequently, thenurses are in a better position to implement the various courses ofaction. Besides, the nurses feel motivated by the act of listening totheir opinions and from the fact that the decisions are made as agroup (Marquis &Huston, 2009).
Incontrast, the manager applies management techniques solely to handlethe issues found in the working environment. The techniques aresubjectively applied since the manager alone cannot establish thevarious shortages against continuous improvement of healthcareservices. Consequently, the nurses are forced to act as opposed tosolving the problems. Besides, the nurses become dissatisfied sincethey are well aware of the weaknesses of the proposed solutions. Theproposals by the managers are reasonably implemented since theemployees fail to understand the reasons behind the decisions.Besides, the lack of clarity on the course of action raises the needto clarify the actions of the individual nurses with the manager.Consequently, it leads to a slow rate of implementation and hindersimprovement(Tappen, 2001).
Managersform groups while leaders form teams
Third,managers create groups while leaders create a team to ensurecontinuous improvement. The creation of groups lacks the flow ofinformation from one group to the other. Besides, the groups fail toprovide the relevant synergy and contribute to minimal improvement asthey lack clear objectives as well as missions to pursue(Kelly,2008).
Incontrast, the leader composes teams that are aimed at workingtogether towards the achievement of a given objective. The leadercomes up with the goals that need to be achieved, the deadlines andthe required code of conduct. Consequently, the leader commissionsthe team to pursue the objectives at hand. Leaders ensure perfectcommunication and clarity of direction within the team members. Themembers are aligned to pursue a sole aim that is further split intotasks. The tasks are later assigned to each member of the team. Thebreakdown of the overall objective into tasks makes it easier for theteam members to achieve their goals. Besides, the members cancommunicate with each other as a sign of single responsibility totheir tasks. The working together towards a common goal result intosynergy. Synergy is the philosophy that when one unit is added toanother unit, they result in more production compared to each unitworking separately(Feldman, 2011).
Theappropriate professional philosophy
Myappropriate personal leadership style is Laissez-Faire. The stylecalls for minor supervision of employees and instead, allows them todevelop their own art of completing the tasks. First, the styleallows for the development of team members. The lack of directsupervision calls for the employees to seek guidance from theircolleagues. Consequently, the style promotes team work as well as thedevelopment of a genius in the members(Tappen, 2001).
Theleadership style goes hand in hand with a delegativephilosophy. Thephilosophy allows equal participation of the team members. It treatseach member of a team as a professional that is well informed of theappropriate code of conduct in the organization.Besides, delegationprovides room for diversity of the skills possessed by the members.Consequently, each team member is equal to the group. They areequally skilled and can perform most of the tasks required to keepthe organization going(Tappen, 2001).
Second,the development of skills further leads to advanced decision makingwithin the organization. Meanwhile, as a leader, I am only in chargeof verdicts vital to the organization such as executive decisionmaking. The philosophy enables the leader to focus on key issueshaving in mind that minor issues are well taken of. Besides, itreduces the worry created by the need to monitor individuals aroundthe organization. (Kelly, 2008).
Feldman,H. (2011). Nursingleadership a concise encyclopedia(2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Pub.
Kelly,P. (2008). Nursingleadership & management(2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.
Marquis,B., & Huston, C. (2009).Leadershiproles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application(6th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health/LippincottWilliams & Wilkins.
Tappen,R. (2001). Nursingleadership and management concepts and practice(4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.