Nursing Leadership Reflection Paper Example


In redesigning the U.S. health care, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) puts a specific emphasis on the nursing leadership. Nurses who possess highly developed competencies can provide creative change at all levels of the healthcare system. To supply quality patient care by implementing necessary change strategies, nurses should have the capacity to collaborate in every place in the system. These collaboration skills together with the demand to coordinate, integrate, and facilitate the team performance comprise the essence of full partnership. The latter lies at the core of successful professional performance of advanced practice nurses (APNs) (O’Grady, 2011). On a similar note, the need to change, reform, and restructure health care is vital in many countries of today’s dynamic world. For instance, McKenzie and Manley (2011) argue that health proposals and directives in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland aim at transforming the National Health System. The authors claim that nurse leaders should meet the challenge by excellent decision-making, problem-solving, critical thinking, vision, and passion (McKenzie & Manley, 2011, p. 35).


Nursing Leadership Reflection Example

The leader I want to describe worked as a charge nurse in the surgical department. She demonstrated a high level of performance in the clinical leadership domain, which implies collaborating with patients and staff. I selected this nurse as a role model for my refinement because she diligently implemented the principles of patient-centeredness (O’Grady, 2011) and person-centeredness (McKenzie & Manley, 2011) while working with patients, colleagues, and families. She was able to listen, interpret, confirm understanding, and evaluate the interaction.

The second strength of this nursing leader was her capacity to act in the team of professionals at all levels and disciplines (Hamric, Hanson, Tracy, & O’Grady, 2014, p. 269). In the process of collaboration, she managed to pose herself as an equal member, whose word was worth listening to and whose opinion was respected since it was informed and responsible. Acting as a full partner in communication with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers, she demonstrated the ability to integrate and coordinate common efforts to achieve the best outcomes for the patient care system. In other words, she performed equally well in the interaction with senior level professionals and nurse followers.

As a truly ethical and efficient leader, this nurse was capable of supporting, empowering, and inspiring subordinates (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 269). She never forgot to emphasize the younger nurses’ successful performance and notice the slightest improvement in everyone’s competency. One can consider such approach wise and effective in shaping the followers’ working behavior. Moreover, positive attitude promotes a productive environment for the young nurses’ development and enables them to overcome stress and fatigue from multiple tasks at the workplace.

Additionally, by treating the subordinates in a supporting and nurturing style, the nurse provoked a reciprocal beneficial attitude and willingness to share problems and worries. On a related note, Linette and Sherman (2014) emphasize caring-based nursing leadership that is the fundamental factor in restructuring a system of health care in America. Except for the beneficial impact of nurturing style on the professional growth of nurses, the authors highlight the need for caring attitude and enhancing individuals’ needs in respect to patients. They assert that recently the focus has been put on the wholeness of people, their unique role in the society, and the appreciation of each person. Overall, nursing as caring theory assumes that its application to the leadership practice can enhance listening, collaboration, recognition of caring in others, use of daily reflection and self-care, risk-taking, and commitment to the direction and philosophy of the department (Linette & Sherman, 2014).

My nurse motivated her followers to achieve the highest goals in personal and professional growth. Consequently, they showed the capacity to react constructively to different types of problems in the process of care delivery. The nurse leader had a considerable impact on the staff personal engagement and job satisfaction. She inspired colleagues to engage in lifelong learning and adopt new practices. Furthermore, she demonstrated highly developed core elements of the mentoring characteristic of the APN leadership competency (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 278). This nurse focused on the followers’ highest human need for self-actualization, identified by Abraham Maslow. It is also valuable that she did not approve of motivating the team members by material rewards or penalties. On the contrary, the nurse concentrated on creating intrinsic, process-oriented motivation with the focus on discovering one’s talents.

In addition, my nurse leader was great at coping with difficulties or complicated situations and showed a high level of resilience. First, she critically identified the components of a specific problem and then coordinated the efforts of the whole team for solving it through reflection and discussion (Govier & Nash, 2009a). Many researchers in the field of leadership claimed that leaders most vividly demonstrate their leadership skills, qualities, and capacities in hardships and adversities. For instance, Margolis and Stoltz (2009) stated that true leaders shift quickly from “traumatic events to looking forward, determining the best course of action” (p. 89). The authors also state that resilient managers “understand the size and scope of the crisis and the levels of control and impact they may have in a bad situation” (Margolis & Stoltz, 2009, p. 89).

Thus, the nurse leader I am describing accepted the challenging situations as opportunities to develop and discover one’s new capacities. She taught the team members to control their initial emotional reactions, use critical thinking abilities to find a productive solution, and make use of negative experience for self-reflection and improvement. Finally, in her approach to problem-solving, the nurse demonstrated creativity, which is vital in a swiftly changing environment. In turn, it lies at the heart of innovation as creative perception enables people to generate original ideas and see the unexpected angles of the questions.

Moreover, this nursing leader possessed innovation, one of the characteristics of the APN leadership competency (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 280). Within its core elements, she was especially successful in systems thinking and assessment. Besides, the systems assessment skills and the ability to evaluate the broad context of change helped her deal with resistance to initiatives and emotional tension, acquired by the majority of workers. Overall, the capacity for innovation is the most vital in today’s changing world. As the IOM report stated, “Creating innovative care models in the patient’s setting and throughout the healthcare community is an essential requisite of contemporary practice” (O’Grady, 2011, p. 35).

Additionally, this nursing leader demonstrated a good knowledge of psychology, managing skills, and broad awareness of the general health system context on different levels. The nurse leader I observed considered it her moral duty to advocate for patients, APNs, and the nursing profession, in general. It is one of the core elements belonging to the activism component of the APN leadership competency described in the textbook by Hamric et al. (2014, p. 280). Her acute feeling of social justice is another feature of an ethical leader possessing absolute moral values and foundations. She did not make use of her working position for own interests. On the contrary, she held an active position in advocacy for the patients’ and nurses’ needs. Such active nurse leaders are capable of transforming the health system and establishing the nursing profession as highly influential in providing effective public health policy.

In my opinion, the leadership style of the nurse I have chosen predominantly fits the definition of transformational leadership (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 272). Her inspiring, motivating, and empowering way of cooperation with the followers resulted in reciprocal personal and professional development. Owing to her transformational interaction and impact on the team members, changes in their values, attitudes, and motivational sphere occurred. She utilized self-reflection for own development and for motivating subordinates to change and analyze their behavior and perceptions. Especially, it was crucial for the young nurses in the challenging and stressful situations since deliberate reflection allowed them to transform negative experiences into productive ones, build resiliency, and evolve stronger. Consequently, such effective leadership provides safe and quality health care and enables nurses respond and adapt to change in an increasingly challenging environment (Govier & Nash, 2009b).

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The nursing leader from my description operated mostly within the clinical microsystems. She demonstrated high performance in the so-called “front-line units in which patients and providers interface” (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 275). It is consistent with Nelson and colleagues’ leadership model, called “Microsystems in health care: High-performing clinical units” (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 274). Virtually, effective leadership in microsystems environment is the fundamental element of safe and high-quality care on a large organizational scale. The ability to organize an effective performance of the teams can explain the nurse’s contribution to the ultimate health care goal.

Furthermore, my nursing leader showed respect for cultural diversity in the clinical setting. For instance, she perceived unusual customs of other cultures’ representatives without astonishment or negative emotional charging. In particular, the nurse demonstrated tolerance to other people’s beliefs even if some of them contradicted the clinical routine demands and rules. She allowed exceptions when it was dictated by the patients’ religion (for instance, the need for prayers at a definite time), traditions, or other peculiarities of their cultural backgrounds. Moreover, the leader learned more information about those cultures, whose representatives were the patients at the clinic. Thus, she demonstrated openness to new experience and willingness to acquire knowledge persistently.

My nurse leader handled controversy in the work setting with a critical and reasonable approach. In other words, she dispassionately analyzed all the arguments and made a decision based on deliberate consideration and evidence-based judgments. For instance, when she had to solve the conflict between a young nurse and a worker from a superior level of organization, she was not directed in her decision-making by the hierarchical positions of the participants. On the contrary, the leader analyzed the situation with objectivity and justice, listened to the both parties carefully, and discovered the truth. It is obvious that such leadership style promotes justice and equality in the work setting.

As already mentioned earlier in the paper, my nursing leader’s particular concern was enhancing collaboration between all the participants of the clinical unit. To achieve this goal, she organized common meetings, discussions, and systematic reports on the existing problems in diverse areas of the practice. This approach resulted in the twofold outcome, namely more effective solutions and closer interaction between the people. Finally, it is worth asserting that this nurse possesses an outstanding charisma of a strong, influential leader. It allows her to build effective relationships with coworkers and produce a favorable impact on the people.

To enhance my leadership competency, I made a great use of the role model presented by this charge nurse from the surgical department. She demonstrated characteristics innate to an effective nurse leader in real clinical settings. I chose this particular leader because we share the same views, qualities, and attributes. To perform efficiently in the context of a radical redesign, innovation, and organization of health care system, I choose to develop leadership competencies in the clinical domain. In addition, I decide to follow the aforementioned model by Nelson and colleagues called “Microsystems in health care: High-performing clinical units” (Hamric et al., 2014, p. 275). I consider the successful performance of nursing leaders in microsystems environment crucial for the entire healthcare system. Therefore, my goal is to develop own skills in organizing effective team working in the front-line clinical units, hence contributing to providing high-quality care.

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In particular, I understand the importance of successful collaboration at all levels of health care system. Despite my role model being a transformation leader, I am more inclined to become a situational one. The main difference between these two definitions is that the former motivates and changes the followers while the latter can adapt to the development level of the subordinates. To achieve the goal of becoming a successful situational leader, I should act as a full partner with other nurses, physicians, and senior workers. With the major purpose of advancing the quality of care delivery and reducing error, all health care professionals should work with mutual accountability and collaboration.

Overall, I perceive myself not as a mere functional doer but as a strategic, active, and knowledgeable professional responsible for personal and professional growth. I aim at making others accept me as a thoughtful, effective, and powerful collaborator, and respect my decisions in patients care. The only way to do it is to increase the body of my knowledge and education and improve my leadership skills and experience. Furthermore, I can take advantage of the mentoring programs and learn from the examples of the most distinguished nurse leaders. My principal concern is to develop the skills and capacities of a situational leader that will allow me to deal effectively with various changing situations, according to environmental demands.

I am currently working as a case manager at a health insurance company. In my working setting, both customers and colleagues descend from various cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. The right for every person to be treated with equal respect and understanding is undoubted; therefore, I constantly enhance cultural awareness and obtain knowledge about different ethnic and racial cultures. It helps me better understand the attitudes and perceptions of my interlocutors and eliminate possible bias.

My principle of dealing with controversy and collaborating with others in my work area and in the interdisciplinary context implies solving problems by constant refinement of my communication skills. Judging from the example of the nurse leader I reflected upon, the key to successful interaction in the working setting is one’s superb communication skills and right attitude to people. One can find two principles vividly illustrated by the statements in Linette and Sherman’s study. They state, “Communication is the key” and “We need to appreciate the value of equal footing . . . as this paves the way for better outcomes” (Linette & Sherman, 2014, p. 37).


Overall, I have to create my authentic leadership style, develop capacities, attributes, and competencies of an efficient nursing leader. The principal technique for achieving this goal is the reflection of successful role models in the nursing practices. Moreover, deep introspection and the analysis of own life philosophy can also contribute to achieving this goal. I completely agree with Oliver (2006) who claimed in her article that to be an effective leader, one “requires a complex mix of attributes, behaviors and skills but most of all it requires an ability to reflect upon and evaluate yourself” (p. 38).

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