Hospital care settings face several challenges, such as employees’ issues, changing demands and expectations of consumers, financial and fiscal constraints, raised demands for healthcare access, responsibility to enhance patient centered care and quality, as well as safety issues. Therefore, effective leadership is important in maximizing management of care in health facilities.
Health care organizations in Australia have unique characteristics, which makes their leadership unique as compared to other organizations. For instance, the chief executive is not the only segment of leadership accountable to the governing body. Notably, in health facilities, due to unique professionals and the legal role of independent staff that are licensed, all medical staff are accountable to the governing body for the care they offer to patients. Hence, it implies that the governing body should provide has the responsibility for quality care and offer oversight function to bringtogether all responsibilities of the medical staff, senior managers, and chief executives in a structure that achieves set objectives, such assafety, financial sustainability, quality care, ethical behavior, and community service (Daly et al, 2014). Therefore, this paper provides an evaluation of five professional health care providers, who offered their opinion on leadership in nursing.
Definition of a Good Leader
This section presents the factors that define a good leader as recorded from the interview. The interviewees highlighted flexibility, positive communicator and creativity as the main characteristics of a good leader.
Profesisonals revealed that a good leader should be flexible to understand the team’s work burden and other aspects, such as family and social problems.The past decade has been faced by turbulence and dynamism in the economic environment due to changes in technology. Hence, to maintain a balance in the workplace, leaders should adopt a leadership style that meets the demands of specific individuals in different situations. To handle diversity of activities, leaders should have a wide behavior repertoire and demonstartae the ability to change based on behaviors on varying situations. To handle the diversity and rapid pace of activities, leaders need to adopt flexibility in reaction to the contextual demands. There are two main dimensions of flexibility that are necessary in leadership, the first one is the ability to practice productivity while at the same time creating cohesion and building morale of employees. The second one is being able to integrate natural stress between tendencies directed to the external environment or the internal procedures (Baron, 2018). Hence, flexibility involves the ability to adapt and introduce innovations while encouraging stability at the work place.
Leaders who demonstrate balanced repertoire of behavior, well known as flexible, are effective and demonstrate a larger impact in the performance at the work place. More so, flexible leaders tend to cultivate innovation among team members and casual collaborative learning (Baron, 2018). Flexibility in leaders can be developed by building on cognitive skills, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence. Leaders must value other peoples’ needs to meet them in a positive manner. Emotional intelligence is made up of social awareness, self awareness, relationship management, and self management (Baron, 2018). Hence, flexibility helps the leaders to change based on what is around them.
The interviewees highlighted that they needed someone who would listen to them .Leadership involves balancing various aspects at the same time. One issue facing current healthcare environments is how to handle environmental and social expectations, since many stakeholders are interested in different areas of the work place. This means that leaders have a task to make decisions as well as develop relationships with main stakeholders (Hills, 2015). Hence, how the leaders communicate has an impact on the reputation of the health care facility.
Communication is a basic function in every workplace. Inadequate communication could be detrimental to any organization, and hence lead to operational and employee issues. More so, effective communication cultivates job satisfaction among employees, which enhances organizational growth. It creates trusting work associations and adds significance to creation of strong work relations (Hills, 2015). Hencecommunication is a contributor to employees’ success.
The main focus of positive communication is to exchange information, enhance effective positioning, and encourage effective persuasion. Communication is more than just delivering messages but involves extending direction, content and outcome of activities, such as meetings, negotiations, and speeches. Hence, competent leaders have the ability to develop communication that navigates interaction and mediates effectively. This implies that cognitive skills of a leader, just like written and oral communication, are the most important leadership skills ( Ziek, 2014). Hence, for communication to be effective, it is important to develop skills such as, conversation, listening, interviewing, and giving feedback.
Creativity and Encouraging
The interviewees revealed that a good leader was able to reward work and initiate change by listening to staff’s opinion about various matters.
Creativity involves developing something new, whether in form of an idea, thought, object, or process. The process indicates that the leader can use diversified abilities, skills, views, knowledge and experience to create new ideas, make decisions, solve problems and complete tasks in an efficient manner (Tung & Yu, 2016). Creative leaders encourage employees’ to develop a positive effect on their focus towards the set objectives.
Creativity plays a vital role in enhancing strategies in the workplace. The aspect is the root of innovation associated with performance in the work place. However, for employees to be innovative, leaders should listen, support, and encourage them through the creative process. It is apparent that the leaders’ orientation on the organization’s goals can influence the behavior strategies applied in pursuing innovation and creativity in the workplace. A leaders’ regulatory focus has a promotion focus which motivates him through minimal goals (Tung & Yu, 2016). Therefore, it depends on the leader’s obligations, perceived duties, responsibilities, and avoidance of self-states which could be undesired.
Health Care Difficulties of Tasks
The interviewees pointed out that some of the challenges included facing healthcare include financial constrains and shortage of staff during unexpected crisis.
The interviewees pointed out that some of the financial issues facing health care included labor burden, technology expenses and maintenance, monthly supplies in the health facilities, unexpected low financial income, and increased costs of treatment plans.
Health facilities are required to raise enough funds to enhance access of services whenever needed by every citizen. It is the duty of health facilities to ensure that citizens are protected from unforeseen expenditures that might arise, especially in the absence of insurance cover. Financing may includes allocation, acquisition and pooling financial resources to effectively contribute towards achievement of expected outcomes. The main challenges in financing, include increasing costs in technology, expenses and maintenance, increased costs of medicine and other medical supplies, lack of financial sustainability, and lack of autonomy (Roncarolo, 2017). Hence, the method and techniques in which health services are funded has a great impact on the governance and leadership of health services.
Shortage of staff
Further, the interviewees pointed out that the challenge of staffing included unexpected resignation and lack of balance between workload and the available staff.
Staff consists of providers of health services, managers of health, and support employees who work in both public and private organizations. The main challenges facing staffing include healthworkers availability (when and where they are needed and at the required numbers), staff turnover, distribution of the workers geographically, and proper mix of skills (Roncarolo, 2017). If this challenge is not handled properly, it could have an effect on service delivery in the health facilities.
Organizations can counter this challenge by improving capacity of training, amending policies of recruitment, and enhancing strategies for workforce distribution. This is because, effective health staff should be competent and demonstrate technical skills and knowledge to offer high quality care. They also need to have interpersonal skills to ensure that professional care is patient-centered (Roncarolo, 2017). The initiative, will improve patient outcome and well as quality of care.
The interviewees highlighted that the challenge with unexpected crisis was on handling natural disasters, such as floods, fires, hurricanes, terrorism, earthquakes, and disease epidemics.
Unexpected crisis involves events that lead to significant losses. They create disruptions to the community’s and affect well being of the society, including economic, material and environmental losses. Other consequences of crisis are loss of lives, high costs, political and economic impacts, psychological harm, and loss of property among others. After a disaster, several people require healthcare intervention due to risks related to outbreak and other physical and psychological harms. This means that health care services are usually different during crisis since disasters call for quick decision making. Leaders need to develop proper disaster healthcare management systems based on methodical procedures, organizational, administrative, and operational skills for making decisions and handling the challenges that arise during planning to reduce and improve disasters’ healthcare consequences. Hence, leaders in health facilities have a role in initiating reforms in the health care to enticipate the consequences of crisis.
Furthermore, to minimize stress on health care services that arise with disaster, leaders should mobilize all staff members to cope with difficualt situations. Secondly, to respond to disaster effectively, healthcare leaders should have enough medical supplies, hygiene items, and food in warehouses, which can be reached in case of emergencies. Thirdly, the leaders need to facilitate and ensure that the main ministries of health have a comprehensive database of their medical facilities to make distribution of supplies in case of a crisis. Thirdly, health facilities leaders should develop a disaster triage system to help victims of crisis, which includes well equipped ambulances to eashelp in moving victims and prevent further injuries. Fourthly, leaders should ensure that nutrition experts are always available in case of crisis to provide advice on disaster friendly diets, as well as professionals who can monitor drinking water and food distribution and storage as a way of controlling further infections. Finally, leaders should create teams consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, neoro-specialists to assist victims in affected areas. More so, leaders could facilitate training of rescuers on techniques of emotional and psychological support (Pourhosseini et al., 2015). These actions will improve preparedness of leaders for any unexpected crisis.
Aim of Leadership in Healthcare Facilities
The researcher asked the interviewees on their opinion on aim of leadership in healthcare facilities. They included several areas, such as to improve health care quality, advance the quality of work as individual and team, increase the education level and skills of the staff through practical courses or lectures. In addition, update the team on any new developments in medical field, ensure that respect and trust enhanced, advocacy for team safety, and provide good working environment for the staff.
Effective leadership is important in healthcare systems and has several functions in advancing efficiency and effectiveness of any organization. Within health facilities, consistent leadership is vital to achieve high performance and enhance capabilities of employees in order to improve outcomes and quality of care (Ghiasipour et al., 2017). Hence, leaders need to manage uncertainty and promote behavior change and cultural changes.
Leadership refers to a practice of influencing staff to achieve a particular goal or mission of an organization or group. The process involves setting strategies and goals, promoting compliance and commitment to organizational productivity and objectives, promoting team culture and dynamicity within the workplace. Appropriate leadership creates a culture within an organization that reduce conflict, achieve quality, improve efficiency, enhanceproductivity of team, and promote satisfaction of staff (Ghiasipour et al., 2017). This will enhance hospital performance and achievement of both organization and personal goals.
The aim of effective leadership in health centers is to ensure health care systems are of high quality and offer efficient and safe care. Valuable leadership is linked to various functions such as performance in the hospital systems, health reform goals achievement, timely delivery of care, efficiency and integrity of systems among other aspects (Daly et al., 2014). All those afctors are important in enhancing nurses and patient outcome.
Nurse leaders have the ability to empower other nurses by allowing them to apply practice and theory as well as encouraging them to be innovative in a supportive and safe environment. Hence, leadership activities are intertwined with developmental aspects in nurturing practitioners that are competent by learning through practice. Nurses’ leadership is associated with coaching, mentorship, and supervision as the main values. Studies show that when leaders support other staff, it reduces mental exhaustion and decreases negative effects within the job environment. In addition, nurse leaders offer emotional support to other nurses and give them feedback on performance to increase their self esteem. These leaders through application of leadership skills encourage other staff to apply critical reflection to gain new understanding. On the other hand, they help to resolve tensions between professionals such as in the wards, to effectively build acquaintances between multidisciplinary staff members. Leaders facilitate organization’s support and programs for development that help in reducing stress, sickness, burnout, and absenteeism. In addition, they motivate staff and viewing every person as an individual with unique needs (Frankel, 2014). Hence, they are able to support them in ways that everyone feels appreciated individually
Impact of Leadership in healthcare
The study asked interviewees about their thought on the impact of leadership in healthcare. They pointed out that good leaders should have positive impact in health care. In addition, they maintained that effective leadership leads to effective outcome. Threfore, leaders should enhance effective communication between nurses and other health care providers as well between nurses and their patients to enhance health care and treatment outcome.
Effective Leadership in healthcare has been emphasized due to national emphasis on public reporting, transparency and requirements of quality, operational, financial, and clinical outcomes of healthcare provided by hospitals. Leadership in health care setting helps in public reporting of patient satisfaction and clinical outcome scores. This role has helped the consumer to make choicesregarding their treatment as well as enhanced the choices made insurers, concerning the health provider. Leadership of healthcare organizations through the senior management and C.E.O, establish rules, policies ,and bylaws that are consistent with the purpose, vision, and mission of the healthcare facility. Senior leaders offer guidance and leadership that help in achieving organizational success in terms of quality, regulatory compliance, and safe patient care. Further, they emphasize on evidence based leadership, which facilitates industry’s ability to sustain and achieve quality outcomes (“Impact of leadership”, 2015). Hence, leadership in healthcare facilities fosters an environment of effective communication, information literacy, achievement of quality outcomes, and organizational efficiency in the healthcare industry.
As it is evident from the analysis of the interviews results and consequent discussions, good leadership is important in every industry. A leader should be flexible, a positive communicator, creative, and encouraging. Effective leadership in health facilities is significant for optimum performance in health care. It allies to several hospital functions, which are vital components of the health care structure. However, despite the recognition of significance of leadership in healthcare, challenges such as financial issues, shortage of staff, and unexpected crisis can hinder patient outcomes, and hence need to be addressed.
Baron, L., Rouleau, V., Grégoire, S., & Baron, C. (2018). Mindfulness and leadership flexibility. The Journal of Management Development, 37(2), 165-177.
Daly, J., Jackson, D., Mannix, P., & Davidson, P. (2014). The importance of clinical leadership in the hospital setting. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 6, 75-83.doi::10.2147/JHL.S46161
Frankel, A. (2014). What leadership styles should senior nurses develop? Nursing Times, 104 (35), 23-24.
Ghiasipour, M., Mosadeghrad, A. M., Arab, M., & Jaafaripooyan, E. (2017). Leadership challenges in health care organizations: The case of Iranian hospitals. Medical journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 31, 96. doi:10.14196/mjiri.31.96
Hills, K. N. (2015). Communication strategies to generate employee job satisfaction. ABI/INFORM Collection. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1732368026?accountid=45049.
Impact of leadership on today’s healthcare environment (2015). Retrieved 12 April 2019, from http://www.hcpro.com/ACC-323723-4634/Impact-of-Leadership-on-Todays-Healthcare-Environment.html.
Pourhosseini,S., Ardalan, A., & Mehrolhassani, M. (2015). Key aspects of providing healthcare services in disaster response stage. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 44(1), 111–118.
Roncarolo, F., Boivin, A., Denis, J., Hébert, R., & Lehoux, P. (2017). What do we know about the needs and challenges of health systems? A scoping review of the international literature. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 636. doi:10.1186/s12913-017-2585-5
Tung, F., & Yu, T. (2016). Does innovation leadership enhance creativity in high-tech industries? Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 37(5), 579-592.
Ziek, P. (2014). Leadership communication competency: A practice of design. Kidmore End: Academic Conferences International Limited. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1509105869?accountid=45049.