Leadership and Nursing

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Share and explain data to your employees often. Become familiar with and incorporate core measures into daily practice and communication. Make them breathe in your department. Convey to your team, staff, and other employees that patient safety and maintaining quality standards are a way of life. Develop unit- and department-specific performance improvement processes that the staff can articulate and implement in daily practices.

Be the resident role model; who you are is whom you will attract. Take notice of the employees who require a lot of cheerleading and motivating to do their jobs. Develop unit-based and departmental volume projections and business plans. If you have a unit where you are not meeting your department average daily census or productivity, look for and measure potential growth opportunities. For example, if your unit is a bed monitored surgical unit, develop a plan to add another service line similar to your existing clinical services. You may want to think about combining cardiac transplantation services with nephrology services and open beds for patients who receive kidney transplants.

Too often clinicians focus on improving people, quality, and service and leave finance far behind. However, your follow-through of your business plan for your unit or department will likely realize a financial savings, which can be reinvested into your clinical services. Build your unit-based financial plan for the year, based on your annual budget that includes salary, expenses, supplies, and capital requests.

Use your biweekly and monthly financial reports to keep on target. When you are off target, develop a variance report with a specific and detailed action plan to get back on line for the next month. Share the report with your staff in monthly staff meetings, post it on a bulletin board for staff to see, and develop a staff financial newsletter to help staff understand how they play an important part in financial management on a unit level. If you have a problem with meeting the standard for admissions, transfers, and discharges on your unit or in your department, create a bulletin board and display the number of delayed admissions, transfers, and discharges and how much it costs the organization to hold patients in the emergency department, intensive care unit, and other areas.


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Teach your staff to appreciate patients and families as their customers. Encourage them to use scripts and prompts when answering the telephones and consistently greet patients when entering and leaving their rooms. You may or may not have a new state-of-the-art facility and the latest technology, but if employees treat patients and their families with personalized care and compassion, they will always come back.

Expect your employees to behave as if they worked in a five-star resort.


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Role model how to be a servant-leader. As the leader it is imperative to be humble, open, and available to learn every day. Remember, if you lead, they will follow. Identify your informal and formal leaders and invest in them. Take them to meetings with you; have them provide presentations to the staff and senior-level leaders.

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Find opportunities to highlight their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Train them to be the next leaders. Make your work environment a great place to work. Celebrate what each individual employee can bring to the team.

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Make rounds daily to connect with your employees on the unit or in your department. Send staff thank you cards and birthday cards, and recognize key events in their lives. Communicate with your employees frequently on all levels: An informed employee is a satisfied employee. Have daily team meetings or huddles to review pertinent information, new changes, celebrations, or other factors. Develop a scorecard for each employee and meet with them every 3 months to measure their progress, accomplishments, and opportunities for growth. The SWOT approach—strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats—tends to work well.

Provide employees with a copy of the SWOT document you complete when conducting their 3-month meeting; be sure to write specific goals and dates for when they must be accomplished. Celebrate the initiative of using the standards and have everyone sign a commitment. As a leader, role model the standards and use them in everyday conversation with your staff. To serve our patient population as an interdisciplinary team, we need to communicate as an interdisciplinary team. Incorporate support services, physician staff, and senior leadership into daily rounding on all units.

Each week, have a member of a different department or service round with you and your staff on the unit or in your department; this will assist in fostering trust and opening the lines of communication. Invite senior leaders to your staff meetings so your staff can see the collaborative relationship that exists among senior leaders and frontline leaders. If you are battling high turnover and vacancy rates, invite your recruitment and retention department to your unit or department to explain retention and recruitment efforts; this may stimulate your staff to refer a friend.

Too often we save recognition until Nurses Week, which may be too late to retain staff. Ongoing rewards and recognition go a long way to motivating staff and enhancing innovation and creativity. Offering words of praise and encouragement and taking the time to meet with your staff say you are interested in them. Set goals and objectives for your staff and as they meet them reward them with a paid day off for relaxation, an all-expense-paid conference, a thank you note, or a small token of appreciation. These pages will keep you up to date with what is going on in health and social care by bringing you news and links to keep you abreast of developments in the RCN and the UK.

Most importantly they allow you to share your experiences and developments directly with other RCN members. The Principles describe what everyone can expect from nursing practice, whether colleagues, patients, their families or carers and provide a framework for care and quality improvement.

What's the Difference Between a Nurse Manager & Nurse Leader?

This resource introduces the Principles and describes how they relate to other publications about the quality of nursing care. Principle H encompasses themes of leadership contributing to an open and responsive culture. Search Menu. Reps Hub. Employment and Pay Healthy workplace, healthy you Inclusion RCN indemnity scheme Independent employers pay, terms and conditions information.

What’s the Difference Between a Nurse Manager & Nurse Leader?

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Leaders are critical in shaping organisational culture. How can leaders ensure that the workplace supports high quality, safe and compassionate health care? How are leadership behaviours, strategies and qualities developed? The King's Fund review provides an insight into how leadership works.



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