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5 Different Nursing Leadership Styles And Their Impact On Patient Outcomes

5 Different Nursing Leadership Styles And Their Impact On Patient Outcomes

The world’s population is aging. This aging population is also living a lot longer. In fact, by 2050 16% of the world’s population will be 65 years of age and older. The number of people aged 85 and over will also increase by 351% while the number of people aged 65 and over will increase by 188%.

Many of the increased elderly will inevitably suffer from chronic diseases. Currently 4 out of 5 elderly people in the United States have multiple chronic medical conditions and 60% of people aged 67 or older have 3 or more chronic illnesses.

This aging population, and the increase of chronic illnesses, will increase the need for professional and high quality nurses. This is why 1.12 million nurses are anticipated to be needed for new jobs or replacement between 2012 and 2022. These nurses will need to be highly skilled and able to work in a variety of potential settings.

Changing View of Nurses

In the past nurses have typically been viewed as subordinates without a need for leadership skills or capabilities. They were not expected to be leaders in the healthcare field and this lowered the respect and expectations associated with the position.

Luckily times have changed. In today’s world nurses are viewed as important healthcare partners and are increasingly involved in the leadership of dynamic healthcare teams. They are being required to take on new responsibilities, and also remain up to date with the advancements in medical technology and the constantly evolving healthcare trends. They are expected to be extremely competent and participate in a high level of education like the cutting edge programs being offered. Most importantly the next generation of nurses will be expected to take a hands-on role as competent leaders in the healthcare field.

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Nursing Leadership Styles

Nurses have the unique opportunity to apply leadership styles in a way that can also affect patient outcomes. Here are some of the leadership styles and traits that every nurse should know:

1. Transactional Leadership

Transactional leaders ensure staff compliance through a system of punishments and rewards. Every interaction is based on a transaction. When a person follows instructions and obtains an objective, they receive a reward. When they fail to follow an instruction or meet an objective, they are disciplined.

When practicing this style of leadership there is a high priority on supervision. This can be a very effective style for managing a crisis or ensuring that projects are completed with a high level of detail.

2. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders tend to lead by example. When followers see this example, they are inspired to change or do better. Transformational leaders also demonstrate that they truly care about their followers and their best interests. They accomplish this by putting the needs and priorities of the organization above their own.

They have a clear vision and they use that vision to motivate their staff members. Innovation is embraced and people are encouraged to generate new ideas. This can be a very effective style for managing teams that need to implement a significant change.

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3. Democratic Leadership

These leaders encourage everyone on the team to have a voice in the decision making process. There is a focus on open communication and ensuring that everyone feels like they are heard. There is a lot of focus on processes and the best way to influence situations.

Staff members are empowered with responsibilities and held accountable for meeting goals. This style requires a lot of feedback and can be very effective when the quality of organizational systems or processes need to be improved.

4. Authoritarian Leadership

This can best be described as the opposite of democratic leadership. With this style the leader makes all of the decisions which results in a much faster decision making process. The power is retained at the top and that is also where the knowledge and information is kept.

Staff members are often made an example of, if they make a mistake and are punished in front of their peers. Issues are always assumed to be the fault of the individual staff member and never the system or process. This style can be effective in emergencies where immediate decisions need to be made.

5. Laissez-faire Leadership

When this style is practiced there is very little supervision. There is a very hands-off approach. People are trusted to do well on their own with very little guidance. Independent thinking is promoted, but it can stall the decision making process and result in few changes being made in the workplace.

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There is little attention to quality improvement. This style can be effective when you are dealing with an experienced team who require little direction. However, it is commonly practiced by inexperienced leaders and leaders who are just waiting to transition.

How Leadership Styles Impact Patient Outcomes

There have been many studies that have evaluated how the leadership styles of nurses affect patient outcomes. For example, studies have found that the practice of transformational leadership by nurses is associated with reduced medication errors. This is believed to be because people are more careful when being led with this approach. Studies have also shown that this style produces lower patient mortality rates due to a better quality of care and treatment.

Studies continue to prove that relational types of leadership, styles which include transformation and collaboration, result in a higher level of patient satisfaction. In other words, patients report that they are happier when nurses practice these styles. This reduces the need for restraint and increases the level of patient cooperation.

How Leadership Styles Impact Hospital Staff

Studies have also shown that transformational leadership plays an important role in creating a safe and happy work environment. Hospitals that practice this style of leadership have a lower level of turnover when compared to other hospitals.

 When a laissez-faire style of leadership is used on the other hand, studies have shown that it negatively impacts teamwork and socialization. This creates a culture where blame is prevalent and stress in increased. Turnover is ultimately increased.

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Nurses are also able to easily tell the difference between transactional and transformational leadership. They are overwhelmingly in favor of the transformational style. They cite intrinsic motivation and improved job satisfaction as the main reasons behind this choice.

Conclusion

The world is changing and a new generation of nurses is needed to help meet the demand of the evolving healthcare community. These nurses are expected to take on a leadership role within the hospital making their knowledge of effective leadership styles critical.

They should know the strengths and weaknesses of the styles and when is the best time to implement each one. This should be based on their knowledge of the situation and each style’s effect on patient outcomes. This will help to ensure that all patients receive the optimal level of care as we continue to confront the challenges of our new healthcare realities.

Featured photo credit: i.huffpost.com via i.huffpost.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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