Being an exceptional leader in the nursing field is crucial in facilitating other nurses and practicing students to provide optimal care for the enhancement of their clients’ health and wellbeing. According to the College of Nurses of Ontario, an ideal nurse assumes the role of a leader by demonstrating qualities including respect, trustworthiness, and integrity; being a role model to colleagues; and cooperating with clients and health care staff to provide professional practice that respects clients’ rights (CNO, 2006). Furthermore, when a situation arises, a leader takes responsibility to intervene where the wellbeing of client care is at risk of being compromised; communicates problems when the support required for meeting professional practice standards amongst colleagues is insufficient; and utilizes competency to seek feasible solutions and resolve conflicts (CNO, 2006).
With leadership being a significant aspect in nursing, this paper will explore a personal experience that relates to leadership concepts and theories by discussing communication, emotional intelligence (EI), power, and conflict, as well as how it impacted my development in transformational leadership skills.
An experience that relates to leadership concepts and theories discussed in class is during Clinical 420, in which I was given the opportunity by my clinical instructor to present a case study or informal discussion on a client’s medical health information, as well as collaborate with colleagues to care for the client through teaching and ultimately, emerging to become a leader to my peers. At the beginning of the clinical shift, I was tasked to collaborate with a peer and facilitate her in providing care for a complex client. To give an idea of the client’s health condition, I reported head-to-toe assessment results obtained from the previous week and reviewed the medical chart containing health history and diagnoses with her. Throughout the shift, we were able to implement a holistic head-to-toe assessment and administer medications and communicate our findings with our clinical instructor and the primary nurse. I would also ask my colleague for her opinions on specific findings when I felt unsure and collectively agreed to report to the instructor and nurse for certainty. Furthermore, during the shift, a falls incident occurred, and although it was not the client my peer and I was caring for, it still impacted my views on leadership, which will be discussed later in this paper. Later that day, during post-conference, I was responsible for leading a case study on the client for my colleagues by sharing my knowledge and understanding of the client’s health history and diagnoses, as well as discussing laboratory and diagnostic test results. I believe this experience enabled me to demonstrate the concept of transformational leadership by empowering my peers to pursue a collective purpose, such as striving to become competent nurses, and working cooperatively to achieve the concept of teamwork (Kelly, 2016). For instance, I was able to develop my critical thinking skills by researching a client’s health history and diagnoses, and present to the group the client’s information for educational purposes to enhance knowledge and understanding, as well as determine appropriate nursing interventions and implement a care plan. According to Kelly, transformational leaders motivate others to contribute to the group process and empowers people to take initiative and convert followers into leaders and eventually agents of change (Kelly, 2016). I believe this aspect was demonstrated when I emphasized communication amongst the group, such as reporting concerns or results regarding client care and encouraging group participation in discussions for improvement of the clients’ wellbeing. This experience helped me develop my transformational leadership skills by sharing with the group my knowledge and understanding of the client’s health conditions, and therefore showing my competency in clinical practice. Lastly, I believed this experience enabled me to display effective nursing leadership by implementing individualized consideration, such as asking my colleague on opinions regarding client care; motivating them into improving practical clinical skills, such as facilitating them to administer a medication via suppository route, and enhance intellectual stimulation by conducting a case study discussion on clients’ health histories (Kelly, 2016). Firstly, this experience taught me to develop my transformational leadership skills by improving my communication skills. In nursing, effective communication is important in establishing therapeutic relationships with clients and colleagues, and for promoting health to enhance quality care and client wellbeing (CNO, 2006). For instance, a situation occurred during my clinical experience where a client had a fall in his room. Although the client was not injured, a fall is critical in regards to nursing care and should be taken to accountability as there are precautions and measures taken for the wellbeing and safety of the client. My colleagues and supervisor were not present when the fall occurred; we discovered the client on the floor upon entering the room. As the primary nurse was notified and came into the room, she appeared flustered and hastily told everyone to leave and have her take the accountability to write an incident report and contact the client’s family. I believed the way the nurse handled the situation did not seem appropriate because she did not allow us to communicate the events and details leading up to the incident, and instead forced us to leave and let her do all the work. Although she was the primary nurse for the client and was accountable to him, we were also present when the incident occurred and therefore, it was also our obligation to cooperate with the nurse to make the incident easier to resolve. This experience made me feel insignificant as a student nurse who was willing to cooperate with other nurses regarding client care. According to Kelly, communication in health care is utilized to coordinate client care and is essential for staff to effectively communicate in order to provide more efficient and better quality care (Kelly, 2016). The nurse in this situation did not seem to effectively communicate with us. Therefore, from that experience, I learned to improve my communication skills by giving others time to speak and listen for their perception of what the next steps should be taken to resolve situations. As well, it made me cautious of how I will react when I become a nurse, such as be aware of communication and how to handle stressors.Secondly, this experience helped me improve my emotional intelligence or EI. According to Fernandez et. al, skills in social awareness enable one to ask for the perspectives of others while listening attentively and nonjudgmentally (Fernandez et. al, 2012). That clinical experience where I facilitated my colleague in caring for a client, we had to fill out a peer feedback form and discuss it amongst each other on ways to improve our skills as practicing nurses. Based on her feedback, I believed I demonstrated emotional intelligence by having the ability to recognize the meaning of emotions and their relationships and to reason and solve problems based on the basis of emotions (Kelly, 2016). Furthermore, I believed displayed self-confidence by showing my skills and capabilities and sharing my knowledge to facilitate colleagues with nursing tasks, such as obtaining blood sugar levels, tracheal suctioning, and ADLs. Thirdly, I believe this clinical experience enabled me to demonstrate various sources of power. For instance, information power, which refers to one’s ability to impact others by providing information to a group (Kelly, 2016). While providing care for the client, I shared with my peer my understanding and knowledge on tracheal suctioning and administrating medications via suppository route. Furthermore, I believed I demonstrated empowerment by allowing my colleagues to participate in discussions that involved critical thinking, such as the case study. Lastly, equitable distribution of power was enabled, in which I was a leader for a colleague in sharing client care and make decisions and communicate with teacher and nurse for further guidance regarding care (Kelly, 2016).Lastly, the leadership concept I will discuss is conflict. According to the CNO, all nurses must work cooperatively with colleagues to provide safe, efficient, and ethical client care (CNO, 2018). Unresolved conflict amongst colleagues negatively impacts relationships due to insufficient communication and teamwork, which disrupts the flow in providing exceptional client care (CNO, 2018). For instance, the nurse was stressed, and instead of cooperating with us because we were present during the fall incident, she panicked and forced us to leave and let her assume all the responsibility. From that experience, I learned that in order to prevent conflict, nurses should treat colleagues respectfully, be aware personal behaviours that affect relationships with others, and identify ways to improve and work on changing behaviours that led to conflicts in previous situations (CNO, 2018).My thoughts about the next stage in my education, such as consolidation, is that I am excited because I get to have the opportunity to attend frequently, as opposed to clinical where I go once weekly, which helps in gradually enhancing my practical nursing skills and knowledge as a novice student nurse. My recent Clinical 420 experience positively impacted me in developing my leadership skills because I am a shy person, and therefore I had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone by openly communicating with colleagues and sharing knowledge and feelings regarding client care, apply critical thinking skills in my practice, and receive feedback in order to improve as a student nurse.To ensure that I continue to enhance my knowledge, skills and leadership attributes to remain competent, I will apply the skills I acquired in clinical and use the feedback I received from peers and instructor to change my weaknesses such as improving my communication skills and emotional intelligence. According to Fernandez et. al, developing EI means yearning for self-improvement, willing to face personal features or flaws of ourselves that we are not aware of, and having a sense of modesty (Fernandez et. al, 2012). I was informed by my clinical instructor that the reason she allowed me to lead a group discussion on sharing knowledge and become a leader for my colleague in helping to provide client care was because she identified that I was shy and wanted to give me the opportunity to improve my communication skills. Based on that feedback, I believed I developed my EI by having the personal and social competence to identify my weaknesses and reflect on ways to improve them. In addition, to improve my communication skills, I will try to initiate and contribute to open communication, participate in decision making, effectively and frequently communicate thoughts and concerns regarding client care and assessment findings, and ask for help from preceptor and peers when I feel uncertain about my knowledge in order to enhance competency as well (RNAO, 2013).In addition, as I commence my consolidation, a leadership skill I want to improve on is conflict resolution. Based on my experience with the nurse who was flustered about the falls incident, I learned that personal stress affects professional relationships and that I should take measures to control that stress (CNO, 2018). According to the RNAO, nurses must support and listen to each other amidst conflict (RNAO, 2013). Therefore, in conclusion, as a novice nurse, I will continue to improve leadership skills in order establish therapeutic relationships with colleagues and clients and competency to become more confident in my knowledge and critical thinking.