What Role Does Nursing Leadership Play in Improving Care?


Nursing leaders can be seen on all levels of professional nursing with a common goal--to provide quality patient care. The nurse who rises to a leadership position possesses the ability to motivate others to work toward this goal.

Leadership in Management

  • Nurse managers are hired by a health care organization to be formally responsible for the quality and cost of patient care. They must combine strong leadership with clinical expertise and good business sense in order to be effective. Essentially, leadership skills enhance the nurse manager's ability to allocate resources for the benefit of patient care.


  • Unlike nurse managers, who use a very structured and organizational approach to patient care, an "informal" leader uses personal creativity and initiative to approach complicated patient problems. Because of his leadership qualities, the nurse leader evokes confidence from patients and fellow staff members, who support the leader in his efforts to overcome the problems.

Adaptability and Communication

  • Nurse leaders, whether managerial or informal, have the ability to learn and use new health care concepts quickly. To access and integrate these concepts effectively, the nurse leader must be able to communicate with interdisciplinary health care teams and to understand new data, evidence and other resources that are needed to enhance patient care.

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  • "Effective Leadership & Management in Nursing"; Eleanor Sullivan, Phillip Decker; 2005
  • "Essentials of Nursing Leadership and Management": Ruth Tappen, Sally Weiss, Diane Whitehead; 1998
  • "Handbook of Nursing Leadership"; Jeri Milstead, Elizabeth Furlong; 2006
  • Photo Credit nursing duties image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com
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