Nurses Leadership and Patient Safety

Nurses serve a critical role in any healthcare institution, and without them, no healthcare provider can function. The manner in which nursing staff and other personnel are managed by their leaders, utilizing various leadership styles, defines how well they perform and influences patient safety and experience. Knowing the many leadership styles that exist in the healthcare industry is critical to having an effective staff that gives their all in terms of patient care and general safety (McFadden, Stock, & Gowen, 2015). Even though leaders do not directly serve patients, their skills are required to ensure that nurses and other staff execute to the best of their abilities, ultimately contributing to patient safety. When it comes to various challenges regarding the safety of patients, the issue is addressed

Leadership and Patient Safety

Patient safety is a wide topic in the field of medicine and is defined differently by the concerned parties. However, the safety of patients is defined as the amelioration, deterrence, and avoidance of any injuries or opposing outcomes that come as a result of health care processes (McFadden et al., 2015). Patient safety is concerned with the avoidance of accidents, deviations, and errors by the organization staff when treating the clients. The safety of hospital clients depend on the interaction of different components of the health care system, and it does not come as a result of a single action of a department, device or one person.

Leadership in healthcare is one of the most influential factors in shaping the overall performance of an organization. Technically, it is the behavior of a particular individual who has given the mandate to lead a group when directing the actions of that group about reaching their target goals (Merrill, 2015). Headship has an ultimate say on the outcome of a specific organization actions because it directs every single move to ensure that everything is done in the proper way. Also it involves coping with unprecedented change and influencing group activities. Several years ago, leadership was only thought to be revolving around the business field, and many did not consider it in healthcare. Today, however, people have realized that this concept is paramount in healthcare and without it, health care organizations would not function efficiently.

Leadership, in general, has a significant effect on the overall patient safety. It is directly related to better healthcare in any organization. Quality health care cannot be realized if patients' safety is not achieved. For a health organization to provide a care of their clients, the leadership must provide direction on how certain issues concerning patient safety should be done (Frankel & PGCMS, 2017). Leadership must always come up with policies that improve the safety of patients and solve every issue that would compromise the set standards.

Leadership Styles and their Vital Characteristics

Transactional Leadership

A leader who practices transactional leadership in healthcare always tries to ensure that all staff comply with the stipulated rules and a person does this by coming up with a system of punishments and rewards. The individual staff who achieve the set targets obeys and follow the instructions and directions is always rewarded accordingly. However, if a staff or any person under the management of a transactional leader does not obey the rules and also fails to reach the set goals, he or she is punished accordingly for the wrongdoings (Merrill, 2015). Transactional leadership style mainly aims at improving team performance and hence smoothly run the organization. The leadership of the style is also very effective when it comes to completion of highly rated projects and in managing crisis.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership style typically shows what a good leader should act. The behavior of a leader is so positive that his/her followers are directly motivated to change to imitate them. The groups or workers below the forerunner see how the leader works hard and how much they care for their well-being. The followers do their best for the organizations and usually perform beyond their expectation. In this style of leadership, the head comes up with a clear vision of the institution that the staff understand and are motivated to work on it (Wong, Cummings, & Ducharme, L., 2013).

Democratic Leadership

As the name suggests, this type of leadership styles gives freedom to the team to join and speak up when it comes to decision making within the organization. For democratic leadership, staff and engaged employees are always confident that their voice matters because there is an open communication. Staffs are given specific targets that they are personally responsible for ensuring that they reach and they always get feedback on places they should improve on to get to their targets (McFadden, Stock, & Gowen, 2015). The leader always tries to motivate the followers to realise the importance of having quality processes and system within the organization.

Effect of Leadership Style on Reducing Medication Errors

Various leadership styles have a great effect on healthcare organizations. When an issue arises, a leader is responsible for solving the problem depending on his or her leadership type.. The following leadership styles can be used contrarily to resolve the problem of medication errors in hospitals.

Leaders who practice transactional leadership will always try their best to reduce the problem of medication errors to improve patient safety. Such an error being a preventable event that can lead to inappropriate use of medicine, transactional leadership will not allow it to happen, and any staff responsible for such an action will be punished. Errors in medication is a serious breach of patient safety, and this type of style cannot allow it to happen (Giltinane, 2013). Such style of leadership will reduce mistakes because workers will know there are no room for such errors.

Transformational leaders are unique in the way they approach the issue of reducing errors in medication various in hospitals. Leaders who use this style like to set themselves as examples. For this issue, they will show through their actions how to avoid medication mistakes by being careful when giving medicine to patients. (Radley et al., 2013). Their track record when it comes to reducing errors in medication will be an inspiration to the workers who then will work hard to make sure they do not make any mistake.

Democratic type of leadership will have a different effect when it comes to reducing medication errors. Democratic leadership will give a platform to its followers to give suggestions on what they think causes medication errors to increase. The workers will free to give their views on how they think things could change to reduce errors and thereby have a better patient safety (Frankel & PGCMS, 2017). Since errors in medication are partially caused by poor communication, the followers of the leadership always have confidence when it comes to communication and hence they will not feel shy to explain medical procedures to the patients.


Leadership in healthcare is important as it influences the work of a leader. When an organization has a good ruler who can direct the staff and other workers, then his/her work becomes more effective. Leadership style is basically how an individual manages the power they possess to lead other people. Different types of leadership exist, and most of them vary on the numbers of followers. Leaders in an organization apply various styles of leadership to solve issues of patient safety. Some styles are more efficient than the others when it comes to dealing with different issues, for instance, transactional leadership will be more efficient in solving the problem of medication errors when compared to the democratic type.


Frankel, A., & PGCMS, R. (2017). What leadership styles should senior nurses develop?. Heart failure, 12, 40.

Giltinane, C. L. (2013). Leadership styles and theories. Nursing Standard, 27(41), 35-39.

McFadden, K. L., Stock, G. N., & Gowen III, C. R. (2015). Leadership, safety climate, and continuous quality improvement: impact on process quality and patient safety. Health Care Management Review, 40(1), 24-34.

Merrill, K. C. (2015). Leadership style and patient safety: Implications for nurse managers. Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(6), 319-324.

Radley, D. C., Wasserman, M. R., Olsho, L. E., Shoemaker, S. J., Spranca, M. D., & Bradshaw, B. (2013). Reduction in medication errors in hospitals due to adoption of computerized provider order entry systems. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 20(3), 470-476.

Wong, C. A., Cummings, G. G., & Ducharme, L. (2013). The relationship between nursing leadership and patient outcomes: a systematic review update. Journal of Nursing Management, 21(5), 709-724.

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