Nursing Leadership Interview

Nurses play critical roles in healthcare organizations. In order to realize the vision of transformed health care, strong leadership is required. According to Brown, Fraser, Wong, Muise, and Cummings (2013), healthcare institutions have been under enormous pressure to operate effectively in the face of mounting casualties. Highly trained and experienced nurse managers are required to oversee patient care, nursing teams, and to promote organizational goals. As a result, the nursing profession must develop skilled leaders throughout the health-care system, from the bedside to the boardroom. These leaders serve as full partners with other professionals in the healthcare organizations and are accountable for their contributions to rendering high-quality care. Competencies required by effective nurse leaders are acquired through education, mentoring and experience (Brown et al., 2013).

Purpose Statement

The goal of this paper is to find out the best leadership styles in nursing, the essential characteristics of effective nursing leadership and how nurse leaders empower their staff.

The Nursing Leadership

The researcher engaged one of the nurse managers for an interview to find out the types of leadership styles they utilize in nursing, the essential characteristics of effective leadership and the various techniques they use to empower their colleagues. The nurse leader interviewed is a lady at her early 40's who currently serves as the Director of Clinical Leadership. She has worked for the last seven years and has served in various formal leadership positions such as Nurse Administrator, Case Manager, and Clinical Operations Manager before her recent promotion to the post of Director of Clinical Leadership.

Findings of the Interview

Every organization needs to have leaders who drive the business to attain the organization's goals. These leaders are born but created. In the nursing profession, there is need to nature and produce nurse leaders who actively and successfully participate in the transformation of healthcare organizations (Bormann & Abrahamson, 2014).

Role of Nursing Organization to Bringing up Leaders

According to Hutchinson & Jackson (2013), healthcare organizations play significant roles in preparing nurses to take up leadership positions. Most of the nurses as they complete school have no anticipation of becoming leaders. But the organizations upon hiring them as novice nurses, they slowly but efficiently build them to become active leaders in the healthcare sector.

According to the interviewee, her organization actively participated to ensuring she became the leader she is today. She cites mentorship, training and seminars, and inductions as some of the roles her organization played towards preparing her for various leadership positions that she served in the organization.


Mentorship is the process of encouraging and supporting individuals to manage their learning to maximize their potential fully, improve their performance, build their skills and become the people they want to be (Negussie & Demissie, 2013). According to the findings of the researcher, mentoring is a tool powerful for empowerment and personal development. The interviewee was assigned a mentor upon joining the healthcare firm who made her believe in herself and boost her confidence. Through mentorship, the respondent successfully advanced her career as her leader.

Training and Seminars

Bormann & Abrahamson (2014) affirm that many firms use training and workshops as a way of preparing their staff to be leaders of tomorrow. In the nursing profession, training and workshops are mandatory to keep abreast of the current evolving technologies and issues in the healthcare sector. The interviewee says that she went through several leadership training and workshops which sharpened her leadership skills and increased her knowledge. As a result, she was able to execute her duties as a leader effectively.


A well-prepared and detailed installation program assists employees to easily understand their responsibilities in the new appointments and what is expected of them (Brown et al., 2013). Nursing being a sensitive career, it is critical to induct the nurses so that they can successfully deliver in their roles. To produce good nursing leaders, the healthcare sector needs to induct their appointed leaders to their new positions.

Best Nursing Leadership Styles

According to Negussie & Demissie (2013), nurses perform vital and sensitive roles which are demanding. Therefore, the way their respective leaders manage them can at a large extent affect their professional way of executing their roles and influence patient outcomes. From the findings of the researcher, it is important as nurse leaders to understand the various leadership styles as well as know their implications on those under their leadership. The researcher found out the three best leadership styles from the interviewee to be.

Transactional Leadership

It is leadership style where the leaders promote compliance of their junior staff through rewards and punishment. It is one of the best leadership styles in the nursing profession because it focuses on the organization, role of supervision and group performance (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013). According to the interviewee, this style of leadership is effective especially in crisis and emergency occasions, and when in need of carrying clinical projects in a specific way.

Transformational Leadership

This is a style of leadership whereby leaders use their behaviours to transform and inspire their colleagues to perform exemplary beyond their expectations. As nurse leaders, inspirational motivation entails availing a vision for the future to their followers and encouraging them to perform better (Bormann & Abrahamson, 2014).

Democratic Leadership

Among the three nursing leadership styles, Negussie & Demissie (2013) allude that democratic leadership is the best because it creates room for open communication and encourages participation in decision-making from other nurses. The leaders give accountability, responsibility and feedback to their followers concerning their performance.

Important Characteristics of a Nurse Leader

Successful nurse leaders possess some essential features which enable them to lead their team to achieve improved and better performance efficiently (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013). The interviewee cited some of the key characteristics to be;

Strong Communication

In every rung of the nurse ladder, effective communication is important and particularly in leadership roles (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013). Nurse leaders deal with many nurses and other healthcare staff either directly or indirectly under them. They need to be able of communicating their strategies, instructions and requirements in an easy and clear understandable manner.


Nurse leaders need to exercise empathy to their colleagues during communication, the same way they applied empathy for their patients when they started out. They should be empathetic to their teams as they put into practice their leadership mandates (Bormann & Abrahamson, 2014).


Just like other leaders in the business field, Brown et al. (2013) affirms that nurse leaders must be business minded so that they can successfully handle the administrative chores of their departments such as inventory management, preparation of budgets and other tasks.


Negussie & Demissie (2013) define delegation as assigning tasks to individuals according to their capabilities. Nurse leaders must know their team well and trust them with some tasks since they can’t expect to perform all their leadership roles on their own. Delegating tasks to their junior staff helps them to be more efficient and keeps the team encouraged and happy to utilize their skills. Other characteristics include conflict resolution, good time management and courageous (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013).

How to Empower Employees

For excellent performance, employees need to be empowered. One of the best ways to empower nurses is by providing leadership development (Brown et al., 2013). Leadership skills are best learned through effective training programs. Significant individual benefits such as career satisfaction, advancement and personal growth are achieved through training programs. Another great way to empower nurses is to involve them in shared decision-making. This makes them feel appreciated and being part of the team (Negussie & Demissie, 2013). The third way to empowering nurses is by offering continuous feedback. Nurse leaders use continuous improvement as a way to keep their followers motivated and engaged. Employees feel less stressed out and build confidence when they give and receive feedback (Brown et al., 2013).

The interviewee describes to having participated and led other staff to implement three other cancer screening machines in their healthcare facility. This led to more cancer patients being treated than before.

The interviewee encouraged novice nurses to be determined and perform their duties successfully as they seek more challenging leadership roles within their healthcare organizations. For the novice nurse leaders, they should exercise their leadership with justice to all without biases.


This study offers an experience of how nursing leadership should be practised by the aspiring and upcoming leaders and leaves an impact on the nurse leaders who are struggling in their leadership roles. It also throws a challenge to the healthcare organizations concerning bringing up effective nurse leaders.


Bormann, L., & Abrahamson, K. (2014). Do staff nurse perceptions of nurse leadership behaviors influence staff nurse job satisfaction? The case of a hospital applying for Magnet® designation. Journal of Nursing Administration, 44(4), 219-225.

Brown, P., Fraser, K., Wong, C. A., Muise, M., & Cummings, G. (2013). Factors influencing intentions to stay and retention of nurse managers: a systematic review. Journal of Nursing Management, 21(3), 459-472.

Hutchinson, M., & Jackson, D. (2013). Transformational leadership in nursing: towards a more critical interpretation. Nursing inquiry, 20(1), 11-22.

Negussie, N., & Demissie, A. (2013). Relationship between leadership styles of Nurse managers and nurses’ job satisfaction in Jimma University Specialized Hospital. Ethiopian journal of health sciences, 23(1), 50-58.

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