Effective Approaches in Leadership and Management

Nurse leaders and managers play a significant role in ensuring that nursing practice maintains professionalism while considering patient safety and health outcomes. They give directions and oversee nursing activities and roles in an institution. It is also their responsibility to ensure that the unit they are in charge of has enough staff and that the required supplies are brought to the unit/ department on time.

Effective Approaches in Leadership and Management

They also participate in developing the unit’s operating and capital budgets. However, they face various situations and issues mandating them to exercise their leadership and management roles. Nursing leaders and managers use different approaches to address the various situations that affect nursing practice. This essay presents an evaluation of the different approaches that nursing leaders and managers can use to address the issue of nurse staffing ratios and their impact on care quality and patient safety.

The Selected Issue and its Effects on Care Quality and Patient Safety

The issue of interest is nurse staffing ratios. Nurse-patient staffing ratios refer to the number of nursing staff supposed to care for patients in a specific unit at a particular time. Nurse-patient ratios differ in different units and departments.

For instance, nurse-patient staffing ratios in critical care units can be 1:2, whereas, in the emergency department, they can be 1:4 or even fewer at all times. Safe nurse staffing ratios are not only a right for the nurses, but they also impact the quality of care, patient safety, and care delivery outcomes.

According to Sharma and Rani (2020), optimum nurse-patient ratios are a significant concern for nurse leaders and managers since it benefits the nurses and the patient: enhancing patient safety and the quality of care. The number of staff in a specific unit at a particular time should align with the recommended nurse-patient staffing ratios to ensure good health outcomes, patient safety, and better care quality.

Appropriate safe nurse staffing ratios contribute to the nurses’ workload in a department or unit. When nurses are few and the nurse-patient ratio is unsafe, they often have a heavy workload, which may affect their productivity and the quality of care. Unsafe nurse-patient ratios also affect the safety of patients negatively. Due to high workloads, nurses may often feel stress and burnout.

More so, they are more likely to make avoidable mistakes such as missing to attend to patients when required and making medical errors. For instance, failure to administer medication to a patient or the wrong medication may have adverse effects on the patient, compromising their safety. Thus, the issue of unsafe nurse staffing ratios negatively affects the quality of care and patient safety.

Professional Standards of Practice in Nurse-Patient Staffing Ratios

Nurse leaders and managers are expected to demonstrate professional standards of practice and maintain professional standards when rectifying nurse staffing ratios by improving nurses working standards to prevent nurse turnovers and advocating for policy changes to address unsafe staff ratios.

Since poor nurse-patient ratios affect nurses’ ability to provide safe and quality care across all practice settings. According to the American Nurses Association(n.d.), Nurse leaders and managers are at the frontline in reducing this problem by advocating for policies to address nurse-patient ratios.

The most practical solution in addressing nurse-patient ratios would be addressed by changing policies related to the issue. One of the nurse competencies is advocacy, not only for patient needs but also in policy changes for policies affecting nursing practice. It is the responsibility of nurse leaders and managers to participate in policy development, evaluation, and implementation.

Often, unsafe nurse-patient ratios are caused by nurse shortages. Policies that restrict nurses’ scope of practice and restrict nurses from working in various regions may be a major contributor to nursing staff shortages. Nurse leaders and managers should advocate for changes in such policies to ensure adequate nurses in institutions to curb the problem of unsafe nurse-patient ratios.

Nurse leaders and managers are expected to work together with other hospital leaders to ensure that the working conditions for nursing staff are favorable. Creating a better and more conducive working environment will enhance nurse retention, encourage more nurses to work in the units and departments, and prevent nursing staff turnover. Thus, improving nursing staff working conditions is one of the professional practice standards to ensure better nurse-patient ratios.

Differing Roles of Nursing Leaders and Managers in Nurse Staffing Ratios

Some of the nurse manager’s primary roles include staffing, budgeting, and structuring the organization, aiming to achieve the organizational goals. In the case of nurse staffing ratios, nurse managers can ensure that more budget resources are allocated to ensure that new nurses are hired, thus curbing unsafe nurse-patient ratios. They can also stress the importance of safe nurse-patient ratios to the institution’s leaders, ensuring that more nurses are hired to address the issue.

According to Aiken et al. (2018), policymakers and hospital executives may see nurse staffing as an expense to be minimized on. More so, unsafe nurse-patient ratios may result from managerial decisions to have limited resources allocated to staffing. Thus, the managers can also reverse the situation.

The role of the nursing leader in this situation, on the other hand, is to mobilize other nurses, to work together for organizational success, and achieve a cause of action. For instance, the managers may not be feeling the impact of the unsafe nurse staffing ratios. Thus, the nurse leaders may discuss the issue with the nurses encouraging them to participate in developing a way in which they can emphasize it to the managers for them to take action.

Additional Aspects in Addressing Nurse-Staffing Ratios

As mentioned earlier, unsafe nurse staffing ratios result from nursing staff shortages and increased turnover rates. Therefore, addressing the issue requires addressing the root causes. Nurse leaders are mandated to motivate nursing staff by, for example, recognizing exceptional work and preparing favorable shifts.

Thus, it will encourage more nurses to work in the department, and reduce turnover, thus addressing the nurse-patient ratio problem. Nursing managers can also create better working environments for nurses to encourage retention (Marufu et al., 2021).

Leadership Style in Addressing the Issue of Nurse Staffing Ratios

The leadership style that would best address nurse staffing ratios is relational leadership. According to McKay, Lyles & Larkey (2018), relational leadership enables the leader to create healthy relationships with the nurses, and use them to work towards a common goal, hence promoting nurse morale and development. Relational leadership will ensure nurses give feedback on their working environment, thus improving it to avoid high turnover rates and encourage hiring more staff.

Conclusion

Unsafe nurse-patient ratios are associated with adverse effects on both the patients and the nurses. High turnover rates and staff shortages mainly cause the situation. Nurse leaders and managers have the role of doing everything in their power to address the issue. Safe nurse-patient ratios contribute to better care quality and patient safety.

References

Benchmark – Effective Approaches in Leadership and Management Instructions

  Assessment Description In this assignment, you will be writing a 1,000-1,250 word paper describing the differing approaches of nursing leaders and managers to issues in practice. To complete this assignment, do the following:  The issue from the following: nurse staffing ratios. Describe the selected issue. Discuss how it impacts quality of care and patient safety in the setting in which it occurs. Discuss how professional standards of practice should be demonstrated in this situation to help rectify the issue or maintain professional conduct. Explain the differing roles of nursing leaders and nursing managers in this instance and discuss the different approaches they take to address the selected issue and promote patient safety and quality care. Support your rationale by using the theories, principles, skills, and roles of the leader versus manager described in your readings. Discuss what additional aspects managers and leaders would need to initiate in order to ensure professionalism throughout diverse health care settings while addressing the selected issue. Describe a leadership style that would best address the chosen issue. Explain why this style could be successful in this setting. Use at least three peer-reviewed journal articles other than those presented in your text or provided in the course.  Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.  This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.   You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.   This benchmark assignment assesses the following programmatic competencies:  RN to BSN  1.1:       Exemplify professionalism in diverse health care settings.  1.3:       Exercise professional nursing leadership and management roles in the promotion of patient safety and quality care.  3.4:       Demonstrate professional standards of practice.