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How does leadership culture impact on the delivery of quality patient care?

How does leadership culture impact on the delivery of quality patient care?
What can a nurse do, in this context, to ensure that patients needs are met?The importance of leadership is now widely recognised as a key part of overall effective healthcare, and nursing leadership is a crucial part of this as nurses are now the single largest healthcare discipline (Swearingen, 2009).The findings of the Francis Report (2013) raised major questions into the leadership and organisational culture which allowed hundreds of patients to die or come to harm and further found that the wards in Mid Staffordshire, where the worst failures of care were found were the ones that lacked strong and caring leadership, highlighting the crucial role of nurses in leadership.Research into nursing leadership has shown that a culture of good leadership within healthcare is linked to improved patient outcomes, increased job satisfaction, and lower staff turnover rates (MacPhee, 2012).Although the NHS currently faces many challenges such as financial constraints and a growing elderly population, leadership cannot be viewed as an optional role. Previous research by Swearingen (2009) has suggested that educational programmes for nurses do not fully prepare them for leadership roles, and this gap between the demands of clinical roles and adequate educational preparation can result in ineffective leadership in nursing (Feather, 2009).It is important to recognise the critical role that nurses and nurse leaders play in establishing leadership for patient care and the overall culture within which they work (Feather, 2009). Themes explored in this essay will include defining leadership, leadership in nursing, factors that contributLeadership can mean many different things and has clearly evolved in meaning over time (Brady, 2010). Common qualities associated with leadership are influence, innovation, autocracy, and influence (Brady, 2010, Cummings, 2010). A key factor which has remained part of leadership during its evolution has been the ideas that leadership can involve the influence of behaviours, feelings, and actions of other people (Malloy, 2010).Culture is different, and refers to the implicit assumptions that each member of a group or organisation perceives and reacts to different things (Malloy, 2010). Culture is often regarded as a good reflection of what an organisation values most: if compassion and safety are highly regarded, staff will assimilate this (Hutchinson, 2012).Interactions by leaders at all levels of an organisation have been identified as the most important aspect/component of establishing and maintaining a culture of leadership (Malloy, 2010, Hutchinson, 2012).The most senior level of leadership within NHS trusts often comes from the board of directors, who have overall responsibility for the overall leadership strategy (Brady. 2010).Nursing leadershipAlthough there are many research articles and books about leadership and management, there has been relatively little research until recently into what nursing leadership entails.Cummings (2008) found that perceptions of nursing leadership were different from general leadership because it placed a greater emphasis on nurses taking responsibility for and improving and influencing the practice environment.Brady (2010) reported that anytime a nurse had recognised authority, they were providing leadership to others.By this argument, student nurses are leaders to their patients, a staff nurse is a leader to student nurses and patients, and the leader to all team members is seen in the ward manager (Brady 2010, Sanderson

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