Clinical leadership can be defined as the support, direction and encouragement given to health care teams to achieve certain clinical objectives. Clinical leadership is therefore expected to take certain steps aimed at avoiding clinical mistakes and also give directions on the remedial actions to be taken in cases where mistakes occur (Davison). This paper is a detailed analysis of clinical leadership that includes its definition, development and maintenance of a clinical setting and a critical analysis of the possibility of encountering difficulties in putting clinical leadership into practice.
Leadership in a clinical setting should be involved in ensuring patient safety. Clinical leadership should also monitor the outcome of each patient after treatment to see if the healthcare facility is giving quality services to the patients (Davison). As stated in the paragraph above, clinical leadership should possess the necessary skills and competencies to develop credible plans to give guidance to clinical teams. This will help in driving the teams towards the achievement of common healthcare goals (Davison). Leadership is indubitably a prerequisite for success in any profession. A person should also be a leader before he/she assumes a position of leadership. This is because an unrefined leader in a healthcare institution may cause irreparable damage to the lives of people and the reputation of the institution. Therefore, professional and educational inquiries by Federal Government and Australian Senate are common in the nursing profession. Both inquiries are recommended for the improvement of quality of services offered in nursing, image of nursing and the embracement of a good working culture in the nursing profession (Davison). To maintain and develop leadership, Commonwealth and States address the requirement of improvement in nursing leadership, and it is of essence that stakeholders of health care facilities are informed of the need to sustain leadership by coordinating nurses to participate in management. Stakeholders are also required to ensure that nursing leaders are given in-service training for them to maintain and develop their roles simultaneously (Davison). It is also imperative for governments to intervene if quality nursing services are to be given. Governments should thus ensure that nursing management and leadership perform their roles of improved services. Credible innovation should also be encouraged to develop the nursing profession (Davison and health).
The development of the practice of leadership in a clinical setting may prove to be a rather daunting task due to the numeracy of issues that have to be addressed. Issues like the work environment, skills development, and communication are mainly issues of concern to clinical leadership (parker). Work environment includes issues like the workload, workforce issues, stress and burnout etc. It is therefore of essence that such issues are addressed to avoid the turnover that is associated with such issues. It is also of essence that work environment issues are addressed together with cost and efficiency issues (peter). Additionally, stressful workload is should be critically addressed because it has the potential of diminishing the quality of care. This is because efficiency and quality of healthcare are issues that take the priority since every patient expects quality services when they visit a healthcare facility. Nurses should therefore offer emotional support, have adequate information to treat symptoms and also have an accurate plan to discharge their duties. They should also have less therapeutic relationships with patients to improve the effectiveness of support care (peter).
Workforce issue includes workplace relationship between other professions and nursing which needs to strengthen interdisciplinary work, and also needs to strengthen therapeutic relationship between nurses and patients, and also the relationship between nurses and the families of patients (peter). It is vital to building up capacity for other health professions to have effective coordination with nurses. It is important to understand the concerns of patients and also understand how other professions in healthcare affect the care of patients (peter).
There are a number of other considerations that must be taken to develop clinical leadership. These include preparation for, the extent of restriction in workplace, the knowledge of how to deal with regular chaos, quality of work, uncertainty in the workplace and the accessibility of relevant information in the workplace (peter). The issue of adaptation to change, and change management is an issue of great importance to clinical leadership because nursing staff need to adjust to change for them to deliver their services efficiently. It also makes staff more manageable to decrease the cost of service delivery. It is also of essence that the delivery of service is properly divided among staff so that efficient and effective service delivery is achieved. This is because nursing staff may be weighed down by heavy workload and the pressure that can be associated with meeting patients expectations (peter).
Restriction in workplace also affects leadership in a clinical environment since some members of clinical staff need to be pushed to deliver services effectively. In some cases, it is important to give time limits, the kind of skills required during recruitment, and how resources, both monetary and non-monetary are used. It is however important to note that excessive restrictions may negatively affect the quality of services offered by the clinical staff (peter). To expound on the issue of time limits, nurses should be expected to complete certain tasks in time (peter).
The occurrence of regular chaos is an issue of great concern to clinical leadership. This is because they normally lead to disruption of service delivery, and they can potentially overstretch resources. Instances of chaos mostly occur inwards and units in cases where unexpected events occur (peter). Regardless of whether the execution of the chaos is by staff or patients, the chaos normally affect nurses and their work. There are also instances in which patients are placed in wrong wards. In these cases, it is likely for a patient to receive low quality care due to the fact that they may be attended by members of staff who lack the necessary skills required to attend to such patients (peter). The patients will also be attended without the required equipment since they are placed inwards that do not deal with their conditions (peter).
Another issue affecting clinical leadership is the issue of discontinued communication that leads to discontinued care. There is always a need in every healthcare facility to ensure that there is adequate communication between shifts to ensure that incoming members of staff have the right information regarding the condition of patients, and the stage of treatment. This will ensure streamlined service delivery and avoid medical mistakes such as administration of wrong medication or discontinued care (peter). It is also of essence to ensure that the right information is passed between and among health professionals. For instance, the right information should be passed from a gynaecologist to the nurse for the nurse to effectively offer his/her services (peter). Professionals may change the treatment for a certain patient and thus without proper communication, the patient may not get the required care. From this discussion, it is apparent that maintaining good communication paramount in healthcare service delivery. Therefore, information regarding patient assessment, staff handover should be communicated to interested parties in a timely and effective manner. Verbal and nonverbal communication in care, behaviours in clinical interaction and communication in inter-disciplinary issues should also be effective (jones).
The maintenance and development of clinical leadership will lead to proper controls tailored to ensure effective care. These include proper controls for ensuring that patients are properly assessed before treatment, controls to ensure that members of staff are properly motivated to have passion for work, plans for ensuring that staff members continually develop their skills and even controls to ensure that health information is efficiently and effectively communicated (jones).
Proper assessment of patients can help to substantially reduce healthcare-related issues like misdiagnosis, overdose etc. This is because if a nurse observes, monitors patients and questions patients closely and keenly, there will be no room for assessment errors. It is thus the responsibility of nurses to engage in comprehensive health assessment to understand their patients well (Jones).
Having interest in nursing and maintaining self-awareness is another way to maintain clinical leadership (Jones). Therefore, nurses need to enjoy their work and also be aware of the extents that they can go to offer care to patients. This is because in times of crisis, it pays to have a coping strategy already in place. This will make their nursing career a fulfilling one (jones).
The dynamism of technologies associated with nursing is also a challenge that should be taken up by clinical leadership. Nurses therefore need to continually update their skills to be able to offer new treatment, medications and use new equipment in treating patients (jones).
Management and leadership skills are an important asset in the nursing career (jones). This is because nurses are sometimes the leaders in ensuring that health outcomes are met, and also in ensuring that the clinical system is efficient.