In this chapter, the responsibilities of a nurse manager and leader are examined and identified through various lenses. A nurse manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a workplace in addition to providing inspiration and direction to other nurses and health care professionals. Nurses, including nurse managers, may find themselves in workplace moral and ethical distress. The CNA Code of Ethics is a valuable resource to support nurse managers in demonstrating ethical leadership in situations related to safe nurse staffing, medical assistance in dying (MAID), and environmental health. Numerous resources and networking opportunities exist across Canada to support nursing leadership development. Nurse leaders— in particular nurse managers—play a key role in the immediate lives of nurses, as well as in the health care system and the health of Canadians.
Some key takeaways from this chapter include:
- Know your own personal, professional, and organizational values.
- The application of personal and professional values is particularly relevant in the practice of empowering, collaborative leadership styles, such as transformational leadership (see Kouzes and Posner, 2012) and authentic leadership.
- Nursing leadership is “about innovative and visionary administrators…who understand and hold themselves accountable for creating vibrant, exciting practice settings in which nurses can deliver safe, accessible, timely and high-quality care for the Canadians they serve” (CNA, 2009a, p.1).
- Nurse managers are in a key position to influence the professional practice of staff nurses through the creation of professional practice environments.
- While nurse managers must develop strong organizational and management skills, effective leadership skills are needed to navigate today’s challenging work environments confronted with human, fiscal, time, and other resource constraints.
After completing this chapter, you should now be able to:
- Recognize the role of nurse leaders, in particular, nurse managers.
- Integrate the role of the professional nurse into the role of the nurse leader or manager.
- Illustrate the importance of examining personal, professional, and organizational values in nursing practice.
- Describe how the CNA’s Code of Ethics can be used in your nursing practice to deal with environmental threats.
- Linda is a nurse manager on a critical care unit. It has been brought to her attention that it is common practice for the nurses working on the night shift to sleep in the visitors’ lounge. Linda is planning to discuss this with the nursing staff. What elements of the CNA Code of Ethics could Linda apply to inform her discussion with the nurses?
- Define a clinical or management issue that requires action. Assume that you have six weeks to make a difference. Create a high-level plan that demonstrates effective leadership.
- How is data, information, and research to inform management decision making?
- As a nurse manager, you have a small group of staff nurses with a keen interest in diabetes care who offer to revise the diabetic foot care policies and procedures. What actions might you take to empower these nurses?
- A diabetic client, living on a ranch in rural Saskatchewan, has a leg ulcer that appears to be infected. The local physician has advised her to wash the ulcer with Sunlight soap every day to dry out the exudate. You have just made a home visit to the client and you know that this treatment is not best practice for wound care. What are your next steps? Describe how your next steps fall within the professional boundaries of authorized registered nursing practice.
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