|Type of paper:||Literature review|
|Categories:||Nursing care Communication skills Leadership development Emotional intelligence|
The increased emphasis on continuous improvement of nursing healthcare service delivery has seen a growing body of research on the role of effective nursing leadership in enhancing quality, safety, and accessibility of nursing care to service users while protecting the interests of care providers. The key responsibility of nursing leaders includes positively influencing nursing service providers, mainly through advocacy, towards providing high quality, and safe nursing care that adequately meets established professional, ethical, and legal care standards (McCay, et al., 2018). The nursing leadership responsibility towards effective nursing staff management includes facilitating the acquisition and retention of high performing practitioners, promoting staff professional growth and development, and advocating for favorable working terms and conditions. Nursing leadership competencies include effective communication, socializing, conflict resolution and motivational skills, personal reflection skills, and being visionary (Anonson, et al., 2014). Emotional intelligence refers to the ability of an individual to effectively recognize, understand and control own and other peoples' emotions through proper management of individual thought processes and subsequent actions towards establishing effective interpersonal relationships (Chen & Chen, 2018). The recent body of research suggests a justifiable positive relationship between nursing leadership success and individual nurse leader's level of emotional intelligence. This paper evaluates the justifiable relationship between effective nursing leadership and nurse leaders' emotional intelligence application in practice based on current research evidence from research studies and expert opinion.
Literature Review on Nursing Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
Literature review involved obtaining and systematic evaluation of 30 peer-reviewed journal articles from reliable educational scholarly internet databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and CINAHL. It involved online searching the databases using keywords regarding the topic under study and screening them against content relevance and publication date. Thirty reliable, relevant, and current peer-reviewed journal articles were selected for the study.
Effective Nursing Leadership Concepts
The nurse leaders' perception for effective nursing leadership revolves around the ability of individual nurse leader and in collaboration with other relevant healthcare stakeholders to effectively influence and support nursing care service providers to deliver high quality, safe, and accessible nursing care service that adequately meets the patient's care needs, values, and preferences (Anonson, et al., 2014). Effective nursing leadership also involves the nurse leader's ability to advocate, and effective support for essential nursing service providers' work-related interests that enhances staff satisfaction with their job and patient delivered care. According to Prezerakos (2018), effective nursing leadership involves ensuring nursing care providers delivers care that adequately meets established professional, ethical, and legal nursing care standards. The effective nursing leadership should also ensure that nursing practitioners provide nursing care aligned to current evidence-based effective care approaches such as patient-centered and evidence-based care concepts (Spear, 2015). Anonson, et al., (2014) suggests that the effective undertaking of these responsibilities requires the nurse leaders to possess, adapt, and apply essential leadership skills such as advocacy, communication, motivational, supervisory, and change management skills (Squires et al., 2010).
Concepts of Emotional Intelligence
Codier (2011) describes the various concepts of emotional intelligence based on Daniel Goleman's model which include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. Self-awareness refers to an individual's ability to recognize and understand own feelings, moods, and their likely impact on other people in a given situation. Self-awareness individual competencies include the ability for self-confidence, objective self-assessment, and positive self-criticism in evaluating own feelings (Heckemann et al., 2015). Self-regulation refers to individual's ability to control disruptive feelings and emotional impulses by redirecting thought processes towards a more useful and productive way that produce appropriate action that best suits the current situation (Abraham & Scaria, 2017). Self-regulation depends on an individual's self-control, integrity, tolerance, and readiness for change. Self-motivation as a concept of emotional intelligence refers to an individual's inherent inclination to persistently pursue and accomplish set goals driven by anticipated favorable outcomes (Codier, 2011). The concept of empathy describes an individual's ability to recognize and understand other people's emotions and expected reactions to inform appropriate response and possible ways of effecting positive influence (Abraham & Scaria, 2017). Social skills refer to an individual's ability to establish, manage, and develop interpersonal relationships that form the basis for collaborative efforts in decision making.
Implications of Emotional Intelligence on Effective Nursing Leadership
Nurse leader's level of emotional intelligence and individual drive to develop and apply emotional intelligence competencies in undertaking nursing leadership roles and responsibilities significantly influence the overall nursing leadership outcomes. Akerjordet & Severinsson (2010) research study findings indicate that nurses working under emotionally intelligent nurse managers reported greater team collaboration, high job satisfaction, and greater ability to effectively deliver quality nursing care. Self-awareness emotional intelligence competency skill enables a nurse leader to recognize and understand own feelings and their possible impacts on their nurse staff through objective personal emotional assessment (Coladonato & Manning, 2017). The initial personal assessment of own emotions allows nurse leaders to device appropriate ways of expressing their feelings to their nursing staff when providing directions, communicating key decisions, and undertaking supervisory duties in a way that promotes positive reactions (Cope & Murray, 2017). The nurse leader's ability to influence positive response from the nurse staff regarding various aspects of care delivery enhances their confidence and capacity to influence the staff to continually adopt effective nursing practice interventions that facilitate the delivery of high quality and safe nursing care (Wallis & Kennedy, 2013). Spano-Szekely et al. (2016) emphasize on the importance of developing self-awareness among nurse leaders in understanding own emotional strengths and weaknesses and predicting their impact on nursing staff when advocating for a change in nursing care provision approach. A nurse leader's objective assessment of own emotional strengths and weaknesses and their likely impact on their nursing staff inform the appropriate approach to enact proposed change through effective transformation leadership in nursing care delivery (Powell et al., 2015). It promotes the nurse leaders' ability to effectively influence change among their nursing staff towards a more effective evidence-based nursing care practice approach.
Self-regulation emotional intelligence competence skill enables a nurse leader to effectively control negative emotional impulses, exercise tolerance to opposing ideas and readiness to accommodate change when dealing with emerging controversial issues among the nurse staff (Yekta & Abdolrahimi, 2015). The nurse leaders' ability to redirect negative emotions and channeling them towards more useful and productive ways when dealing with their nurse staff enables them to avoid unnecessary interpersonal conflict (Feather, 2009). The prevention of unnecessary interpersonal conflicts between nurse managers and the nurse staff promotes effective teamwork that facilitate individual nurse's commitment towards collective efforts in achieving shared goals and objectives thereby enhancing overall nursing team performance (Bennett & Sawatzky, 2013).
Spano-Szekely et al. (2016) research study findings suggested that emotionally intelligent nursing managers demonstrated focused motivation towards accomplishing preset effective nursing care delivery goals and objectives through their leadership activities regardless of presenting challenges. Emotionally intelligent nursing leaders' inherent motivation to accomplish set nursing care delivery goals by positively and persistently influencing the nursing staff to work effectively towards their vision, inspires the nursing staff's commitment to the clearly communicated care delivery goals and objectives (Echevarria et al., 2017). Wang et al., (2018) suggests that emotionally intelligent nurse leaders recognize their critical role in motivating the nursing staff through continuous advocacy and creation of supportive working environment towards accomplishing favorable nursing care outcomes for all service users. A highly motivated nursing staff demonstrates high job satisfaction evidenced by individual commitment, resilience, and self-drive in nursing care services provided thereby facilitating reduced work burnout among nursing managers associated with micro-managing poorly motivated staff (Johnson & Smith, 2018). The motivational impact of emotionally intelligent nursing leaders on the nursing staff also facilitates the significant reduction of nurses' turnover due to achieved job satisfaction thereby enabling retention of a high performing nursing workforce.
Emotionally intelligent nurse leaders also exercise empathy with their nursing staff through establishing a strong interpersonal relationship based on effective communication channels that facilitates the exchange of ideas and open sharing of opinions in a non-threatening environment (Crowne et al., 2017). Nursing leaders' exercise of empathy with their nursing staff helps bridge perceived power distance between the nurse leaders and their staff which enhances information exchange through open communication. The established effective communication between the nurse leaders and their staff helps nurse managers recognize and understand the individual nurse staff's emotions regarding a given issue of concern (Miao et al., 2016). The nurse managers' effective integration of the recognized nurses' emotions in decision making regarding a nursing care delivery issue inspires greater acceptance of the decision made thereby promoting effective implementation (Foltin & Keller, 2012). The exercise of empathy among emotional intelligent nurse leaders enables them to establish individual and collective nurses' underlying empowerment needs and preference regarding career development (Lucas et al., 2008). The established nursing staff's empowerment needs and preferences inform the nurse managers' decision making regarding preferable managerial support for the nursing staff's career development that provides the opportunity for career growth, and improved performance necessary for job satisfaction (Trivellas et al., 2011).
Emotionally intelligent nurse leaders possess and apply essential social skills that enable them to establish, manage, and develop effective and reliable relationships with their nursing staff and other nursing healthcare stakeholders (Tyczkowski et al., 2015).
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