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The aim of this study is to evaluate the importance of working in partnership with users, carers and families in health care practice. It is imperative to note that healthcare policy and professional guidelines promote carer and patient involvement that includes partnering with service users in different aspects of their healthcare services, education and research. Healthcare systems today are faced with numerous serious challenges. Healthcare funding is one overriding issue. Other challenges include enhancing health literacy, overcoming inequality in healthcare access, satisfying the needs of an increasing older population, a rising number of individuals living with acute and chronic illnesses, improving the safety of patients, dealing with workforce shortages, and making sure that appropriate technology is used. To get the best patient outcomes, there is an increasing demand for and a growing awareness to actively engage families, patients and caregivers in decisions concerning the healthcare services to be offered. There is an increasing awareness in healthcare systems to allow these individuals to have access to the right information and to receive support to achieve the best care outcome (Baillie, 2016).
There are issues which are definitely not amenable through quick fixes. Additionally, these challenges are usually interrelated. Dealing with one problem necessitates tackling or confronting the others. Consequently, many professionals now agree that healthcare systems must be redesigned fully and due to the complexity and extent of these challenges, a collaborative effort must be achieved between all stakeholders. This collaboration takes place at many levels including involving the patient, their carers and family, healthcare administrators, policymakers and healthcare professionals. Sometimes, this collaborative effort requires the input of government agencies and third-party-payers. This shows the magnitude of involving carers, the family and individual patients in deciding for the best care services which are in their best interest and can produce the desired outcome. This makes the collaborative approach an important model to follow to easily and quickly deal with these challenges and provide quality care to their patients (Mollan et al., 2019).
The theoretical principles related to leadership and management
In today’s contemporary clinical settings, excellent clinical leadership leads to top quality care systems which consistently provide efficient and safe care. It is critical, therefore, for healthcare experts to identify appropriate leadership theories and styles which are relevant to their practice. Being competent or adept in identifying or recognizing these theories and styles can enable healthcare professionals to improve their leadership skills to be better leaders and also improve their relationship with their colleagues, patients and other leaders who have been difficult or challenging to team up with. According to Sammut and Scicluna (2020), different leadership styles are required for different circumstances or situations. These authors opine that leaders must know the right approach which is effective in a particular scenario to reach the desired outcome.
Sammut and Scicluna (2020) note that many modern healthcare systems are confronted by an always changing patient demands and expectations, financial constraints, rising demand for participation and access to information and care, the need to enhance or put in place patient-centred care, and challenges concerning the level of safety and quality of care offered in hospitals (Sammut and Scicluna, 2020). It is important to have effective governance to maximize the efficient and effective care management in hospitals. Leadership plays a big role in clinical settings to overcome these challenges, especially when adopting a model where high level of collaboration or partnering with the patient, their carer or family is needed. The invaluable nature of effective and efficient clinical leadership to achieve top-quality healthcare systems which provide efficient and safe care is reiterated by many healthcare professionals and researchers. According to Cope and Murray (2017), leadership entails a process of impacting or influencing other people to agree with and understand what should be done and how it should be done, as well as facilitating collective and individual efforts to fulfil common objectives (Cope and Murray, 2017). This statement highlights how leadership is important as a management function and a means to maximize efficiency and reach organizational goals. Within clinical settings, good clinical leadership has been identified to be a crucial element which leads to a healthy workplace and quality care. There are several leadership theories which can be used in clinical settings, especially when dealing with situations which require collaboration with different stakeholders like patients, carers and family members in deciding which way forward is the best in providing a holistic and patient-centred care (Cope and Murray, 2017).
The principle of transformational leadership started with a leadership expert known as James MacGregor Burns. This individual’s first view of transformational leadership was the belief there is a connection between a leader and his or her follower, a relationship in which they motivate one another to better heights, leading to value system congruence between the follower and their leader (Masood and Afsar, 2017). Burn’s original ideas and views were later extended by an individual known as Bernard M. Bass. This latter individual was of the notion that a strong personality and vision are key traits seen in individuals using transformational leadership styles. According to Bass, transformational leaders motivate followers to change their aspirations, opinions and expectations to achieve a common gaol. Moreover, transformational leaders can create intellectual stimulation, show strong motivation, can create an ideal impact and show personal consideration (Masood and Afsar, 2017). Evidence suggests that transformational leaders influences their followers’ satisfaction and increases their commitment to their company or organisation. Because of its influence on institutional and individual outcomes, transformational leadership style is usually applicable in almost all organisational settings. It is of great value and is applicable to different scenarios. The theory of transformational leadership is particularly focused on implementing change in an organisation or a work environment. Leaders who use this leadership style are usually seen as agents of change who can use their personalities and qualities to motivate others in a team to work towards sharing a vision and achieving one goal by empowering them. Transformational leaders often have the ability to influence their followers by inspiring and encouraging them to meet their organisation’s gals (Masood and Afsar, 2017).
First, the leaders usually create a connection or relationship of trust with the followers. Trust is often established through honesty, being fair and open with other staff members and motivating them to be independent decision-makers. Transformational leaders are also effective at communicating. They use their excellent skills of communication to inspire their followers to follow them and to achieve the ultimate goals. These leaders possess immense self-confidence, have courage and believe in their missions, visions and ability to achieve their set goals (Boamah et al., 2018).
My experience in clinical settings has shown me how important it is to gain the trust of other colleagues and patients. My time in a clinical setting during my first placement happened when the hospital was redesigning its system to increase collaboration with patients, carers and family in care. This was a change process that required the input of all stakeholders and less resistance from healthcare workers. The nurse in charge of the emergency department demonstrated her transformational leadership abilities by constantly communicating these changes to all of us health workers, patients and attending family members in the department. Her management abilities inspired us to follow her. Thanks to her transformational leadership and change management skills, it became easy to involve all stakeholders in the process of deciding the best care for patients to provide patient-centred and holistic care services to achieve improved health outcomes.
This theory can also be applied in different scenarios which require good leadership. This form of leadership is also referred to as democratic leadership and is a model in which all members of a team take part in the process of decision-making. Therefore, followers to a leader feel engaged in the process of management and get committed to the common goal. Followers are also motivated to work more efficiently as part of a team. Kurt Lewin, a behavioural scientist in the 1930s, carried out various studies and identified the importance of participative leadership in companies (Xu, 2017). Based on his research, this individual found that democratic leadership was very popular among lower employees or subordinates in business and different organisational settings. According to Xu (2017), this leadership model is common in company or corporate settings like in hospitals, companies, universities and pharmaceutical firms. Based on this style, leaders are facilitators and not dictators and they work by facilitating ideas and sharing information with the aim of reaching a common goal or decision. Evidence suggests that nurses that engage in democratic leadership are likely to carry out individual responsibilities and team functions (Xu, 2017).
Based on this leadership style, a leader engages all followers in the process of decision-making by consulting them, while still in control. Following the guidelines of democratic or participative leadership, the leader first diagnoses the decision situations that includes assessing the relevance or importance of the needed decision. The leader then identifies individuals with appropriate or relevant knowledge. Next, the leader assesses whether holding a meeting is feasible. Secondly, the leader inspires participation by encouraging team members to air their concerns, describing the suggested proposal only as a tentative plan. Through this participation, different ways which can help build on the leaders suggestions and ideas are determined. The leader then shows appreciations for the team members’ suggestions (Xu, 2017).
I also witnessed participative leadership in the hospital where I undertook my placement. The hospital’s leaders often consulted with their colleagues, including junior employees about how best to improve the care offered to patients. I was really inspired when I got the opportunity to make contribution about an Emergency situation on whether to involve a family member in deciding the best way forward in treating a loved one. My opinion was part of the final decision and through this participation, I felt appreciated even as a junior staff.
This kind of leadership model is based on creating clear goals and objectives for followers. It is also based on the use of punishment and rewards to encourage compliance to set rules or desired way of working and to motivate team members or followers to work towards reaching or fulfilling a common goal (Pishgooie et al., 2019). In this model of leadership, leaders and subordinates enter a deal or contract where leaders offer positive rewards like health benefits, time off, bonuses or pay-checks to motivate them to complete certain tasks. If assignments are not met fully according to the senior’s or leader’s expectations, negative rewards like using threats of loss of employment may be used. In transactional leadership, expectations and roles are clearly described for followers by leaders. According to Pishgooie et al. (2019), this style of leadership ensures that a desired culture is maintained and that the behavioural norms and rules are strictly followed.
The hospital where I was attached also had a clear set of rules which every health worker was expected to adhere to regardless of one’s position. Those who behaved and carried themselves in the hospital based on the set codes or standards of behaviour and performed their duties excellently were rewarded with time off and bonuses. However, for those who failed to adhere to these rules, for instance, taking naps during night shifts or arriving to work late, appropriate punishments were given. From my observation, these rules ensured that everyone staid focused at work and maintained the professionalism required in the healthcare work environment.
My experiences from formative group activities
During the course module, were undertook different formative group work activities demonstrated the importance of team working in healthcare. One of these activities which symptoms role-play during which I acted as a patient while one of my classmates role-played as a nurse. The student acting as a nurse quickly assessed me as she tried to make a diagnosis of my symptoms as I told her how bad I felt in my chest. The nurse in the act asked me to write down my symptoms on a card while other students took turns to ask me questions concerning my symptoms. The team later brainstormed and made conclusions concerning the type of disease they came up with. The role-play made it possible for all members of the team to learn about different diseases and the associated symptoms. Am Seo, Yoon and Kim (2019) note that role play is a good learning activity for a team of students, especially in learning how to master disease symptoms and make the correct diagnosis because nurses are required to use their skills and knowledge to diagnose illnesses quickly to allow doctors to make quick assessments and provide the correct treatment. This activity required a team effort and corporation. As the team leader, I was required to inspire and motivate my team members to take part in this activity. I was required to use excellent communication skills and fair leadership to allow everyone’s opinions to be heard and to be in control of the group to ensure that all activities ran smoothly.
My learning in relation to key principles of team working and group processes
During the role-play activities, I learned some key principles of team working and group processes. I learned that successful group processes and team working require the group to develop a strong relationship. Successful groups and teamwork also need the group leader and the rest of other members to create common goals. Additionally, every member should have an opportunity to give their ideas and given the time to meet the group’s expectations and their own goals. They should also have the chance to experiencing growth and learning from the team. I learned the importance of successful teams developing strong relationships through defined roles, proactive and clear communications and accountability, and the importance of shared leadership between members, frequent and frank critique, as well as the need for maintaining diversity to get members with different ideas and opinions and unique problem solving abilities. As Levi (2020) notes, it is important to have effective social associations or relations in a team through even distribution of workload, respecting and listening to other member’s input and involving everyone in the decision-making process as these creates a strong bond between members who can then work towards achieving a common objective. This is particularly important in healthcare settings because everyone’s input is necessary to achieve improved patient outcomes. Family members, the patient and other carers, nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, when working as a team based on these principles, can reach the desired treatment outcomes as a single unit compared to when everyone works alone and there is miscommunication.
The leadership knowledge and team working skills I have gain from this module will help in my future career as a registered nurse. It is evident that nurses act as bridges between hospitals, patients and doctors and it is crucial for the hospital environment to have a culture of collaboration and teamwork for this bridge to be established. My coordination and teamwork skills will help reduce adverse incidences of errors in understanding individual professional roles and communication. I will use my skills to achieve successful collaboration and teamwork between different professionals, departments and stakeholders in the hospital setting to ensure that everyone works towards a common goal of improving the health of our patients. To achieve these, my learning in this module has equipped me with the necessary collaborative and teamwork principles which will come in handy at the workplace. For instance, I will use my knowledge and skills to create team goals. Setting team goals will provide my team members with focused objectives which can help enhance unity and offer room for feedback. This will result in a united team and a concerted effort.
My team working abilities acquired from this module will help in future in assigning team roles. Nursing involves teamwork both in one’s own team, as well as across different departments. It is important to understand the key roles in the team to reach greater collaboration. This understanding, together with my leadership and team work abilities will make it easier to create clear roles and assign my team members specific tasks to avoid duplicating efforts. This module has built my communication skills. Since nurses are needed to interact with different individuals, from practitioners to patients, they are required to sharpen their listening and communication skills in general. I will use these skills to provide suggestions, to organize shift changes, provide critical information needed by patients and doctors to make assessment and provide appropriate treatment.
One of things that I have learned during different formative activities and teamwork is mutual respect among colleagues. I will use my experience from these activities to promote respect among my colleagues in clinical settings within my team and in other collaborative departments. This will lead to an engaged and much focused team who acknowledge each other’s efforts and input. Additionally, I will use my conflict resolution skills to effectively solve conflicts in the workplace. Through active listening and open communication, I show concern and encourage my team members to engage in productive resolution of conflicts at earl stages through compromise, accommodation, competition and collaboration while maintaining open listening and respect. Lastly, I will be an efficient and effective leader. As a specialized nurse professional, I will assume different leadership roles and take charge of collaborative efforts and teamwork. My acquired leadership skills has made me ready to adopt to unique circumstances at the workplace based on the needs of the hospital, patient care objectives and goals and the needs of my team.
I have learned the importance of inter-professional collaboration in healthcare. Inter-professional collaboration can reduce medical errors through the sharing of responsibilities and information between teams. Sharing duties and knowledge within the medical fraternity also enhances patient outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. It also saves costs and raises job satisfaction in medical caregivers. For instance, a paediatrician can work with other medical professionals to coordinate and address a patient’s needs. For instance, this professional can work with a nutritionist to create a suitable meal plan for the patient. The paediatrician can also corporate with a social worker to ensure that all the required items are transported. Lastly, the professional can work with a translation services expert to elaborate or explain care to family members and other carers of the patient. This collaboration works to improve a patient’s health outcome which also works to raise the performance of the hospital in terms of excellent patient care and the bottom line (Gougeon, Johnson and Morse, 2017).
Am Seo, Y., Yoon, S. and Kim, Y.A., 2019. The effects of domestic nursing practical education using role-play: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Korean Data & Information Science Society, 30(2), pp.309-321.
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Boamah, S.A., Laschinger, H.K.S., Wong, C. and Clarke, S., 2018. Effect of transformational leadership on job satisfaction and patient safety outcomes. Nursing outlook, 66(2), pp.180-189.
Cope, V. and Murray, M., 2017. Leadership styles in nursing. Nursing Standard, 31(43).
Gougeon, L., Johnson, J. and Morse, H., 2017. Interprofessional collaboration in health care teams for the maintenance of community-dwelling seniors' health and well-being in Canada: a systematic review of trials. Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice, 7, pp.29-37.
Levi, D. and Askay, D.A., 2020. Group dynamics for teams. Sage Publications.
Mollan, S., Hemmings, K., Herd, C.P., Denton, A., Williamson, S. and Sinclair, A.J., 2019. What are the research priorities for idiopathic intracranial hypertension? A priority setting partnership between patients and healthcare professionals. BMJ open, 9(3), p.e026573.
Masood, M. and Afsar, B., 2017. Transformational leadership and innovative work behaviour among nursing staff. Nursing inquiry, 24(4), p.e12188.
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Sammut, R. and Scicluna, A., 2020. Nurses’ and nurse managers’ perceived transformational leadership behavioural practices: a survey. Leadership in Health Services.
Xu, J.H., 2017. Leadership theory in clinical practice. Chinese Nursing Research, 4(4), pp.155-157.
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