Leadership is an integral part of the healthcare sector, ensuring that the medical staff performs their duties like clockwork. Unlike most industries, the healthcare industry cannot slack when it comes to productivity. A delay in treatment, incorrect diagnosis, or improper medication can be fatal for patients. Therefore, leading with purpose is essential for hospitals.
Nurses are the cornerstone of a robust healthcare system. These professionals work near patients much more frequently than doctors. A nurse is responsible for a patient's well-being from the minute they get admitted to the moment they get discharged. However, nurses can only perform their job when they know what to do. So as a leader in the healthcare sector, your position is pivotal in ensuring nursing teams care for patients without missing a beat. To help you maintain the hierarchical ladder. Here's what you need to do:
1. Understand The Type Of Leader You Are
There are many ways you can lead nurses, but it's important to know what kind of leader you are. This allows you to align with your role naturally without feeling you're forcing yourself to follow a methodology that doesn't speak to you. So when it comes to team nursing, take some time to evaluate what style defines you as a leader.
Do you enjoy dictating what nurses should do with minimal input from their end? Are you more interested in nurses partaking in the decision-making process? Perhaps you want to encourage your staff and advise them to be as autonomous as possible when treating patients. To learn about yourself as a leader, practice different leadership styles, and gauge which methods make you feel like you're driving change.
2. Establish Effective Communication
Hospitals are generally busy. At one time, numerous departments are at work to provide optimal patient care. While having detailed conversations is not possible, you should still squeeze in some time to talk to your nursing team. Communication includes informing each nurse of the tasks they need to handle per day. Ensure you provide details on what goes into the electronic health chart and how to abbreviate long terms. If the patient has any rare condition or skin disease, you need to add it to the conversation.
When nurses are performing their duties, make sure you're available. For example, you may need to provide lab reports, get approval for carrying out tests, or inform your colleague to speak to a patient's family member. If you can't deliver these instructions or resources in person, use HIPAA-compliant web messaging applications such as TigerConnect, Halo Health, and Spok to exchange information safely and efficiently.
3. Don't Guilt Trip
Working in the healthcare industry can be stressful. Even with all the safety measures in place, your colleagues or nurses you're mentoring can mess up. While medical errors are a risky business, you shouldn't lose your temper with your team. Instead, analyze the situation and determine where they went wrong and how extensive the damage is. Minor medical errors which don't impact the patient are excusable. These can include something like applying slightly more ointment than necessary on the patient's skin.
So if a nurse makes a minor mistake, make sure you encourage and instruct the nurse on what they can do to avoid future errors. However, severe medical errors may need more than your friendly and empowering words. Even if a nurse accidentally causes massive damage, you shouldn't guilt-trip but investigate what caused the error and whether it is salvageable? And what are the chances of the hospital getting sued? If the situation is dire, talk to the nurse and make them understand the consequences of their action.
Your job is not to shame but to guide the nurse on what they can do and how it will impact their career. Your mentorship will reflect positively on nurses. They'll turn to you for help and guidance if they commit an error instead of hiding their mistakes. Making sure you're educating on medical errors can help you save the integrity of your healthcare structure.
4. Encourage Feedback
Feedback helps you learn what part of the healthcare sector needs tightening. For instance, the lack of technology makes it harder to streamline patient care and increases the amount of manual work a nurse has to do. Maybe you don't have enough bilingual nurses. It can get challenging communicating with patients who don't speak their native tongue fluently.
On the other hand, if nurses can perform their job perfectly, find out why. Maybe the established protocols are easy to follow and help nurses map outpatient care. Ask patients to provide feedback, including if they're happy with their treatment. You may even ask for recommendations on what else can get integrated into the healthcare sector to provide adequate care.
5. Divide The Workload
Without proper management, the workload gets divided haphazardly. One nurse may shoulder the bulk of responsibilities while the rest may get minimal work to deal with. This unfair division of labor can disrupt the healthcare system. A nurse doing all the grunt work may burn out, get frustrated and start making mistakes in an attempt to finish all the work on time. Therefore, nurses under your care should get an equal workload with adequate breaks in between. If you can also lend a hand and bring down the number of daily tasks to a manageable level, go for it. This can include dealing with administrative work such as updating patient records.
Dividing the workload requires some critical thinking on your end. First, consider the average number of cases your team has to handle. Once you know the amount, divide the cases according to experience and expertise. The DNP on your team should get highly specialized cases such as looking after a geriatric patient or helping a patient through delivery. At the same time, those with a BSN should get relatively more straightforward cases that involve supervision. Make sure you inform them about the doctor they have to work with. If there are too many cases in a day with more patients requiring specialized care, get more DNPs to help out. With this good division, patients will flourish under your care.
Every sector needs effective leadership to ensure all components are working synchronously. The healthcare sector is the same. Nurses are an integral part of patient care. However, with numerous tasks to do in a day, these healthcare professionals need help with balancing their work. As a nursing leader, you can bridge the gap between patients and nurses by exhibiting your role as a mentor. Start by finding your style as a leader and follow a technique that makes the most sense to you.
Communication cannot get swept aside, and you should strive to establish effective channels through which you can speak with your team while minimizing ambiguities. For example, if a nurse makes a mistake while looking after a patient, investigate the degree of neglect and take action accordingly. Finally, don't forget to delegate the work between all your nursing professionals by using their experience as a set benchmark.