This article aims to talk about the various leadership styles, in the healthcare and nursing setting and the effects it will have on staff retention, especially nurses. When we look at nurses and their supply, we find that there exists an inequality in the supply and demand where the supply is less and the demand is more. When the majority of nurses who are practicing currently are above the age of 50, the replacement factor for nurses showed that there will be an increase in the number of people needing healthcare in comparison to the supply of nurses required as the primary healthcare giver (Cottingham et al., 2011). This shortage outlines the importance of retention of staff nurses instead of losing them to job dissatisfaction. Therefore, there is a need to propose leadership styles and strategies to help increase their retention (Cowden & Cummings, 2012). A positive leadership style and positive work environment will help in increasing nurse retention and add more stability to the environment of work in the hospital.
The healthcare sector is undergoing exponential changes currently and growing by leaps and bounds. It is becoming more complicated, as more and more commercial hospitals have emerged with an increase in disease burden and chronically ill population, especially the older population when we look at it in the context of Australia. This has led to an increase in demand and a reduction in available beds and more chaos in the hospitals (Wong, 2015). It has led to changes being incorporated at the level of the professional care being provided to the patients and the quality of care as well. More professional and commercialized models of provision of healthcare are coming up where more managerial roles and more financial efficiency is being focused upon (Cummings et al., 2018). A more business model kind of approach is being propagated in return of more professional and increased quality of care being provided to the patients.
Although this more professional model sounds promising, it has led to a lot of staff attrition and redistribution especially nurses, associated with increasing waiting times and shorter stays in the hospitals (Wong 2015). It has resulted in a shortage and loss of staff and also increased the costs of healthcare for people. It requires the nurse managers and leaders to create a balance and help retain the staff and improve staff outcomes while maintaining the financial efficiency and quality of care as well (Asamani et al., 2016). Because of the importance of nursing as a primary care point for patients, and the challenges in the profession, important, significant and inspirational models and leaders are required to help develop future leaders and improve staff outcomes and retention. There is a discussion around which leadership style or a combination of which styles should the nurses in managerial and leadership roles focus upon to help in the overall wellbeing of their establishment and the staff nurses as well (Scully, 2015).
The various styles of leadership exhibited by the managerial nurses are responsible for the retention of nurses after they are recruited. It helps them decide whether they want to stay on their current post or not, their idea of seeking employment elsewhere, changing their job, seeking a transfer or shifting completely outside the profession. A credible relationship between effective leadership styles and retention of the staff nurses in hospitals has been established by researchers (Duffield at al., 2011). Studies have shown that effective leadership styles have directly contributed to increasing job satisfaction in the nurses and helped improve their retention as well. The most commonly perceived leadership style by nurse managers includes – transactional and transformational style (Al Yami et al., 2018). The transformational leadership style includes motivating the nurses to perform better and help increase the ownership they feel towards their job. It helps in mobilizing the nurses and the staff to improve their performance and keep them motivated to improve as well. This leadership style could be an important factor in improving and causing staff retention; a study found that the nursing leaders who demonstrated transformational leadership helped increase staff retention as well (Casida & Parker, 2011).
The retention of staff is the basics of any organization; which is associated with a lot of factors especially the environment and the opportunities they are provided and their well-being as well (Wong, 2015). A finding showed an important correlation between the job satisfaction of the staff and their empowerment, also suggesting that an effective work environment is important for the retention of the staff. A significant relationship between effective leadership styles such as transformational and the ability to retain staff has been seen associated with an enabling and healthy work environment, also relating to increased job satisfaction, improved staff expertise, and staff empowerment. It also leads to improved attendance at work, commitment towards their organization, and decreased job stress as well (Boamah et al., 2018).
The article highlights the importance of how leadership significantly impacts staff retention and helps improve their job satisfaction. Research available talks about how different leadership styles especially – transformational style of leadership in nursing is the most effective in improving the well-being and retention rates of the staff. Also, discussed is the changing healthcare sector and how the demand and supply of nurses and other staff are becoming imbalanced with expected demands to increase in the coming times, it is important to improve the existing work environment to promote job satisfaction and retention in the existing staff and help improve recruitment of new staff as well. Better and improved leaders with exceptional leadership skills, especially transformational skills are required to run the healthcare organizations to help improve and ensure better outcomes for the hospitals as well as the nurses. While the transformational approach has been considered one of the most effective strategies, all types of effective and motivational leadership styles help in improving the work environment and ensure a workforce of nurses and staff who are motivated to work and are satisfied with their job.
Al‐Yami, M., Galdas, P., & Watson, R. (2018). Leadership style and organisational commitment among nursing staff in Saudi Arabia. Journal of Nursing Management, 26(5), 531-539.
Asamani, J. A., Naab, F., Ofei, A. M. A., & Addo, R. (2016). Do leadership styles influence productivity?. British Journal of Healthcare Management, 22(2), 83-91.
Bawafaa, E., Wong, C. A., & Laschinger, H. (2015). The influence of resonant leadership on the structural empowerment and job satisfaction of registered nurses. Journal of Research in Nursing, 20(7), 610-622.
Boamah, S. A., Laschinger, H. K. S., Wong, C., & Clarke, S. (2018). Effect of transformational leadership on job satisfaction and patient safety outcomes. Nursing Outlook, 66(2), 180-189.
Casida, J., & Parker, J. (2011). Staff nurse perceptions of nurse manager leadership styles and outcomes. Journal of Nursing Management, 19(4), 478-486.
Cottingham, S., Dibartolo, M., Battistoni, S., & Brown, T. (2011). Partners in nursing: a mentoring initiative to enhance nurse retention. Nursing Education Perspectives (National League for Nursing), 32(4).
Cowden, T. L., & Cummings, G. G. (2012). Nursing theory and concept development: a theoretical model of clinical nurses’ intentions to stay in their current positions. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(7), 1646-1657.
Cummings, G. G., Tate, K., Lee, S., Wong, C. A., Paananen, T., Micaroni, S. P., & Chatterjee, G. E. (2018). Leadership styles and outcome patterns for the nursing workforce and work environment: A systematic review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 85, 19-60.
Duffield, C. M., Roche, M. A., Blay, N., & Stasa, H. (2011). Nursing unit managers, staff retention and the work environment. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20(1‐2), 23-33.
Scully, N. J. (2015). Leadership in nursing: The importance of recognising inherent values and attributes to secure a positive future for the profession. Collegian, 22(4), 439-444.
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