Dynamics of Nursing

Historically strong management skills have been valued more highly than strong leadership skills in the healthcare industry. However, the current healthcare policy context sets a clear agenda for nurse leadership, an agenda that is endorsed by other strategic documents relating to nurse education, employment and development. The delivery of this radical change agenda will require first class leaders at all levels of the national health service (Department of Health 2000).
        The required qualities of the new nurse leader will be personal, with motivation, self-awareness and social skill being important assets (Department of Health 1999). Every nurse must develop the attitudes, the motivation and the skills to be a leader at any level. As nurses are licensed to care for and protect the public, it is essential that these skills are possessed by every nurse and that every nurse act and take the lead.
        Leadership can be distinguished from management, management involves leadership skills but also includes other aspects such as planning, organising, staffing and controlling.
        Rumbold (1995, p.4) defined leadership as
        ‘A dynamic process in a group whereby one individual influences others
to contribute voluntarily to the achievement of group tasks in a given situation.’
        Gardner (1990, in Marquis and Huston 1997, p.12) defined leadership as
        ‘The process of persuasion and example by which an individual induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader or his or her followers.’
        Robbins (1991, in Marquis and Huston 1997, p12) concurs, stating ‘leadership is the process of empowering beliefs and teaching others to tap their full capabilities by shifting beliefs that have been limiting them.’
        Knowing who you are state Prestwood and Schumann (1997, in Bowers 2000, p68) is the beginning of the journey to becoming a leader.
        ‘We must understand what we know and what we don’t know about...