The Impact of Authentic Leadership in Nursing Evidence-Based Practice

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Authentic Leadership in Nursing Evidence Based Practice
15.03.2021
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Abstract

Authentic leadership entails the validity of the people who lead others. The elements of authenticity involve the qualities possessed by the people who claim to be the leaders as they are servants of the people as opposed to bosses. This paper seeks to identify the impact of authenticity in nursing leadership on the implementation of evidence-based nursing practices. Firstly, the document will capture the role of leaders in mobilizing the nurses to forge a strong team that aims at implementing the nursing practices based on evidence. Secondly, the paper examines the role of authentic leaders in promoting nursing research, education as well as training to encourage the use of evidence. Lastly, the article also takes note of the role of leaders in evaluating and assessing the implementation and the outcome of evidence-based interventions. The paper thus seeks to examine the importance of leadership qualities in the nursing practice.

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Authentic leadership is an area of leadership research, and it seeks to establish the validity of leaders and the way they carry out their roles. The authenticity of leadership entails a person’s self-regulation, self-knowledge, and self-concept. The leadership lies in conviction, and the individual must depict genuine leadership that does not mimic others but instead utilizes their own encounters which meaning defines their leadership (Northouse, 2015). The numerous challenges emerging in the contemporary world necessitates authentic leadership to alleviate the impacts of crisis arising from the situations. In the nursing profession, various problems are resulting from the working conditions, the evolving roles of nurses, health threats, and the focus on the improvement of the nursing service. Nurses, therefore, require real and honest leaders who can give them a proper direction as well as take care of their working environment. Authentic leadership has a great impact on the healthcare sector since real leaders can boost nursing evidence-based practice by acting as team builders, promoting education and training, and evaluating the implementation and outcomes of evidence-based practice.

Authentic Leaders in the Role of Team Builders

Collaboration is an important aspect in an organizational setting since the attainment of the institutional goals requires the collective effort of all parties working there. In this case, authentic leadership plays an essential role. According to Northouse (2015), authentic leadership is an interpersonal process in which leaders and their followers are relational and thus there is a collaboration between the two parties. Northouse (2015) further indicates that without cooperation there cannot be authentic leadership since, in this kind of leadership, the leader and the followers have a joint role to play. Regarding the above requirements, nurse leaders have the function of mobilizing their workers to form formidable teams that can embrace and implement the evidence-based practice.

The role of leadership authenticity in building a strong team to advance the evidence-based practice requirements is paramount. Firstly, according to Bradshaw (2010), the authenticity of nurse leaders obliges to forge a partnership between the nurse executives, scientists, and nurses to promote collaboration in research. This will help to demystify the meaning of evidence-based practice in nursing, and thus, make it easy for everyone to have a proper view of the matter. Secondly, Bradshaw (2010) indicates that the leaders play a vital role in heading and executing campaigns and advocacy in their faculties to mobilize action at the personal level as well as the involvement of individuals in the research and other activities of evidence-based practice. In this regard, it is the role of the leaders to unite their followers and assemble them into teams that support and work to achieve the best outcomes of the evidence-based practice. Thirdly, Bradshaw (2010) argues that the leaders have to integrate the evidence-based activities in the professional evaluation and achievement criteria in the organization to make it the goal for nurses to enrich themselves with specific knowledge. By doing that, the leaders inculcate the evidence-based practices in the minds of the nurses which will make them seek to comply with the professional requirements so that they can retain their membership in the organization and the profession. Lastly, the nursing leaders play a meaningful role in offering managerial and administrative support to the members of staff (Bradshaw, 2010). For a healthcare organization to succeed there is a need for collaboration between the managers and the bedside nurses who are the first-hand recipients of the new developments in the health issues. The nurse leaders must, therefore, suggest managerial support to the nurses and this implies listening to them and helping them address the obstacles of the achievement of evidence-based practices. Concerning the information provided above, authentic leadership has a vital role in the realization of evidence-based practices by means of building a cohesive team and mobilization of the efforts of its members.

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Encouraging Education and Training

Education and training are important drivers of evidence-based nursing practice since they equip nurses with the knowledge and current information about health issues. However, learning in a workplace setting is not a personal task, but it entails the collective effort of the people sharing the same professional skills and goals so that they could upgrade their level of professionalism (Levin et al., 2010). A study conducted by Black, Balneaves, Garossino, Puyat, and Qian (2015) revealed that training and education enhance nursing skills, and thus, positively contribute to evidence-based practice. According to Black et al. (2015), nurses encounter several hindrances in the usage of research and some of these issues are the lack of investigation and evaluation skills, the lack of awareness of research, the lack of power to initiate investigations and changes, inadequate time, as well as non-cooperation among colleagues, and other problems. The work of authentic leaders is thus helping the employees to overcome the challenges experienced in the workplace.

Leaders are the stewards of the people as well as their organizations, and thus, it is their role to look at the issues that affect employees and provide them with a solution. There are various ways an authentic leader can address the challenges that impede the education and training of nurses (Majid et al., 2011). Firstly, the manager acts as a role model to create awareness and guides the rest of the nurses in the process of research as well as evaluates the research findings. Also, the leader provides stimulative education to motivate the staff to embrace the evidence-based nursing practice (Bradshaw, 2010). Secondly, the leader can create an environment of safety to promote training and education (Shirey, 2006). Learning requires a secure and comfortable atmosphere that promotes quality education. An authentic leader, therefore, sets principles, policies, procedures, systems, and designs that encourage learning and research (Shirey, 2006). Thirdly, infrastructure is crucial for training and education, and thus, an authentic leader provides support to the nurses in the process of learning. Fourthly, an authentic leader does not act as a boss but instead seeks to guide the followers. In this case, the leadership engages in collaboration with the staff as they train or conduct research so that they could have a role model (Black et al., 2015). The fifth way in which an authentic leader promotes training and education is acknowledging and respecting the nurses, giving them a chance to engage in active learning whereby they share knowledge amongst themselves. Lastly, an authentic leader organizes a suitable communication channel in the workplace in order to allow nurses to exchange information within a team as well as contact the leaders on issues that affect them and their learning process (Black et al., 2015). Regarding the provided information, authentic leadership helps to address obstacles experienced in education, and thus, enabling the nurses to engage in training, research, and promoting the achievement of evidence-based nursing practice.

Evaluation of Implementation and Results of Evidence-Based Practice

Evaluation is an important aspect of every project as it determines whether there is a success or failure as well as identifying the areas that may need improvement. It is, therefore, crucial to assess the nurses and their service before the introduction of the evidence-based initiatives to define the baseline situation and the needs that require certain measures to improve the service. It is also important to assess the situation after the implementation of the measures to determine their impact on the service as well as the nurses (Black et al., 2015). The goal of assessment is to ensure that the efforts towards evidence-based nursing practices are fruitful and bring improvement in the service quality.

Leaders have an important role to play in the evaluation of the implementation and results of evidence-based nursing, and this has the foundation in their authenticity of leadership. The leaders must acknowledge the need to assess the impact of the training and other programs on the nurse’s attitude, knowledge, and practices associated with research and how that impact affects the working outcomes (Black et al., 2015). Some of the areas that need evaluation, as suggested by Black et al. (2015), include identification of clinical issues, selection of the current best practice, conduction of research, as well as communication. Black et al. (2015) provide an example of a study carried out in a clinical setup to assess the effect of training on the nurse’s knowledge and attitudes. The outcomes were that training had a substantial impact on the knowledge of the staff and understanding of evidence-based practices through research. This widely promoted the achievement of goals of these practices. In this regard, it is important for leaders to develop the evaluation measures that would give them proper insights into the developments in the nursing practices after the implementation of efforts to encourage evidence-based practice.

Evaluation of the nursing environment is also crucial to make it easy for the administration to identify the possible obstacles that may derail the plans towards the achievement of evidence-based practices. It is important for the leaders to exercise their authenticity by assessing whether the environment supports the implementation of evidence-based methods (Black et al., 2015). The leaders must consider whether there is the required research infrastructure, time for nurses to engage in research, and the necessary collaboration and communication between the nurses and the managers to ensure the smooth flow of activities (Black et al., 2015). The leaders can evaluate whether the environment they have provided for the nurses is favorable to change or not and this would be useful in guiding their steps and decision-making. Taking the aforesaid into consideration, the leaders should assess the implementation and outcomes of evidence-based nursing to identify the impact of the practices as well as the required changes to promote positive results.

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Conclusion

The authenticity of leadership is the effort to seek the validity and recognition of good management attributes. Leaders are not just bosses but they are the stewards of their followers as they provide them with the direction of development, and thus, leadership is critical in the healthcare system. Authentic leadership has a significant impact on the health sector since it can support evidence-based nursing practices through team building, promotion of education and training, and through the evaluation of outcomes as well as the implementation of the proof-based methods. With respect to teaching and training, leaders have the responsibility to provide a favorable learning environment for the educational needs of the nurses. Concerning team building, leaders can promote collaboration between the nurses and their supervisors as well as encourage them to join hands in efforts towards the achievement of evidence-based practice. With respect to the evaluation of outcomes and implementation of the proof-based nursing practice, leaders have a role in testing the initiatives and the results in the bid to determine what needs to be done as additional efforts. Therefore, the role of authentic leaders is essential to the achievement of evidence-based nursing practice as they are the drivers of change in healthcare organizations.

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