It is it essential that nurse as managers possess the qualities of good leadership to effectively manage contemporary clinical nursing teams. Critically analyse this statement with emphasis on the impact good leadership has on the performance of clinical nursing teams and on patient care.

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This assignment will critically analyse the qualities that a nurse, as a leader must possess in order to effectively manage a contemporary nursing team.  The assignment will focus on several areas and will include that of the role of the nurse as a leader and skills that the nurse requires as a professional practitioner.  The assignment will go on to discuss the meaning of Clinical Governance and the components of this with regard to their involvement within the framework.  Personal qualities of a nurse leader will be reflected upon throughout the assignment and the relevance in regards to communication, quality and leadership will be analysed.  Finally the impact that effective leadership has on the performance of clinical nursing teams and on patient care will be discussed.

The NHS Next Stage Review (DoH 2008) identified and described a future where the National Health Service (NHS) will deliver a high quality service to everyone and in addition this future will afford the staff the opportunity to focus on quality.  To ensure that this is achieved, both existing and new staff will be in receipt of primary education and training in order that their current skills are supported and improved and new skills developed.  The NHS affirm that their workforce operate on the most effective basis when they are reflecting the needs of the patients.  However, we must consider the vast numbers of patients treated within the NHS on a daily basis and the effect these numbers may have on quality patient care (NHS 2012).  It is for this reason to ensure that standards are met and upheld that a set of specific requirements have been outlined by the government and these are the benchmark to which nurses’ work. These requirements are relevant both to those within the healthcare setting and to those whom are receiving care from Health and Social Services        The government insist that all organisations must therefore have structures in place which are robust and discernible and that assist and facilitate the planning, delivery, monitoring and promotion of the safety of all, as well as the highest quality of patient care. Within the nursing environment we acknowledge this is represented by Clinical Governance (DoH 2010).  The Clinical Governance guidelines acknowledge that the healthcare environment is such that this environment will not only be affected by, but also influenced and sensitive to constant change. It is for this reason that the specified requirements reflect the changes as they occur so as not to stifle innovation (DoH 2010).

‘Clinical Governance’ describes the structures, processes and culture needed to ensure that healthcare organisations - and all individuals within them - can assure the quality of the care they provide and are continuously seeking to improve it (DoH 2013a). In effect this is an inclusive title that consist of the functions that will assist in the maintenance and improvement in the standards of the care afforded to patient within all healthcare practices;  as each have a duty to the practice within which they work and provide care, to maintain the quality and safety of care (DoH 2010).  Regardless of the area of practice there are processes and structures in place that any organisation must adhere to and in doing so the organisation should have the capability to contribute verification that these standards have not only been achieved but also that they are maintained. When we refer to clinical governance we consider six main areas. The main areas are:  Patient Focus, Information Focus, Quality Improvement, Staff Focus, Leadership and Public Health (RCN 2010).  These themes are both detailed and fixed within the RCN (2010), ‘Principles of Nursing practice’ by a group of stakeholders which included nurses, patients and other service users.  These principles have distinct links with the main areas outlined in Clinical Governance.  The links can be suggested as follows: When we consider the importance of individualised focused care based on patient need, this can be linked to patient focus, they go on to describe nurses’ pivotal contribution to communication and we can link this to information focus.  The principles provide a foundation for the improvement of quality and indicate also how, as a nurse, we contribute to the quality care of our patients.  This demonstrates a link to quality improvement.  The principles finally stress the importance of the multi-disciplinary approach to working and leadership skills and this represents a distinct link to staff focus and leadership skills (RCN 2010).

The DHSSPS (2006) have indicated that nurses will always be at the heart of patient care and experience, they go on further to indicate that nurses make up the largest group of health professionals within the National Health Service (DHSSPS 2006). As a result it is clear that nurses have a vital role to play in enhancing the patient experience and thus require many skills that will assist them in doing so (Hughes 2008).  Among these vital skills ensure those of leadership and management and these skills and qualities remain critical within our health service in order as professionals we not only effectively manage our teams but more importantly improve the quality of patient care. The NHS Leadership Framework and the launch of the NHS Leadership Academy in 2012 have a focus on developing nurses as leaders.  This framework assists in incorporating best practice and leadership principles in order to provide “a consistent approach to leadership development for staff in healthcare irrespective of discipline, role or function, and represents the foundation of leadership behaviour throughout the NHS” (NHS Leadership Council, 2011 accessed

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Leadership has been defined by Koontz and Weihrich (2005 p 347) as “the art or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of group goals.   This is further supported by Cook (2001) who suggests that leadership is not simply an array of skills and  tasks, alternatively it should be an attitude that will inform behaviour, whereas management is a system of action intended, to provide order and consistency to quality care, (Sullivan and Garland 2010). Although leadership and management are closely linked we must recognise that they are not the same. ...

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