Extant nursing literature demonstrates that the availability of high-quality health services to patients can never be attained in the absence of skilled health professionals and a work setting that emphasizes performance excellence (Salanova, Lorente Chambel, & Martinez, 2011). Owing to the fact that effective nurse leadership has been positioned as a fundamental factor in the attainment of maximum patient outcomes and workplace enhancement (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013), the present paper summarizes three articles with the view to illuminating transformational leadership as one of the main precepts of advanced nursing roles.
In their cross-sectional quantitative study involving a sample of nurses and their seniors, Salanova et al (2011) set out to examine the relationship between the nursing supervisor’s leadership characteristics and subordinate’s extra-role performance as fully influenced by the subordinates’’ self-efficacy and work engagement features. The findings of their study show that (1) transformational leadership demonstrated by advanced nurses is fundamentally important in reinforcing subordinates’ self-efficacy through role modeling and verbal persuasion, (2) efficacy beliefs partially influence the correlation between transformational leadership style of advanced nurses and subordinates’ work engagement, (3) transformational leadership demonstrated by the nursing supervisors directly impacts upon the subordinates’ wellbeing and enthusiasm to work, and (4) transformational leadership demonstrated by the advanced nurses can be used to explain increases in-role performance and work engagement practices of subordinates (Salanova et al., 2011).
In their quantitative study using a descriptive correlation survey design, Wang, Chontawan, and Nantsupawat (2012) enrolled 238 registered nurses with the view to describing the association between transformational leadership exhibited by advanced nurses in management positions on the one hand, and the job satisfaction of junior nursing staff on the other. The findings of their research show that (1) insufficient training for leadership of advanced nurses in the management cadre coupled with role overload may have adverse outcomes in the delivery of care, (2) advanced nurses in management positions are able to reinforce job satisfaction among junior members of staff if they practice transformational leadership, and (3) nurse managers with transformational leadership style must demonstrate the capacity to encourage the heart, model the way, challenge existing work practices, and propagate a shared vision among staff members (Wang et al., 2012).
Hutchinson and Jackson (2013), in their expert opinion article on transformational leadership in nursing practice, not only attempt to critique the leadership style but also provide alternative interpretations of the style. Although the authors agree that leadership and management are core advanced nursing roles, they nevertheless critique transformational leadership for not being alive to the complications and difficulties experienced in the healthcare setting. In their opinion, Hutchinson and Jackson (2013) feel that transformational leadership is not the best style to fulfill the advanced nursing role of leadership as it (1) focuses on both transformational and transactional leadership characteristics, (2) rests upon romanticized concepts of heroic and charismatic leadership, (3) bears minimal attention to leader integrity, and (4) fails to consider gender and cultural dynamics. However, the authors do not validate their claims.
It is evident from the three articles that leadership is a critical advanced nursing role in contemporary nursing practice. It is also evident that transformational leadership is used in most advanced nursing settings to encourage subordinate nurses’ self-efficacy beliefs, wellbeing and motivation, extra-role performance, work engagement, and job satisfaction. These are important attributes needed in today’s health care systems if the achievement of optimal patient outcomes and workplace enhancement is to become a reality. Overall, drawing from the articles, it is evident that improvement in leadership by training nurse managers and other advanced nursing personnel on how to practice transformational leadership will go a long way in not only enhancing the future potential of the nursing profession and workforce but also in accomplishing competitive advantages for healthcare institutions and optimizing patient care outcomes.
Hutchinson, M., & Jackson, D. (2013). Transformational leadership in nursing: Towards a more critical interpretation. Nursing Inquiry, 20(1), 11-22.
Salanova, M., Lorente, L., Chambel, M.J., & Martinez, I.M. (2011). Linking transformational to nurses’ extra-role performance: The mediating role of self-efficacy and work engagement. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67(10), 2256-2266.