In the last decade or so, the nature of nursing had undergone many changes in that mental healthcare had become an integrated discipline offering different set of therapeutic approaches for treating organic and functional mental illnesses. Clinical leadership can make a difference in the quality of outcomes. For example, a strong leader will exhibit people management and organization skills in bringing together disparate specialists like “community psychiatric nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists” and address all aspects of the prescribed prognosis. It is also expected of nurses to offer monitoring services, wherein they gauge the mental state of the patient and the efficacy of the medication prescribed to them. In addition to these, skills such as “anxiety management, relaxation techniques, and management of cognitive and behavioral problems” will add professional value to the practitioners (Pushpangadan, 1996).
With extensive research being done on psychotherapeutic techniques, a working knowledge of clinical psychology will be of utility. This will entail providing psychological assessment, gauging cognitive competencies, and monitoring aspects of behavior and personality. Further,
“They may contribute to the non-pharmacological management of psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety or behavioral difficulties. Occupational therapists and physiotherapists provide assessments and treatment to optimize independence in all activities of daily living. Some areas have extended home respite schemes, which provide support to patients in their own home, thus reducing the strain on informal caregivers. These serve patients with mental illness, especially dementia.” (Fifer, 2007)
In summary, it could be inferred, based on extensive literature on the subject as well as my own personal experience during recent practice, that the skills and expertise required to be a successful nurse are multi-dimensional. Apart from their traditional competencies in hospital-ward and operation-theatre assistance, nurses are expected to peruse managerial and administrative skills as well. While nurses of all ranks should possess these skills, those in leadership positions in clinics should be better versed in these subjects. Only then will their leadership will be effective in inspiring and motivation those lower in the hierarchy to achieve professional excellence.
Fifer, J J (April 2007). Bridging the gap between nursing and finance: courage in leadership means showing that you care about patient care in your organization.(Courage IN LEADERSHIP)., Healthcare Financial Management, 61, 4. p.28(1).
Jones, C B, Havens, D S, Thompson, P A, & Knodel, L J (March-April 2008). Chief nursing officer retention and turnover: a crisis brewing? Results of a national survey.(Survey)., Journal of Healthcare Management, 53, 2. p.89(18).
Lin, L.-M. , Wu, J.-H. , Huang, I.-C. , Tseng, K.-H. , Lawler, J J, & Vestal, K. (May-June 2007). Management development: a study of nurse managerial activities and skills., Journal of Healthcare Management, 52, 3. p.156(14).