Democratic Leadership in Nursing

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 2
Words: 588
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: Bachelor

Managing nursing staff in any medical unit involves adhering to a specific leadership style. Often, when taking on a new position, one can observe how nurses reproduce the management style in they developed as specialists. However, there is no arbitrary choice of the style of communication with subordinates, because the employee’s experience is significantly limited (Murray, 2017). The choice of a particular leadership style should be determined based on a person’s worldview, moral categories, and values. It is worth following the style that matches the resources of the individual and contributes to his or her professional development. This paper aims to describe a democratic leadership style that is considered the most appropriate for a Registered Nurse (RN).

In a democratic style, the nursing manager takes into account the opinion of the team when making decisions, delegates some of the powers to qualified and responsible employees, and actively discusses problems that arise with the nursing staff. This leadership style is characterized by a vertical management structure, as in the authoritarian style (Murray, 2017). The position of a manager within the team is borrowed from the liberal style. The leader transfers responsibility to other employees, which leads to an effective distribution of responsibilities and a good emotional climate in the team. However, this style requires a lot of attention from the nursing staff and their training.

This leadership theory reflects the components of the RN’s role following the New York State Nurse Practice Act. Medical institutions dominated by a democratic management style are characterized by a high degree of decentralization of powers (Murray, 2017). Subordinates take an active part in the preparation of decisions and enjoy the freedom to perform tasks. In this case, the necessary prerequisites for the performance of the work are created, a fair assessment of efforts is carried out, and a respectful attitude towards subordinates and their needs is observed. Instructions are given in the form of proposals, taking into account the opinions of subordinates. This is not due to a lack of personal opinion or a desire to share responsibility, but the conviction that better solutions can always be found in a skillfully organized discussion process.

Democratic style of leadership enhances the interprofessional practice of a Registered Nurse (RN) since such a leader focuses on the capabilities of subordinates, on their natural desire for self-expression through intellectual and professional potential. A democratic leader constantly and thoroughly informs the staff about the state of affairs and the prospects for the development of the team (Murray, 2017). This makes it easier to mobilize subordinates for the implementation of the assigned tasks. Being well informed about the true state of affairs in the unit, the leader perceives conflicts as a natural phenomenon and tries to benefit from them for the future, delving into their root cause.

Various management mechanisms and communication channels may be used in nursing that ensure the coordinated and qualified work of the personnel in providing nursing care to patients that meets modern standards of medical care. The democratic leadership style is the most acceptable one since it encourages the creativity of subordinates through the right delegation of authority. It contributes to the creation of an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation. The employees are fully aware of their importance and responsibility in solving the problems facing the team. The democratic style of management does not weaken the power of nursing leaders. On the contrary, their authority increases since they control people without rough pressure but rely on their abilities and reckoning with their dignity.


Murray, E. (2017). Nursing leadership and management: for patient safety and quality care. FA Davis.