Leadership and Management in Nursing


In essence, managers and leaders use different approaches when handling issues in their lines of duty. Essentially, the former seeks to manage work while the latter leads them. In this regard, nursing is not an exemption to this scenario since it is a typical organizational profession. The issue of the staffing ratio has evoked many controversies in regard to how the two personnel approach it. Therefore, this discussion will focus on how leaders and managers can tackle the issues revolving nursing-staff ratio and give a personalized view on the subject. Particularly, one of the most crucial issues conjoined to this factor is the increased inadequacy of nurses reducing the proportionality of patients and the nurses.

Brief Scenario as the Basis of Analysis

Bearing in mind that inadequacy of staff has led to the lack of proportionality between patients and nurses, it follows that the available personnel is needed to work during overtime. The challenges can evoke a situation in which the nurse’s revolt against the managers or leaders. This scenario can form the basis of analyzing the two approaches that include management and leadership.

The contrast between Leaders and Managers Approaches to the Scenario

Managers are mandated and trained to control work by overseeing how people handle their roles and administering regulations that should be followed by the employees (Runde & Flanagan, 2010). Accordingly, they set up policies that the employees should use to attain the stipulated organizational objectives. Based on this aspect, managers will tend to stipulate policies and strategies with the help of other top-executive officers and direct the nurses on how to cope with the shortage of staff. For example, they can establish duty rotors that depict the employees who should work during the night, daytime, or over time at any given point.

Additionally, the managers can tend to convene a meeting with the senior directors and executive officer to facilitate a discussion on how the hospital should employ nurses to cope with the workload. The solutions can include the employment of unlicensed nurses to work on temporary contracts (Thomas, 2013). In essence, the manager can focus on creating paradigms and policies through appropriate procedures to ensure that the low staffing does not affect the operation of the hospital.

In addition, a manager can come up with tactical strategies of delegation and involvement of the unlicensed nurses in a wise manner. For example, the principal nurse is mandated to carry out most of the activities such as measuring the patient’s temperature and interpreting the data obtained (Campbell & Gilbert, 2014). However, a manager can make tactical delegation where the unlicensed nurse helps to measure the temperature while the primary one interprets the findings (Thomas, 2013). Essentially, delegation is one of the aspects that managers apply in order to cope with situations presenting staffing shortages.

On the other hand, the leaders aim at influencing people rather than supervising, controlling, and directing the way they work on various roles. They use their charismatic capabilities to inspire, motivate, and stimulate employees in order to motivate them in commitment towards eliminating the problem (Hunt, 2013). In fact, they initiate new solutions to the problems that confront an organization contrary to the managers who rarely change the conventionalities. In this case, a leader cannot prioritize the increment of nurses since there is a severe shortage in the profession. Instead, he can raise solutions that seek to involve all the stakeholders. For example, a leader can influence and involve the family members in the process of treatment and caregiving. In this case, the leaders will not only be interested in reducing the workload but also providing an environment of inclusion where family members have the opportunity to make necessary inquiries in regard to the progress of the patients.

Furthermore, they can create an environment of teamwork where they motivate and encourage nurses to work in groups. In this case, the leaders will be trying to create groupings that increase motivation when the nurses are working together bearing in mind that people are social beings. As a result, teamwork will reduce boredom, increase commitment, and spread the employees’ workload. Also, the teamwork ensures that the nurses do not view themselves as the individual assigned some peculiar roles, but they feel like part of a bigger plan. This factor helps them to commit much of their time without unnecessary resistance and complaints that can compromise the care of patients.

Comparison between Leaders and Managers Approaches to the Scenario

There is one thing that both personnel can do when dealing with a low staff ratio. Leaders and managers are very conscious about the prioritization of roles. As a result, they can facilitate the prioritization of tasks. For example, a patient’s education is a task of medium priority while surgery preparation is an undertaking of high priority. The prioritization ensures that all patients are given enough care in accordance with their need and stage of treatment.

Best Choice According to Personal Philosophy

In perspective, the leadership approach towards solving the issues of staffing ratios is the best way of solving the problems facing the profession. It is understandable that leaders can implement ideas similar to the strategies used by managers to reduce or spread the workload. However, leaders envisage additional attributes that help them to develop the nurses’ values of dedication. The development is facilitated by the fact that they concentrate on influencing people through motivation rather than supervising, giving directives, and making policies.

In fact, they employ an inclusive approach when making decisions so that the nurses are involved in solving issues affecting them. The inclusion leads to intellectual stimulation that helps the professionals to become innovative and discover new ways of solving problems. The holistic approach is consistent with the personal philosophy asserting that the nursing profession is a learning experience and an opportunity for individual development rather than a mere job executed to make financial gains.


It is evident that the nursing profession has been affected by the shortage of staff. The deficiency has led to the increased workload that imparts stress on the existing employees. In addition, this discussion has established that leaders focus on inspiring employees and developing their personal values, attributes and capabilities. On the other hand, the managers focus on the work, results, and policies that help to achieve the stipulated objectives.

Since nursing is a unique profession based on continuous learning and personal development, it follows that leadership provides the best option when handling issues occasioned by the low ratio of staff. Consequently, the ideologies of leadership should be integrated into nursing to ensure that the professionals benefit from the true essence of this career.


Campbell, L., & Gilbert, M. (2014). Capstone Coach for Nursing Excellence. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.

Hunt, J. (2013). Leaders. Chicago, Ill.: Heinemann Library.

Runde, C. E., & Flanagan, T. A. (2010). Developing your conflict competence: a hands-on guide for leaders, managers, facilitators, and teams. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Thomas, J. (2013). A nurse’s survival guide to leadership and management on the ward. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.