Nursing include direct interaction of patients; they play a vital role in the delivery of quality and timely health services. The nature of their work demand that they uphold high level of professionalism and integrity: they are people who need to make sound decisions and make objective reports and recommendations to medical practitioners to help them offer quality service. Professionalism in any departments starts with the managing team; they should manage and lead their department professionally if they expect professionalism from their staffs.
Other than being competent and having the heart to serve people, nurses are required to uphold nursing ethics and maintain high moral standards when on duty and when looking into their private affairs. It is a profession where the society looks upon the players and imitate their way of life especially in areas of health. Professionalism is one of the most pressed issues in the nursing professionalism for both nurse practitioners and their leaders.
Different scholars in the fields, economists, politicians and civil societies have blamed lack of professionalism as one of the hindrances to proper medication in the universe. They have felt that although the available resources are not available to offer medical services as demanded by the world rising population, they can do better if nursing is handled professionally and effectively (Bennet, 2008). This paper discusses why upholding professionalism in nursing management is crucial in quality medical care provision.
What is professionalism in nursing?
In most case, when the word professionalism is mentioned what comes in the mind of readers is academic qualifications and subscription to certain related professional body; as much as the case may be true, the word goes further than academic qualification and registration. In the nursing field, there are some main characteristics of a professional nurse managers, they include:
- Competent: Before someone is registered as a nurse, one must have attained a certain minimum level of education and professional training; he/she should have satisfied the examiner that he/she has acquired appropriate skills required in the profession. For competency, nurses are expected to be up to date with their profession changes. When it comes to management, nurse leaders need to have some management skills acquired through some related course so as they can manage the facility professionally. For example, for budgeting, nurse leaders need to have some accounting knowledge to undertake the task effectively.
- Integrity: nurses should uphold integrity and professionalism in their duties; they should understand that internal and external users for making decisions about patients use the information they give; some information is confidential. The ability to stand on ones ground when called to fraud or abuse their professionalism is also crucial. Nurse Managers should involve their juniors when making decisions so that they can move as a team. They need to develop orchestrate teams and maintain high spirit and motivation among the team members.
- Confidentiality: nurses should maintain high-level of confidentiality; patient’s information is confidential. They should know what information to disclose to the public and which one not to. When determining what to disclose, and what not to, nurses are guided by national and international nursing ethics standards. Nurse leaders has the role of enforcing and reminding his juniors on the need to uphold confidentiality and maintain high levels of integrity: he/she is the leading role model that juniors look upon thus the way he/she handles things determines the success of an organization.
- Credibility: nurses should be accountable of all their actions; they should perform their duties in a responsible way. Personal ethics like honesty are also important. To be credible with what one does, a certain degree of independence is called for.
In modern nursing programs, there has been an extension of the course to offer some managerial skills to nurses in their preparation of taking leadership role in nursing departments and other parts of a medical facility. Nurse Managers are supposed to uphold professionalism as nurses as well as managers of their units; the decisions they make and the way they handle situations should portray a high level of professionalism; from the micro level of nursing department, their effect will be felt in an entire medical facility.
Management whether at corporate or department level determines the success that an organisation will have in the short, medium or long term. A professional nurse with some knowledge of management better manages the nursing department than a manager without nursing skills. He/she is more likely to make decisions that are responsive to situation than when a manager without nursing knowledge is use (Khan, 1999).
When nursing department is managed professionally, then the field is likely to benefit from:
Quality service provision
The main objective of a medical facility is to offer adequate, timely and quality service, nurses are directly involved in the provision of service thus when they uphold high levels of professionalism, then the sector of the economy is likely to benefit. The quality of service depends with the competence and willingness to serve that the medical teams have; when nurses hold high professionalism then they will offer appropriate advices to other, medical practitioners to the benefit of the healthy industry. Nurse Managers are on the forefront guiding and offering counselling to their juniors on the way to follow so as they can offer quality services.
When an economy has quality medical care, then the population are more productive and the expense on medical bill will be reduced. One hindrance of development in some countries is huge medical bill that governments have to handle, this expense can be reduced by provision of quality medical services that a patient gets not only to be treated but is trained on how he/she can prevent future occurrence of such a disease. When nurses hold high levels of confidentiality, patients will be more willing to disclose their health status; the initial stage in curing a disease is recognizing the disease that a patient is suffering from; so when patients feel free to disclose they will be playing part in improving medical service provision.
It is also important to note that a patient, especially those admitted, spend most of their time with nurses than doctors; a professional nurse can be able to learn the treads and response rate of patient and advice doctors better; this further will improve medical care quality. Psychological comfort of a patient plays a vital role in patient’s recovery, when nurses treat patients well, they their rate if recovery will be facilitated. Patients need some warmth, love and hope; this can be given by the people around them, nurses thus have a role in that (Huber, 2006).
Management of health cost
Cost of medication can be reduced if nurses can perform their duties with professionalism: some costs that can directly be controlled by a nurse on how he/she uses the available resources. Nurse leaders are in the forefront guiding their colleagues on the right way forwards as long as managing of resources is concerned; they should devise cost management strategies to the benefit of their department. Managing finances effectively in a hospital is a vital function that requires collaboration of both patient care units and administrative units.
The nursing unit is one costing point of hospitals where they have a budget they want financed, the department should be given an appropriate allocation of hospital finances according to their needs, when the resources have been allocated, they need to be managed professionally and effectively. Nurse leaders should oversee the effective management of funds and ensure that all operations are managed in a cost effective way; they need support of other nurses to attain this noble goal. For example when making financing budgets, nurses should be consulted since they have direct interaction with medical staffs and the patients, thus they can offer sound ideas and information for decision-making.
Nurse Managers have the role of controlling budgets and ensuring that all expenses are met using the most convenient method; they should make allocation appropriate enough not to have a deficit or encourage misappropriation. They should make every nurse accountable of his allocation and in the end, the entire facility will have a reduced budget and will operate in cost effective manner. Mechanisms should be put in place that defines certain functions in the unit, for example, the number of staff dresses should be regulated to ensure that they are adequate at any one time and no excess Finkler & McHugh, 2008).
Leads to better decision-making
Managerial decisions are the driving force in any organisation; nurse managers are responsible of making administrative decisions in the nursing department: the decision made must be responsive to the needs in the organisation. When a professional makes decision, they are better and yield good results. Professional nurse leaders will make quality decisions for their department and the entire medical facility. The quality of decision that managers make give their organization direction and focus. The growth and competitiveness of an organization is influenced by the quality as well as acceptability of decisions made by managers at all levels.
Some of the major decision that nurse leaders make are project financing decisions, human resource management, resources distribution among staffs, evaluating staffs and motivation of nursing staff. All these decision plays part in fulfilling the noble goal of a hospital facility that is offering quality and timely service. To come up with a good decision there are three main stages that a manager should follow they are, defining the problem, data collection and choosing the best alternative (Finkler, Ward & Baker, 2007).
Management of ethical code of conducts in hospitals
Nurses are expected to respects professional nursing ethics when undertaking their duties; they should be accountable and offer services as required by international nursing ethics body. Professional nurse leads by example, they are ethical thus, they can easily enforce adherence of ethical standards to their teams. One of the most hit areas that nurses can be unethical is diversion of narcotics: narcotic drugs can be diverted for the benefit of parties concerned or they can be misused.
The best way in controlling narcotics diversion is ensuring that nurses uphold high standards of behaviour and respects their code of ethics; a professional nurse manager can instill the behaviour in them. When there is ethics in medical facilities, then the cost of medication is reduced; the reduction improves the welfare of country at large (Cleverly & Cameron, 2007).
Management of resources
Resources are limited; they need to be managed in an effective manner for the general welfare of a company. Nursing department has both physical and human resources, these resources need to be blended in the most effective manner to yield results. Organising resources, controlling their use and monitoring resource allocation progress is a task played by managing nurses. When they act professionally, they are likely to devise better ways of utilizing resources and mange them well, this goes a long way in ensuring that available resources are well utilized.
A professional nurse manager may require extra skills in management to ensure that he/she has appropriate resource management skills, when such acquired skills are combined with nursing skills, and then the department can be run better. Time is another resource that has an influence of the quality of services offered in a hospital, professional nurse manager ha s the role of managing available time and allocate duties effectively that at any one time, a facility has adequate personnel. When this is attained, then timely services will be offered to the patients, this lead to an improved societal health.
A medical facility with well-managed nursing team is more likely to reduce emergency cases deaths; this is so because there is an adequate number of nurse to handle such cases and still have the facility have adequate staffs. In most emergency case, the survival of a victim is dependent with the speed at which he/she will get medical attention, with professional managed nursing team, then, timely service can be offered (Baker & Baker, 2011).
Career development and increase in nursing
One problem that is facing the world is lack of adequate nurses to handle the increasing population, when professionals handle the profession, then it is likely to become an attractive professional for young people to venture. As the dignity and respect is instilled in the profession, it will become more paying and satisfying to young people, this is likely to be a cure to nurse shortage in the world. Nurse as any other employees need to be motivated and given drive to work harder and with passion, when the profession is handled professionally, the nurses will be able to build their career a move that will motivate them. Motivated staffs have passion for their work and provide quality services when called upon.
Nurse leaders are given the responsibility of managing nursing departments: they need to act professionally and lead by example. The way they handle the department influences how the quality of service offered by the facility. Other than having nursing academic qualification and experience, nurse leaders need to have managerial skills acquired through learning and participation in hospital management. When nursing units are managed professionally, the world is likely to benefit from quality medical care, affordable medical care, proper utilization of resources and an increased number of nurses.
Baker, J. J., & Baker, R. W. (2011). Health Care Finance Basic tools for Nonfinancial Managers. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Bennet, J. (2008). Nurse executive: If the shoes fit, wear them proudly. Long-Term Living: For the Continuing Care Professional, 57(6), 56.
Cleverly, W. O., & Cameron, A. E. (2007). Essentials of health care finance (6th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Finkler, A., & McHugh,M. (2008). Budgeting concepts for nurse managers. Philadelphia: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Finkler, S., Ward D., & Baker, J. (2007). Essentials of Cost Accounting for Health Care Organizations. New York: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Huber, D. (2006). Leadership and nursing care management. Pennsylvania: Saunders Elsevier.
Khan, M. (1999). Hospital Management. New Delhi: APH Publishing.