COVID-19 has impacted the health and life of more than one million individuals globally. This has greatly overwhelmed the healthcare system and impacted the healthcare providers such as the nurses who are at the frontline of providing care and safeguarding the lives of everyone impacted. During the pandemic, the healthcare system has faced a number of multifaceted and complex challenges in the provision of cost effective, high quality and safe care. This paper will focus on the ways that Nurses especially the BSN prepared Nurses can demonstrate leadership during COVID-19. Demonstration of leadership among BSN nurses during COVID-19 will ensure optimal patient outcome and generally improve the healthcare system performance.
Nurse have critical responsibilities and roles during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being at the front line means that they required leadership skill that will facilitate their success in the provision of care. Nursing leadership and management can be defined as the role of a nurse who influences the work of other health teams, to deliver high-quality care. Nurses are considered as leaders in the provision of care to patients (Cope and Murray, 2017).
Effective management in the current healthcare system depends on abilities to organize, anticipate change, set priorities, negotiate effectively, communicate clearly and motivate others (Burgener, 2020). BSN-prepared nurses have become prime candidates for most nurse leadership positions because of their standing. BSN nurses have been preferred in the current healthcare environment due to their ability to navigate complexities in the current healthcare system (Bright, 2019). During the pandemic, they have proven their capacity to improve their health outcomes and boost patient’s safety. However, some BSNs still express reluctance in moving into leadership roles or taking on management functions because they lack confidence in their academic preparation. Many new graduates entering the workforce feel unprepared for managerial responsibilities due not only to a gap in education but also to misconceptions about what it really means to be a nurse leader. BSN nurses should demonstrate leadership skills such as interpersonal collaboration, effective communication, motivation, constructive feedback, delegation and accountability.
BSN should focus on effective communication to seek clarification and articulate their expectations. Ideally, effective communication is one of the major steps in helping a patient with a health issue (Moura et al., 2017). BSN nurses also have to ensure that they engage the patient with the most suitable health literacy while discussing the health issue. Effective communication will enable the BSN nurse to talk to the patient and ensure that they are well educated. The quality of communication between a patient and nurse has a major impact on the health outcomes (Beauvais, 2018). Therefore, BSN nurses should focus on interpersonal skills and effective communication to improve care during Covid-19. During this time of the pandemic, nurses are required to communicate with people of different educational, social and educational background. They have to communicate in a caring, professional and effecient manner especially when communicating with the patients and their family members (Tuohy, 2019). The BSN nurses have to improve their communication skills since poor communication during such a time can lead to confusion and be dangerous to the health of the patient.
BSN nurses should focus on enhancing their morale to increase their motivation. A leader inspires their team with passion and enthusiasm (Crowne et al., 2017). This makes people feel valued and encouraged to work more. During the COVID-19 nurse have encountered stressing moments such as extremely high workloads, increasing cases and inadequate therapies to save live. This has contributed to psychological burden and stress that occurs during disease outbreaks. Nurses are also at a high risk of contracting the disease in their lines of duty. These factors may lead to lack of motivation to work. Therefore, BSN nurses should act as leaders and motivate their teams in saving lives. This means encourage each colleague, avoiding gossip, complain and criticize but looking for ways to appreciate one another and complimenting each other to remain motivated. Motivation of others also means supporting the mental well-being of other nurses to ensure that they are motivated to work in crisis. They also need to advocate for programs and resources that will help the colleagues to cope with stress and psychological issues during the pandemic. BSN nurses should also act as the voice of the patients. This can be done through incorporation of patient’s needs, values and desires as well as perspectives towards the delivery of health services. Understanding the patients’ needs will allow effective delivery of health outcomes. Ideally, nurses are leaders in the delivery of healthcare. Therefore, advocating for better health outcomes during the pandemic will facilitate the success of healthcare delivery.
BSN should demonstrate leadership by communicating to their colleagues and ensuring that they are informed with every updates. Inter-professional communication among BSN prepared nurses allows for collaborative efforts in achieving the vision and mission of the organization (Panneerselvam, 2018). The knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to assume a position as a nurse leader can be acquired from professional development experiences or from formal education programs at institutions of higher learning. Leadership is an important part of decision-making processes in health care teams because it helps foster stronger patient outcomes by providing resources to nurses who make decisions based on their own unique assessment of patients’ needs such as pain management, versus standard protocols or treatment plans that may not always fit individual patient scenarios.
BSN-prepared nurses demonstrate leadership through activities such as ongoing educational opportunities, community involvement, and participation in professional organizations. BSN prepared nurses play a key role in the development of other nurses by providing support and mentoring to new graduates, or guidance to students enrolled in baccalaureate programs (Edwards, 2008). In order for nurses to provide effective patient care it is imperative that they have a strong knowledge base from which to draw from while making clinical decisions throughout the patient care process.
Like all professionals who work in collaborative teams, nursing leaders must be open-minded and willing to listen carefully at times when diverse opinions are being shared. Considerably, open mindedness in nursing is a necessity for autonomy and a reason to be committed to a view but being open to the possibility that it may be wrong. Considerably, open mindedness will facilitate collaborative healthcare efforts that are necessary for provision of excellent care (Tschannen etal., 2021). The BSN nurses need to lean on each other professionally and emotionally in times of uncertainty. Open mindedness will also allow execution of new ideas and meaningful behavioral changes.
The BSN nurses should show leadership by exemplifying effective communication skills. Nurses are constantly communicating with their patients and other healthcare team members so the nurses must be able to communicate effectively to improve patient outcomes and increase nursing satisfaction. Communication is a crucial skill and responsibility for physicians and registered nurses (RNs) in any profession. Evidence indicates that nurses who are effective communicators tend to be more satisfied in their jobs.
The development of strong, healthy relationships with patients is important for nurses to provide quality care. Nurses must use effective communication skills when communicating with other healthcare team members and patients. When nurses communicate effectively it allows them to build rapport with the patient which then increases the likelihood that the patient will follow the nurses’ instructions. With an increase of rapport, there is a greater chance that the patient will adhere to treatment plans. For nurses to provide quality care they must also possess good listening skills. Nurses can improve their own communication and patients’ outcomes by being a good listener. Research indicates that patients consider verbal and non-verbal cues from a nurse as a way of establishing whether or not they can trust them and if they are receiving quality care from those nurses.
BSN nurses have to demonstrate accountability while caring for COVID-19 patients. Considerably, equal obligations can conflict during pandemic when the BSN nurses are continuously required m to care for critically ill patients often under uncontained contagion, inadequate resources and extreme circumstance. During the pandemic, BSN nurses need to focus on accountability to determine how much they can offer to patients. Every BSN nurse has to work together and be accountable for their actions on the team. Accountability will allow a medical error to be considered as an opportunity for improvement since there is responsibility for anything that goes wrong.
During the pandemic, BSN nurses should demonstrate agility. Agility will allow the BSN nurses to implement rapid changes that will benefit the healthcare system. BSN nurses have to be agile in adapting new processes during crisis and also be forward thinking and flexible. Considerably, the pandemic situation is uncertain and has brought new set of unpredictable challenges that require agility. Agility will allow the BSN nurses to thrive during the unpredictable times and see potential for greatness (Murray, 2017). Nurses act as the first responders of complex humanitarian crisis and pandemics as advocates and protectors of the community. Therefore, there is need to be flexible to prevent instability during the pandemic.
BSN nurses should demonstrate leadership through innovativeness in the provision of care. Innovativeness facilitates provision of better care protecting the mental health and well-being of patients. There has been restriction of visitation of the sick relatives. A BSN nurse can advocate for interaction tools that will enable them get in touch with loved ones back home. This initiative will go along to promote well-being of the patients especially the mental health of the patient and family members at home who cannot visit their loved ones. Additionally, the interactive devices will be essential in promoting patient-centered care. Nurses are now actively engaged in COVID-19 interventions and they will remain major players in preventing the pandemic with suitable assistance.
In summation, a BSN nurse is in the front line of COVID-19 outbreak response and support of patient and other personnel. All nurses including the BSN nurses should demonstrate effective leadership skills that will promote healthcare delivery success. The BSN nurses can demonstrate leadership through interpersonal collaboration, effective communication, accountability, motivation, innovativeness, as patient advocates, agility and open mindedness. A global pandemic requires strong nursing staff engagement, knowledge exchange and patient centered care to allow equitable responsibilities in the provision of care.
Beauvais, A. M. (Ed.). (2018). Leadership and Management Competence in Nursing Practice: Competencies, Skills, Decision-making. Springer Publishing Company.
Bright, A. L. (2019). Practicing Leadership Skills through Peer Mentoring and Teaching: the Lived Experience of BSN Students. International journal of nursing education scholarship, 16(1).
Burgener, A. M. (2020). Enhancing communication to improve patient safety and to increase patient satisfaction. The health care manager, 39(3), 128-132.
Cope, V., & Murray, M. (2017). Leadership styles in nursing. Nursing Standard, 31(43).
Crowne, K. A., Young, T. M., Goldman, B., Patterson, B., Krouse, A. M., & Proenca, J. (2017). Leading nurses: emotional intelligence and leadership development effectiveness. Leadership in Health Services.
Moura, A. A. D., Bernardes, A., Balsanelli, A. P., Zanetti, A. C. B., & Gabriel, C. S. (2017). Leadership and nursing work satisfaction: an integrative review. Acta Paulista de Enfermagem, 30, 442-450.
Murray, E. (2017). Nursing leadership and management: for patient safety and quality care. FA Davis.
Panneerselvam, S. (2018). Feedback among Nursing Professionals: A Narrative Review. International Journal of Health Sciences and Research, 8(2), 266-271.
Tschannen, D., Alexander, C., Taylor, S., Tovar, E. G., Ghosh, B., Zellefrow, C., & Milner, K. A. (2021). Quality improvement engagement and competence: A comparison between frontline nurses and nurse leaders. Nursing Outlook.
Tuohy, D. (2019). Effective intercultural communication in nursing. Nursing Standard, 34(2).