Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Effects of Current Nursing Management Styles on the Retention and Recruitment of Nurses: A Review of the Literature

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Effects of Current Nursing Management Styles on the Retention and Recruitment of Nurses: A Review of the Literature

Article excerpt

The current nursing management style that tends to be most favored in practice is a task-oriented transactional style, leaving little decision making autonomy on significant issues to the nurse being managed. This style, unfortunately, has the unintended consequences of reducing morale and increasing turnover among those being managed in this manner. More recent developments in the leadership literature emphasize a more transformational style, the importance of the leader developing an inspiring vision for the nurses to follow, mentoring, and playing more of a servant role so that the nursing staff can feel empowered with regard to issues of significance. This major contrasting pattern in management style appears to contribute to improving morale, reducing turnover, and facilitating recruitment.

This paper will be discussing present nursing management styles and their effects on retention and recruitment of nurses. The current method of leadership is task-oriented, which requires little input from the nursing staff and has shown to decrease morale of the nursing staff as well as affecting adversely an organization's ability to retain their services. The authors will focus on transformational leadership and how it can affect commitment and empowerment for the bedside nurse. Each form of leadership has its own merits and can be utilized to produce outcomes that are in line with a an organization's mission statement and vision of the future.

The concept and traits of leadership have captivated mankind throughout history (Avolio, B., 1999). Unfortunately, no one has agreed upon a specific definition of leadership or all the characteristics that go along withit (Bass, B., and Avolio, B., 2000). There does seem to be a consensus regarding characteristics of effective leaders (Marquis & Houston 2002). These include a strong belief system, optimism, courage, teamwork, good preparation, and most importantly, clear communication. (Moiden, 2002).

Historically, hospitals have utilized transactional leadership as a means to implement their mission and visions. Transactional leadership is used by many bureaucratic systems (Burns, 1978). This system is efficient and produces results, but it does not provide nurses with an opportunity to build on their need for meaningful work or encourage creativity. When transactional leadership is used as the primary means of communication, short term benefits can occur; but the long term effects on morale, commitment, and loyalty to the organization is negatively affected. This can be seen by the high turnover rates in the nursing profession.

Nurses are change agents and nursing theories reflect this. Many nurses jump from one hospital to the next, while many others are leaving the profession altogether. Twentyeight percent of new hires, ages 25-34, typically leave a hospital in less than two years compared to 12%ages35-54 (Ribelin,R, 2003). Poor training and lack of support systems are the main reasons nurses leave during their first year (Shader, K., Broome, C, broome, M., and Nash, M., 2001). The sense of loyalty to an organization and commitment to the profession could benefit from a leadership style that takes into consideration nursing theory and needs as a professional nurse. The authors believe that the most effective leadership style to achieve long-term success and improve retention is to utilize several leadership styles, including transformational leadership.

One of the most renowned experts on transformational leadership is James McGregor Burns, who wrote a best seller about leadership in politics. Burns states that, "Transformational leadership appeals to the moral values of followers in an attempt to raise their consciousness about ethical issues and to mobilize their energy resources to reform institutions" (Burns, 1978). Burns bases his theories of leadership onKohlberg's stages of moral development and Weber's theory of leadership and authority (Kouzes, J. …

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