Numerous issues affect the nurses and they have a significant impact on their performance. For instance, the feeling of powerlessness has a negative impact on the ability of nurses to be competent in care services provision. As a result, they face moral dilemmas as well as burnouts, which affect their performance. In order to understand the aspect of powerlessness in the nursing profession, current paper delves into the issue through two scenarios. The first scenario relates to an emergency department whose nurse manager is facing problems after there has been an increase in the turn-over rate, as well as, poor morale. The majority of employees state that the reason for quitting their jobs is a feeling of powerlessness. In the second scenario, there is an intention to make policies related to governance models, and it has to involve the nurses through asking them questions. Current paper aims at offering an in-depth response to the scenarios, and providing critically analyzed answers.
Issues Leading to Powerlessness
Staff powerlessness may emanate from various issues, and authoritative leadership and manager’s attitude are among them. In this case, it is possible that Nancy is an authoritative leader, which makes employees feel powerless, and, as a result, resigning from the workplace. When she appears to be autocratic and also seeks to dominate the employees, it creates a feeling of frustration. In a workplace where the management makes all the decisions without consulting the subordinates, it becomes a dictatorial style of management. The result of such style of management shows only the management opinions, and does not cater for the employees’ needs.
Autocratic leadership lacks the basic characteristics of interacting with the subordinates and seeking their opinions prior to making decisions. Consequently, the employees are forced to comply with all set rules irrespective of their attitude towards the rules. In addition, since they are not involved in the development of policies and rules at the workplace, they do not own their actions. They only do what they are asked and none can show initiative as they may be reprimanded. The management in most cases leads through fear, and once the employees no longer fear being fired, they opt to leave.
Managers, such as, Nancy prefer doing things on their own, and expect others to do as they instruct them. In the long-run, the leader becomes chaotic, and conducts close supervision of their subordinates. It is possible that Nancy has been using this style of management, and as a result, the employees developed a sense of powerlessness. In addition, such leaders put a lot of pressure on the subordinates to complete various duties, and any failure can lead to reprimand. In the case of Nancy, she must have done so and as a result, the nurses found it extremely difficult to continue working under such conditions.
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In addition, the workers’ opinions are disregarded during the process of decision making (Maitlis, & Ozcelik, 2004). They are expected to adhere to the rules made for them without being consulted. Consequently, the emergency department is faced with a high turnover of the workforce, and the workers are highly demoralized. As such, the leadership style and lack of participation and consultation are the main causes of powerlessness among the employees.
Sources of Power
In the workplace, there are different cradles of authority. Moreover, in the nursing vocation, there are areas or actions that would make the employees have a sense of power as they perform their duties. Delegation of duties is an essential source of power among the nurses. In this case, the nursing manager needs to delegate some duties to the subordinates in order to make them feel important. In addition, it offers them an opportunity to show their abilities, and proves that the manager has trust in them.
Some of the duties that can be delegated in the nursing department include the routine checks on patients, checking their histories, as well as, making relevant decisions based on the findings. Source of power may also emanate from the manner in which the duties at the workplace are scheduled. In the nursing profession, the nurses are sometimes expected to work night shifts. However, it is important for the manager to make sure that there is flexibility among the nurses to allow each of them have an opportunity to work during the day. In this sense, there should be some flexibility in the assignment of night shifts, which would essentiality make it easy for the nurses to effectively perform their duties.
In the case of Nancy, she has to understand that her subordinates deal with patients, and they need to be happy and satisfied in order to complete their routines. Their satisfaction and happiness will be reciprocated to the patients. It is vital for Nancy to use the above mentioned sources of power in order to reduce the employee turnover rate, and increase their sense of power.
Encouragement of Power among the Nurses
In order for the employees to feel powerful, they need to feel relevant and appreciated within the workplace. Therefore, it is possible for Nancy to accomplish this task in a number of ways. As it has been discussed earlier, delegation of duties can be a source of power for the employees. However, it has to be handled with care in order to avoid the feeling of being overworked. Delegation of essential duties to a nurse by the nurse manager will enable the nurse to have a feeling of individual growth and progress (Robertson & Cooper, 2010).
Furthermore, it will show them that the nurse manager has trust in their aptitudes. As a result, such nurses will have the increased sense of power. The nurse manager can also make it possible for the subordinates to have a sense of power by allowing them to participate in essential decision-making processes, as well as decisions that affect them directly. Before making decisions that affect the staff members, their opinion should be sought and the reason for final decision should be clear to them. Consequently, they will feel relevant and important within the workplace.
In general, the nursing profession seems to be a source of powerlessness due to the encounters that the nurses have with different kinds of patients. As a result, it is important to have a platform that enabled collaborative consolations among the nurses. It can be done through multidisciplinary teams, which make the participants feel a sense of importance and power. Therefore, there are possible avenues that can be put into use in order to boost a sense of power among the nurses.
Information to be Obtained from the Staff
Deciding on the number of hours that each shift should have is an essential part of the management teamwork. Since, the nurses work these shifts, they need to be involved in various ways prior to making the final decision. The information to be collected includes their perception of the current status of work with more than eight hours per shift. Since they are the people going for the long shifts, they understand the situation, and also its effects (Geisler, 2012). Thus, they can provide information about the positive and negative effects of the eight hour shifts, as well as the shifts longer than eight hours. They will also state what has changed since moving from an eight-hour shift and whether returning will be beneficial to them, the patients and the workplace.
Other Information to be Gathered
Other nursing facilities also have issues with their employees. It is vital to collect information regarding the approaches that they use regarding the shifts. It is essential to understand whether other facilities are using the 8-hour shifts, or more than 8 hours per shift. In addition, it is important to understand the effect that it has on the performance of nurses in such facilities. Further, understanding of all these issues will be important in verifying whether it is an approach that the facility should use or it should be abandoned. Additionally, it is also necessary to collect information about the original reason for increasing the hours from 8 to more per shift. It will enable comparing the results with the initial motive and the goals that will be achieved with the reintroduction of 8-hour shifts.
Assisting Employees in Understanding the Role of Shared Governance
The initial move is to make sure that the employees understand the meaning of shared governance. It is a strategy that has the capability to facilitate the buy-in of nursing staff as it avails autonomy and increased control (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2011). In addition, the nurses are involved in different ways through the management and decision making to ensure they are assimilated into the structure. In addition, all actions will be done in a way that will encourage the participation of the staff.
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