Overthe years, the health profession, especially nursing, has had manychallenges and successes. These have been prompted by rapidtechnological development, emerging new health challenges, the agingpopulation, increased costs of medical care and discrepancies in theaccessibility of quality health care. Due to the rapid changes inthe modern health care systems, there have been numerous proposals bynursing professionals to promote nursing leadership. It has beenargued that the key to the successful implementation of evidencebased practices as well as an advanced practice nursing in the modernhealth care system is a supportive nursing leadership. Nursingprofessional organizations in different parts of the world inconjunctions with the respective governments have developed programswhich will provide future nursing leaders (Carter et al, 2010). Thispaper looks at the critical role of nurses leaders in the modernhealth care system.

Inthe last few decades, there has been increased advocacy for evidencebased practices in nursing, advanced practice nursing andprofessionalism among health care providers. This has been promptedby the increased demand for nursing services as well as advancedstudied in the nursing professionals. It has been argued that thenursing leaders need to play a more active role in the changinghealth care systems, if the full benefits have to be achieved. Someof the most critical nursing leaders include those involved in policymaking, officers in the department of health, regulatory bodies’officials, hospitals administrators, senior and middle managers aswell as executives in government and private health institutions.Quality and informed nursing leaderships in these positions with leadto effective patient advocacy, improved quality of nursing servicesand increased collaboration between institutions and facilities(Carter et al, 2010). Nursing leaders who possess the prerequisitequalities will also be a good communicator, which facilitates theflow of information. One of the main challenges facing the nursingprofession in majority of the health care systems in the modern worldis the lack of role model in the nursing, and health care professionin general. There are numerous ethical issues that have rocked thepreviously respected professions. While there are professional codeof conducts and ethics that guide the nursing profession, the role ofa nursing leader is paramount. The nursing leader acts as a rolemodel to the young nurses in the profession (Carter et al, 2010).

Itis also important to note the fact that nurses in the modern worldare operating in a era where there are more challenging health careproblems due to the aging population as well as emergence of morechallenging diseases. Additionally, nurses are operating in aprofession that is characterized by rapid technological advancement. This makes a nursing profession complex and demanding. Nursingleadership has a critical role in addressing some of the challengesin the nursing profession. Nursing leaders in government departmentas well as administrators of private and public institutions have theaddressing the inadequacies in funding of the health care or specificvote heads affecting the nursing practice. The management of thehuman resources in nursing profession is also an important issue inthe modern nursing profession. With the increased demand for nursingservices, there is a need to address the shortages in the humanresources. This is through sound management of the available sources,addressing issues related to nurses pay and encouraging young peopleto join the nursing profession. The nursing leader had an importantrole to play in the optimization of the human resources available.Studies in the recent past indicates that effective management andplanning of evidence based practices and advanced practice nursingcan effectively address some of the challenges facing the nursingprofession in the recent past (Benner et al 2010).

Emergingleadership in the nursing profession has a huge responsibility offostering good relationship between the nurses within an organizationas well as providing a link between the nurses and the management inthe health care institutions. They also provide linkages betweennurses and professional bodies, regulators and training institution.They are also a link between the professions under their leadershipand emerging trends and development in the nursing profession.Therefore, leadership in the nursing professional is a science aswell as an art. A nursing leader should therefore have leadershipskills and training in addition to the nursing professional training.A nursing leader should be able to manage nurses’ relationships andinfluence the actions and behaviors of the nurses. He should also beable to modify the working environment to enhance job satisfactionand retention of nurses and consequently the performance of thedepartment or organization. However, it should be clear that allthese should be aimed at the ultimate aim of the nursing profession,the welfare of the patients (Shirey, 2006).

Inconclusion, there is an increased need for nursing leaders in themodern health care system. This is due to the critical role they playin the delivery of quality and accessible health care services. Inaddition to providing leadership to the nurses, they act as mentorsand links between the nurses and professional bodies, managements ofthe organizations and emerging trends in the nursing profession. Theyshould also be able to motivate the nurses and guide the professiontowards promoting the welfare of the patients.


Benner,P., Sutphen, M., Leonard, V., &amp Day, L. (2010). Educatingnurses: A call for radical transformation.San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Carter,N. et al. (2010). “The Role of Nursing Leadership in IntegratingClinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners in HealthcareDelivery in Canada”, NursingLeadership,23(Special Issue) December 2010: 167-185.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2010.22274

Shirey,M.R. (2006). “Authentic leaders creating healthy work environmentsfor nursing practice”. AmericanJournal of Critical Care,15(3), 256-276.


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