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Transformational Leadership in Nursing Practice: Concepts and Applications

Concept of Transformational Leadership

Describe The Topic’s Function In Nursing Practice By Examining At Least Three Different Nursing Roles (For Example, Bedside Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Cno, Unit Manager, Etc.).

Discuss How The Leadership Topic (Transformational Leadership) Can Be Used In Your Own Practice.

Discuss Your Personal Growth In Regard To Your Chosen Leadership Topic (Transformational Leadership). Evaluate Personal Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, And Threats To Your Career Advancement.

Discuss The Top Three Traits You Feel Makes a Good Nurse Leader. Support Your Statements With Examples From Your Practice Experience And Scholarly Sources.

With an exponentially increasing global population, the need for rapid and effective healthcare is rising. An experienced and insightful leader is indispensable to provide optimal care to patients. In this chaotic age, the need for a good leader is undeniable in the medical field. Since it is nurses who work most closely with patients, it goes without saying that they make the best candidates to lead other nurses as well as carers. It is safe to say that each individual has a personalized leadership style that differs according to expertise, age, culture, and personality. Not every expert nurse is qualified to lead a team (Scully, 2015). Throughout ages, the manner of leadership has evolved. Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that has been applied in nursing time and time again with a significant success rate. This essay aims to shed light on the concept of transformational leadership and elaborate on the application of this method of leadership in a healthcare scenario, specifically in nursing, to provide personalized care and treatment to every patient professionally and efficiently.

Transformational leadership is a leadership approach that is based on the mutual respect and work of the leader and the team to achieve a more than satisfactory result in terms of the targets and aims of the organization (Krepia et al., 2018). Hence, the success of this approach is based on the relation between the leader and their team (Boamah et al., 2018). This idea was introduced by James McGregor Burns, who explained the idea of a leader who actively acts as a role model for their team, inspiring and indulging them to do more than what is expected of them in an organization formally. His thesis paved the way for one of the most researched and practically applied leadership ideas of all time (Siangchokyoo, Klinger, & Campion, 2019). This model of leadership consists of four major concepts. They include- Idealized Influence, where the leading figure is presented as an exceptional role model for the team; Inspirational Motivation, where the leader conveys their vision and desired outcome to the team in order to inspire them and work towards the goal; Intellectual Simulation, which signifies the leader’s actions towards the follower’s opinions and ideas and their considerations towards implementing and incorporating these ideas. Finally, the last idea is that of Individualized Consideration, where the leader takes into consideration each of their followers individually and help them with their respective strengths and weaknesses in order to achieve the desired end result (Boamah et al., 2018).

Application of Transformational Leadership in Nursing Practice

In the field of nursing, the guidance of an able leader is of utmost importance as it is a very demanding and sensitive profession. Nurses are often obligated to take up leadership roles in various scenarios (Echevarria, Patterson & Krouse, 2017) From providing personalized patient care and treatment to delegating tasks to a team, from participating in clinical procedures to supervising trainees and novice nurses to handle the treatment, a nursing leader has a vast number of significant responsibilities. Transformational leadership is a method that promises better patient outcomes and personalized care while reducing the waste of resources and reducing stress on healthcare professionals. It is also important in academic nursing (Giddens, 2018) The application of this concept in a practical setting has shown an improvement in overall performance amongst nurses (Fischer, 2016). The effectiveness of transformational leadership practice can be explained by exemplifying three different nursing roles such as bedside nurse, public health nurse, and chief nursing officer.

Among the different clinical staff, the bedside registered nurses are responsible for closely working with and overseeing patient health. They often lead other nurses in taking optimal care of the patient as well. This demands their leadership style to be more informal and communicative, both with the patients and the nurses they supervise. Amongst the many responsibilities, a key role in their leadership is to inspire other nurses and provide a healthy and open work environment. Transformational leadership has been recommended for such a role. The key has mutual respect, encourage personal opinions and reflections, dividing and delegating tasks on the basis of what would be optimal for both the patient and the staff. This requires high level of coordination between the registered nurse and the nursing assistants which can ideally be achieved through the model of transformational leadership as it entails the efforts of not only the leader but the whole team (Larsson & Sahlsten 2016).

The public health nurses are medical professionals who focus on providing healthcare in a public setting. Due to large number of patients requiring medical attention, this role requires effective leadership skills. The key to leading a team in monitoring and treating community health is excellent communication amongst the team and practical division of labor. Few of the most prized qualities of a nursing leader in public health included having a vision and inspiring the team to work towards it, being an example for the staff to work harder and with a practical approach, considering individual attributes of the staff as well as unique requirements of each situation that arise throughout the work and finally effectively collaborating with each other as well as patients (Carlton et al., 2015). All these aspects follow the core ideology of transformational leadership.

Bedside Nurse

The leadership of a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) is crucial to providing ideal patient outcomes. CNOs have a vital role in supervising a considerable number of nursing staff, sometimes even thousands, in particular academic settings. Their leadership styles should be inspiring and immaculate to provide an example for the staff, for some of them may even become leaders in the future. Transformational leadership is considered to be ideal for them as the leader and team ideally influence each other to achieve better consequences. It has been observed that Chief Nursing Officers who take up the transformational leadership approach are regarded generally as better role models due to better communication with the team and they encourage better professional relationships among the staff enhancing team performance and implementing change when needed (Jones et al., 2017).

Transformational leadership is a very formal and practical approach to clinical leadership. In practice, this style of leadership can be implemented to achieve the best possible medical outcomes. Working in the health industry has been regarded as a perilous job due to patient violence, exposure to pathogens and other injuries relating to medical appliances and instruments (Weiss, Tappen & Grimley 2019). Hence efficient leadership is also a must in promoting workplace safety. As a leader supervising a moderately sized team of nurses and assistants, transformational leadership can be instigated by assigning the tasks according to the expertise of each staff. For this to be successful, a personalized discussion with each staff about their experience and strengths should be done so that I am perfectly aware of what task to delegate to whom when we are in the field. Simultaneously, I encourage and welcome discussion of problems and ideas by each member of the team. It is also necessary to supervise those who are relatively inexperienced while looking after my own patients to make sure they have all the help they need. Finally, it is essential that there is a perfect understanding between everyone in the team and that everyone is on the same page regarding the work delegated and the outcomes to be desired for each patient. This way, we can practically implement the idea of transformational leadership in order to ascertain best possible results for patient health.

Incorporating the aspects of transformational leadership in my own practice have resulted in a significant improvement in communication amongst the team as well as overall patient care. Personally, I have succeeded in building a more robust and reliable professional relationship with my teammates and create a team spirit among the coworkers. I have succeeded in generating better clinical outcomes in my department and a better environment for the patients and staff alike. I have been able to uphold myself in a manner that is beneficial and inspiring for my teammates by actively participating in clinical procedures, keeping everyone’s expertise in mind while delegating tasks and creating an environment of open communication. I have found confidence in my abilities while leading the team and I believe this experience will be beneficial for my nursing career. However, I need to work on my skills of incorporating all the member’s ideas in the work as the chaos in the clinical setting is demanding and does not always allow me to do so. This may prove to be a problem in my career later on.

Public Health Nurse

There are are some qualities a person must exhibit to become a good leader. Firstly, they must be experienced and involved in the clinical procedures, rather than leaving the practical work to the others in the team. This encourages teamwork and in turn, results in more productivity. Nurses who work in the frontline often prove to better leaders (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, 2020). For example, if the leader only assigns the work and does not do anything themselves, that would not encourage the team to work, as they will have no enthusiasm to work for someone who does not work themselves. Secondly, leaders who make an effort to form solid professional relationships and encourage cooperation between the team members often prove to be great at leading other nurses and set a good example. Communication and cooperation have proven to be a critical point in providing exceptional patient care (Bender, 2016). Leaders who do not have steady relationships and communication with their teammates cannot inspire them and without interpersonal communication, the team would work haphazardly and not efficiently. Finally, a leader who takes into account everyone’s opinions and ideas and actively incorporate them in the work routine after weighing them seriously is considered to be an ideal leader, especially in the nursing field. Hand in hand with this goes the concept of inspiring the team members to work towards a specific vision and give their own ideas in order to achieve that. It was observed that nursing students who were more involved in the process and were encouraged to give their own opinions excelled more. This also encouraged practicing safety in medicine and better patient outcomes (Vaismoradi et al., 2016).

From this essay, it can be concluded that the concept of transformational leadership has proven to be highly beneficial in terms of clinical leadership. Nursing is a very responsible and demanding profession. In a tolling field like this, the importance of proper leadership in irrefutable. The core concepts of transformational leadership have proven to give better than satisfactory outcomes in terms of patient health and have been immensely successful in creating and inspiring future nursing leaders dedicated to human welfare.


Bender, M. (2016). Conceptualizing clinical nurse leader practice: an interpretive synthesis. Journal of Nursing Management, 24(1), E23-E31.

Boamah, S. A., Laschinger, H. K. S., Wong, C., & Clarke, S. (2018). Effect of transformational leadership on job satisfaction and patient safety outcomes. Nursing outlook, 66(2), 180-189.

Carlton, E. L., Holsinger Jr, J. W., Riddell, M. C., & Bush, H. (2015). Full-range public health leadership, part 2: qualitative analysis and synthesis. Frontiers in public health, 3, 174.

Echevarria, I. M., Patterson, B. J., & Krouse, A. (2017). Predictors of transformational leadership of nurse managers. Journal of nursing management, 25(3), 167-175.

Fischer, S. A. (2016). Transformational leadership in nursing: a concept analysis. Journal of advanced nursing, 72(11), 2644-2653.

Giddens, J. (2018). Transformational leadership: What every nursing dean should know. Journal of Professional Nursing, 34(2), 117-121.

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Jones, P., Polancich, S., Steaban, R., Feistritzer, N., & Poe, T. (2017). Transformational leadership: The chief nursing officer role in leading quality and patient safety. The Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ), 39(3), 186-190.

Krepia, V., Katsaragakis, S., Kaitelidou, D., & Prezerakos, P. (2018). Transformational leadership and its evolution in nursing. Progress in Health Sciences, 8(1).

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Scully, N. J. (2015). Leadership in nursing: The importance of recognising inherent values and attributes to secure a positive future for the profession. Collegian, 22(4), 439-444.

Siangchokyoo, N., Klinger, R. L., & Campion, E. D. (2019). Follower transformation as the linchpin of transformational leadership theory: A systematic review and future research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 101341.

Vaismoradi, M., Griffiths, P., Turunen, H., & Jordan, S. (2016). Transformational leadership in nursing and medication safety education: a discussion paper. Journal of nursing management, 24(7), 970-980.

Weiss, S. A., Tappen, R. M., & Grimley, K. (2019). Essentials of nursing leadership & management. FA Davis.

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