Leadership: Situational Leadership in Nursing

The healthcare system has experienced many changes over the last two decades. The patient demand for high-quality care and the rising costs of medical technology have made healthcare providers adopt new strategies to adapt to changes (Alsaqqa, 2020). Healthcare workers have to maintain good relations and collaboration among themselves and to be able to ask and answer critical questions promptly. Furthermore, treatment of patients depends on medical workers’ adherence to protocols and, sometimes, on their ability to innovate, which is possible when situational leadership style is adopted in healthcare settings.

Dr. Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard developed the concept of situational leadership. It is based on the idea that there is no one best leadership style, and the technique depends on the situation (Alsaqqa, 2020). The tasks to be performed and the teams performing them need to be considered when selecting a leadership style. As a nurse, I may be faced with problematic cases with changing variables, which would require me to respond by adjusting my leadership strategies depending on the situation. This leadership style fits my strengths because I am flexible and able to adjust to changing environments quickly. I also have strong analytical skills that help me to change processes as I work. I may need to switch to a democratic leadership style if I want to create a healthy work environment where people are heard and respected. However, I may adopt to an authoritarian style if I need the job to be done quickly. This style is instrumental in medical settings where everyone must follow strict rules, for instance, in the OR. Thus, I can make myself useful in various healthcare settings by using a situational leadership style. This style will improve my interprofessional practice because I will collaborate effectively with other medical staff members while working with patients and their families under various circumstances. When I work with subordinates, the transactional leadership style will help me monitor their work better. If I want to encourage new ideas, I will switch to a democratic approach and have open conversations with other professionals. Based on the NYS Nurse Practice Act, nurses’ responsibilities vary, and situational leadership is needed to do well in the RN’s role. RNs have numerous responsibilities that include providing adequate healthcare and timely information to patients with various disorders and health teaching and counseling (NYSED, 2018). The last two functions may require a nursing manager to be a transformational leader who concentrates on other nurses’ performance and wants them to achieve success. In addition, there should be subordination in hospitals and clinics, and nurses should be monitored by a superior who ensures that they work according to an established medical regimen (NYSED, 2018). Therefore, a nursing manager may adopt a transactional leadership style, implement a system of achievements and penalties, and create a chain of definite commands to ensure that every nurse performs according to the accepted standards of care.

To summarize, given the changing healthcare environment, there is a high demand for leaders who can adjust to change fast. Therefore, adopting a situational leadership style is a desirable goal for an RN. It allows every medical professional to do their job well in crises when strict adherence to rules is needed. It also helps to improve the workplace by letting others participate in the decision-making process.


Alsaqqa, H. H. (2020, August 7). The situational leadership for the three realities of healthcare organizations (a perspective view). Journal of Health Systems and Policies, 2(2), 230-247. Web.

New York State Education Department. (2018). Article 139, Nursing. NYSED. Web.

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