Benchmark – Effective Approaches in Leadership and Management

This article covers Benchmark – Effective Approaches in Leadership and Management sample solution to nursing assignment.


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Benchmark – Effective Approaches in Leadership and Management

Healthcare facilities encounter challenges in delivering quality patient care because of various healthcare administration, nursing practice, and nursing education issues. The healthcare organization’s management has to be equipped with sufficient skills and determination necessary to perform various contexts. These issues include the use of contract employees, magnet designation, nurse turnover, and floating. Additional issues are unit closers and restructuring, workplace bullying, and inadequate nursing staffing ratios in various clinical care settings. Among these issues, one of the most prevalent ones is nurse staffing ratios necessitating the healthcare organization administration, management, and nursing leadership to identify and devise measures to maintain appropriate numbers of nursing staff in their facility.

Consequently, this essay purposes of examining the impact of nursing staffing ratios on both quality of care and patient safety in the setting where it happens. The paper also explores how professional standards of practice should be applied in this setting besides delving into distinct roles of nursing leaders and nursing managers in this instance. Towards the end, the paper recommends the transformational leadership style as the best leadership approach that would be successful in the setting.

Nursing Staffing Ratios and How It Impacts Quality of Care and Patient Safety

Nursing staff shortages in the US have led to nurses across the nation taking care of an increased number of patients leaving individual states or health care facilities to deal with this growing problem. Nursing staffing ratio herein means the ratio of nursing staff to the number of patients that a nurse is expected to attend to at a given time. Healthcare experts recommend the involvement of state governments in minimum staffing laws. In many states, healthcare facilities can set their safe staffing standards, with 14 states have passed some form of staffing laws. Of these 14 states, only California has specifically mandated an average nurse-to-patient ratio.

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Specifically, California state laws require hospitals to have one nurse for two patients in the critical care unit, and one nurse for every four patients in the emergency room, and one nurse for every five patients in the medical-surgical unit. Inadequate nursing staffing ratios affect the quality of care nurses offer to patients. The majority of the nurses would experience nurse burnout, causing them to have difficulties in offering quality patient care and strained relationships at the workplace (Cornwall, 2018). Suffice it to say that nurses’ vigilance at the bedside is necessary to ensure patient safety, implying that increasing patients is bound to compromise patient safety due to increased risk of patient safety events, morbidity, and mortality (Aiken et al., 2018). As such, every hospital should meet the mandatory patient maximums or requisite nursing staffing ratios if the facility expects to improve patient outcomes and promote patient safety culture.

How Professional Standards of Practice Should Be Demonstrated In This Situation

The hospital management and nursing leadership in a hospital have an obligation and responsibility to ensure nurses execute their duties with minimal errors. The American Nursing Association (ANA) offers guidelines for effective nursing performance with the professional standards of practices comprising of three elements, namely professional standards of care define nursing competencies in diagnostic, intervention, and evaluation (McHugh et al., 2020). Next are professional performance standards that identify role functions indirect care, consultation, and quality assurance. Lastly are specialty practice guidelines that address protocols of care for specific populations.

Guided by these standards of practice, every healthcare facility can avoid the –size- fits- all system-wide implementation which not only is very costly but leads to skewed allocation of resources (McHugh et al., 2020). Under the able leadership and effective management in the nursing staff would avoid hiring nurses less experienced in the assigned department. With adequate education, skills, knowledge, and experience, the trained nurses are likely to offset quality and safety improvements required to maintain professional practice standards and retain the professional conduct expected of nurses.

The Differing Roles of Nursing Leaders and Nursing Managers

The healthcare continuum views every nurse as a nurse leader irrespective of one’s role or practice setting; hence even in situations where the organization has not met the set nursing staffing ratio, the nurse is expected to provide leadership so that quality care is offered without compromising patient safety. Sfantou et al. (2017) depict a nurse leader as hands-on and endeavors to set standards, spearhead transformation, and inspire and influence their teams. Therefore, the nurse leader is expected to set policy, ensure regulatory compliance, and oversee adherence to the quality measures. The overall quality of patient care and delivery, staff and patient satisfaction, and organizational outcomes are realized through accountability.

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On the other hand, the nurse managers ensure all components under their charge, be it a unit, division, or service line, run smoothly daily. The nurse manager’s daily tasks include patient care planning, goal setting, budgeting, and quality improvement. They also oversee staff schedules and assignments while also not ignoring individual nurses’ professional growth in the provision of educational and career growth enhancement opportunities.

            Moreover, the nursing staff members expect their NMs to communicate effectively, give appropriate directions, and support them in fulfilling their roles. Be that as it may, the nurse managers and nurse leaders’ roles, while different, function best when they complement each other, thus helping resolve the negative influences of high nurse-patient- ratios. Both leaders and managers should be motivators, have excellent decision-making skills, and commit to the organization they serve.

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Effective approaches in leadership and management
Effective approaches in leadership and management

A leadership style that would best address Low Nurse-to –Patient Ratios

Sfantou et al. (2017) posit that patient-based nursing care and evidence-based medicine are the recognized tools needed to establish adequate healthcare facilities associated with high productivity and quality of care. Similarly, leadership and management supplement and complement the integration of care. Leadership (in this context defined as the relationship between the leaders and those who choose to follow) is directing and coordinating activities of a team or specific group towards a particular goal. It can be autocratic, laissez-faire, task-oriented, transactional or transformational. In settings with below-average recommended nursing staffing ratios, transformational leadership is recommended since it is strongly related to implementing effective management that results in a patient safety culture. A transformational leader in this setting would indirectly reduce the mortality rates and inspire the nurses in their respective stations to perform to the best of their abilities (Lin et al., 2015). Individual nurses would be taught skills to identify and manage nurse burnout. That way, the organization would retain experienced staff.


In conclusion, this essay has established that a low- nurse to patient ratio in a hospital is bound to generate an adverse healthcare environment for the nurses and the patients. Healthcare professionals are also reminded to appreciate the role nurse leaders and managers play in ensuring quality patient care and patient safety, thus improving patient outcomes. Every nurse should also recognize that they have sufficient knowledge to tackle the nurse-patient- ratio by fully taking part in decision-making processes. Lastly, hospitals with low nurse-to-patient ratios have to ensure nurses are adequately motivated. 


Aiken, L. H., CerĂłn, C., Simonetti, M., Lake, E. T., Galiano, A., Garbarini, A., … & Smith, H. L. (2018). Hospital nurse staffing and patient outcomes. Revista MĂ©dica ClĂ­nica Las Condes29(3), 322-327.

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Cornwall, L. (2018). Network 2018 Portrait of a Modern Nurse Survey. Retrieved from

Lin, P. Y., MacLennan, S., Hunt, N., & Cox, T. (2015). The influences of nursing transformational leadership style on the quality of nurses’ working lives in Taiwan: a cross-sectional quantitative study. BMC nursing14(1), 1-9.

McHugh, M. D., Aiken, L. H., Windsor, C., Douglas, C., & Yates, P. (2020). Case for hospital nurse-to-patient ratio legislation in Queensland, Australia, hospitals: an observational study. BMJ open10(9), e036264.

Sfantou, D. F., Laliotis, A., Patelarou, A. E., Sifaki-Pistolla, D., Matalliotakis, M., & Patelarou, E. (2017, December). Importance of leadership style towards quality of care measures in healthcare settings: a systematic review. In Healthcare (Vol. 5, No. 4, p. 73). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.


Topic chosen is Nurse staffing ratios.

In this assignment, you will be writing a 1,000-1,250 word paper describing the differing approaches of nursing leaders and managers to issues in practice. To complete this assignment, do the following:

  1. Select an issue from the following list: bullying, unit closers and restructuring, floating, nurse turnover, nurse staffing ratios, use of contract employees (i.e., registry and travel nurses), or magnet designation.
  2. Describe the selected issue. Discuss how it impacts quality of care and patient safety in the setting in which it occurs.
  3. Discuss how professional standards of practice should be demonstrated in this situation to help rectify the issue or maintain professional conduct.
  4. Explain the differing roles of nursing leaders and nursing managers in this instance and discuss the different approaches they take to address the selected issue and promote patient safety and quality care. Support your rationale by using the theories, principles, skills, and roles of the leader versus manager described in your readings.
  5. Discuss what additional aspects mangers and leaders would need to initiate in order to ensure professionalism throughout diverse health care settings while addressing the selected issue.
  6. Describe a leadership style that would best address the chosen issue. Explain why this style could be successful in this setting.

Use at least three peer-reviewed journal articles other than those presented in your text or provided in the course.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion. 

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.

This benchmark assignment assesses the following programmatic competencies:


1.1:       Exemplify professionalism in diverse health care settings.

1.3:       Exercise professional nursing leadership and management roles in the promotion of patient safety and quality care.

3.4:       Demonstrate professional standards of practice.

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