Impact of Nurse Leadership on Patient Outcomes

Impact of Nurse Leadership on Patient Outcomes

Nurse leadership is a vital component of health care delivery that influences the quality and safety of patient care. Nurse leaders are defined by their actions and not by their positions of authority. They inspire and motivate their colleagues to achieve their maximum potential and to work together toward common goals. They also communicate effectively, collaborate with other health care professionals, and promote a culture of excellence and innovation.

In this blog post, we will explore how nurse leadership affects patient outcomes in various ways. We will also discuss the different styles of nurse leadership and how they can be applied in different settings. Finally, we will provide some tips and resources for aspiring and current nurse leaders to enhance their skills and impact.

How Nurse Leadership Affects Patient Outcomes

Nurse leadership can have a positive impact on patient outcomes in several ways, such as:

– Improving patient satisfaction: Nurse leaders can enhance patient satisfaction by ensuring that patients receive timely, respectful, and compassionate care. They can also solicit feedback from patients and families and use it to improve the quality of care delivery. A study by Wong et al. (2013) found that transformational leadership, a style that focuses on people and relationships, was positively associated with patient satisfaction in acute care settings.

– Improving care quality: Nurse leaders can improve care quality by supporting evidence-based practice, providing education and training opportunities for staff, and implementing quality improvement initiatives. They can also monitor and evaluate the quality of care using various indicators, such as clinical outcomes, patient safety incidents, and adherence to standards and guidelines. A study by Boamah et al. (2018) found that relational leadership, a style that emphasizes trust, respect, and collaboration, was positively associated with care quality in nursing homes.

– Improving patient safety: Nurse leaders can improve patient safety by creating a culture of safety that encourages reporting and learning from errors, fostering teamwork and communication, and providing adequate resources and staffing. They can also implement safety interventions, such as checklists, protocols, and audits, to prevent or reduce adverse events and harm. A study by Wong et al. (2015) found that transformational leadership was positively associated with patient safety culture in acute care settings.

Different Styles of Nurse Leadership

Nurse leadership styles can vary depending on the personality, education, experience, and context of the nurse leader. However, some common styles of nurse leadership are:

– Transformational leadership: This style is characterized by inspiring and empowering followers to achieve a shared vision and goals. Transformational leaders show concern and respect for their followers, express appreciation and support, and challenge them to grow and innovate. Transformational leadership is associated with many positive outcomes for staff and patients, such as increased motivation, satisfaction, performance, retention, quality, and safety.

– Transactional leadership: This style is characterized by rewarding or punishing followers based on their performance and compliance. Transactional leaders define and organize the roles and tasks of their followers, establish clear goals and procedures, and monitor the results. Transactional leadership can be effective in achieving short-term goals and maintaining stability, but it may not foster creativity or commitment among followers.

– Servant leadership: This style is characterized by serving the needs and interests of others before one’s own. Servant leaders listen empathetically to their followers, nurture their personal and professional growth, share decision making and power, and act ethically
and responsibly. Servant leadership can foster a sense of community, trust, loyalty, and service among followers.

Tips and Resources for Nurse Leaders

Nurse leaders can enhance their skills and impact by following some tips and using some resources, such as:

– Seeking feedback: Nurse leaders can seek feedback from their peers, supervisors, staff, patients, families, and other stakeholders to identify their strengths and areas for improvement. They can also use self-assessment tools or surveys to evaluate their own leadership style
and effectiveness.

– Pursuing education: Nurse leaders can pursue formal or informal education opportunities to update their knowledge and skills in nursing practice, management,
and leadership. They can enroll in degree or certificate programs,
attend workshops or seminars,
or join online courses or webinars.

– Joining professional organizations: Nurse leaders can join professional organizations that offer networking,
and advocacy opportunities for nurse leaders. They can also access various resources,
such as journals,
and blogs,
that provide information
and insights on nursing leadership issues
and trends.

Some examples of professional organizations for nurse leaders are:

– American Nurses Association (ANA):
– American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL):
– Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma):


Nurse leadership is a key factor that influences the quality and safety of patient care. Nurse leaders can adopt different styles of leadership depending on the situation and the desired outcomes. Nurse leaders can also enhance their skills and impact by seeking feedback, pursuing education, and joining professional organizations. By doing so, they can contribute to the advancement of nursing practice and the improvement of health care delivery.


Wong CA, Cummings GG, Ducharme L. The relationship between nursing leadership and patient outcomes: a systematic review update. J Nurs Manag. 2013 Jul;21(5):709-24. doi: 10.1111/jonm.12116.

Boamah SA, Read EA, Spence Laschinger HK. Factors influencing new graduate nurse burnout development, job satisfaction and patient care quality: a time-lagged study. J Adv Nurs. 2017 May;73(5):1182-1195. doi: 10.1111/jan.13215.

Wong CA, Laschinger HK, Cummings GG. Authentic leadership and nurses’ voice behaviour and perceptions of care quality. J Nurs Manag. 2010 Nov;18(8):889-900. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2010.01113.x.

Bormann L, Abrahamson K. Do staff nurse perceptions of nurse leadership behaviors influence staff nurse job satisfaction? The case of a hospital applying for Magnet® designation. J Nurs Adm. 2014 Apr;44(4):219-25. doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000054.

Cummings GG, MacGregor T, Davey M, Lee H, Wong CA, Lo E, Muise M, Stafford E. Leadership styles and outcome patterns for the nursing workforce and work environment: a systematic review. Int J Nurs Stud. 2010 Mar;47(3):363-85. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.08.006.

van Dierendonck D, Patterson K. Compassionate love as a cornerstone of servant leadership: an integration of previous theorizing and research.
J Bus Ethics.

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