During the current crisis, we see a lot of women at the forefront in the fight against the ravages of COVID 19. When this is over will we still be considered as followers or leaders on the forefront of medicine? You have seen all the photos of women mostly nurses putting themselves on social media, and on the news pleading for people to stay home and to take the precautions set fouth for your own protection. The nurses have been describing the awful conditions they face on a daily basis, the lack of supplies, the number of patients they are forced to take care of and the loss of life that has become a part of every day we step on the floor.No matter who my patient is, it remains my duty is to care for him to the best of your ability Last week I was assigned to a unit that was considered a hot spot, that means COVID 19 patients were on that floor, I said to myself ok I can do this is what I do, I care for people to make them better. This was a day that hangs heavy on my heart. I saw the roster of what patients I had to take care of and I saw a name that I recognized, a woman that I used to work with, she was a CNA and still working at 72 years of age. As I donned my protective equipment gown, booties gloves, N95, and cap I entered her room and I called her by name, she was on 15 L Non-rebreather mask and hardly able to speak, she did acknowledge me though. As I assessed her and gave her care I looked into her eyes and she looked into mine, we both knew her fate but I was unable to verbalize that I had any knowledge of it. I looked into her eyes and told her that I was going to make her comfortable and that I will hold her phone so that her family can talk to her. She nodded but still did not have the strength at this moment, she was alone in a new world one that faced certain death, she knew her age and comorbidities were against her in the fight against this virus. Tubes, monitors, and IV’s were what she had to focus on at this moment along with the memories in her head of family, grandchildren, and friends. You could see in her eyes the look of despair at the unfairness at her fate, after all, she devoted her life to helping the elderly and making them comfortable. I managed to hold her hand and touch her face and let her know that I will be with her for the day, she nodded and I wiped away the tear that formed in her eye.
Many may wonder how this makes me a leader? As an effective leader I have a distinctive set of personal qualities: integrity, courage, initiative and an ability to handle stress. I also possess a high standard of professionalism, excellent communication skills, as well as interpersonal skills. I lead each patient through dignity, compassion, attention to detail and quick problem-solving skills. Nurses inspire others to work together in pursuit of a common goal, such as enhanced patient care and are person-centered.
There are many arguments that tend to explain the leadership gap and they mostly revolve around the notion that women are just different than men(Northouse,2016). Many of the gender differences in developmental opportunities may be driven in part by the prejudice women experience in the domain of leadership(Nothouse,2016) We have seen in Northouse the Evolution of Leadership definitions and how they have changed over the years. In the first three decades of the 20th-century leadership emphasized control and centralization of power, the 1930s traits were the focus, the 1040s the group approach was in the forefront. During the 1950s three themes dominated leadership: the continuance of group theory, shared goals, and effectiveness. The 1960s thought the definition was a behavior that influenced people toward shared goals. The 70s focused on initiating and maintaining groups to accomplish organizational goals. The 1980 became a time when ideas on leadership flourished, concepts such as do as the leader wishes, influence, traits were also brought back into the spotlight, and also transformation where people raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality(Northouse,2016)
As we moved into the 21st-century scholars debated whether leadership and management are separate processes. Discussions on Authentic leadership, spiritual leadership, servant leadership, and adaptive leadership were infused into the different corporations. After all of the research and analysis that has been done on this subject, the definition still remains that the Leadership scholars can not agree on a common definition for leadership. Leadership will continue to have different meanings, generational differences and understanding the complexities of this topic will be debated for years to come(Northouse,2016)
After this pandemic is over a new definition of leadership will emerge. Some people may get to choose their projects at work, but nurses don’t get that luxury. Instead, we are tasked with caring for every patient assigned to you. Being a professional nurse means the patients in your care must be able to trust you, it means being up to date with best practice, it means treating your patients and colleagues with dignity, kindness, respect and compassion. It means being accountable. People need to know that even though the leader is employed to manage and run a business, he or she is also a human being. Nurses are able to understand this while caring for them and understanding what they are going through. Nurses have the capacity of leadership through treating everyone as a human being, that is something that until this pandemic has gone by the wayside in our country.
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. 7th Edition. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.