Leadership and power in nursing

Leadership and power in nursing

Bring to mind a nurse whose words, behaviors, or reputation convey power. What is it about this individual that suggests power?

There are many ways that one can almost tell if an individual harbors confidence and powers by the way they carry out their activities. A nurse who makes dialogue while looking directly at the eye of the listener in the operation department suggests power. According to Marquis & Huston, (2015) the confidence to make and maintain an eye contact with the listener in the eyes suggests power. Additionally, a nurse who also speaks with respect, and cares for the patient in this department, represents power. According to Anderson & Brion, (2014), Power and authority involves caring as well as respecting others, and not ignoring or hurting the feelings of needy individuals (Anderson &Brion, 2014). These authors are of the perception that when a responded feels cared for by a nurse, he/she feels the need to repay that with respect and honor the nurse.

Caring is also a sign of power, or represents power among nurses. Nurses who are responsible for their duties in operational department represent power. According to Leach, L,s & McFarland (2014), power is not about duties delegation; It is about taking the duties that one is assigned for seriously in addition to being accountable for the outcome. Nurses who listen to the opinion of others also represent power. These authors also argue that power involves consulting: sharing of ideas with others in an attempt to establish the best ideas to solve a given problem.

They are of the perception that power is not about dominating and considering own ideas without consulting others. For instance, Joy, a nurse in operational department is an example of a nurse whose behavior and reputation indicate power. Joy employs eye to eye contact when addressing her superior and patients. Additionally, Joy employs the use of body language while explaining various aspects to patients and other healthcare professionals with the operational department. Joy has earned respect and love from her patients and friends because of the care she provides. She is always on the fore front addressing various issues affect the patients as well other colleague   within the department. Joy is an example of a nurse who action, behavior and reputation suggests power. According to Joy, power is about sharing and helping other in relation to taking the responsibility assigned seriously.


How does your perception of this person relate to your view of yourself as a nurse leader and the image you associate with nursing?

This is a challenge as a leader because power is not about delegation; but leading from the front. It is important for a leader to care, encourage and motivate others to do things they never believed they could do. Earning respect from people around one’s work environment is a sign of power because respect is very essential. It is also about listening to others, including junior staff; listening to the opinions of others matters because no one is perfect.


Anderson, C., &Brion, S. (2014). Perspectives on power in organizations. Annual. Rev. Organ. Psychol. Organ. Behavior, 1(1), 67–97. doi:10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091259. Retrived from http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091259

Leach, L. S., & McFarland, P. (2014). Assessing the professional development needs of experienced nurse executive leaders. Journal of Nursing Administration, 44(1), 51–62.

Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2015). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Chapter 13, “Organizational, Political, and Personal Power


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