The Role of Nursing Theories in Leadership and Management Practices

Mary Klem

Nursing theories are not confined to bedside care; they extend their influence into the realm of leadership and management within healthcare organizations. These theories provide a robust framework that shapes the decisions and actions of nurse leaders and managers. Nursing theories offer insights into the complexities of human behavior, motivation and communication—essential elements of effective leadership. Transformational leadership, a concept championed by nursing theorists like Dorothea Orem and Jean Watson, emphasizes inspiring and motivating team members toward a shared vision. By understanding the principles of these theories, nurse leaders can create environments that foster trust, collaboration and innovation. Additionally, situational leadership theories, such as those developed by Patricia Benner, equip leaders with adaptive strategies, enabling them to tailor their leadership styles according to the unique needs of their teams and situations. In the realm of management, nursing theories offer valuable guidance.