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Individual Article

  • Title of Article
  • Type of Article
  • Author/s
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  • Date of Publication
  • Keywords
  • The importance of inspiring a shared vision
  • Original Practice Development and Research
  • Jacqueline Martin, Brendan McCormack, Donna Fitzsimons and Rebecca Spirig
  • Volume 4, Issue 2, Article 4
  • November 2014
  • Evaluation, leadership programme, nurses, practice development, triangulation, vision
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  • Background: Leadership programmes have been used to support nurse leaders in developing their skills and equiping them as transformative change agents in healthcare organisations around the world. For this purpose, the Royal College of Nursing’s Clinical Leadership Programme has been adapted, implemented, and evaluated in Switzerland. Although a shared vision is a key element in leading organisations and in change, the impact of such a vision on clinical practice is rarely described in the literature.

    Aims and objectives: To determine qualitatively the benefits of a shared vision as one essential feature of leadership behaviour.

    Methods: In the context of a mixed methods research study, individual interviews with nurse leaders, as well as focus group interviews with their respective teams, were recorded and transcribed verbatim prior to qualitative content analysis. In order to integrate all findings, a triangulation protocol was applied after separate analysis.

    Findings: Having a vision helped leaders and their teams to become inspired and committed to a shared goal. Moreover, the vision was a strong driving force for ongoing and systematic practice development and thus established a culture that favoured quality and safety improvement in patient care. However, the strategic direction needed to be tempered; the positive impact on teams and their care practices generated a great deal of enthusiasm, which had the potential to overload the organisation through taking on more than could reasonably be accomplished.

    Conclusion: The study found that a vision provides orientation and meaning for leaders and their teams. It helps them to focus their energies and engage in the transformation of practice. However, it is very important for leaders to monitor closely the energy level of teams and the organisation, in order to maintain the balance between innovation/transformation and relaxation/recovery.

    Implications for practice:

    • A vision provides orientation and meaning for leaders and their teams and is a strong driving force for ongoing and systematic practice development
    • The enthusiasm at the beginning brought about the danger of starting too many activities, thus overloading the organisation. Therefore, it is important for leaders to maintain the balance between innovation/transformation and relaxation/recovery
    • Care should be taken to ensure that a vision and corresponding core values are realistic and achievable. Otherwise, the vision might remain an unattainable illusion, and the individuals who are supposed to turn it into reality may become frustrated and demotivated
  • This article by Jacqueline Martin, Brendan McCormack, Donna Fitzsimons and Rebecca Spirig is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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