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Co-ordination and Leadership in Mental Health Care

The scenario which was presented is described: A woman suffering with depression on an acute hospital ward. She doesn't seem to be communicating or interacting with the staff and other patients. A consultant Psychiatrist makes the decision to lock her out of her room for two ours after meal time. Though she continues to annoy the rest of the nursing staff and for a stress-free environment they let her back into her room after meal times. They are not adhering to the care plan; thereby contributing to ineffective communication, leadership within the team. The assignment will be focusing on different styles of leadership used by the consultant within the scenario; the way they communicated their own responsibilities to the other members of staff and the responsibilities of the nursing staff within the team. The lack of leadership and how the consultant communicates their views to the other nursing staff is the most important aspect because if all the departments are not working collaboratively with each other then the care they give will not benefit the patient.

To analyse the leadership problems on the acute ward we have to understand the meaning of what a 'team' actually is; the Oxford dictionary defines a 'team' as "a set of people working together to achieve a common aim." Cited by the Nursing Standard volume 14, 2000

Motivation of the nursing staff had a lot to do with the way the consultant tried to solve the patient's problem. The competence of the leading role (consultant) was not respected and the nurses over did the decisions laid down in the care plan for an easier life; rather than communicating their opinions on how the consultant decided to cope with the situation. This could lead back to the hierarchy which has been developed by management within the NHS. Nursing Management, volume 8, 2001 pp32-33 "leadership skills are developed now and sustained for the future, development must permeate all levels of the NHS."

Allowing the nurses to be able to practically evaluate the situation and decide on the relevant means to solving the problem; in relation to their own individual leadership qualities. One of the main factors which were learnt during reflection was that by aiding the development of a close relationship with the nursing staff the consultant's leadership skills could have been developed. The communication skills whether they are of verbal or non-verbal, they play a huge part in the working of a team that will work collaboratively together to offer high quality patient care. The consultant and the nursing staff would have benefited from team building exercise day to build respect, drive and the desire to achieve individual needs. While developing the personal leadership qualities of all the individuals within the healthcare team so that everyone would understand the theories and approaches put in place to achieve the values, ethics and empathic understanding that is needed.

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