The Need for Nursing Leadership in Complex Adaptive Systems

explanatory Essay
2331 words
2331 words

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a leader is defined as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2013). Though there is a definition for what a leader is, people still have different ideas to what a leader should be and how he or she should act. There has never been a concrete idea of what a leader is; the only thing we know is that this person is the one in charge of the unit. We look at characteristics of those people we see as leaders and use those attributes to compare other people to see if they are able to be as good as or even better than those aforementioned leaders. We have to keep in mind that in different situations, leaders must do different tasks which indicates the need for different qualities. This is especially true in the hospital or other healthcare settings. Though it may be similar to other companies, it differs because of the continuous change it has to go through the new technology, innovation in techniques and new medical treatment plans made every day. In this paper, I will be discussing complex adaptive systems, especially in regards to the healthcare setting as well as the leadership necessary for these systems.
What is a complex adaptive system (CAS)?
A complex adaptive system is entity of networks and connections. It can “learn and adapt to change over time” which can change the “structure of the system” (Clancy, Effken, Pesut, 2008). It contains twelve elements: autopoesis or self-regenerization, open exchange, participation in networks, fractals, phase transition between order and chaos, search for fitness peaks, nonlinear dynamics, sensitive dependence, attractors that limit growth, strange attractors of emergence...

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...Eds.), Nursing, caring, and complexity science (pp. 325-338). New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Clancy, T.R., Effken, J.A., & Pesut, D. (2008). Applications of complex systems theory in nursing education, research, and practice. Nursing Outlook, 56(5), 248-53.
Crowell, D. M. (2011). Leadership in complex nursing and health care systems. In A. W. Davidson, M. A. Ray & M. C. Turkel (Eds.), Nursing, caring, and complexity science (pp. 199-210). New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Oxford Dictionaries. (2013). leader:definition of leader in Oxford dictionary – American English (US). Retrieved on Dec. 7, 2013, from
Stackman, R. W., Henderson, L. S., & Bloch, D. P. (2006). Emergence and community: The story of three complex adaptive entities. Emergence: Complexity & Organization, 8(3), 78-91.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains the oxford dictionary defines a leader as the person who leads, commands, and acts in groups, organizations, or countries. they will discuss complex adaptive systems, especially in healthcare settings.
  • Explains that a complex adaptive system is entity of networks and connections. it can learn and adapt to change over time, which can change the "structure of the system."
  • Explains that autopoesis/self-regenerization is the idea that there is no one person in charge. participation in networks is another important part of the cas.
  • Explains that cas's have sensitive dependence, attractors that limit growth, spirituality, and dissipative structures.
  • Explains that a complex system can create many problems, especially with being organized. to help this system be organized, there are leaders with specific traits.
  • Explains the importance of being self-reflective in a cas and the need for detachment.
  • Explains that nursing leadership in a healthcare cas requires positive personality traits such as openness, extroversion, and personal power.
  • Explains that it is important to build knowledge, take action, review findings, and reflect on those findings to continue the system's improvement.
  • Explains the importance of having a leader who can lead the team to create and keep the hospital or unit in working order.
  • Explains the challenges of a leadership position, such as resistance from followers or staff, and ensuring that the new protocols do not disrupt the patient centered care.
  • Explains the importance of an effective leader in promoting a contemporary healthcare cas.
  • Explains the definition of leader in oxford dictionary – american english.
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