Sample Healthcare Paper on Healthcare Leadership

Healthcare Leadership

Leadership is an essential component for the success of any sector and profession. At its core, leadership provides guidance, motivation, vision, and direction that enable followers within a sector and profession to work towards providing quality goods and services. The role of leadership is true in the healthcare profession, where leadership is integral in the provision of quality care. Related to leadership are ethics, which form part of the qualification for a leader, helping in creation of an ethical atmosphere, provide ethical guidance, and ascertain occupational satisfaction of personnel in prioritization of moralities. Ethics are an especially important issue for healthcare professionals given that some ethical matters curtail implementation of proper leadership among nursing leaders. In the article “Obstacles and problems of ethical leadership from the perspective of nursing leaders: A qualitative content analysis” Barkhordari-Sharifabad, Ashktorab and Atashazadeh-Shoorideh (2017) explore leadership and ethics among nursing leaders.

In their article, Barkhordari-Sharifabad, Ashktorab, and Atashazadeh-Shoorideh note that health care organizations are presently undergoing rapid and fundamental changes geared towards enhancement of quality of service, patient satisfaction, and productivity. The changes come even as heavy workload, low staff skills, inadequate resources, workplace violence, and low occupation and life quality plague nurses; yet ethical treatment of nurses and a need to put ethics first in professional performance continue to be demanded from the nurses, above protection, defense, and respect of patients’ fundamental rights. While practicing nurses feel the pressue of these demands, the herculean task is promoting and inculcating ethics in health care and nursing practice in the management level. Barkhordari-Sharifabad, Ashktorab, and Atashazadeh-Shoorideh (2017) note that despite the challenges above, it is the expectation of the public and professional organizations that nursing leaders implement ethical leadership, act as role models and foster respect for human dignity, while at the same time promote patient safety.

In their study of the ethical issues that nursing leaders deal with on a regular, the authors used qualitative content analysis and purposive sampling in the investigation of problems and obstacles to ethical leadership in nursing. The authors conducted the study in hospitals and nursing schools in Tehran, Iran, given the obligation of conducting qualitative approaches in natural contexts. Interviews for the study involved 14 participants with 22 years of management experience in nursing and teaching of ethics.

The results of the study identified three broad categories of problems and obstacles in ethical leadership, which included ethical, cultural, and managerial problems. The results indicate that ethical problems were not only intricate but also prevalent given their extensive implications on staff, patients and other stakeholders (Barkhordari-Sharifabad, Ashktorab & Atashazadeh-Shoorideh, 2017). Within the ethical problem, category are subcategories including doubt in the ethical act, ethical conflict, and ethical distress. Doubt in the act includes the unclear consequences of ethical choices, as well as the fear of people taking advantage of the ethical act. Differences in ethical values, needs and expectations are the main tropes in ethical conflict. Ethical distress, on the other hand, involves leaders forced to act contrary to their beliefs, stirring feelings of discomfort, dissatisfaction, and frustration.

On cultural problems, the authors pointed social culture and organizational culture as the main obstacles to ethical leadership in nursing. Social culture included poor/lack of respect for the nursing profession and a negative public perception. Such poor images dent the self-confidence and motivation of not only the nurses but the leaders as well. Organizational culture, on the other hand, was especially an obstacle, particularly where the leader introduces ethical leadership where it was non-existent. The leader in such instances faces a lot of animosity and resistance from his/her colleagues.

For managerial problems, the authors intimate that issues related to the organization and issues related to staff as the main problems and obstacles to ethical leadership in health care.  Nursing leaders within the organization have little to no authority in recruitment, inadequate manpower, and resources, as well as low regard for nursing. On staff related issues, the authors discovered that not all staff members adhered to ethical behavior triggering negative consequences for the organization and the nursing leader.

The study highlights important aspects of ethical leadership in healthcare; the bulk of which have a bearing in a health care leader’s work. The study results demonstrate that leaders in health care face obstacles, some of which have far reaching impact on their performance. Hesitation in performing ethical acts is one of the impacts in performance by the leaders due to the problems are obstacles states before. Such hesitation may not only be detrimental to patients’ health and life but also raise the number of ethical complaints from different stakeholders. Even more is that differences in value systems have the potential of holding leaders hostage in performing their work. Hesitation, lack or late action on particularly intricate issues open the floodgates to criticism, which most of the time demoralize not only the leader but the staff as well. Understanding different people’s value systems, continuing education, and engagement of all stakeholders can, however, go a long way in ensuring leaders in health care initiate and continue to practice ethical leadership.




Barkhordari-Sharifabad, M., Ashktorab, T., and Atashazadeh-Shoorideh, F. (2017). Obstacles and problems of ethical leadership from the perspective of nursing leaders: A qualitative content analysis. Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, 10(1), 1-11. Retrieved from