The role of the mental health nursing leadership


Anne Lise Holm
Nursing Education
University College Stord/Haugesund
N-5509 Stord


holm a.l. & severinsson e. (2010) Journal of Nursing Management18, 463–471
The role of the mental health nursing leadership

Aim  The aim of the present study was to illuminate what the mental health nursing (MHN) leader needs in order to develop her/his leadership role.

Background  MHN leadership has tended to focus on the nature of the care provided rather than the development of the role.

Method  This literature review (1998–2008) examines papers from the past decade by means of a synthesis of empirical studies.

Results  Three themes emerged:

  • • clarifying role expectations and areas for development at the same time as increasing the influence on patients with mental health problems;
  • • using evidence-based practice to implement improvements and organizational change in mental health; and
  • • employing communication skills as well as supporting, nurturing and empowering others.

Conclusion  This review provided evidence that the MHN leader needs various skills in order to make enlightened changes that can meet the needs of both patients and staff.

Implications for nursing management  The MHN leader needs to explore the range of tasks involved in leadership in order to define role expectations and areas for development. These areas include enhancing patient care; reliance on team work; and attending to the personal life of the staff; increasing collaboration within the organization as well as with the community; utilizing the best available evidence; and communicating in order to improve the organization.