Leading Through Chaos: Perspectives From Nurse Executives

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Nursing Administration Quarterly

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The COVID-19 crisis created unique and interesting challenges for health care systems and changed how health care professionals delivered care. Evidence suggests that leadership skills remain of utmost importance during crises as it is the leader who often determines the response of the follower. A descriptive qualitative approach was used to ascertain the essence of nurse executive leadership and innovation during the COVID-19 crisis. Nurse executives were recruited via personal invitations to participate in the study. Participants were asked about their current challenges of COVID-19 on health care delivery, their leadership style, and what innovative processes their teams deployed. Using a thematic analysis approach, 3 themes emerged and resonated from the interviews: the importance of communication; the need for leadership presence; and mental toughness. With any health care crisis, leadership is essential to guide followers. As demonstrated by these findings, communication, leadership presence, and mental toughness are 3 key components to promoting and providing quality care in an austere, complex, and changing health care environment. Further understanding of the roles of these key concepts may add insight into nurse leaders and leadership development.