Week 2: Nursing Leadership Presence

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The features of emotional intelligence portrayed by Nurse Ratched and the features that are lacking

            In One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratched is portrayed as a villain. She is a soft-spoken nurse who appears to be cruel, cold-hearted, and is emotionally detached. She is a non-caring head of nurses within the psychiatric institution. She lacks most of the five elements of emotional intelligence. This means that Nurse Ratched is lacking empathy, self-regulation, self-awareness, motivation, and social skills (Demir et al., 2019). Her leadership style is based on covert manipulation and causing psychological torture to people around her including the patients. Even though she lacks self-awareness and social skills, Nurse Ratched still considered herself to be helping the patient as opposed to the evil deeds of the clients.


            The lack of emotional intelligence such as self-awareness, social skills, empathy, and self-regulation made her humiliates patients like Billy in the presence of other patients who have just had a sexual encounter with the female patient that she would consider as a mother. Despite the request from Billy to inform her mother, Nurse Ratched refused to order him to be confined to the psychiatrist’s office (Lambe, 2019). Even though she considered this as a help to Billy, the display of her attitude is an indication of a lack of self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, and social skills.      

How to use the change agent features from the nurse’s leadership role to support an individual’s growth

            As a change agent, some actions should be ignored or controlled to help in the creation of an effective relationship with the patients. Nurse Ratched demonstrated poor leadership by threatening to report Billy to his mother for his actions. As a change agent, it would have been wise to lead with emotional intelligence. Personally, and as a leader for change, there will be a need to ensure that there is a presence of good judgment, stronger communication skills, and high respect for the patients being managed. Listening to the clients is important and it has to involve respectful and private talk without any form of judgment rather than humiliating them in front of other clients. Trust is important in the therapeutic process, therefore, trust with Billy together with other patients will be promoted (Lambe, 2019). The information provided by the client will always remain confidential without reporting or threatening the client for example Billy. Billy is an adult and human being who has rights, dignity, and respect. 

How the complexity theory or chaos theory is influencing the organization where Nurse Ratched is portrayed

            According to the show, it is evident that the ward headed by Nurse Ratched is under the influence of chaos theory. There is a lack of organization in the ward and everything seems not to be in order. There is an absence in the chain of commands with the hierarchical order, protocols, or policies. The ward is dysfunctional with power and authority under the possession of Nurse Richard. The situation in the ward appears to be complicated, unpredictable, undesirable, and unexpected and this leads to effects of the chaos theory for example the encounter between Murphy who is in outrage for the lack of emotional intelligence in Nurse Ratched (Lomas & Broughton, 2018). This is based on the action of Nurse Ratched after the suicidal attempt by Billy nearly straggled and killed Nurse Ratched under the watch of other patients.


Demir, M. S., Karaman, A., & Oztekin, S. D. (2019). Chaos theory and nursing. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 12(2), 1225-1228.

Lambe, J. (2019). Memory Politics: Psychiatric Critique, Cultural Protest, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Literature and medicine, 37(2), 298-324.

Lomas, E., & Broughton, V. (2018). The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Study of the Organization through the Lens of Popular Films of the Western World. In Visual Ethics. Emerald Publishing Limited. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-209620180000019004