Hi Nurse Beth,
Glad that you want to help me on my leadership assignment. I just need to ask you a few questions
Describe your leadership style.
|RN nurse leaders name, title, facility and contact information:
I emailed this to you
|Nurse leader credentials, education and past work experience:
MSN, RN-BC (board certified in nursing professional development). Currently work as nursing professional development specialist; past nursing manager of Tele, and Endoscopy.
Participative. I've always had a passion for being the voice of the clinical bedside nurse to the leaders above me in the organization. To bring about sustainable change, I believe all stakeholders must be at the table.
That means including front-line staff. When non-clinical leaders sit in a room and make nursing practice decisions, they do not have all the information needed to make the best decisions.
Integrity is huge and to me being a leader means you are transparent and serve your "constituents". I would like nurses to say of me that I listened, I heard, and then made the best decision for patient care.
What is your communication style?
I work diligently at being assertive. It has helped me grow as a person.
How do you as a nurse leader manage conflict?
I prefer consensus when possible.
But it depends on the situation. During a code, for example, I'm very directive.
If two employees are having conflict, I expect them to try and handle it (I don't play "mom").
When I am experiencing conflict, I try to pull back and identify what's really bothering me. I have learned it's more effective to pick and choose my battles. For example, I can see when some (proposed) things just won't work or will impede nurses' work flow- and often because the nurses themselves were not first consulted. In that case, I will go full out to resolve the conflict to make things better for pts and nurses.
What have you as the nurse leader experienced as Priority Quality Improvement or Change Project? What has been your involvement?
[/B] I saw a problem getting ED patients bedded in-house. As leader of all of the charge nurses, I had them start meeting 2X a day to quickly report bed status on each unit. Meeting face-to-face regularly helped them to work together more cooperatively to bed patients. At first I facilitated the meetings but then withdrew in favor of self-governance. It was very successful.
On my tele unit, I had hearts stenciled every 10 feet around the unit to encourage open heart pts to ambulate. The pts then kept a record of how far they'd gone. The surgeons loved it.
I love being a facilitator and leader for new grad residency debriefings. We meet in a group of 8-10 every 2 weeks during their orientation. It's a safe place for them to share, vent, encourage each other- and to realize they are not alone in the process. I love new nurses.
What competencies are important for this role?
. "Conflict is inevitable" is what I tell all new nurses- because many nurses avoid conflict or don't realize there will be conflict with patients, colleagues, families, providers.
Customer service and service recovery
has always been important and even more so now. The ability to de-escalate a patient or family complaint.
Scanning the horizon
. Knowing what's new and how it will affect your area. Value-based purchasing, outpatient holds, patient satisfaction, self-governance...staying tuned in.
- everything rests on communication. I can never stop learning and becoming a better communicator. I teach reflective listening and communication skills to new charge nurses.
Knowledge of policies and procedures
- I am well known for being the go-to person (and often the author) for P&P. Policies protect patients- and nurses.
What are the difficulties you face when being a nurse leader?
It was difficult to realize I had left my peer group and now had another, new peer group. It was a surprising change of identity. As a manager, you cannot show favoritism and have to deliver sometimes unpopular messages to your employees.
Sometimes it's not fun being the boss. Like walking into the breakroom and the conversation stops.
I never liked having to ask nurses to work extra when I wanted was for them to rest and enjoy their families.
It's hard to let go of being liked, and the need to be liked can influence your decisions. But to be a strong leader, you have to make objective decisions- what is best for the patients on our unit? This means you must have the courage to look at yourself and understand your triggers and what drives you- then be willing to change.
It's also difficult to administer discipline. Unfortunately I learned that the 10% of staff who are poor performers can take up 80% of a manager's time! I learned to hire smarter and develop the wonderful group I had.
How many nurses are you in charge of and what type of nurses? (LVN, CNA, RN)
I had 130 direct report employees- RN, 1 LVN, CNAs. Early in my career, I wondered why the Director of Imaging had 34 employees and I always had over a hundred. I realized that this span of control is common in nursing-unfortunately, due to gender and patriarchal organizations.
What made you want to become a nurse leader?
I have always been a leader in whatever group I'm in, from grade school to junior high class president to nursing school; whether formal or informal. My mother said I was a leader in pre-school when I would round up the neighborhood kids and make them play school- with me as the teacher.
I looked at my good nurse managers when I was starting out and thought "I could do that!" I looked at my poor nurse managers and thought "I know I could do better than that!"
What are some things you enjoy as a nurse leader?
Developing people. Coaching. Giving authority and responsibility to trusted staff. Supporting my staff. Raising the bar for patient care. Making a difference. I even learned to like budgeting, hiring and committee work. Never loved doing all those 130 evaluations, though.
How have you grown from before becoming a nurse leader to now?
Being a leader means you put yourself out there and there will be necessary constructive feedback. It's what helps you grow- making mistakes. The opportunity for personal growth is accelerated. So I'm grateful for all I have learned.
I've learned we're all different and everybody has something to contribute- some wisdom, some common sense, some grace. It's best when we work together and support each other.
What was your inspiration to become a nurse leader?
I want to influence nursing and help move it forward as a profession. I spend a great deal of energy introducing and promoting evidence based practice, and am absolutely passionate about improving working conditions for nurses (meaning safe nurse-patient ratios).
At this time in my career, I'm more of a social media influencer and lead through role modeling, and projects/teaching at my hospital. I create content and am a subject matter expert.
I also lead by being a nurse entrepreneur and showing there are many, many ways to be a nurse. The sky's the limit. I recently published my book on Amazon"Your Last Nursing Class :How to Land Your First Nursing Job (and your next one)"