Nursing leadership is undeniably one of the biggest influences to an excellent healthcare environment. Leadership and management are concerned with making decisions on a daily basis that affect patients and other healthcare staff. It is important for nurses to therefore develop various leadership competencies that enable them to coordinate care, address patient needs and create a conducive environment for working (Hutchinson & Jackson, 2013). The dynamism of the present healthcare landscape also demands adaptive leadership that foresees and manages change. This paper presents a reflection on various content areas in the Nurse Manager Skills Inventory including personal and professional accountability, career planning, personal journey disciplines and reflective practice. Also included is a discussion on how to use current leadership skills to advocate for change at the workplace and a personal goal for leadership growth with its implementation path.
As the Director of Nursing, personal and professional accountability is a strength area that I have lived up to. Notably, I’m a strong adherent of the code of ethics as a nurse as well as institutional regulations as a leader. Out of abundance of caution, I often crosscheck my decisions against the nursing code of ethics and any applicable statutory regulations, hence has expert practice at this level. I also attained the necessary nursing certifications as a registered nurse and committed myself to lifelong learning. I always read the latest research on leadership and clinical issues to keep abreast of changes and also plan to pursue formal education to the doctorate level. I am also a member of various nursing associations and therefore fully satisfies the criteria for personal and professional accountability at nearly the expert practice point in all relevant criteria.
In terms of career planning, there are both strengths and weaknesses. There are certain criteria that I satisfy quite well (expert practice level) such as understanding my role at the workplace as the Director of Nursing. My role is primarily administrative and entails both coordination and supervision of care. I carry out the role quite well and has been lauded for good efforts on several occasions. However, I have a bit of dilemma on my future, torn between management and education. I consider it exciting to hold a managerial position at an even higher capacity but also feel deeply interested in becoming a nurse educator. This has made it difficult to position myself on the long term given that the two areas are equally lucrative. However, I expect this to be resolved soon as I advance with my education. The good thing is that with advanced education, I will be qualified for either of the two.
In terms of personal journey disciplines, there are equally significant items of note. I score quite well in shared leadership/ council management (expert practice level) having been at the helm of student bodies in the past where the leadership was shared. Encounter with leadership theory and understanding participative, democratic and transformational leadership is also an antecedent to shared leadership (Tomey, 2009). I have read extensively on this area and has successfully transferred some of the knowledge into practice. On action learning and reflective practice, these are still areas to improve on (competent skill level). I am however aware of action learning models and the tenets of reflective practice and it thus only a matter of putting the same into practice.
To a great extent, there is proficiency in the use of the various skills of reflective practice. Various tenets of professional practice such as holding the truth, appreciation of ambiguity, diversity as a vehicle to wholeness and discovery of potential are rated at the expert practice level. Elsewhere, a number of other tenets are at the competent skill level, including knowing something of life, nurturing of intellectual and emotional self and keeping my commitments. I only have to work through the quest for adventure towards knowing and holding multiple perspectives without judgment, whose shortfalls I acknowledge and desire to improve on.
At the current level, I shall use stakeholder engagement to advocate for change at the workplace. Lots of practice issues that need addressing are relatively unknown to the management, nurses and other stakeholders in the institution. By engaging all parties constructively and painting a realistic picture of issues, there is likely to be a unified response (Tomey, 2009). For instance, the institution lacks a formal framework for overcoming language barriers in the patient population. Engagement of stakeholders on this issue is needed to find solutions like permanent or contract interpreters which will go a long way to improve quality of outcomes.
One of the personal goals for leadership growth is emotional intelligence. This refers to the ability to perceive, understand and manage emotions to generate desired outcomes (Chun & Park, 2016). Emotional intelligence is necessary in healthcare given its association with reducing medical errors and generally improving health outcomes. Gaining emotional intelligence is a complex process and may need dedicated scholarly efforts in understanding how it works. Therefore, my plan to attain emotional intelligence entails:
Chun, K. H., & Park, E. (2016). Diversity of Emotional Intelligence among Nursing and Medical Students. Osong public health and research perspectives, 7(4), 261-265.
Hutchinson, M., & Jackson, D. (2013). Transformational leadership in nursing: towards a more critical interpretation. Nursing inquiry, 20(1), 11-22.
Tomey, A. M. (2009). Nursing management and leadership. Elsevier, Missouri.
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