Leadership and Mentoring

Leadership and Mentoring

Do you remember a professor from nursing school who inspired and challenged you? Would you like to provide that kind of guidance for a new nurse? These articles offer tips and suggestions for how to be a leader and mentor who provides encouragement and honest critique for the next generation of nurses.

  • The Power of Introverts

    Are you an introvert? If so, you may think you don’t have the right personality to be a nurse leader. Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts, would beg to differ with you. With examples that span generations and continents, Cain shares stories of some of the most innovative leaders in history,… Read more…

  • The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World

    In a March 2016 article published in Harvard Business Review, certified executive coach Dr. Sunnie Giles explores the top 10 leadership competencies identified by 195 global leaders. She grouped them into 5 themes: 1. Strong ethics and safety 2. Self-organizing 3. Efficient learning 4. Nurtures growth 5. Connection and belonging Dr. Giles notes that these… Read more…

  • Building Your Communication Skills Part 3

    Marjorie Lee North, a consultant for political candidates, physicians, and lawyers, presented these ten tips in her blog on the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education Professional Development website: 1.     Nervous is normal. Practice and prepare. 2.     Know your audience. Your speech is about them, not you. 3.     Organize your material in the most effective… Read more…

  • Building Your Communication Skills – Part 2

    The second installment of Marjorie Lee North’s Harvard University Division of Continuing Education Professional Development website blog, focuses on putting what you learned in her first blog into action with your colleagues and supervisors. She explores communication styles, group problem solving, and how to give and receive criticism. You can read the full blog here.… Read more…

  • Building Your Communication Skills

    In her Harvard University Division of Continuing Education Professional Development website blog, Marjorie Lee North, a consultant for political candidates, physicians, and lawyers, offers advice on: ·      Learning to listen ·      Knowing your audience ·      Paying attention to your nonverbal skills. You can read the full blog here. Read more…

  • Mindful Listening

    nurses mindful listening nursingTip 4 of 6 Mindfulness Exercises You Can Try Today This exercise is designed to open your ears to sound in a non-judgmental way, and indeed to train your mind to be less swayed by the influence of past experiences and preconception. So much of what we “feel” is influenced by past experience. For example, we may dislike a song because it reminds of us of a breakup or another period of life when things felt negative. So the idea of this exercise is to listen to some music from a neutral standpoint, with a present awareness that is unhindered by preconception. Read more…

  • Mindful Awareness

    what is mindfulness awarenessTip 3 of 6 Mindfulness Exercises You Can Try Today This exercise is designed to cultivate a heightened awareness and appreciation of simple daily tasks and the results they achieve. Think of something that happens every day more than once; something you take for granted, like opening a door, for example. At the very moment you touch the doorknob to open the door, stop for a moment and be mindful of where you are, how you feel in that moment and where the door will lead you. Similarly, the moment you open your computer to start work, take a moment to appreciate the hands that enable this process and the brain that facilitates your understanding of how to use the computer. These ‘touch point' cues don’t have to be physical ones. Read more…

  • Nurses’ essential role in supporting professionalism

    Key takeaways - Most nurses behave professionally and ethically. - A tiered approach to intervention when unprofessional behavior occurs offers the opportunity for self-directed, nonpunitive change that prevents a pattern of behavior. - Proper intervention training helps to build and maintain a culture of professionalism. Read more…

  • Learning from mistakes

    Today’s healthcare organizations need to improve patient safety, which includes effectively communicating information to nurses about safety incidents and how to address them. After all, frontline nurses are at the sharp edge of patient care—the last step before an error occurs. But communicating to staff in a large, academic, Magnet®-designated medical center can be challenging, to say the least. In this article we describe a new, engaging format—the Roving Patient of Errors— that keeps clinical nurses informed and educated about internal safety events. Read more…

  • Bringing nursing orientation back to life

    Our hospital systems’ journey to obtain Magnet® recognition led to an excellent opportunity: the chance to revamp and improve our nursing orientation program as part of the effort to achieve excellence in nursing practice. Our system consists of three hospitals that historically held separate nursing orientations—we combined them into a single, standardized orientation program. Read more…

  • Choosing your political battles

    Mary*, a new manager in the operating room, prides herself on being a strong advocate for her staff, quickly acting on every issue with which she’s presented. So she’s a little surprised when her leader-mentor Susan tells her that she’s developing a reputation for being overly aggressive. Susan, who explains to Mary that she’s perceived in conflict situations as trying to win at all costs, suggests that this reputation could ultimately derail her career. She recommends that Mary learn to pick and choose her political battles more carefully. Read more…

  • Empowering nurses to transform health care globally: A United States-Haiti nursing partnership

    Since the Magnet® Vision was published in 2008, it has inspired actions by nurses at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH), a Magnet-recognized academic community hospital located in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2011, when LVH received its third Magnet designation, we dissected the vision statement to stimulate goals to help LVH continue to raise the bar for care delivery and position the institution for its fourth Magnet designation in 2015. One phrase in particular pointed to an opportunity: Read more…

  • Principled leadership and the imperative for workplace civility

    Civility is not situational. What a leader must manifest all day, every day, is civility, because civility is—or at least should be—an expectation and imperative for all of us…especially in health care.

    —Michael S. Woods, MD, MMM, author and healthcare consultant Read more…

  • The selflessness and dedication of military nurses

    Thirty years ago, Brigadier General Sarah Wells began the tradition of gathering nurses together to place flowers on the graves of nurses who served in the U.S. military and are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. This biannual tradition continues today. Wells served as Air Force Nurse Corps Chief from 1979 to 1982. Members of the Society of Air Force Nurses (SAFN) Read more…

  • Implementing purposeful daily leadership rounding: A broader approach to measuring quality

    Patient satisfaction has long been one way that hospitals measured quality, albeit indirectly. The surgical services division of Rush University Medical Center, an academic medical center in Chicago, IL, planned and implemented a broader approach to measuring quality based on purposeful daily leadership rounding (PDLR) specifically focused on clinical quality and safety outcomes. This article summarizes the process used and highlights key outcomes that were achieved. Read more…

  • The power of Lean Six Sigma

    Lean and Six Sigma are well-established quality improvement tools. Combining the two creates a synergistic effect, boosting effectiveness. In the hospital where I work, we used Lean Six Sigma to reduce hospital acquired pressure ulcers (HAPU) by 60%. In this article, I answer common questions related to these tools so you can apply them in your own organizations. Read more…

  • Collaboration: The key to healthcare transformation

    Nursing careers and educationTransforming health care is a complex challenge that can best be met through a coordinated response from academia and clinical practice. Working together, chief nursing officers (CNOs) and academic leaders ensure that clinicians are prepared to provide high-quality patient care and influence the systems where they practice. Read more…

  • Leading through loss: Lessons for healthcare leaders

    One of the most painful experiences for any parent is the death of a child. The family is deeply affected by the loss, and the extended “family” of co-workers, neighbors, and community are also affected. However, not many organizational leaders, including those in health care, are prepared for the challenges that can face an organization when a staff member loses a child through an accident or illness. Read more…

  • Practicing emotional intelligence may help reduce lateral violence

    It’s been a stressful day at work — nothing new. Your patient fell, an I.V. line became occluded right when you were ready to hang a blood infusion, and a patient’s family became angry with you. We all experience stressful days, but unfortunately, sometimes we take our stress out on each other. Too often, this ineffective way of identifying and managing stress Read more…

  • Safeguarding patients: The courageous communication solution

    Preventable medical errors account for 440,000 deaths each year and are the third leading cause of death in the United States. According to The Joint Commission, communication failure is the third most commonly identified root cause of all sentinel events. A 2005 study titled “Silence Kills: The Seven Crucial Conversations in Healthcare” reported that more than half of 1,700 nurses, physicians, clinical care staff, and administrators witnessed coworkers “break rules, make mistakes, Read more…

  • Gaining confidence in public speaking

    EVA, a professional practice coordinator, and her team of clinical educators are thrilled to learn that their abstract on an iLead in Nursing initiative (Innovation in LEadership and ADministration in Nursing and Health Care Systems) has been accepted for a concurrent session presentation at the ANCC Pathway to Excellence Conference®. Eva will co-present for 1 hour along with one of her team members. Read more…

  • Viewpoint: Lessons learned from nurses in rural Uganda

    It’s still dark outside our tiny pup tent, and the air feels humid after the sudden torrential downpour the evening before. The melodies of unusual songbirds welcome the morning to this remote village medical clinic in rural Uganda, Read more…

  • Not just “eating our young”: Workplace bullying strikes experienced nurses, too

    Even though nursing is a profession of caring and compassion, bullying exists in many forms in it. Bullying threatens teamwork, morale, communication, and, most important, patient safety. The playground bully from our childhood has grown up to become our nursing colleague who is now bullying in the workplace (See Workplace bullying). Read more…

  • Leading through failure

    I have served as a nurse corps officer in the United States Air Force for 27 years. One of my most useful leadership lessons came from understanding the value of failure. This sounds like a totally crazy idea, but knowing how to fail well and, more importantly, using that failure to fuel future successes is an invaluable asset. Read more…

  • Ten tips for transitioning from home care nurse to nurse manager

    home careSarah made the transition from inpatient hospital nurse to home care (HC) nurse 6 years ago. She enjoys her practice and likes helping the patients and families whose cases she manages. Her performance evaluations have been very good. When her HC organization posts a job opening for nurse manager, Sarah considers applying for it—but wonders to what extent her nursing skills and knowledge would transfer to the manager position. Read more…

  • Boosting your influence

    influenceJessie was excited to be appointed as chair of the professional practice council in her hospital. She envisioned being able to quickly engage staff in the work of the council. One of the council’s initial goals was to increase the number of staff who submitted professional portfolios to advance on the clinical ladder. Six months after assuming the role of chair, Jessie has become discouraged. Read more…

  • Releasing our attachments to the past

    AttachmentsJake, a critical care nursing director, works for a large healthcare system that has invested heavily in testing the use of robots to support operational tasks and provide new ways for physicians to interact with patients. During his monthly staff meeting, Jake presents an overview of the robotic products and what they’re designed to do. He’s surprised at how some of the senior nurses react; they immediately criticize the initiative as just another attempt to reduce staffing costs and dehumanize health care. Read more…

  • Enhance your self-awareness to be an authentic leader

    self-awarenessIn 2013 alone, U.S. organizations spent more than $15 billion on leadership development activities. Although much of these expenses focus on external programming, including face-to-face workshops, webinars, and e-learning, fewer resources target the internal development of leaders. To maximize sustainable leadership development, emphasis must be given to both external programming and individual improvement. Read more…

  • The power of the positive

    PositiveBeing positive in a negative situation is not naïve. It’s leadership. — Ralph S. Marston, Jr., author and publisher of The Daily Motivator website Nurses may encounter many challenges and stressors in the workplace—long hours, rotating shifts, inadequate staffing, poor teamwork, and pressure to achieve higher performance levels in an emotionally and physically demanding field. The American Nurses Association found that the effects of stress and overwork are nurses’ top health and safety concerns, ranking higher than suffering a disabling physical injury or catching an infectious disease. Read more…

  • Viewpoint: Adding respect to freedom of speech

    freedom of speech The right to freedom of speech is a common topic in the news, but the reporting often doesn’t include a full discussion of the issue. We need to consider what we are not including when we exercise our right to freedom of speech. We need to look at the fact that although freedom of speech is a constitutional right, exercising that right can be hurtful to others and has, unfortunately, even been cited as an excuse for acts of violence. Read more…

  • How to get off the anger-go-round

    One of the most complex emotions, anger is a normal response to certain situational triggers. It’s associated with physiologic changes, including increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline level. How we express anger—and how frequently and intensely it erupts—can be either beneficial or Read more…

  • Any nurse can do it: Sustaining change when volunteering overseas

    Arriving back in Ethiopia for the third time after having left only four months earlier, I had many questions. Had the Ethiopian nurses managed to retain the knowledge and continue the hygiene project I had started? Had my work been sustainable? Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. There are fewer than one physician and two hospital beds per 10,000 persons, the infant mortality rate is 67 per 1,000 live births, Read more…

  • Leading the journey: Engaging staff in process improvement through visual management

    The pressure is always on in busy clinical settings to improve efficiency, capacity, and patient flow. Strategic process improvement that engages the entire staff is essential to keeping up with demand while addressing quality and safety. Read more…

  • How to avoid biased thinking

    Jessica, a Millennial (Generation Y) nurse working on a medical-surgical unit, recently completed her first year of practice. Ralph, her manager, is pleased with her transition and believes she’s making good progress toward becoming a competent nurse. Read more…

  • Fostering soft skills is a must for nurse leaders

    It’s uncommon for nurse leaders to have to coach employees on clinical skills, but quite common for nurse leaders to coach and even use disciplinary action for employees who have problems with communication, teamwork, decision making, and critical thinking skills, all of which are considered soft skills — essential components of emotional intelligence (EI). Read more…

  • Collective genius as a tool for engagement and improvement

    patient satisfactionWhen bedside caregivers are engaged in their work, patient outcomes are improved, the patient experience is enhanced, and staff satisfaction is high. Most nursing managers and leaders I have worked with over the past 20 years believe that staff engagement is important. However, these leaders are at a loss as to how to gather the thoughts of their staff in a manner that is efficient and not burdensome, yet allows for each individual staff member to contribute his or her input with equal weight. Read more…

  • From our readers: How a ‘45-year-old STEMI’ showed me the human side of nursing

    I worked as an emergency medical technician-paramedic for almost 8 years in a rural area before I became a registered nurse. Just before I completed nursing school, a new hospital began offering emergency cardiac catheterization services 60 miles south of the response area where I worked. As a result, our ambulance service implemented a program to provide acute care Read more…

  • Creating high-performance interprofessional teams

    Kate Summer, a nurse case manager on a telemetry unit, is leading an initiative to reduce the 30-day readmission rate of older patients with heart failure. She knows from experience that more effective communication and collaborative planning by the interdisciplinary team managing these patients is crucial for reducing readmissions. But doing this has been challenging for Kate. Recently, a local university asked her to present a talk on strategies to reduce patient readmissions Read more…

  • Lead to succeed through generational differences

    Chelsea enters the unit chewing gum and texting on her new smart phone. Deb stands there, waiting to get report. Minutes pass as Chelsea chuckles and continues to pound out a couple more texts on her phone. She then looks up to see Deb, arms folded staring at her with an annoyed glare. Chelsea shrugs her shoulder and says, “What?” Deb starts to say, “Well miss twinkle thumbs, you are 15 minutes late for report and it’s time to pass out medications.” Before Deb can complete her sentence, Chelsea Read more…

  • Why timing is crucial in leadership

    For the last 2 years, Karen, the manager of a critical care unit, has been laying the groundwork for her unit to apply for the Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Her staff has worked hard to meet the award criteria and are planning to start the formal application process. Read more…

  • From our readers: Do we really know who our patients are?

    Both nurse leaders and educators need to teach and model not only day-to-day nursing skills but the importance of connecting with their patients. In today’s often-chaotic healthcare environment nurses are bogged down with so many tasks that we, as nurses, forget to simply ask, Who are our patients? Read more…

  • Squashing the communication triangle

    communication disconnect triangle norms drama conflict avoid unclear clearIn the infamous and deadly Bermuda Triangle, things seem to disappear, never to be seen again. In the communication triangle, the opposite is true: Emotions and unintended messages expand and grow to epic proportions. “I’m so sick of picking up after Irene. She always leaves her patient rooms a mess! Could you please say something to her?” “I saw Rachel go into a patient’s room without washing her hands. Will you say something to her?” Read more…

  • Beyond thank you: The powerful reach of meaningful recognition

    “I recognize that voice, that voice belongs to someone who is such a dream to me. [My nurse] was a shining light and made an unbearable hospital stay a little bit better.” The above quote from a patient desiring to acknowledge the extraordinary work of a nurse is an example of meaningful recognition. Identified by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Read more…

  • Constructive feedback and disciplinary action

    The thought of telling someone that he or she is not doing a great job provokes anxiety for many of us. Most of the time, it’s easier to avoid it and hope that it will either go away or take care of itself. However, safety and quality is of utmost importance in everything we do in health care. Part of the process of ensuring safety and quality is to monitor clinical performance and to provide timely and honest feedback. Read more…

  • One-on-one meetings: The stitch in time that saves nine

    Remember the last time you had a loose button? Maybe you thought about stopping to sew it on, but never did. Then the button fell off and you lost it. That’s when the fun started: You either decided to live without the button (that’s what safety pins are for, right?) or took the time to find a new button, needle, and matching thread and sewed it on. Read more…

  • Recovery lessons from the Sandy Hook trauma

    Children are people with small hearts and big emotions that often come from the people around them, particularly family members. As a pediatric nurse and mother of two girls ages 6 and 4 in the Sandy Hook, Connecticut community, I am seeing firsthand the effects of psychological trauma among children and families in the aftermath of the school shooting that took place on December 14, 2012. Read more…

  • Confronting conflict with higher-ups

    Conflict in the workplace is a fact of life, and dealing with it is never easy. Sometimes it seems easier to ignore it and hope it will take care of itself. But in healthcare organizations, that’s not a good strategy. Unresolved conflict almost always leads to poor communications, avoidance behavior, and poor working relationships—which can easily affect patient safety and quality of care. Read more…

  • Scope and standards-of-practice documents: Guiding you to leadership success

    Starting a new job in a new specialty can be a daunting experience. I recently transitioned to a new role as a nurse administrator. On my first day, I had two key questions about this role. The first—“What does this job entail?”—was answered in the position description and my organization’s service-line manuals. Read more…

  • Leading at the bedside and beyond

    A typical definition for a leader is one who has the ability to influence. Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King readily come to mind for their ability to inspire others and create forces to change the world. A history of the nursing profession reveals countless nurses who have made significant contributions to patient care. Read more…

  • From our readers: My first code—A retrospective report of a premature promotion and a crisis situation

    The elevator’s walls were covered in bronze and silver raised metal squares that gave the appearance of a magic eye puzzle and smelled of the stainless steel cleaner that was probably wiped on that morning. I remember thinking that if you spun around in here too fast the vertigo would be unimaginable. Fumes from the cleaner were so thick that I had the feeling that someone had placed a nickel under my tongue. Read more…

  • Building a strong shared governance foundation

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery This year marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of Rush University Medical Center’s Professional Nursing Staff (PNS), one of the nation’s first nursing shared governance organizations. This article describes the philosophical underpinnings of the shared governance model developed at Rush Read more…

  • Stopping the pain: The role of nurse leaders in providing organizational resources to reduce disruptive behavior

    As articles ranging from those in American Nurse Today ("Civility starts with you") to The New York Times ("When the Nurse is a Bully") illustrate, disruptive behavior and incivility in nursing are newsworthy topics and for good reason. Disruptive behavior at work can have serious consequences for both nurses and patients such as stress-related physical and mental health problems and increased medical errors. Read more…

  • Introverts can be nurse leaders, too

    Natalie Sanchez recently was promoted to a nurse manager position. So far, she thinks, things are going well. She is starting to feel comfortable with her new role and establishing relationships with her staff. So she’s surprised when her director asks to meet with her and tells her she’s not being social enough. She advises her to plan to go to the cafeteria each day and have lunch with the rest of the management team. Read more…

  • From our readers: Resolving the forces of bias and duty in caring for incarcerated patients

    In the nurses’ station of the 39-bed med-surg unit I double-checked my patient’s 2:00 PM medications against the pharmacy sheet and then started down the hall to his room. Roger (not his real name) was from the local prison. A man of about 36, he was recovering without complications from a cholecystectomy. Read more…

  • Informal leaders and cultural change

    Informal leaders are crucial to the success of a change involving the nursing team, yet they are often overlooked. A literature search of nursing publications over the past 5 years found only a small sampling of journal articles that used the key words "informal leaders." Leadership was often discussed in terms of positions and roles such as the “nurse manager” or the "nursing administrator." Read more…

  • Dealing with difficult people

    Jackie Jacobs is a charge nurse in a busy intensive care unit. She prides herself on being able to get along well with almost everyone on her team. But when she sees Amanda’s name on the evening’s work schedule, she braces herself for the inevitable confrontation that will arise when she gives Amanda her patient care assignment. Read more…

  • Thoughtful feedback loop: A nurse’s approach to personal and organizational improvement

    As a nurse, your partnership with another in the Thoughtful Feedback Loop gives you the power to exponentially increase the rate at which you professionally and personally improve. Self-reflection is not enough. Your annual evaluation is not enough. Through the Thoughtful Feedback Loop, you will experience the joy of meaningful and dramatic continuous personal improvement on a regular basis. Read more…

  • Why disruption can be a good thing

    Seventy-two seconds into liftoff, a defective mechanical part set off a string of events that caused the Challenger space shuttle to tear apart as millions watched it vanish in the air. An investigation of this 1986 catastrophe found that before liftoff, engineers had voiced concerns about a potential mechanical defect and its possible impact—but upper management at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Read more…

  • Imposter syndrome: When you feel like you’re faking it

    Colleen Jackson recently was promoted to a clinical manager position on her unit. At first, she was thrilled with the opportunity to advance her leadership skills, but now she's having second thoughts. She doesn't feel confident in her new role and worries how her team views her. She confesses to her manager, Read more…

  • From our readers: How mentorship affects retention rates of new nurses

    mentor retention nurseYou likely vividly remember the day you learned you were officially a licensed professional registered nurse. You were excited to be able to apply all the knowledge and skills learned in nursing school into a "real world" clinical setting. Read more…

  • How to create “sticky” messages to influence others

    Nursing has been ranked as the most trustworthy of all professions for the past decade, except for firefighters after 9/11. Being perceived as trustworthy may make us feel good, but it doesn’t galvanize consumers to act on our behalf or offer us any genuine power in decision- or policy-making arenas, at least not to the extent that could be realized if we changed the way we shaped our key messages. Read more…

  • Building a sense of community on nursing units

    Jeff Rawson, a new nurse graduate, works on a behavioral health unit. His manager believes his transition is going well—until Jeff asks to transfer to another unit. When she talks with him about it, he says he doesn’t feel a sense of belonging on the unit and has had difficulty establishing close relationships with coworkers. Read more…

  • Thinking it through: The path to reflective leadership

    Reflective leadership is a way of approaching the work of being a leader by leading one’s life with presence and personal mastery. Learning to be present, to be aware and attentive to our experience with people throughout the day is the focus of reflective leadership. It approaches the study and practice of leadership from the perspective of human experience. Based upon the science of phenomenology, reflective leadership Read more…

  • From our readers: Nurses leading from the middle

    middleman nurse middle organization power leaderNurse leaders are needed at all levels of the organization, especially in "the middle," which is commonly used to describe mid-level management positions. Middle managers are essential to the organization because they link senior management and staff. Another important role that those in the middle perform is to interpret organizational strategy or the big picture in a manner that makes sense to the front-line staff. Read more…

  • Caring for older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults

    Current discussions on the unique health issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations have prompted the healthcare professions to reexamine their mission and values. The American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics reminds us that nursing is committed to the fundamental uniqueness of the individual patient. The preamble to the International Council of Nurses’ (ICN) Code of Ethics Read more…

  • Too young to be a nurse leader?

    Marla Johnson began her career on an oncology unit after graduating from a BSN program 4 years ago. She achieved certification and regularly takes charge on the night shift. She recently started a master’s program in nursing administration. Marla is age 27 on a unit where the average age is 49. She’s a bright, shining star with an outgoing personality. Read more…

  • From our readers…Hunger advocacy for nurses

    Since the mid-1990s, the number of hungry people worldwide has been steadily increasing. Currently about 925 million people worldwide are hungry—about 1 in 7 of the global population. Most sobering about this fact is that, for the first time in history, humankind has the knowledge and technical ability to feed all of its citizens. Read more…

  • Taking the first steps to serving on a board

    Nurses have a singular perspective on patient care and community health. With our training and experience, we can inform and improve healthcare decisions in ways that complement those of other professionals but are uniquely our own. Read more…

  • Carefronting: An innovative approach to managing conflict

    Nick Chase is an emergency department (ED) charge nurse. He and Michelle Stanley have worked together for the past 3 years. Their relationship has always been what Nick describes as "very rocky." Nick was given the charge nurse role 1 year ago with only 2 years of nursing experience. Although Michelle isn’t interested in being in charge, she has complained to others about Nick’s lack of experience and immaturity. At times, Michelle demonstrates bullying behaviors toward Nick Read more…

  • What followers want in their nurse leaders

    Why would anyone want you to lead them? That’s a question nurses rarely ask themselves before they take on leadership positions. But it’s an important one, because if you’re honest in reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses, you can probably find many reasons why nurses wouldn’t want you to lead them. Read more…

  • Nine principles of successful nursing leadership

    There is an extraordinary quality of spirit that prompts one to aspire to lead. These nine principles will help you tap into that spirit and improve your effectiveness as a leader.

    #1: Commit to excellence

    As a leader you must be committed to your passion and purpose, and have the type of commitment that turns into perseverance. Many nursing leaders are committed patient advocates, clinicians, or employee advocates but the true test of commitment comes when it’s difficult to get out of bed and go to work with a smile, yet you do because you know you are there to serve a purpose. To get through these challenging times and make a difference, establish three priorities every 90 days and commit to seeing them through. Obtain your staff’s insights on the priorities so the team will stay focused and have a stake into the strategic plan. Read more…

  • What you can learn from failure

    Editor’s note: At American Nurse Today, we believe every nurse can be a leader. Rose Sherman, founder of the Emerging RN Leader blog (www.emergingrnleader.com), contributes articles on a regular basis to help nurses achieve their leadership potential. Rachel is an experienced critical care nurse who prides herself on her Read more…

  • Making the workplace healthier, one self-aware nurse at a time

    From the disruptive physician throwing instruments or treating nurses with contempt to coworkers or nurse managers "eating their young," some people and behaviors in healthcare organizations threaten not only job satisfaction but patient safety. How do you react to bullying by doctors or coworkers? Do you say something while the behavior occurs? Report it to a manager or supervisor? Complain about it to another nurse, family member, or friend? Are you hurt by the behavior, or does it make you mad? Read more…

  • From our readers…What bedside nurses can teach nursing leaders

    nurse teach teaching learnFive years ago, while working in leadership I had a pivotal conversation with my superior regarding the need to "stop thinking like a bedside nurse". My instincts told me this was wrong as I had always believed that leaders were supposed to know what was happening at the bedside in order to improve the process for the bedside nurse, thus providing the best possible care to patients and families. Read more…

  • Civility starts with you

    Over the last decade, civility has become a hot topic. I got involved with it in 2000, when more than 700 nurses told the Maryland Commission on the Crisis in Nursing that civility was one of their top three workplace concerns. Since then, studies have linked lack of civility to potentially decreased patient safety, blueprints have been created for establishing a civil work environment, codes of conduct have been developed, and healthcare workers have been educated on the topic. Read more…

  • When caregiving ignites burnout – New ways to douse the flames

    caregiving burnout hostility codependent empowerment wellness nurseMost nurses enjoy taking care of others — it’s what drew them into their profession and provides satisfaction throughout their careers, to varying degrees. Caregiving at its best has mutual benefits for nurse and patient. It’s a job that requires hard work, discipline, and the emotional resilience to help patients, especially those in severe pain or in the process of dying. Read more…

  • An encouraging word

    Has a compliment ever made your day? Perhaps it was just what you needed to hear to raise your self-confidence a notch or to encourage you in your nursing. So often we hear people say negative things about people or situations, while overlooking the good things. Every day, situations arise that force us to choose to be negative or positive. I want to encourage everyone to make an effort to be positive. Read more…

  • From our readers…Balancing the power in favor of patients

    nurse protection fire unfair standup defendMs. Sims, a bedside nurse featured by Leah Curtin earlier this year inspired me to write this article. At the behest of others, Ms. Sims challenged administration regarding a patient safety issue, specifically staffing ratios. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Sims was fired on pretext, not that unusual in a nation of mostly “at-will” states. I will discuss how indiscriminate terminations can be an indicator of an unsafe patient safety culture. Read more…

  • From our readers…Do veteran nurses really eat their young? Observations of an ‘older’ new nurse

    veteran nurse young rn phd supportAfter working successfully for more than 20 years as a graphic artist and structural designer, I decided to enter nursing school at the age of 43. After graduation, I faced a new career and the rumor about nurses “eating their young”? What was that supposed to mean? Was this a reference to Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf? We were told by Read more…

  • From our readers…Strengthening nursing networks

    alumni networking connecting connectionsHave you ever wondered what happened to the student who studied with you for that beginning med-surg test or the instructor who helped you understand pediatrics? They may be wondering where you are too. Networking with student and faculty colleagues is a powerful way to connect for both social and professional benefits. Read more…

  • Choosing the right conversation

    confrontation talking conversationIt’s 7:10 A.M. Maggie, the night-shift charge nurse, is waiting to give report to Julie, the charge nurse on the next shift. After a long night in the intensive care unit, Maggie’s eager to go home. She is tired and wants to see her young son before he leaves for school. Read more…

  • From our readers…Caring for the world by recycling supplies

    recycle supplies hospital medical toolsI became aware of the acute lack of essential medical supplies when I participated in medical missions work in the Philippines and Honduras. Basic supplies like gloves were often not available. If they were available, they were washed, hung up to dry, and used again and again. Other equipment—tubing, dressings, bowls, basins, drapes, sutures, instruments—almost… Read more…

  • Scrapbooks capture nurses career milestones

    For nurse graduates, starting their first staff position is an exciting time, but it can also be a time of apprehension. Many have heard stories about how some nurses “eat their young” and may wonder how readily they can acclimate to their new unit. Scrapbooking is one way for experienced nurses to welcome new graduates to the team and help them get socialized and feel accepted. It has the potential to increase their job satisfaction, aid retention, and improve unit cohesiveness. Read more…

  • The little things we do

    nurse story remembering teachIn December 2001, the graduating class of New York University’s College of Nursing asked me to give a speech during their pinning ceremony. As part of nursing education, the pinning ceremony goes back to the time Queen Victoria presented a pin to Florence Nightin­gale for her pioneering work during the Crimean war. Read more…

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