Leadership skills for the future

Martie L. Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ
Martie L. Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ

When I first became a nursing leader, I worried about budgets, staffing and patient care. Next, I learned to understand the impact of teamwork, developing a culture of safety, and focusing on employee and patient safety. Then I learned how to incorporate technology into my leadership, utilizing tools to better understand and deliver care. Lately, however, I have been exploring a new skill set needed by caregivers, leaders and an organization.

This emerging skill needed for the future is resilience. In her article, “Nurse Leader Resilience,” Susan Cline, MSN, MBA, RNC, describes resilience as the process of adapting to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant source of stress. She suggests that resilience is a pattern of behaviors, thoughts, and/or actions that can be learned or developed. Cline then further expands on the need for resilience as an important trait or attribute of authentic leadership and employee engagement.

I started my own personal journey of understanding and incorporating resilience into my personal toolkit when I was faced with negotiating a tough labor contract, implementing a complete conversion of a new electronic medical record, and record-breaking census with every bed full and staffing tight – all while suffering a severe concussion. I felt overwhelmed; my brain was trying to heal from the concussion and I just could not seem to get the organization out of what felt like a vortex of chaos.  As I met with employees, they echoed their feelings of wanting to pause the pace and just take deep slow breaths for a moment. I found myself stating that this was the pace we will be facing now and in the future. I didn't have answers to help them cope and possibly thrive, so I set out to understand how to help both them and myself.

As I was researching and studying what makes a resilient caregiver, leader and organization, so were others. The American Nurses Association has just published “Bounce Forward, The Extraordinary Resilience of Nurse Leadership” by Elle Allison-Napolitano and Daniel J. Pesut. The Nursing Administration Quarterly devoted its current issue to the subject of the Resilient Nurse Leader.  I encourage you to seek these publications out for your personal learning.

What have I learned about resilience in my journey? I have learned that you must develop skill sets to be a resilient leader first. For me personally, I worked on developing methods to communicate what I could not change or address, and give options where I could support change. Resilient leaders and organizations look for ways to move forward, and acceptance is one of the skills needed to be resilient. I also learned better self-care and worked hard to nurture body, mind and spirit.  If you are not able to bounce forward, your organization will not bounce forward. Developing those skills is dependent on the individual growth and development of each leader. It requires reflection and insight into your own leadership skills. It requires the ability to be authentic to yourself. Resilient leadership is not a program, nor is it a class. Resilient leadership skills have to be consciously developed and advanced to meet the future of healthcare.

Martie Moore is the CNO at Medline.


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