Week 4: Leadership: Establishing Relationships and Influencing Change

Week 4: Leadership: Establishing Relationships and Influencing Change

Week 4: Leadership: Establishing Relationships and Influencing Change

As a leader, I will influence change in education by providing students with the support they need to become competent nurses.  Nursing school is challenging, and student nurses often have difficulty and require guidance.  I hope to influence change by providing students with the necessary skills, as well as structure and encouragement to help them successfully complete their degrees.  I will also influence change by leading by example.  In demonstrating leadership skills and professionalism, I will serve as a role model for students. 

     Two strengths that I possess that will promote strong leadership are self-awareness and the ability to communicate effectively.  The Canadian College of Health Leaders (2010) describes self-awareness as the ability to recognize one’s emotions, perceptions, assumptions, values, and principles.  Effective communication is illustrated by active listening, being culturally sensitive, and utilizing different forms of communication (Canadian College of Health Leaders, 2010).  I believe these strengths will enable me to promote strong leadership in my future role as an educator.  Two areas in which I can improve are decision making and adapting to change.  I am sometimes indecisive with certain things, and have difficulty coping with drastic life changes. 

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     Two priority strategies I will implement as professional development tools are creating pros/cons lists to help in decision making and putting myself in situations outside of my comfort zone to develop my adaptability skills.  Creating pros/cons lists when decision making will allow me to better assess the situation and compare my options.  Allowing myself to partake in situations outside of my comfort zone will aid in developing my adaptability skills.  Implementing these strategies will help me both professionally, to lead and influence change, and in my personal life as well.     Canadian College of Health Leaders (2010). Key points to leadership growth. A checklist for leaders. Retrieved from http://leadscanada.net/uploaded/web/Resources/key_points/KEYPOINTS_2016_EN.pdf

  •  Effective interpersonal skills are at the root of a competent nurse. Nurse leaders who develop strong interpersonal skills are likely the ones to be most effective in their leadership roles and their abilities to implement positive change in the healthcare environment. As a future nurse educator, my goal is to influence the perioperative nursing environment through exemplary role modeling of the behavior, knowledge, and skillset that an operating nurse should have to be successful. I am currently developing my leadership skills in my current position as an assistant nurse manager in a hospital based, pediatric operating room setting. I have served in this position for the last 4 years and it has definitely been a learning experience. Undergraduate nursing programs and hospital orientations focus on educating the nurse to care for patients. There is little emphasis and preparation for nurses whom advance to leadership roles and acquire the task of leading a team of direct reports. In this week’s required reading, I found it interesting to consider that leadership and management are not always synonymous (Scully, 2014). There is such a variety of effective nurse leaders whom have great vision, and hold a desire to advance the care of patients, nurse education, and the profession, but do not necessarily hold a managerial title. This caused a great amount of personal reflection upon me this week as I thought further about the topic at hand.

            I chose to pursue my master’s in nursing after spending the last few years in a nurse leadership role. The increasing desire to foster the education of nurses entering perioperative nursing for the first time interests me greatly. To be fully prepared to educate others, be it in the hospital, community, or academic setting, the nurse educator must be fully equipped with valuable leadership and knowledge skills. (Patterson & Krouse, 2015). Two strengths that I currently possess and feel will promote strong leadership as a nurse educator, are the ability to effectively communicate and professionalism. Communication to various disciplines and persons from all backgrounds are key to team building and is a crucial interpersonal skill to develop. This skill was not always my strength but over many years of nursing, I have learned that communication is so important to delivering competent care. The ability to articulate, creates an effective atmosphere and opens the door to success for the need at hand. Professionalism is my second strength. Professionalism is displayed in a conscientious work ethic, performing the assigned job properly, and with competence (Sheikhi, Khoshnab, Mohammadi, & Oskouie, 2015). I believe in taking pride in the task set before me be it circulating an appendectomy, managing a staff call schedule, or leading an in-service. Interpersonal skills of communication and professionalism will further prepare me to be an influential nurse educator.

            Where there are strengths, there are also weaknesses. Areas of improvement that I identify with and are needed to enhance my leadership skills are emotional competence and active listening. I have the tendency to wear my heart on my sleeves at times which allows me to show great empathy in caring for others, but also can limit my abilities as an effective leader. Being able to properly maintain my emotions with a level of self-awareness will help me understand how to tackle the tasks set me before me effectively. As a nurse educator, relationship building is a key component and having a strong emotional competence will aid me in this endeavor (Patterson & Krouse, 2015).  Active listening is a skill that I would like to further develop. In the often-stressful environments I find myself in between home and work, distractions serve as a negative influence. As a charge nurse, I carry a phone that rings incessantly. As a mom to 3 young children, someone is needing me all hours of the day. I find that my active listening skills are limited in times when the stress level is high. Taking the time to slow down, prioritize my time, and focus on the important or immediate needs first will help me to improve my listening skills and further advance my communication abilities.

            Priority strategies that I plan to implement immediately are self-management and relationship building. Self-management is the start to improving emotional competence and the ability to maintain composure, even during a difficult situation. This starts with managing my time and learning to say no when necessary, so that I can stay on track with the tasks I have committed to completing. Relationship building comes with improving active listening skills by communicating respectfully and compassionately with those I am working with or responsible for. This involves being a role model, mentoring, fostering a teamwork environment, advocating for my colleague, peers, future students, and recognizing the need for support when necessary (Patterson & Krouse, 2015). One way to do this as a nurse educator will be through team oriented approaches to learning. Practical scenarios could be provided for the team or students to work through and solve in support towards a common goal, as opposed to individually. With team approaches to healthcare, a nurse educator can help develop a sense of community amongst the nursing students. This will help nurses learn to speak up in real clinical practice through effective communication, advocate for their patient at a higher level, critically think, and problem solve.


Patterson, B., & Krouse, A. (2016). Competencies for leaders in nursing education. Nursing Education Perspectives, 36(2), 76-82doi: 10.5480/13-1300

Scully, N. (2014). Leadership in nursing: The importance of recognizing inherent values and attributes to secure a positive future for the profession. Science Direct, 22(4), 439-444. doi: 10.1016.j.colegn.2014.09.004

Sheikhi, M., Fallahi-Khoshnab, M., Mohammadi, F., & Oskouie, F. (2016). Skills required for nursing career advancement: A qualitative study. Nurse Midwifery Student Journal, 5(2), 1-8. doi: 10.17795/nmsjournal