CNO Leadership Advice - National Nurses Week 2017


CNO Leadership Advice - National Nurses Week 2017

39 steps to moving up in your career

By Aaron Severson
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Whenever you have access to a group of top nursing leaders, it’s always tempting to ask for advice on how you can follow in their footsteps. Each of our 13 CNOs offered three tips on how to hone your leadership skills and potential.

Marcia Anderson, RN, B.S., CCM, CDMS Inland Empire Health Plan

  1. Never quit learning and growing in your career. Stay curious and volunteer for new opportunities. Get a solid foundation in clinical care before moving to a business setting.
  2. Seek strong mentors who will challenge you to be better and assume greater responsibility.
  3. You can either specialize or be a generalist, but whichever you choose, be the best you can be.

Downapha Britton, RN, DN Coast Plaza Hospital (Avanti Hospitals)

  1. Be true to yourself — act in accordance with who you are and what you believe.
  2. Remember that there is nothing wrong with aiming high.
  3. Be confident, patient and proactive and let the patient be the “North Star” guiding your journey.

Karen T. Descent, RN, MSN, CEN Parkview Community Hospital

  1. The ability to listen is one of the most important skills of a leader.
  2. 2. Seek opportunity.
  3. 3. Always remember that as leaders, we are here to serve. We serve our organizations, we serve our staff and above all we serve our patients and their families.

Derek Drake, RN, DNP, NE-BC, CNML, CNL St. Francis Medical Center

  1. You must have a passion for achieving nursing excellence and improving patient safety, experience and outcomes.
  2. You must want and live the role, not the title.
  3. You cannot take things personally.

Rhonda R. Foster, RN, Ed.D., MPH, M.S., NEA-BC City of Hope

  1. Gain experience by leading committees, councils and groups.
  2. Understand the importance of building relationships.
  3. Remember that leadership is a commitment, not a job.

Karen A. Grimley, RN, Ph.D., MBA, FACHE UCLA Health

  1. Be sure that your values closely align with those of your chosen organization.
  2. You have to love what you do. Leadership roles, especially those on the front lines, are demanding both physically and emotionally. Loving what you do gives you a sense of optimism and joy that often helps you challenge the status quo.
  3. Check your title at the door. Whenever you engage with staff or peers, remember that relationships and truly being present with others creates trust, which is the foundation of collaboration.

Aries J. Limbaga RN, AGNP, MBA, CRRN Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center

  1. Be open to change — embrace it and learn from it.
  2. Your struggles will be worth it if you learn from them and adapt.
  3. Keep the patient’s interests paramount.

Bobbie McCaffrey RN, M.A., NEA-BC Methodist Hospital of Southern California

  1. It is important to make it known that you are interested in more responsibility. Try asking your boss if there are any managerial tasks you can take off his/her plate, like leading meetings or overseeing small unit projects or teams.
  2. Be professional.
  3. Hone the qualities of a leader, such as responsibility, initiative, problem-solving and follow-through.

Margaret C. Pfeiffer, RN, MSN Good Samaritan Hospital

  1. Understand that leadership is not telling people what to do, but fostering people’s ability to excel. In a leadership position, your job is to influence others to perform at a high level of excellence. Developing relationships is a vital first step.
  2. 2. When things get stressful, be in the trenches with your team. You cannot inspire anyone from behind your desk or by having endless meetings. Your team needs to know that you care about what they are going through. The best way to make that known is to show up.
  3. 3. Never be reactive and remember that nothing is personal. Being in a leadership role can be tough. People may not like a decision you made and may let you know it in a not-so-friendly way, but if you are doing the right thing and remaining fair, then you should stand by your decisions. Once you start taking it personally, you lose.

Suzie Reinsvold, RN, MSN Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital

  1. Find a mentor who will serve as a role model, advisor and sounding board. You should also be active in local, state and national nurse leadership organizations like the Association of California Nurse Leaders.
  2. Obtain an advanced degree specializing in the area of leadership that most interests you.
  3. Always pay it forward. When you surround yourself with a network of smart, innovative, nurturing colleagues, you can continue to grow and develop — and in turn help others to do the same.

Pattie Soltero Sanchez, RN, BSN, MAOM Harbor/UCLA Medical Center

  1. Don’t be afraid! Find a good mentor and meet with that person on a regular basis. Ask for constructive criticism as well as positive feedback.
  2. Know that failure is always an opportunity for improvement and growth. Shake off the disappointments, learn from them and keep moving forward.
  3. Stay current in nursing and hospital trends. Empower your staff to do the same — that makes change a heck of a lot easier!

Lauren Spilsbury, RN, MSN Redlands Community Hospital

  1. Stay open to opportunities that may present themselves. It may not be your dream job, but with experience and increased knowledge, that dream job will come.
  2. Get involved with the Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL). Join a committee, become a member of your local chapter, network and learn new skills.
  3. Take advantage of the ACNL’s programs for mentoring emerging nurse leaders. One example is the Life Moxie Mentorship Program, a formal six-month program that pairs a high-achieving nurse with a nurse leader. Both gain rewards from the program.

Helen Staples-Evans, RN, DNP, NE-BC Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital

  1. Go back to school and further your education. I would recommend a doctoral degree — I wish I had completed my doctorate years ago.
  2. Get involved with professional governance groups and look for opportunities to make a contribution to your unit or departmental functions.
  3. Join local professional groups, ask questions and look for leadership residency opportunities.

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