From Novice to Leader * An Unexpected Journey

Julie A. Coon, Ed.D, MSN,RN
RN-AIM 8th Annual Conference
September 27, 2013
To explore the reasons that leadership tends to
be “unexpected” rather than an intentional
component of role development in nursing.
To examine a personal leadership journey as an
academic nurse leader in terms of insights
gained along the way.
To identify evidence-based strategies to increase
leadership capacity, competency & intent
among novice nurses.
What do today’s nursing students tell us?
Poll of 120 FSU Nursing students asked:
▪ What would your dream job be upon
▪ What is your long term goal for your nursing
Critical Care: ICU / ED (32)
Pediatrics / NICU (30)
OB / L&D (21)
Med Surg (17)
Travel Nurse (9)
Public Health/Home Health (5)
Ambulatory Care (2)
Psych (1)
Military (1)
Unsure /Just get a job! (9)
Nurse Practitioner / Midwife (41)
CRNA (21)
Charge Nurse in desired specialty (9)
Nursing Administration (6)
Nurse Educator / Researcher (8)
Community based (5)
Earn a MS in Nursing (9)
Earn a Doctorate in Nursing (8)
Other: Unsure or Misc. answers with only 1-2
responses (26)
No stated aspirations to become…
A Nurse Executive
A Nursing Faculty Coordinator or Chair
A Nursing Dean or Director
An expert in public policy
A leader in their professional organization
An elected or appointed member of a
governmental entity
Let’s explore that “unintended” journey to
better understand how it has happened
 A personal journey of a once reluctant
leader…from nursing school to academic
Nursing as a career choice (1970-72)
Undergraduate nursing education (1972-75)
Graduate Nurse to Nurse Manager (1975-80)
Graduate nursing education – MSN (1980-82)
 Trial in ambulatory care as a CNS (1981-82)
 Entry to academia & the faculty role (1982-2001)
 Administration – where the action is (2001-?)
 Director to Interim Dean and back again (2010-12)
 The last challenge (2013 - ?)
Informal recognition from people I respected
Opportunities to be innovative in practice
settings – clinical & academic
Formal recognitions & awards
Opportunities to participate in nursing reform
We all think that we aren’t worthy of leading no
matter what our stage of development.
Leadership is often thrust upon the “Last
Woman Standing” which only reinforces our
reluctance and sense of not being worthy.
All new leaders are scared to death and suffer
from the “imposter” syndrome.
Your nursing education experiences really do
An administrator has to “manage” as well as
lead, i.e., The “Red Ball” phenomenon.
Without formal training for leadership,
finding the right mentor is critical.
Leadership succession is a challenge.
Leadership is where the real fun is...but like
nursing, it is never if finished product.
This is not a new question – the literature is
prolific in this topic from a generic context.
(Burns, Bennis & Nannis, Starratt, Covey,
Sergiovanni, Cleary, Kouzes & Posner, etc.)
If you Google “Leadership Lessons”….
 Colin Powell and FDR to Spiderman and the
Keep your ends certain, but your means
You are usually stronger when you work
through others.
Reach out to your opponents.
Curiosity is a good thing.
The most important leadership quality is
What is the value of exemplary leadership?
 Study by Salanova, Lorente, Chambel &
Martinez (2011) linking TFL to nurses’ extra
role performance, self-efficacy and work
 NM with a TFL style enhanced ‘extra-role’
performance in nurses, increasing hospital efficacy.
 A direct relationship between transformational
leadership and work engagement was also found.
 Study by Casida, Crane, Walker & Wargo
(2012): Elaboration of Leadership and
Culture in High Performing Nursing Units of
Hospitals as perceived by Staff Nurses (SN)
▪ SN at BSN or higher level had more favorable / different
perceptions of their NM leadership than diploma or ADN SN
▪ The frequent portrayals of TFL behaviors (i.e., visionary) by
NM were paramount in shaping culture traits that
exemplify high performance, are flexible and adaptive.
Downey, Parslow & Smart (2011) described
informal leaders as the “hidden treasure” in
nursing leadership.
 Informal Leaders are the most underutilized asset
in health care (approximately 80-90% of a typical
HC organization).
 If identified early, they can be developed and
empowered to impact environmental culture in a
positive manner
Traits to watch for:
 Ubiquitous – everywhere at the same time
 Expert nurses who share their knowledge
 Those names that always come up to lead teams or volunteer
 Recognized amongst their peers
 Elevate the whole team – pull us together
 Credibility with both staff and administration
 High performers / strong work ethic
 Sense of the heartbeat of their unit and want to make it better – they
want to be part of the discussion in shaping the organization
 They do not usually view themselves as special or even as leaders
 They may accept acknowledgement or rewards for their
accomplishments, but may oppose any formal title or visible recognition.
Give them opportunities to show they can solve
problems – chair a task force, etc.
Be mindful to not overuse them to prevent burnout;
select projects carefully
Informal Leaders need to know that their positive
attitude and creative contributions are of great
value to the NA and the unit/org.
Simple day to day recognitions are often most
highly valued.
Eddy, Doutrich, Higgs, Spuck, Olson & Weinberg
(2009) conducted a qualitative study to elicit
narratives about essential nursing leadership
competencies to inform the revision of a graduate
nursing program:
 Communication Skills: listening & conflict resolution
 The ability to communicate a vision, motivate and inspire
 Technological adroitness & Fiscal dexterity
 The courage to be proactive during rapid change
Stiles, Pardue, Young & Morales (2011)
examined the process of becoming a nurse
faculty leader and found that advancing
reform was a significant experience:
 Being able to envision oneself in the leadership
 Being involved with others in a common cause or
 Serving as a symbol and preserving authenticity
 Creating an environment for change
Crosby & Shields (2010) convened a task force of
leaders from academia and practice to address
succession planning.
 Noted that as HC has become less hierarchal, leadership is
less about position and more about influence.
 Also noted the correlation between how staff perceive the NM
and job satisfaction / work effectiveness.
 Current environmental pressures are influencing the pool of
future nurses & highlight the need for strong leadership.
 Led to the development of leadership academy workshops in
the clinical setting to address these needs.
Anazor (2012) reported on a program developed by
the International Council of Nurses (ICN) to develop
the Leadership for Change (LFC) program to
complement leadership education programs from
different countries to enhance nurse’s skills to
prepare them to meet the challenges posed by
ongoing health reforms and empower them to
contribute to decision-making.
Participate effectively in health policy
development and decision-making.
Be effective leaders and managers in nursing
health services.
Prepare future nurse managers and leaders
for key positions.
Influence change in nursing curricula so
future nurse leaders are prepared
Scott & Miles (2013) provide a framework
for viewing the current strategies in both
education and practice to address the
potential shortage of nurse leaders.
 This call to advance leadership capacity and
competence in nursing has never been louder or
more urgent than it is today.
Although the public is not used to viewing nurses as
leaders and not all nurses begin their career with
thoughts of becoming a leader, all nurses must be
leaders in the design, implementation and evaluation of,
as well as advocacy for, the ongoing reforms to the
system that will be needed. Additionally, nurses will need
leadership skills and competencies to act as full partners
with physicians and other health professionals in redesign
and reform efforts across the health care system.
(Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing; Leading
Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC, National
academies Press; 2010)
 Note that most nursing literature on leadership is
devoted to “leader” development rather than
“leadership” development.
 Efforts must be made to augment faculty and
students’ conceptualization of nursing such that
leadership is seen as a dimension of practice for
all nurses, not just those in formal leadership
Education to Practice:
 A comprehensive conceptual framework for
lifelong leadership development of nurses needs
to be designed.
 A baseline leadership capacity (novice) to build
upon in all nurses regardless of their nursing role.
 Example: We have done this for quality & safety
education for nurses…but not for leadership.
We lack the evidence base for teaching
 Leadership vs. Management
 Leader vs. Leadership
 AACN Essentials – no consistent framework
Collective wisdom would suggest that
leadership should be shared, participative and
 Shared leadership vs. leadership as a role
Moving to adopt leadership in nursing as both
a process AND a role promotes the potential
for all nurses to develop leadership
competency and capacity.
As more nurses perceive themselves as
being able to lead; more will be inspired to
become leaders in formal roles,
Hannah (2006) as cited in Scott & Miles (2013)
conceptualized a model the highlights the
components that influence whether or not a
person identifies him- or herself as able to lead –
from developmental readiness to Leader selfefficacy.
Leadership self-efficacy: The level of
confidence in the knowledge, skills and abilities
associated with leading others. Self-confidence
is the most prevalent characteristic used in
defining a leader.
Include opportunities for students to develop desire for
and participate in successful leadership experiences.
One path to an administrative position in nursing began
when managers told nurses they think they would be
good in leadership. We need to TELL them!!!
Students need to be exposed to nurses who are
passionately addressing issues in health care in both
formal and informal roles of leadership so they are
aroused to consider leadership as a course of action for
resolving challenges in health care.
Acknowledge that nursing equals leadership
Admit that leadership takes time to develop
Don’t hesitate to “pretend” to be a leader
Leadership development must be a feature of every
work setting and professional association.
Nurses need to be transformational leaders
Nurses need to be capable of strategic vision
If you’re going to have a vision, it might as well be
for excellence
Transformative leadership requires that nurses
shape more than the purview of nursing
Nurses need to seize the opportunities handed to
 Source: McBride, A. (2011) Taking leadership seriously. American
Journal of Nursing, 111 (3), 11.
Julie A. Coon, Ed.D, MSN
Associate Dean
College of Health Professions
Ferris State University
[email protected]
Anazor C. (2012) Preparing nurse leaders for global health reforms.
Nursing Management, 19 (4), 26-28.
Casida J., Crane P., Walker T. & Wargo, L. (2012) Elaboration of
leadership and Culture in high-performing nursing units of
hospitals as perceived by staff nurses. Research and Theory for
Nursing Practice: An International Journal, 26 (4), 241-261.
Crosby F. & Shields C. (2010) Preparing the next generation of nurse
leaders: An educational needs assessment. The Journal of
Continuing Education in Nursing, 41 (8), 363-368.
Downey M., Parslow S., & Smart, M. (2011) The hidden treasure in
nursing leadership: Informal leaders. Journal of Nursing
Management, 19, 517-521.
Eddy,L., Doutrich, D., Higgs, Z, Spuck, J, Olson, M. & Weinberg, S. (2009)
Relevant nursing leadership: An evidence-based programmatic response.
International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 6 (1), 1-17.
Institute of Medicine (2010) The Future of Nursing; Leading Change, Advancing
Health. Washington, DC, National academies Press.
McBride, A. (2011) Taking leadership seriously. American Journal of Nursing,
111 (3), 11.
Salanova M., Lorente L., Chambel M. & Martinez I. (2011) Linking
Transformational leadership to nurses’ extra-role performance: The
mediating role of self-efficacy and work engagement. Journal of Advanced
Nursing, 67 (10), 2256-2266.
Scott E. & Miles J. (2013) Advancing leadership capacity in nursing. Nursing
Administration Quarterly 37 (1), 77-82.
Stiles K., Pardue K., Young P. & Morales M. (2011) Becoming a nurse faculty
leader: Practices of leading illuminated through advancing reform in nursing
education. Nursing Forum 46 (2), 9-101.