Over the past two decades, the roles of the nurse have largely been revolutionized in response to the demands of the healthcare system as it is in the contemporary society. Nurses have for long been regarded as the ‘others’ in the healthcare system; an item that always described them as the subordinates to the system or subjects to other higher ranked professionals such as the physicians (Sanford, 2012). However, the need to integrate nurse into the care system through an open, accountable and independent system that allows them to practice to the best level of their academic knowledge and experience has made it possible to create a vibrant nurse workforce. Nurses today have the opportunities that have always been enjoyed by the other disciplines within the healthcare system (Marquis & Huston, 2009). Essentially, this has been enabled by the realization by key stakeholders that to resolve a host of challenges that are apparent in the healthcare system, it is wise to utilize the nurse workforce in numbers and strengths. This has automatically created a larger scope of practice for nurses and today, they can serve in any role, at any time and within any confines to ensure that patients receive the optimal care they deserve without necessarily relying on instruction from a higher authority (Sanford, 2012). One of the key aspects of nursing that has come to the fore is the aspect of advocacy. Nurses are required to act as primary care providers as well as patient advocates since they possess the information that can help determine policies that can positively impact on the patient outcomes. Leadership forms a critical part of advocacy. However, leadership has it different elements whose applicability is determined by the current environment demands. In this paper I will analyze my personal leadership strengths as well as weaknesses along the aspects of Personal and professional accountability, Career planning, Personal journey disciplines and Reflective practice reference behavior/ tenets to help provide a suitable evaluation scheme for my personal and professional growth (American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2006).
Personal and professional accountability: This entity comprises of the elements of continuing education, education advancement, self-assessment and action plan as well as career planning (American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2006). Within this perspective I think I have fairly done well in this component. The most catching aspect of this aspect is that I have successfully completed my BSN program which I perceive is the best thing that has happened to me for some time now. Similarly, at the workplace, I have been able to create a suitable working environment for my colleagues and particularly the incoming nurses who require guidance by formalizing and initiating the aspect of informal leadership. Among the goals for initiating and implementation the aspects of informal leadership is to facilitate the issue of accountability to that each and every one is well versed with their role and equally accountable for decisions and actions they take at any time. While this has enabled the aspect of collaboration within the workforce, the greatest challenge has been to garner the support of senior members of the workforce who feel that I may be a threat to their career which in all essence is something I have not put into consideration (Sanford, 2012). This issue has at times forced me to back down on my aspirations as a nurse leader but it is something I am still trying to work out to find a balance between these two issues of initiating reforms and engaging the current leadership.
Career planning: When one gets into a nursing college, most are unaware of the task ahead and there is s tendency to generalize all aspects and specialties of nursing (Marquis & Huston, 2009). However, in my first day in college, I was aware that I wanted to pursue any filed that relates to geriatric care. I have long pursued to fulfill the ambition to help the elderly especially those with varying frailties and afford them a comfortable life towards the last day of their lives. While most people are fearful of the magnitude of the task involved in geriatric care, I tend to think this is my calling and as I focus on my Masters I want to gain as much knowledge and information regarding the aspect of geriatric care. It is this personal and childhood dream that has been core strength in practice and education and that has seen me to this level. However, I feel that my greatest weakness in this perspective is that I tend to get excited by the little success I make at times. Such incidences have resulted to a situation where I feel as though I have reached an optimal and need not do more. However, I am trying my best to balance how I celebrate each milestone without losing focus on the goal ahead.
Personal journey disciplines: The greatest challenge for any person serving in public or private sector is the issue of workplace politics (American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2006). As you relate with people you begin from a point of strangers to personal and essential relationships. However, these are transcended by politics within the workplace. These politics can make or break and individual depending on how well one handles them. To me, I have at times found myself lost in the politics of the workplace and this has created conflicts between me and my peers. However, with time, I have gained the experience and attitude to manage the expectations from colleagues as a person and as a profession. I think this has been enabled by my continued theory of evaluation and learning and most importantly differentiating those risk situations that may compromise how well I perform as a person in my role and as a profession in delivering service to the people who need them (Marquis & Huston, 2009).
`Reflective practice reference behavior/ tenets: As a leader, the environment within the workplace is defined by diversity, ambiguity and integrity while relating with others (American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2006). Since there is no static environment, these three aspects will vary from time to time and they influence the workplace culture and how people relate within that institution or workplace. It is the role of the leader to provide the most enabling environment n that does not sideline part of the workforce or place others at subjection. As a key element, I have always appreciated the role of communication with all members at groups or personal level (Sanford, 2012). When the members of the workplace are free to talk to their leader I have realized that it becomes easier to understand their strengths and thus enable them serve well. Similarly, diversity within the workplace is defined across cultural and social construct, my greatest strength has been to educate the staff that their individual differences are the strengths of the organization, since we expect an equally or more diverse population and we must apply threes differences to clinical practice to help handle patients (Sanford, 2012). I however have to mention that my weakness in this relation has been the impatience I have at times portrayed to those members who do not seem to learn as quickly as I would consider valuable.
Current leadership skill and change advocacy
I believe that as a leader, one is meant to serve and create a path especially where everyone seems to be losing focus. In this light, I tend to believe that servant leadership, which defines my leadership style, is the way to go. It entails not just communication with other members but also trying to understand their personal problems at social level and how these impacts on the service they render. In essence, it is the role of trying to help them cope with their personal life even as they seek to provide comfort to others through care provision (Sanford, 2012).
My personal goal in the long term is to work as an executive of a nursing home and particularly where geriatric care is the focus. The main purpose is not to run away from the roles of staff nurses but to help provide the optimal working conditions for geriatric care nurses from a point where I can influence the policies and regulations of the institution. With the opportunities available for continue education and the experience I will gain over the coming years, I believe I will create an institution that will be a model for others across the nation. It is a goal I feel I will ultimately fulfill amidst the challenges that I may encounter simply because I perceive that the past has been more strenuous that the opportunities going forward.
American Association of Critical Care Nurses. (2006). Nurse Manager Skills Inventory. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.org/wd/practice/docs/nurse-manager-inventory-tool.pdf
Sanford, K. (2012). Overview and Summary: Nurse Advocates: Past, Present, and Future. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(1).
Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2009). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.