How I Would Start My Own Nursing Leadership Model


As I talk with nurse leaders who are paving the way to cultures of caring and love, I see leaders who are bending their leadership styles away from the business image.

A Nursing Leadership Model is not a business model.

Promoting real caring of the human spirit in its most vulnerable state—while still making sure that nurses have the tools for ADLs to saving lives—and then talking about real caring a lot, like it’s a mission, is a nursing leadership model.  

Listening to others prompted me to recall one story of leadership failure that I have to own. Years ago, one of my favorite nurse leader buddies cried on the day she was promoted to the top nurse leader position in our organization. This was the day she became my boss. She was a rare fearless leader who had progressed up the career path to the executive level surpassing all of us who had mentored her. She cried mourning the distance she was feeling, with each career advancement, from those deeply felt caring moments with patients. “I’ll never have the opportunity to connect like that again.”

This should have been a wake up call to me.  I should have seen the rawness and wrongness of her statement then.  But instead, I responded with my truth at the time; nurse leaders had to surrender these kinds of connections as a part of leadership.  Reality check, please. Oh my god!  What a moment of failure of seeing our work stripped of real connections.  I saw our roles embodying the business image and void of connecting with our human spirit.  Who was this person?

So here I am today… feeling Full with my message:

Nursing is the most fascinating, complex, and both pragmatic and spiritual profession there is…. Having an overarching impact on humanity throughout the world.

I know that if I could start my leadership career all over again,  it would involve talking about real caring moments and seeking and recognizing authenticity for myself and others 24×7.

Here’s how I would start:

  1. Focus on me. Start with how I feel. Because I know that how I feel inside about myself and my work will be what guides me. This won’t be easy… Trying to think differently about my work takes thought, courage and awareness. I would start with self-monitoring my feelings 24×7, or at least during the critical scenes of my life. Am I feeling love towards myself and towards others? Am I pissed? Am I just doing the work? What messages am I emitting? (business? survival? love? anger?)
  2. Start seeking a tribe.   This would be a real, honest, caring and loving group of fellow nurse leaders. A group that I feel a deep nursing connection to.
  3. Start monitoring the vibes that are coming back at me and around me…. Trying to be emotionally neutral as I tune into these energies.

I would Start Here and Stop Here ….. until I felt good about my feelings approximately 20% of the time, until I felt good about what I was doing as a nursing leader in pursuit of my own personal nurse leadership model.

Then the real fun begins…. Because I am building my tomorrow.

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