Leadership of a Higher Order

I’m rewriting my Nursing Leadership Talk.  I’m not satisfied with my talking points.  So I’ve been reading and rereading nursing leadership articles.

Talking about leadership can sound so blah; I’m in search of the non-blah.

Leadership models

One thing, for sure, looking at leadership models is a bit like looking at a scatter diagram. There are a bunch of leadership theories and models out there!    There’s:

  • Appreciative leadership grounded in complexity science
  • Authentic leadership
  • Lean leadership
  • Resonant leadership
  • Servant leadership
  • Shared leadership
  • Mindful Leadership
  • Transformational vs Transactional leadership
  • and … Participatory, Democratic, Laissez-faire leadership styles
  • and then there’s the best leadership practices

How about a Nursing Leadership model?

This is one point that I have often thought about.  Nursing is a unique field. Why is there not a discipline-specific nursing leadership model?

Nursing leadership should be based on nursing and caring foundations, not psychological, organizational, and certainly not business.

I believe, the more often we focus on what brought us to nursing, the greater the connection with nurses we will have as leaders, and the clearer our leadership vision and path will be.   Nurses are more committed to their personal nursing practice missions, rarely to organizational missions.

Quantum Caring Leadership

Interestingly, there is a discipline-specific, nursing caring healthcare leadership model.  Almost, Hot off the press.  In a 2018 article, four high-powered nursing leaders – Watson, Porter-O’Grady, Horton-Deutsch, Malloch – integrated caring science theory and quantum leadership science creating Quantum Caring Leadership.

This is what is unique about this leadership ….
  • Caring science, for years, has sought to transform nursing from the inside-out, by an expanded discipline-specific unitary worldview based on nursing’s covenant with global humanity and transpersonal caring moments. p. 255
  • Quantum leadership theory and science, historically, has not been based in a nursing-specific theoretical foundation.
  • Caring science is consistent with quantum thinking.
  • The integration of quantum and caring leadership towards nursing’s distinct foundation provides grounds for new leadership practices and principles.
  • Quantum Caring Leadership praxis (morally inspired practices) seeks to create space for authentic emergence of human-caring communities and structures, to expand the evolution of human consciousness and all healthcare leadership.
  • The article makes the case that nursing caring leadership is leadership of a higher order, as nursing has a covenant with humanity.  Therefore Quantum Caring Leadership is ‘designed’ for and by nursing, and can be embodied throughout healthcare through quantum caring consciousness.

Items in Nursing Leadership Literature

I’ll start here, what is a healthy work environment?

Seeking Healthy Work Environments (HWE) is a hot topic in nursing leadership research and literature.  Staffing, assignments, competencies, communication, decision making, recognition, safety, safe and collaborative relationships, goal attainment, policies and procedures, etc. were among the 40 topics identified as contributing to a health work environment. The purpose of these studies was to develop valid and reliable tools for psychometric testing of HWEs and the distinctions between nurse leaders and direct care nurses perceptions of what makes a HWE.  These topics and measurements are important and provide means to measure improvements of the health of work environments. The topics center on practical leadership practices, skills and  impact.

Now, let’s move to tools that measure cultures of caring.

Another study, Survey Development: Caregivers Help Define a Tool to Measure Cultures of Care, focused on items that nurses and non-nurses identified as reflecting a culture of caring.  As expected, the topics in this study captured a different set of  items from the HWE study.  This identified only 14 items, and covered 3 categories:

  • Personal Caring:  I often show empathy…; I feel proud…; I am able to tune in…; I feel personal connection…; I am able to stay centered and compassionate …;  I feel appreciated …
  • Leadership Caring; All levels of leaders seem to care about each other…; My supervisor shows compassion for other workers and cares deeply for patients…;  * My supervisor cares about making the world a better place.
  • Co-worker Caring:  My coworkers show empathy and caring to me. I feel personal connections with my coworkers and I feel appreciated …

Relevancy to the Working Nurse and Nursing Leader?

These 2 articles define the parameters of many other nursing leadership articles that fall between.  All of them are relevant and critical to our survival.

But what topics connect nurses to their roots and catapult them to defining their futures?

I love the survey item in the Cultures of Care article,

My supervisor cares about making the world a better place.

That’s where our nursing specific Quantum Caring Healthcare Leadership model can take us.

That’s what nurses need to see and experience more of.

image courtesy of pexels.com

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