I recently spoke with a professional colleague who had worked for many years in one organization and then moved to a completely different health system to take a promotion.  At the time that we spoke, she had been in her new role for almost a year yet found herself struggling.  She had been very successful…

Recently one of the nurses made a strong case for both staff nurses and leaders to be vigilant about the potential for compassion fatigue especially in high stress care environments.  In these situations, whether it be on medical evacuation flights or in a busy ER with frequent trauma, nurses cope by suppressing their emotions.  But…

I was recently presenting to a group of nurse leaders and asked the question about whether they had ever lost control of their emotions in front of their staff.  Many in attendance had but one leader’s response really surprised me.  She saw nothing wrong with displaying her anger because “this is who I am and…

Accepting a leadership position on a unit or in a department where you have worked as a staff nurse can present some unique challenges.  On the positive side, you will not have the steep learning curve about the unit culture or staff that a leader selected outside the unit might experience.  But managing former peers…

I recently had a former student talk with me about the challenges that she was having with her career.  I asked her why she thought things were not moving in the direction that she wanted them to.  Initially, she began blaming others for what was happening but ended up acknowledging that she self-sabotaged some of…

Nothing frustrates staff more than nurse leaders who say one thing and then do something quite different.   When you think about leadership the words: trust, credibility, relationships, communication, and consistency come to mind to name a few. The importance of connecting your words with action is critical in developing into a true leader.  Jim Kouzes and Barry…

One of the interesting things that I have learned from my interviews with nurse leaders is that they have little time for reflection in their daily work.  So often when asked a question, the leader will tell me “I never really thought about this before”.  Yet, we know that real learning from our experiences requires reflection.  Until…

I am often surprised when I talk with nurse leaders and ask how they stay current with healthcare issues to learn that they rarely do any reading.  There is strong evidence that the best leaders are the best learners.  As an outcome of their research with leaders globally, Kouzes and Posner in their book The Truth about…

Recently, a professional colleague was the victim of a power play in her organization that led ultimately led to her having to leave her position.  Understandably, she was quite upset with the situation and felt victimized. My students often tell me that they want to avoid the politics and power in situations, and just do…

The late Peter Drucker, an internationally known leadership expert, frequently noted that we spend a great deal of time telling our leaders what to do but far less time advising them what not to do.  This is because we are so focused on what will lead to our success that we spend little time talking…

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