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Challenges and Opportunities for Nurse Leaders

Looking forward, the difficulties we face include overcoming the bias that nurses are not prepared to lead, especially in interprofessional teams. This is a perception that nursing itself must change, first in the arena of self-image and then in the eyes of other powerful professional groups. If other clinical partners do not see the nurse as pivotal for ushering in change, then they are likely to use that bias to slow the rate or pace of change considerably.

For nurses to see themselves as capable of transforming healthcare, they must see themselves as equal partners at the table, able to negotiate and recommend, influence, and activate change initiatives at the local level and beyond. For some, this is an unimaginable role, but fortunately for others, this is a logical next step in fulfilling the promise of their education and preparation to lead. Stevens (2013) reminds us that there are four skills that the nurse leader must bring to this interprofessional table:

  • The redesign of healthcare systems through creativity and mastery of teamwork
  • Persistence in ensuring the education of nursing’s future workforce, with an eye focused on improving our systems of care
  • Moving beyond our current and comfortable programs of research, and learning to engage systems so that applications to larger platforms are possible
  • Inviting and ensuring multiple voices and perspectives are heard so that the transformation of healthcare is broadly focused on the needs of the larger population

It is our work not only to care for patients and to work diligently to improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of the system where we practice, but also to touch the lives of patients around the world by engaging in a readiness to move evidence-based practices into the mainstream of our thinking and our actions. To embrace change and actively implement those strategies which are best for patient outcomes will keep us focused firmly on the future and prevent us from being stuck in our past.

Source: Critical Thinking: Tools for Clinical Excellence and Leadership Effectiveness

Free Excerpt from HCPro’s new Critical Thinking book!

Avoiding Autopilot

CTB Cover

Rarely are we genuinely thoughtless—that is, without thought. But often we are not giving our thoughts much consideration. In today’s world, there is much distraction and sometimes we are guilty of distracting ourselves just to prevent our minds from focusing on the things that are most important (electronic devices proliferate and give us many opportunities to engage in mindlessness). So, to be genuinely able to think about thinking, we must avoid going onto autopilot.

Autopilot is the state of being where we are largely going through the motions, not thoughtfully engaged in the activities of life. It is when we arrive at our destination but cannot remember the traffic on our commute, or taking the last turn or even whether we stopped for the traffic signal or not—it happens to all of us, and that is autopilot. The key is in recognizing when it is happening and being willing and able to intercept your unconscious mind and instead coax it to be present in the real-life situation you’re living. It is learning to move our conscious mind from nowhere to now here—a subtle but essential difference!

Being present in the moment is the essence of mindfulness, and it is powerful! Mindfulness wakes us up to sensations we have been failing to notice. It reveals patterns in our activities that we’ve become blind to. It permits us the full engagement in the reality happening in front of us and even within us, silently, steadfastly, sacredly. Mindfulness may enable us to improve our health, connect more successfully to other people, enlarge our thinking, focus our perception, and even strengthen our intuition. Mindfulness is the polar opposite of autopilot!

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Free Webcast: Techniques to improve critical-thinking skills

HCPro is celebrating and recognizing nurses all week long with special giveaways, prizes, and promotions.

OnDemandWebcastEnjoy this FREE webcast on us!

Critical Thinking and Patient Outcomes: Engaging Novice and Experienced Nurses

Join renowned critical thinking expert Shelley Cohen, RN, MSN, CEN, for a 90-minute webcast for nurse managers, educators, and nursing professional development specialists about strengthening nursing staff’s critical-thinking skills.

This program provides practical strategies for developing critical-thinking skills in novice and experienced nurses. It discusses how to foster an ongoing program that emphasizes critical-thinking skills and how improved critical thinking can impact patient outcomes.

To access this FREE webcast, enter discount code EW323823 at checkout.

And be sure not to miss…

Yesterday’s post has links to a 20% discount code on all nursing products, a BOGO on books and handbooks, and other activities of interest…

Ben Franklin’s advice to nurse preceptors

Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.

How do you provide preceptees with constructive advice Ben Franklin2
or feedback? Do you tell them what they did wrong and spell out how to correct it? Or do you encourage them to use critical-thinking skills to truly ingrain a personal understanding of ways to improve their practice?

Look at these two approaches to feedback, and see which you think would be more effective. (More examples excerpted from The Preceptor Program Builder can be found in the Reading Room.)

The preceptor observes the preceptee greeting the manager correctly, giving her name, and stating that she is a preceptee. However, she was not wearing her name tag.

Evaluative feedback
Your name tag is missing, and the manager
won’t like it!

Descriptive feedback
You greeted the manager according to the facility protocol.
Can you think of anything that would help your manager remember you?

The descriptive feedback encourages the preceptee to use critical thinking, which illustrates Ben Franklin’s timeless recommendation to “involve me, and I learn.”

If you would like to share “aha” moments and techniques for constructive feedback, please feel free to comment below…

Behind every healed patient is a critically thinking nurse

A recent opinion piece published on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s website brings to patients’ attention what nurses already know to be true. It asks the question: What does it mean to think like a nurse? And the answer is an important one. The article educates readers that it doesn’t take just a degree and a few acronyms behind your name to make a good nurse, it takes critical thinking—using the perfect blend of feeling and fact—to provide proper care to patients.

The article says it’s really a mixed bag. That education, training, experience, intuition, being able to adapt to different situations, and the ability to navigate all of these under pressure, are at the heart of being a good nurse.

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