Nurse Leaders Reflect on Where to Focus, Redefining Possible
Nursing leadership — across all settings within academics, healthcare and beyond — demands constant reflection on where we’ve been and how our experiences influence our next steps in life and work.
At Jefferson College of Nursing during 2023-2024, we are laser-focused on preparing nurse leaders to lead from day one. We are building a “footprint of leadership,” using the approach in the National Academy of Medicine’s Actualize The Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report. We will capitalize on our 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings (in the top tier of Online Master’s in Nursing Programs) to attract a new caliber of applicants, creating novel programs and experiences around leadership to draw applicants, alumni and donors, and leveraging our relationship with Jefferson Health Nursing and other system and community partners.
Our joint strategies with Jefferson Health Nursing will ensure a vibrant workforce for the future, including nurse development. We are co-creating innovative nurse recruitment and retention actions through onsite training by creating a seamless pipeline through Capstone — a clinical experience that nursing students complete during their final year of education — to embed students in clinical units and shorten their onboarding.
I believe that all leadership begins with self-leadership. I encourage nurses to model self-certainty. By demonstrating integrity, optimism, courage, and purpose, you will be the colleague others seek to work with and for. Leadership can be practiced in every moment.
Throughout the College of Nursing's forthcoming Annual Report, Investing in Partnerships: Building the Future — to be published this Spring — we are including brief observations on nurse leadership from within the Jefferson family.
In one passage, my partner in building a strong leadership culture observes:
"We shouldn’t underestimate the power we have individually to impact the lives of others in profound and meaningful ways. This power grows when we work collectively. My daily work centers on a simple principle — to do my best to make the world a better place by living a fully present life exemplified by service, compassion, integrity, grace, and dignity."
— Kate FitzPatrick, Chief Nurse Executive Officer at Jefferson Health and Associate Dean for Nursing Health Systems Partnerships
I think you will benefit from reading a few short excerpts below as several Jefferson nurse leaders respond to basic questions about their approaches. Again, you will see more of these observations throughout the Annual Report.
How might you encourage nurses to lead at every level and across all settings?
"Showing interest in others, collaborating, and trying new things helps me identify new leadership learning opportunities. When you engage meaningfully with others and take time to listen and learn from them, you can successfully leverage what you learn to lead."
— Sonya Lawrence, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Chief Compliance Officer
"Critical thinking, compassion and empathy, listening, prioritization, implementing evidence-based knowledge, and interdisciplinary teamwork are highlights of these core competencies that nurses develop during their careers."
—Brian Sweeney, President of North Region, Jefferson Health
What are you trying to get better at?
"I am always trying to get better at being intentional in my approach to all that life brings my way."
—Patricia “Trish” Wellenbach, Chair, Board of Trustees, Thomas Jefferson University
"I try to always recognize the value of working on a team — requesting input from all the team members — and making sure I am advantaged by learning something from everyone."
— Kathy Gallagher, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Jefferson University
"I wish I had spent more time on relationships and helping the faculty to feel valued. As a 'can do person,' I was always successful at making things happen. Yet I have learned it is so important to listen and understand."
— Pam Watson, Member of JCN Campaign Advisory Council; Professor and Dean Emeritus, School of Nursing, University of Texas Medical Branch
"I am always trying to work toward social justice in vulnerable neighborhoods. We cannot solve the cycle of poverty until we create healthcare access, attack social inequities, and improve education. "
— Carol Ammon, Member of JCN Campaign Advisory Council; Founder and Chief Executive Officer and Chair, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (retired)