Lessons in Leadership: The Betty Irene Moore Speaker Series

The Betty Irene Moore speaker series has an interesting compilation of short videos of nationally recognized leaders. While there is no question that these are accomplished leaders with plenty of knowledge to share, their positions and interests were hard to relate to. I watched videos with Patricia Benner, Shirley Chater, and Jeannie Chin Hansen. I picked these speakers hoping they could shed light on the earlier stages of leadership development and how to grow within a role. While I consider myself a leader in nursing practice and look forward to helping other nurses advance in their profession, I am not interested in taking a position in policy, politics, or education. That being said, I was able to extract some valuable lessons from the videos that can be applied to direct patient care and team work in the clinic setting.

Patricia Benner described nursing and leadership as a self-improving practice. There will always be more knowledge, better guidelines, and new skills to learn in nursing. Being able to constantly improve my work and skill-set will allow me to be a better provider and role model. Instead of comparing my practice to others, I should set self-improvement goals regularly so as not to become complacent with the status quo.

Shirley Chater had some enlightening ideas about leadership and work. One such idea is that of professional presence and self esteem. Establishing myself as a leader means embodying a strong persona and presenting myself with confidence. I also appreciated the distinction she made between a job and work. This resonated with me, because I believe nursing and providing pediatric primary care is my calling or “life’s work.”

Jeannie Chin Hansen brought up important points about the reason for leadership and our goal of improved patient care. Instead of talking about power and how to achieve it, she talked about how to change the dynamic to be better and do more. I like the idea of having patient care at the forefront of our decision-making. Deciding to speak up for a patient or addressing a “moral distress” faced at work are exactly how I want to embody leadership as an APN. I appreciated how Jeannie advised to live in a “genuine space” and to seek out people that think differently. I believe that I grow the most in unfamiliar spaces and when encountering difficult situations. Pushing myself to find those circumstances will lead to better patient care and more productive team endeavors.

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