Here is a short excerpt from a conversation I had recently with Patricia Bondurant, DNP, RN. She has served in numerous executive and front line nursing leadership roles and is particularly passionate about the increasingly important role that nurses play in changing the landscape of healthcare.
Chrissy: You will be the closing speaker at the Perinatal leadership Forum in November and I know that you are particularly intrigued that nurse leader responsibilities seem to be shifting dramatically from day to day management of the patient care areas to now building systems of care. Perinatal nurse leaders are becoming the primary architect in creating a safe environment. This is a great time to be in healthcare, right?
Pattie: Yes, these are really exciting times. Healthcare is facing unprecedented challenges, and nurses must play a major role in meeting them. We hear so much negative – to quote Gandhi “let’s be a part of the change we want to see.”
Chrissy: How do you propose we seize this opportunity, Pattie?
Pattie: It’s time for us to be accountable and influence healthcare in a meaningful way, tapping in to nurses’ innovation and the unique skills that nurses have to transform care. We have made such great strides by working with our physician colleagues and executive teams together locally, what does our work look like at a regional and national level? We need to keep going and continue to inspire these advances on a larger scale.
Chrissy: So you are talking about personal influence?
Pattie: Influence is the most nuanced – but highest level – leadership skill that we can learn. Kenneth Blanchard, one of the most influential leadership experts in the world says, “The Key to Successful Leadership today is Influence, not Authority.” Nurses are well respected, and we need to develop our influencing skills to be successful in healthcare now. How we connect, lead, and set imperatives as leaders is critical. I see so many talented front line nurses take all different types of initiatives – large, small, challenging, essential – and move them forward to improve outcomes. Let’s also not forget about how this ultimately affects the experience of our patients and families. The ability to influence this work is both critical and extraordinary.
Chrissy: If I was a nurse director or manager interested in attending this conference, tell me what I will come away with after your closing keynote?
Pattie: Nurse Managers and Directors are on the front line – so the question comes to us: What can we do as nurse leaders to influence changes that are taking place in healthcare? This is really about changing relationships. It’s about understanding that our old ways won’t open new doors for our profession. It’s about raising the bar for accountability for ourselves and within our teams. It is about partnering with our physician colleagues. It’s about understanding measurement of data and how it is threaded through our everyday lives in the hospital so we can make informed decisions. Many of us are doing it now on many different levels. I want to hear about these advances and see the results evolving to bigger things for nurse leaders.
Chrissy: What’s the call to action for perinatal leaders everywhere?
Pattie: We have an opportunity to create and leave a legacy in a very unique way in caring for mothers and babies. Who do we want to be? How can we continue building on our current contributions locally and paint a larger swath of responsibility? As health care incrementally transforms, there will certainly be increased opportunities to place nurses at the center of the conversations, development, and implementation of new roles and new models of care.
Chrissy: What can I do as a leader to make my contribution to the healthcare landscape?
Pattie: This shouldn’t be an added burden to our current roles. We should be doing this instead of what we have always done. This is a positive message that will continue to move nursing and nurse leaders forward. We are moving away from fee-for-service systems and toward paying for improved outcomes, which create opportunities for nurses. Payment changes, based in part on improved patient outcomes—such as with shared savings in accountable care organizations and bundled payments—will allow nursing contributions in the area of wellness, telehealth, and care coordination for patients with chronic conditions. Nursing is asked to architect these systems, across care boundaries and then lead these multi-directional teams. How we can work with our leadership teams to continue to be in belief and alignment with these forward thinking goals to improve the health of our patients and communities? Imagine the future for mothers and babies; healthier communities, healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries, all leading to better outcomes. We are stronger together when we look across the continuum of care. It’s like Kid President says, “This is your time. This is my time. This is our time! Create something that will make the world awesome!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o