Advanced Leadership Skills
I grew up in a conservative family. My father has served in the Philippine military and the Philippine government most of his life, and my mother was a dedicated nurse midwife and professor at a university hospital. Serving and caring for people has become second nature to my family. My father was strict and a disciplinarian; he did not allow my family to be out of the house after 6:00 p.m. He believed that it was important to have every member of the family home for dinner. It was from him that I learned the value of self-discipline, respect, and the importance of good education. Meanwhile, my mother was the go-to person for most of our relatives and family ...view middle of the document...
I worked hard throughout my studies and achieved exceptional grades and recognition. Dedication, a strong will, and the value of hard work are the outstanding tools I rely on.
My first nurse leader role was as a charge nurse at a nursing rehab facility. Fairly early on, a patient went into respiratory distress and cardiac arrest and I initiated my first cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while activating 911. I was a brand-new nurse leader who had migrated from the Philippines only 8 months before. I remember I was determined to save the patient’s life. Emergency medical services (EMS) came and transferred the patient to the hospital. I will never forget when one of the EMS staff came back to inform me that the patient had lived and thanked me for a job well done. I also received two personal letters in the mail that reaffirmed my purpose and developed my clinical expertise as a nurse in the long-term care setting. The following are excerpts from the letters:
One nurse in particular, Harlan, was extremely helpful and caring. He went out of his way to assist Joseph, even if it was a duty that an attendant usually performed. Harlan gave comfort to Joseph right up to his last moment of consciousness. – Cervone family
These two fine professionals have not only shown compassion, understanding and ears that do not go deaf to a resident’s verbal request. Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn an elderly, lonely person’s life around even if it’s for just a brief period of time, Harlan Ragay does not under estimate and I truly believe in this. – Louis Paone
Witnessing the gratitude of my patients and their families has made me realize that I have acquired a compassionate and helpful heart with a mind that is open and understanding—traits that I apply in my nursing practice. Nursing care is beyond quantifiable outcomes but provides simple human caring practices that restore the dignity and personhood of the sick person. These caring practices of the nurse produce authentic relationships with patients and families (Cathcart, 2008).
In addition to knowing who I am, I must continually practice and refresh my skills to become an effective leader. In his article, Kotter (2001) has differentiated the roles of a manager from those of a leader. A manager organizes and promotes stability, while leaders inspire others to achieve a vision and embrace change. Kotter’s work has given me a clear understanding of where to exercise my leadership skills when they are called for. I have been working in a management position for almost 12 years, but this article allowed me to fully appreciate that a manager’s role might vary while overseeing the operations of a unit, whereas a leader must be able to assist those who follow him or her through an organization’s constant changes.
The Advanced Leadership course also allowed me to interact with three...