Celebrating Nurse Leaders

From the desk of Lisa Thomson, Chief Strategy and MarketingOfficer, Pathway Health
Recently, I had the opportunity to connect with Pathway Health’s Chief Operating Officer, Donna Webb, to gain her perspective on nurse leadership as we celebrate Nurses Day and the start of Nurses Week. ~Lisa

Especially today, I would like to recognize all of the Nurse leaders, consultants and team members who have been working tirelessly to support those we served over the last year. The COVID-19 pandemic created numerous barriers to the delivery of care, causing us all to quickly adapt to care for those we serve.
Throughout it all, nurses in all roles have shown incredible courage and dedication to provide the best care possible. Nurse leadership has remained consistent and it is and always will be the heart of health care.

As a clinical and operational leader, my role was to set the operational and strategic direction of the organization while working side by side with our nurse leaders. The success of the organization could not be attained without their support, as these professionals lead their dedicated teams.
In post-acute care and across most health care settings, the nursing leader focuses on setting standards, policy, dealing with compliance, overseeing quality measures and clinical outcomes while spearheading innovation and transformation with their teams and within the organization. Since the beginning of the pandemic, never has this been more self-evident.
As I reflect on my career as a nurse leader, the key roles that I consistently have observed of dynamic and successful nurses are the following:
  • Visionary – Overseeing care delivery, customer and staff satisfaction, clinical processes, financial outcomes and compliance are just a few of the oversight responsibilities that a nursing leader possesses. Nurse leaders provide vision and direction for their department while holding staff accountable.
  • Educator – Nurse leaders continue to expand their knowledge and understanding of the changes impacting health care and those we provide competent care to. Staying on top of the changes that affect organizations is challenging and causes some level of stress for nurse leaders. As an operational leader, it is important that nurse leaders continue accessing education, tools and outside resources. These resources will help guide them to provide a level of support for their department and organization’s priorities, as well as expected outcomes. Translating the information and knowledge obtained, aligning with organizational goals, while including other team leaders in the process, will take some of the pressure off of the nurse leader today. This will allow the leader to focus on targeted high-level priorities and clinical processes for successful outcomes.
  • Mentor – Nurse leaders continue to work with their team at all levels. They identify the knowledge, skills and abilities of their team, align those talents with the clinical and organization priorities, which allows them to mentor and develop future leaders. Successful nurse leaders build their role upon the strengths of their teams. Team building is the cornerstone of their leadership style, which is essential to leading a diverse group of people with distinct personalities and skills. Continuing to foster an environment of collaboration and professional growth is a key strategy for success for nurse leaders in today’s organizations.
  • Motivator – Given all of the changes faced by nurse leaders, their unique ability to motivate staff during challenging times is first and foremost. They know when to talk and when to listen. They are often confident and optimistic while inspiring enthusiasm in those around them. Today’s nurse leaders also spark and support innovation, knowing that the way we did business before needs to change in order to be successful in the new health care environment.
Being a nurse leader is an amazing journey, and it continues to provide opportunities for innovation, as well as personal and professional growth. Working next to the dynamic nurse leaders in post-acute care is an honor and a privilege.
Know that you are one of the shining examples of what makes this field so valuable in this world we live in.
Often people will say, “how you treat your elders is the true measure of a culture.” Thank you for being the center of our organizations and for being the heart of health care.

Insights from Donna L. Webb, R.N. – Chief Operating Officer, Pathway Health