More than ever, nurses must acquire transformative leadership skills and clinical competencies that prepare them to reform the healthcare system and serve as strong patient advocates, according to the Institute of Medicines 2010 report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”
In light of IOMs mandate to educate and mentor students for transformative leadership, representatives from Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., and The College of New Rochelle (N.Y.) School of Nursing designed a pilot collaborative model to prepare senior students in clinical and leadership application. During the spring semester, four senior BSN students in their last semester at CNR were placed with senior nursing administrative leaders and expert clinical leaders at Woodhull.
“Its important that the novice nurse gains knowledge and exposure to many things behind the front line of patient care delivery and sees that nursing is more than a clinical hands-on profession,” said Mia Scaramuzzino, RN, MSH, PNP, senior associate nursing director in Woodhulls ED. “We want students to learn that nursing is integral to the entire operation at all levels and how it is part of a larger multidisciplinary system.”
Scaramuzzino and her nurse colleagues, along with other health administrative leadership colleagues throughout the hospital, provided students with opportunities to see leaders in action through the application of communication, organization, policy and operational skills; strategic planning to ensure safe, quality patient care; interprofessional teamwork and collaboration; and patient advocacy.Mentored by, at right, Mia Scaramuzzino, RN, senior associate nursing director, Woodhull ED, Manni Chahal, a senior CNR nursing student, said she wants to be a leader like the mentors she worked with at Woodhull.
“As students, we worry about the clinical textbook aspects and we didnt fully realize the importance of the leadership part of our development, such as the multiple layers of communication and the systems aspects of delivering care,” senior CNR student Daniele Wasserberg said.
The mentorship model has relied on strong collegial partnerships between the academic and clinical settings, according to participants, and the mentor-preceptors believe in the central role of leadership for nurses at all levels.
“We were brought into various meetings that related to the entire hospital — for example, finance and quality committees, a legislative breakfast, wound care team and clinical skills review,” student Katie Borelli said. “[The programs leaders] established a culture of learning, mentoring and team development, and it is a very respectful and collegial environment.”
This fall, six more CNR students are participating in the collaborative leadership program at Woodhull.
The model is also applicable to hospital orientation programs for new nurses and to preceptor programs, which would include operational, leadership and managerial training, along with the clinical skills component. In this relationship, students learn about the transformative leadership role and the integration of clinical and managerial leadership as a professional nurse. Nurse leaders gain new skills and ideas as they take a fresh look through students eyes, and this shared experience can help to refine their own leadership and professional skills.
“Our eyes were opened to the ‘new world of nursing,” CNR student Manni Chahal said. “We saw the frontline of nursing and what’s behind that — the teaching, guiding, monitoring and mentoring of nurses to deliver good care. I want to be a leader like Mia and our other mentors at the hospital.”
Miriam Carasa, RN, is CNE and deputy executive director for patient care services at Woodhull North Brooklyn (N.Y.) Health Network. Connie Vance, RN, EdD, FAAN, is a professor at the College of New Rochelle (N.Y.) School of Nursing. Margaret Levine, RN, MSN, MPA, is the senior associate director, nursing education, research and quality, Woodhull North Brooklyn.