In response to the challenges presented by todays healthcare environment, nurses have stepped to the fore, taking the lead on a variety of initiatives to improve healthcare for patients and professionals, alike.
Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, has helped many nurses cultivate leadership skills in her dual roles as vice president for nursing, chief nursing officer and director of nursing research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and as president of the American Organization of Nurse Executives.
Q: What are the challenges you have overcome and are overcoming in your leadership roles?
A: I am pleased to work with a dynamic team led by Pam Thompson, senior vice president for nursing at the American Hospital Association and chief executive officer of AONE. Together, we work with AONEs board of directors to carry out AONEs mission to shape healthcare through innovative and expert nursing leadership.
At Cedars-Sinai, I serve on the leadership team that works collaboratively toward achieving the Triple Aim (developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, to improve the patient experience, improve the health of populations and reduce the per capita cost of healthcare), while the health system continues to transform itself from a volume-based to a value-based model.
Q: Of the leadership skills you have honed, which do you believe to be key to helping you most in your years in professional/organizational leadership?
A: I am committed to being a courageous circle-caller. I engage and invite others to join me in the leadership journey. I am committed to diversity, inclusion, and am open to multiple perspectives. Throughout my career, my willingness to invite others to the leadership table has enabled me to accomplish far more than just using my voice and talents.
Q: How would you recommend other nursing leaders work to develop leadership skills to excel and benefit both their professional careers and the organizations in which they serve?
A: It is important to determine your true north and create multiple pathways to accomplish your goal. My passion is to promote human caring in society. I developed and utilized my leadership skills through actively participating in organizations and public initiatives that are committed to promoting and protecting health.
Q: What advice would you give to nurses looking to develop their leadership potential to not only survive, but also to flourish within this environment?
A: Start by determining what you are most passionate about and review all the possibilities that will allow you to lead with passion. Consider the following:
1. What I am passionate about?
2. Which roles am I willing to serve in that will enable me to gain leadership knowledge and skills?
3. Who are two people I know who currently serve in leadership roles? I will ask for their counsel.
4. Which programs do I want to work on and will allow me to hone my leadership skills?
5. I have a circle of colleagues who are on the leadership journey with me.