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READERS’ BLOG

'Never underestimate the power of a director of nursing'

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What makes a good leader? Rebecca Sherrington found out first hand

I work in a healthcare setting that a number of years ago integrated its social and healthcare. As a consequence, the full time post of designated Director of Nursing was removed.

The eventual end result of this was the loss of the voice and power of nursing within the organisation and a plateau of nursing development. This in turn led to a critical review by the Nursing and Midwifery Council highlighting concerns relating to nursing and midwifery practice.

As a result, and with a new chief executive in post, the organisation then employed an outside “Nurse Leader” to join the organisation.

”My initial thoughts were along the lines of “I bet here comes another ‘fat cat’, pen pusher..”

Having experienced lots of special managers bringing in leadership, my initial thoughts were along the lines of “I bet here comes another ‘fat cat’, pen pusher..” (you get my gist!).

However the organisation chose to employ an interim director of nursing who I already “knew” from the world of social media.

He was a nurse director who had come from an organisation that had been under a huge amount of public and press scrutiny; but during this period, he was open and honest and I had really loved watching and learning from this on social media. I respected his rare openness from a leader in difficult circumstances so when he arrived I felt a sense of intrigue and relief.

”When he arrived I felt a sense of intrigue and relief”

So what was he like? Honest? Open? As good as he seemed on the social media “scene”?

Oh yes, without a doubt. And so much more.

Over the past 12 months, he has been one of the most amazing leaders I have seen in action. I imagine walking into an organisation in trouble to be like walking into a mine field; you know there’s a safe path somewhere, but you can quite easily walk onto a mine and explode the whole situation!

This incredible nurse didn’t step on a single mine, in my eyes or in others’.

”I imagine walking into an organisation in trouble to be like walking into a mine field”

The speed at which he became in-sync with the people within the organisation was brilliant to watch. I say ”watch” because I have watched what he does, a lot. And I think this is evidence of good leadership: you want to watch all the time, you feel you want to learn from this person and all of their actions.

So over the past 18 months, I have learnt two things that I will forever take with me:

Firstly, sometimes organisations need ‘special pen pushers’ (!) They can be worth their weight in gold. Great leaders inspire, empower and allow all nurses and organisations to flourish.

Secondly, never ever underestimate the power of a director of nursing within an organisation, without one (or should I say without a good one) organisations don’t run, infact they not only stop running: they fall.

Rebecca Sherrington is respiratory nurse consultant, Princess Elizabeth Hospital, Guernsey

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