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#NurChat - Lead the way

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Did you miss the latest #NurChat Twitter debate about leadership? Let us sum it up for you…

There is no doubt that the old fashioned Hospital Matron and Ward Sisters were nurses to be respected, revered and adhered to. However long gone are the days of draconian Matrons and Sisters that leave nurses quaking in their boots, but never the less leadership in nursing still remains an issue in modern nursing. The inspiration for this #NurChat was a conversation on Twitter with @CherylWilson2 about an article that both she and I had seen “New course set up to create ‘elite’ nurses who start out as sisters” which made us think what it was that makes a good leader and if fast-tracking is a viable option to create nurse leaders?

The chat started out by asking “What makes a good leader?”

@TaskerKaren tweeted “Good leader listens, encourages, inspires and empowers”

@Michellemellor3 said “Good leaders understands and have hands on experience from the bottom up”

@PhiliRBall added “Leadership is also about balance, isn’t balance management? Leadership has risks and gains”

NurChat then asked “are all nurses leaders?”

@michellemellor3 said “not every nurse wants to lead, some prefer to follow”

@TaskerKaren said “Every nurse can be a clinical leader”

@PhilipRABall tweeted “Sometime situational - seen excellent leadership from those not normally expected to do so, once given the opportunity”

@dgfoord added “Leaders are defined by their followship”

@DonnaNewcross also tweeted “experience and knowledge is essential to empower staff and be a leader”

The subject of communication was also discussed in the chat:

@TildaMc tweeted: “Communication, Communication, Communication” to which NurChat asked “Effective communication is essential for all nurses, does that make them a leader though?”

@dtbarron replied: “Being a good communicator is a leadership skill, but doesn’t make you a leader”

@PhilipRABall then asked “Does being a leader mean being a radical too?”

@dgfoord replied “I think they can be radical and disrupt, but I don’t believe it is a required element for leadership”

@lesjoanne added “Not radical necessarily - but open to transformation and challenge”

The issue of developing leaders was then raised @saraloukeogh tweeted “One of the skills of a great leader is the ability to identify and develop future leaders. Succession planning!”

@dgfoord stated “Yes, great point, so should leaders have a role as mentors, preceptors and in education, pre and post reg?”

@dtbarron stated “Hawkins would describe that as the third stage of leadership before moving into Eldership”

@PhilipRABall asked “I think nurses are choosing not to do management - so how do we encourage succession planning - otherwise nursing sunk?”

This chat threw up a lot of interesting issues and perspectives (all of which can be read on the transcript of the chat on the NurChat blog) and I am certain that being a leader in nursing today is no longer about just being able to give orders - leadership is more than that. Throughout my career in nursing I have been inspired by some fabulous leaders who have not always been at the top of the ‘food chain’. I have found that ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere and we just need to listen and give those inspirational people the opportunity to lead the way. Indeed, @dgfoord tweeted “Leaders in sports teams aren’t always the most capable or the most senior, but those with the ability to inspire others” and I think he is right. All nurses can lead, as it is not always the most senior people who inspire us and show us the way - it can be anyone. The challenge that we face is to create an environment where this leadership is encouraged, nurtured and supported so that it can thrive and we can all benefit.

Teresa Chinn heads up NurChat for Newcross Healthcare Solutions.

Nurchat is a fortnightly Twitter chat exploring different topics that vary enormously.

Anyone can suggest a NurChat discussion subject simply by tweeting @NurChat or by visiting the NurChat blog.

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