Cheryl Clancy sought her second masters degree, an MSN in Nursing Leadership from American Sentinel University, because she had a desire to unravel the core meaning and benefits of leadership empowerment for nurses. She wanted to show nurses how they can advance their careers — as well as nursing as a whole — with leadership perspectives and leadership achievements. With her MSN, she was offered a Director of Ambulatory Nursing position in Philadelphia, and now has become an adjunct professor in an undergraduate nursing program which provides her the ability to teach, mentor and coach new nurses on the leadership skills needed to prepare for future readiness and change, skills that fall under the umbrella of what’s called organizational development.
“I found a way to be a nurse in the ways that I feel I can help the most. And I pay that forward by providing the leadership insights for nurses to be able to do the same in their own careers,” explains Cheryl.
What motivates Cheryl’s to do great work is a belief that all nurses—no matter what their specialization—should have the emotional, intellectual, and hands-on organizational communication skills to have a voice at the table of change and leadership.
Helping nurses build credibility for needed changes and improvements
The reward Cheryl gets from her work is to see a new generation of nurses following and developing their own paths of interest within an expanding field. Her work utilizes the skills she values as tools for new leaders: High levels of emotional intelligence, evidence-based research skills and the ability to communicate and get buy-in with colleagues, the ability to understand patient needs and graciously communicate a strong case for workplace improvements. These skills help safeguard cost effectiveness and develop new ways to achieve high quality care.
The reward of Cheryl’s work enables nurses to mentor each other, with the emotional skill to see things from another person’s perspective. Her students learn how to create airtight cases for changes in the workplace to managers; they learn how to present evidence-based research for needed improvements. Nurses with these leadership skills are acknowledged, respected, and endorsed by policymakers, managers, and procurement specialists—they can appeal to everyone in the chain of command who might need to understand why for instance, a more expensive product compared to a less expensive product, is causing waste in the system.
Empowerment is having the confidence to make changes
The methods and instruction Cheryl provides are psychological. They may appear complex, yet at their root, they’re very simple: Empowerment is having the authority to make the changes that are needed by the people who most understand why such changes are needed in the first place.
Cheryl teaches her students how present the right data for a needed improvement, then demonstrate how the improvement will make a difference. Her skills empower students to enable a valuable idea to be understood in terms of how it will perform or impact others. She uses methods that show how to achieve the needed buy-in with evidence-based research. Her students are inspired to use imaginative, or even tried and true sales tools, to communicate their cases effectively, with most every implication as a valuable perspective. At every step, the goal is to build credibility.
The rewards of emotional intelligence and empathy
Cheryl’s favorite aspects of her work are the techniques she uses to foster emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence creates an ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Emotional Intelligence helps nurses to better monitor feelings of co-workers, and better understand the emotional needs of patients. Increased Emotional Intelligence enables nurses to perform well and diffuse tensions. Nurses with strong Emotional Intelligence skills have the tools to not feel crushed under the heavy weight and demands of bottom lines; they feel as if they have resources to access the heart and soul reasons why they enjoy caring for others on a daily basis.
Most rewarding for Cheryl personally and professionally is her ability to instill the importance of appreciating and understanding different and conflicting points of view. This ability, this form of empathy, acts as the cornerstone and the launching pad for self-directed leadership skills. Self-directed leadership skills empower nurses to solve problems on the ground. More importantly, when empathy is mined and developed, and treated as a valuable asset, nurses become inspired to fully develop their own talents and respect their own burgeoning career interests. With empathy skills, nurses can open the door, emotionally, to what they truly care about.
“The reward of my master’s degree is my ability to inspire nurses to consider all of the avenues of contribution available to them,” says Cheryl.
Cheryl encourages nurses to consider what they care about most in addition to nursing. Now more than ever, nurses are needed in areas that require the desire and talent to perform research and marketing, teaching and leadership, with new specializations that are rewarding vital to the larger picture of the new role nursing plays in improving health care and the lives of others.
Would you like to make an impact on the nursing profession in some way, as Cheryl has done? Why not empower yourself with knowledge, through an online RN-to-MSN degree, or perhaps even a DNP in Executive Leadership. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degree programs.
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