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Reflection – Week Two

Before engaging in this week’s assignments, I had previously been given little opportunity to discover what successful leadership looked like, in my eyes. However, after completing the assignments, readings, and videos for week two, I was able to gain important insight as to what successful leadership entails. To begin the lesson, I had the opportunity to watch the movie Ender’s Game. Throughout this movie, there were many styles of leadership presented and I was able to quickly recognize that some styles were more effective, when compared to others. Therefore, as a result of watching Ender’s Game, I was able to visualize which types of leadership styles allowed for more successful team collaboration, healthy relationships, and desired outcomes. In the end, I was able to learn and gain important insight into which types of leadership styles I want to emulate, within my own practice and personal life. 

As this week’s lesson progressed, I had the opportunity to participate in multiple other assignments associated with leadership. The second assignment I completed was the DISC Personality Test. This test provided me with useful insight about which type of leadership style I primarily have. Without engaging in this assignment, I would not have as great of an understanding of how to utilize my personality, in order to become a more effective leader. Another assignment I was able to complete, was called Characteristics of Leaders. For this assignment, I was able to formulate my own definitions, related to how nurses can emulate leadership characteristics. This assignment allowed me to learn how I would, personally, apply each definition into my own practice. 

During this module, I was also able to participate in a group discussion. Within this group discussion, we were given a list of individuals throughout history. As a group, it was our job to decide which individuals, from the list, we considered leaders. Once I began to read through the names, it was clear that each person exhibited leadership qualities, whether good or bad. However, when deciding who I believed was a leader, I based my decisions off of whether their leadership styles have had a lasting impact among society. As a result, the leaders that I chose were Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Florence Nightingale. 

As with any group discussion, we each provided our input about why we believed certain individuals were leaders. During this assignment, it was interesting to hear my teammates feedback as to why other individuals should be considered leaders, as well. In fact, once they debated and discussed their reasons, I found myself changing my mind as to why other individuals should be considered. At the beginning of this assignment, I had my singular point-of-view, of what leadership qualities consisted of. However, being able to engage in a team discussion, allowed me to view many other important qualities of leaders. As a result, my viewpoint on leadership characteristics has expanded and changed.

There are many ways that I will be able to utilize the information I learned throughout this lesson, within my nursing practice. First, I was able to gain important insight, through watching Ender’s Game, as to how different leadership styles can make or break a team. As a result, I want to strive to become the type of leader that Ender Wiggin was. Within my nursing practice, I will strive to lead with humility. I believe an important aspect of being a leader, is to remain humble. Many individuals become boastful and prideful as leaders, which makes them unapproachable, as well as feared. Secondly, I want to remain open-minded as a leader. For me, this means that I am coherent to other suggestions. I do not want to be the type of leader that believes my answers and solutions are always right. Instead, I believe that gaining insight from other team members can lead to better outcomes, compared to trying to solve a problem on my own.

Another way that I will utilize the information I learned, within my nursing practice, is through having a greater understanding of the type of leader that I am. Once I took the DISC Personality Test, I discovered that I primarily had a conscientious personality type. Now that I am aware of this information, I am better able to distinguish how to lead, based on my personality traits. For example, for my specific personality type, I am extremely given to detail. However, as a leader, I need to realize that other individuals may not exhibit my level of attention to detail. As a result, I need to learn to be more patient and recognize that other individuals are still capable of producing quality work. Without taking the DISC Personality Test, I wouldn’t have gained insight into this information.

Overall, I enjoyed completing this lesson’s assignments. Within the nursing profession, being able to be a successful leader is very important. However, before completing this lesson, I was unaware of how to become an effective leader. Now that I have participated in team discussions about leadership, completed assignments related to my own leadership qualities, and watched videos about different leadership styles, I now have a greater understanding of what it entails to be a leader. Overall, I have gained immeasurable amounts of insight as to the type of leader I want to strive to become, which may have never occurred if I did not have the opportunity to participate in this lesson.

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Characteristics Of Leaders

1.       Leadership requires personal mastery – Nurses exhibit leadership when they develop characteristics that help them appropriately handle and cope with difficult situations and pressures. This personal mastery helps nurses manage team members weaknesses and strengths.

2.       Leadership is about values – Nurses exhibit leadership when they value and adhere to exceptional patient care. Valuing exceptional patient care allows nurses to maintain purpose in their field of work and provides a vision for their coworkers to achieve and follow. 

3.       Leadership is about service – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they actively desire to serve their patients and coworkers. Leadership is not about others doing for you and following commands, instead leadership is about serving, helping, and assisting those around you. 

4.       Leadership is about people and relationships – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they are able to form close mutualistic relationships with their coworkers. Leadership is not based on commensalism, instead leadership in nursing is seen when nurses desire to work together, side-by-side, with their coworkers. 

5.       Leadership is contextual – Nurses exhibit contextual leadership by being flexible in relation to their ever-changing surroundings.  This flexibility allows one to adjust their style to the situation and to the needs at hand.

6.       Leadership is about the management of meaning – Nurses demonstrate leadership by understanding that every individual has their own interpretation and found meaning, while interacting. Understanding this concept, during conversation, helps one understand actions and reactions, which helps in the development of effective communication. 

7.       Leadership is about balance – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they are able to organize and balance their time.  Balance comes in physical forms, emotional forms, and spiritual forms. Creating balance insures growth as an individual and secures mental peace and well-being. 

8.       Leadership is about continuous learning and improvement – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they are engaged in improving their nursing practice. Learning, within the nursing field, is a lifelong learning process. It does not end when the nurse graduates from school and begins a job. Instead, nurses need to continue to be familiar with new standardized practices by engaging in educational opportunities, formal or non-formal, as well as watching webinars and videos. 

9.       Leadership is about effective decision making – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they utilize the nursing process to engage in effective decision making, related to patient care. Effective decision making can help in making a quality, informed choice from a number of options.

10.   Leadership is a political process –Nurses demonstrate leadership in the political process as they advocate effectively for the profession of nursing and their patients, as well as strive to influence policy formulation at all levels. 

11.   Leadership is about modeling – Nurses model leadership when they utilize best practices. Nurses who adhere to best practice standards set an example for their coworkers. 

12.   Leadership is about integrity – Nurses exhibit leadership  when they are honest and hold themselves accountable. Nurses who hold themselves accountable show others that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as those mistakes are recognized and improved upon. 

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DISC Personality Test

For my leadership class, I had the opportunity to complete the DISC Personality Test. This test provides useful information, in order to determine which personality type I primarily have, and how I can use it effectively within a possible leadership role. 

After taking the test, I was primarily a conscientious personality type, and shortly followed by a dominant personality type. According to the results, a conscientious personality type occurs in an individual who is precise and given to detail. These types of people are very systematic, and require a lot of information when performing a project. Additionally, conscientious people also prefer that other conscientious personalities are around to check their work. 

Although I can see a lot of conscientious tendencies, within myself, there are also traits within the conscientious personality type that I do not exhibit. To begin, I am definitely precise and very given to detail; however, I do not necessarily need others around to ensure that I am doing things properly. Therefore, I would say that I do not completely encompass all of the personality traits, within the conscientious personality type. In fact, I also have a lot of dominant personality traits within myself. I am a very driven individual and I enjoy doing things efficiently. I do not need individuals pushing me to complete tasks, instead I am very task-oriented and prefer to get things done in a timely manner, to perfection. As a result, I would say that I encompass a lot of both conscientious and dominant personality traits. 

After seeing my results associated with this test, I am now aware which leadership and personality traits I exhibit. One thing I particularly liked about discovering the results of my personality, is that the downsides to each personality trait were discussed. As a result, I can see where certain personality traits, of mine, can cause problems in my leadership style. First, in a leadership role, I need to allow others to complete tasks, even if they are not to the quality or preciseness that I would uphold. Secondly, I need to learn to be more patient and let individuals work at their own respective paces. Overall, being able to see which personality traits I possess, has given me much insight into how I can effectively lead with these traits, as well as which traits are not as conducive to being an effective leader. 

Moving forward, as previously mentioned, I can use the results of this test to become the best leader that I can be. I have recognized my personality trait downfalls, as well as which traits could help lead a successful team. Therefore, as a result of this test, I feel that I am now able to better understand my leadership style and how I can use my specific traits to become an effective leader, someday. 

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Leadership Role

For this specific post, I was asked to complete two separate tasks. My first task was to speak to my charge nurse, within my unit, about what her expectations were when she assumed a leadership role. The second task that I was asked to complete, is how current theories, within leadership, impact nursing leadership roles. 

To begin, after eliciting responses from my charge nurse. I was able to gain insight into her expectations when she took on a leadership role. The first response that I received, is that she felt under-qualified. At the time, she was unsure of how she was going to lead an entire unit. However, she accepted the position anyway, and stated that it was one of the smartest choices for her career. 

At the beginning of her charge nurse days, she stated that she had a couple expectations for herself, as well as her new position. One of those expectations, for herself, was that she was going to remain approachable. She wanted to coworkers to come to her for help, or if they had any concerns or emotions that she needed to express. Ultimately, she wanted to be the type of leader that people felt comfortable approaching and speaking with.

Secondly, my charge nurse expected that she was going to have to take on a much heavier load, within her new title. She mentioned that this was an understatement. My charge nurse had no idea how time consuming staffing and scheduling nurses and technicians would be. She said that she still spends numerous hours per shift trying to staff our unit for the following days. 

Lastly, my charge nurse had the expectation that she was going to have to know all of the answers to multiple problems. She was going to be the first person that people would approach if a problem arose. She mentioned that this was, in fact, an accurate statement. However, she said that if she did not know the answer, other coworkers on the unit were able to help out and assist. My charge nurse mentioned this was one of her scariest expectations, and one of the reasons that she felt largely under-qualified for this position. However, she mentioned that even in a leadership role, leaders do not know the answers to everything. Which is why it is important to have great relationships with your team members. This statement struck me the most out of the entire interview. Leaders are not perfect, they are not all-knowing, and they need help from others. Which is why having great relationships with your team members and coworkers, is what leads to exceptional results and teamwork. 

After researching information related to current leadership theories, I was able to gain numerous amounts of insight based upon the different leadership styles encompassed within each theory. Although there were many theories that could have a great impact within nursing leadership, one theory, in particular, really stuck out to me. This theory is called the Servant-Leadership theory. Within this leadership theory, the leader places the needs of others over their own self-interests. Servant-leaders must be able to listen, exhibit empathy, be well attuned and aware of their team members, have a commitment to helping develop their team members abilities, as well as be persuasive and have foresight to be able to anticipate the future. 

The reason this particular theory stood out to me, was because I have experienced it within my own life. The charge nurses that work on my unit are exceptional leaders. However, they are not exceptional leaders because it is simply a title they have been assigned, rather they are exceptional leaders because they care about the well-being of each one of their coworkers and team members. Each one of my charge nurses ensures that each coworker’s abilities are being well-refined. They are always happy to help instruct or assist with a procedure that may not be completely understood. In addition, they are also eager to listen and assist with any problem they can. To me, a leader that is approachable and desires the best for their team, is an exceptional leader consists of.

In my future, if I get the opportunity to become a leader, I want to be the type of leader that is outlined by the servant-leadership theory. These leaders care about their team members, but they also are persuasive and have a great ability to anticipate the future and set clear goals for their team. 

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Introduction & Purpose

Hello, 

My name is Abbey Mann. I am a newly graduated registered nurse from Utah Valley University. I currently practice at Intermountain Medical Center located in Murray, Utah. I work in the field of surgical nursing and enjoy every aspect of it. However, my dream nursing job is to be an aesthetic nurse and aid people in becoming the most confident they can be. Although, I do not work in aesthetics currently, I hope to pursue this dream sometime in the near future!

My purpose in creating this blog, is to house a space where I can gather my thoughts and insights, and reflect on my learning throughout the completion of my nursing leadership course, as well as my bachelor’s degree, from Utah Valley University. This blog will be a space where I will write my thoughts, emotions, questions, and other ideas that come to mind when new assignments and material are presented throughout my leadership course.

Having the ability to document my personal insights, will allow me to reflect on what I have learned, as well as what I still hope to learn in the future. I believe, throughout life, we rarely have opportunities to reflect on our learning, or more importantly, review our past learning. Therefore, this blog will be a very useful tool for myself now, as well as in the future, in order to improve my knowledge associated with nursing practice. 

 

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Hello world!

Welcome to Abbey’s Nursing Blog

This blog is a space for reflection and insight gained throughout my nursing career.