Challenging the Process by Enabling Others to Act

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Charlotte Swint, DNP, MPH
School of Nursing, Clayton State University, MCDONOUGH, GA, USA
Carol E. Winters, PhD, MSN, BA, RN, CNE
Department of Advanced Nursing Practice and Education, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA
Susan Buchholz, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAANP
College of Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA


Through participation in Sigma Theta Tau’s Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy as a Scholar, a novice nurse faculty leader positively impacted her university, her community, and her profession through her focus on advocacy and health policy. At the beginning of the Academy journey, the Scholar created goals which aligned with Kouzes’ and Posner’s Practice of Exemplary Leadership entitled “Enable Others to Act.” The Scholar’s goals were based on data from the Leadership Practices Inventory and the 360-degree Self Stir survey. The Scholar’s goals were to increase awareness of how actions and behavior impacts others, to lead teams towards achieving a common purpose by providing support, and to openly share thoughts and feelings, beliefs and knowledge.

The Leadership Mentor and Faculty Advisor facilitated interactions with the Scholar to review and revise her goals using the Individualized Leadership Development Plan (ILDP). The mentor and advisor also shared their wisdom and experience through weekly calls and a visit to the Scholar’s campus and provided reflective suggestions to the Scholar as she participated in leadership opportunities and processes. To evaluate leadership competencies, the Scholar asked peers, managers and direct reports to complete the Self Stir Survey at the beginning of the Academy and at one year of Academy participation. The results of the Self Stir Survey revealed increases in the competencies of Adaptability/Flexibility, Personal Integrity/Inspiring Trust, Positive Attitude and Learning Orientation.

The Scholar created a Team Leadership Project that evolved from her passion for health policy curriculum integration. As a part of the project, the Scholar sought out health policy experts, nursing policy experts, and investigated needs of university students, specifically prelicensure nursing students and nurse practitioner program nursing students, for education about advocacy and health policy. The Project consisted of creating an education component and a professional engagement component. For the educational component an interprofessional education class about laws and policy in Georgia was created and taught, a basic licensure women’s health nursing class was taught as a PACE (Partnering Academics and Community Engagement) class, health policy was integrated into a nurse practitioner pharmacy class, and a nurse practitioner health policy class was taught. In regard to the professional engagement component, the Scholar co-founded the Health Policy Education special interest group for the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF), the Scholar participated in the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute and helped to lead the team that successfully advocated for a bill to be passed and signed into law, and the Scholar discussed health policy and nursing issues with senators and representatives for the state of Georgia. The outcomes of the Team Leadership Project included: students learned advocacy skills, students educated legislators about nursing, a new nursing school building was added to the university’s facilities plan, and interprofessional education opportunities occurred, and a Health Policy Education special interest group was created for a national organization.

The Scholar’s Scope of Influence increased within the university, in the community, and professionally as a result of participating in the Academy and as a result of the Team Leadership Project. The Scholar met with university administrators to discuss nursing education. The Scholar taught students to interact with legislators through the connections made at the university and by advocating for the bill that was passed. At the professional level, the Scholar worked with her Leadership Advisor to craft the proposal for the creation of the Health Policy Education special interest group. The Scholar also contributed as a thought leader in state policy meetings regarding women’s health and children’s health.