Leading in Academia and Practice: Modeling the Way

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Judy L. Ponder, DNP, RN
Education and Professional Development, Baptist Health Richmond, Richmond, KY, USA
Martha M. Scheckel, PhD
College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Winona State University, Winona, MN, USA
Barbara J. Patterson, PhD
School of Nursing, Widener University, Chester, PA, USA

Abstract Text: Taking ownership and responsibility for personal leadership development in a nurse faculty role is essential for success in an academic environment. Faculty members are presented with numerous academic leadership development opportunities and must take initiative to engage in and benefit from them. Such involvement in leadership development contributes to an educator’s capacity to envision the future and strategically plan for professional growth.

This presentation explicates one faculty member’s journey participating in the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing’s (STTI) Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (NFLA). The journey entailed embracing Kouzes and Posner’s (2012) “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® and “The Ten Commitments of Leadership” to promote a trajectory that resulted in “modeling the way” through knowing self as leader to knowing how to lead others. This passage to leadership development also involved leading a team project to advance an important aspect of nursing education. The entire journey brought about an enhanced ability to influence others within and outside the context of academia.

In regard to Kouzes and Posner’s leadership practices and commitments, the faculty member developed goals in areas of leadership style, scholarship, and academic-practice partnerships. The goals were realized through enacting an identified servant leadership style, publishing a manuscript entitled “Resilience in the Face of Adversity” (Ponder, 2017), submitting a chapter “Health Risks Across the Lifespan” for publication in Stanhope and Lancaster’s fifth edition of Foundations of Nursing in the Community: Community-Oriented Practice, and initiating efforts to strengthen inter-professional simulation between a rural community hospital and local nursing programs.

The team project was aimed at advancing initiatives to recruit students to Berea College in Berea Kentucky—a college that provides educational opportunities for students from Appalachia who have great promise but limited economic resources. The initiatives included the faculty member, in collaboration with the Chair of the Berea College Nursing Program, assembling a team who worked on increasing marketing strategies to promote the nursing program to eligible students. The strategies included launching a showcase in the spring of 2017 where high school students were invited to campus to learn about the nursing program. A new advertisement poster and video highlighting Berea College’s nursing program were also developed and used at the showcase. Team members received positive feedback from prospective students, alumni, and board and community members about the showcase, video and posters. The strategies were so successful Berea College is now planning on hosting the nursing program showcase on a rotating schedule, distributing the poster to high schools on a routine basis, and planning to add the video link to the Berea College website. An unintended benefit of the project occurred when the faculty member became the Director of Education and Professional Development at Baptist Health Richmond in Richmond, Kentucky where she is in the beginning phase of developing a speaker’s bureau. The bureau will promote meaningful relationships between Berea College, Eastern Kentucky University and Baptist Health Richmond through nurses and faculty members exchanging clinical expertise.

The faculty member’s ability to influence others within and outside the academic context came to fruition when she became a member of the following organizations: Kentucky Organization of Nurse Leaders – member; Kentucky Center for Nursing – member; Kentucky Nurses Association – board member and Chair of Education and Research Cabinet; and STTI Delta Psi Chapter – incoming president for the chapter. Within these organizations she is using her newfound leadership practices to increase her scope of influence through assisting with a day long program for nurses on substance use disorder that will be offered in two locations in the state of Kentucky. She is also serving on a task force to develop a charge nurse class to further develop bedside nurses’ leadership skills.

Overall the NFLA provided the faculty member with inspiration, education, and tools that increased her exemplification of servant leadership principles and practices, increased her ability to cultivate and sustain meaningful collegial relationships within and outside of Berea College, and enhanced her self-confidence to lead others through modeling the way in a manner that increased her scope of influence at state and local levels.