Shattering the Glass Ceiling for a Junior Nurse Leader

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Trisha Leann Horsley, PhD, RN, CHSE, CNE
Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL, USA
Suzan Kardong-Edgren, PhD, RN, ANEF, CHSE
School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Robert Morris University, Moon Township, PA, USA
Elizabeth Peter, PhD, RN
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Background:  In academia, junior faculty have more experience in following their seasoned colleagues than leading change in nursing education even if the junior faculty member is doctorally prepared.  At this point in time, our seasoned colleagues remain among us to serve as leaders and mentors but the time will quickly approach when they will no longer be with us to share their wisdom.  The time has come and it is essential for junior nurse faculty to develop and sharpen their leadership skills under the formal guidance and mentoring of seasoned colleagues to ultimately become nursing leaders.

Aim:  The overall aim was to foster the Scholar’s leadership development utilizing the Kouzes and Posner’s Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership model as well as formal mentoring through the triad team; the Scholar, Leadership Mentor, and Faculty Advisor.

Methods:  The Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (NFLA) is an 18 month leadership development program for junior nurse faculty created and supported by Sigma Theta Tau International in partnership with the Elsevier Foundation.  A project, to increase the quantity of high quality simulations and change the simulation scheduling model within the Scholar’s School of Nursing, served as the vehicle to work through and display leadership development.

Results:  The Scholar lead a simulation team which successfully executed a 175% growth in the amount of simulations across six clinical courses and changed the simulation scheduling model for undergraduate nursing students.  During the NFLA, the Scholar met and exceeded all Individual Leadership Development Plan objectives.  The Scholar’s leadership growth within all five areas of Kouzes and Posner’s model was documented through both quantitative and qualitative measures.   

Conclusions:  The NFLA provided the supportive environment, mentoring, and opportunities for the Scholar to emerge as a leader within academia, the community, and her chosen specialty area of simulation.  The Scholar pushed through a perceived glass ceiling in regards to her future potential as a change agent in nursing education.  The Scholar is now equipped with strategies and resources for ongoing leadership development and has the passion to assist others in their leadership development as well.