Preparing the Workforce to Care for Older Adults

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Jennifer L. DeClercq, MSN, RN-BC, FGNLA1
Lisa A. Imlay, MSN, RN1
Nelma B. Crawford Shearer, PhD2
(1)Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN, USA
(2)College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA

The Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy (GNLA) is founded on the three learning domains of leadership: Individual Leadership Development, Advancing Nursing Practice through Leadership of an Interprofessional Team Project, and Expanding Scope of Influence within the organization, community, and profession.  The GNLA utilizes the Kouzes-Posner Leadership Challenge model for the purpose of developing leaders through a mentorship to advance practice and the care continuum for the older adult. 

My individual leadership plan focuses on clarifying my values and setting an example by modeling the way for the interprofessional team as well as colleagues in the community.  In order to model the way and inspire a shared vision, I focused on developing my public speaking skills and pursued new leadership opportunities and collaborations within and outside of my organization.   

I have expanded my professional scope of influence by accepting an executive leadership position of Director of the Medical & Surgical Units at the hospital where I was employed as a clinical manager. I also accepted the responsibility to facilitate the long term care and post-acute care quarterly meetings within our community.  I took the initiative to contact the local Senior Services Center and will be assisting in the organization of a Senior Health Fair for our community.   I have been invited to the transitions of care team within our organization and serve as a key member to improve the quality of patient transitions of care.  I now have a voice for leadership within the organizational Nurse Executive Council, Department Head meetings and was nominated to be a Baldridge examiner.  Our organization is beginning the journey to receive the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award.  As an active member of the core team, I share my voice regarding the changing health care environment. 

Advancing nursing practice and leadership was achieved by leading an interprofessional team project.  As a GNLA fellow, I have learned the importance of inspiring a shared vision and enabling others to act on improving care provider’s knowledge and skills in needs of hospitalized older adults.  Through a multidisciplinary team approach and collaboration with a local university, assessment of caregiver knowledge within an acute care setting will be evaluated, knowledge gaps will be identified, and education will be created and dispersed with the intent to create a higher level of competence and comfort among those providing direct care to the older adults.  Findings for the project will be presented at the Sigma Theta Tau International Biennial Convention.