Enhancing Leadership and Practice Competencies


Executives, Managers, and Staff Nurses



Presented by:

Dr. Susan Kleiman, PhD, RN, CS, NPP

Phone:  347 275-3669

e-mail: [email protected]

Web: humanistic-nursing.com


A series of seminars/workshops that focus on four aspects of empowering nurses through education and innovation with content being adjusted according to characteristics of the group.


1. Finding your voice and using it!

Finding your voice and using it promotes attitudes of self-confidence in competence and a willingness to present professional evaluations and proposals in intra-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary settings. An enthusiasm and willingness to “speak” enables cooperative practice, and contributes to high quality care for patients, families, and health care professionals. Programs that have initiated this type of equal voice approach have had a positive impact, e.g., collaboration in operating room settings between surgeons and nurses have resulted in fewer deaths and injuries to patients (Veteran’s Administration Hospitals and Kaiser Hospitals).

Nurses who give voice to their evaluation and proposals concerning workplace issues feel validated and empowered by participating in the solution process.  Promoting and establishing an atmosphere of collegiality maximizes the valuable input of nurses. It also enhances the image of an institution as a desirable place to work and helps to recruit new nurses and retain existing staff. (Gail Wick, Ricardo Semler)

Finding one’s voice and using it entails synergy, collegiality and dialog between nurses of different generations leading to a better mutual understanding of the different perspectives held by each. These include generational differences in perceptions of the workplace as well as their status with respect to each other, patients, and families. (Beth Ulrich)

Finding one’s voice entails a willingness to be assertive, that is, a willingness to stand up for oneself even if it is contrary to the current status quo. The status quo is the enemy of innovation (Bob Metcalf).


2. Communications skills

Fine tuning communications skills goes beyond just being literate with the linguistic forms commonly used in one or more languages to a level of excellence that relays an impression of a sensitivity to the others personal, social, and cultural affinities. This level of communication leads to a mutual understanding of the situation and how it affects each participant in the dialog (Peter Senge). As a nurse executive you learn to apply advanced communications techniques, especially with respect to consideration of cultural differences in discussions with staff nurses and management persons. After all, leadership is all about understanding the cultural context in which you operate (Debra Ankona).

Executives learn to “listen” and focus discussions so that they can convey an attitude of willingness to support others in their professional growth.  Nurse leaders are obligated to be able to effectively convey, in a timely fashion, concisely and precisely how a particular person is doing with respect to his or her professional goals and the responsibilities of the position. (Connie Curran, Jack Welch)

There is a whole set of skills that one uses to motivate, create communities, and make contacts that are important.  For example one of the most arcane skills is the art of schmoozing; a form of personal networking that involves speaking to anyone about your current project or theirs (Phillip Sharp). 


3. Professionalism

Professionalism entails a presentation of, as well as a genuine sense of competence and confidence, which fosters peace of mind in patients and families.  Collegial rather than antagonistic or territorial relationships are subsequently formed throughout the institutional culture, especially on intra-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary levels. This has a direct effect on such things as patient and staff safety issues, staff relationships, job satisfaction, abuse and violence, and management/staff relations.


4. Integrity

One of the fundamental aspects of a leader is to have, and to display, integrity. Leaders must show vision in setting a goal, clarity in articulating the goal, and then acting with truthfulness in their interactions with others.  You cannot get others to follow you, work with you, and become leaders themselves unless they understand that there is a set of basic principles social, scientific, and technical, that you are committed to. Goals change from time to time, but the constant that supports leadership is integrity (Phillip Sharp).


5. Valuing the nursing experience

All of the above could be subsumed under this organizing construct. The seminars/workshops provide a forum for re-valuing of the nursing experience that renews nurse’s enthusiasm to participate in the nursing process and the nursing community (Susan Kleiman, Dennis O'Leary).


(All citations available on request)


Copyright © 2005, 2006 Susan Kleiman All rights reserved.