Currently the Director Emergency Services, Critical Care & Nursing Education and Professional Development at Southwest General Health Center, Jennifer Davis, MSN, MPH, RN, NE-BC, CEN, EMT-P, has reflected on what is expected of a leader and shares those insights in her story.
Often I am asked why I would go into leadership, especially in healthcare. It certainly can be a thankless job, yet at the same time can be extremely rewarding.
As a nurse, I am never being satisfied with the status quo, I always want to do more. I want more for my patients and more for my fellow co-workers. I find myself constantly doing more, asking for more, and advocating for more. It is never just about me, in fact, it is always about everyone else. A CEO I worked with in the past always said, “If you are not at the bedside caring for the patient, you should be caring for the staff caring for the patients.” This has resonated with me throughout my career. My career has never been a walk in the park. There have been good times and bad. I am probably most proud of the struggles. I came out of them with my head held high, with more determination, more grit, more understanding of who I wanted to be as a leader, and more knowledge of who I was as a person and a nurse. I never gave up on what I wanted in my nursing career. The grass was always greener on the other side.
As I find myself in the role of a nurse leader of several high level, high-stress departments, it is not about me, it is about them--my clinical managers, their staff, and our patients. I strive every day to be a mentor and role model to my managers and our teams. About this, I am most passionate. Problem solving with them, working through concerns, being a shoulder, or helping hands for them, letting them know they are not alone. Encouraging them to work together and not in silos, advocating for them so they can support one another, supporting them in advancing their education and developing their professional goals, mentoring them through challenging situations and tough conversations. While we need more nurses at the bedside to care for our patients, we also need strong leadership advocating for those at the bedside and guiding them through change. Every day I appreciate the heart and soul my team gives. I am proud to be a part of such a dedicated, hardworking, and compassionate team of healthcare professionals.