Frontier Nursing University (FNU) placed a specific call on nurse practitioners during its National NP Week Virtual Event from Nov. 11-16. FNU educates nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives and prepares them to establish and/or manage a practice including innovative methods of providing primary care services. Through featured virtual sessions, nurse practitioners were urged to raise the standards by being innovator-leaders in their professional and personal lives.
Deputy Surgeon General, Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams, PhD, RN, FAAN brought practical ways to add innovation and leadership to nursing practice with her virtual presentation, “Leading From Where You Are: The Role of the Nurse Innovator.”
Trent-Adams advises and supports the Surgeon General regarding operations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps and in communicating the best available scientific information to advance the health of the nation.
As Deputy Surgeon General, Trent-Adams recognizes the need for nurse practitioners to step into a widening role. “This is important because at this point in time in health care, nurse practitioners have a significant role to play in improving the quality of care, access to care, and producing a much higher quality at a lower cost,” said Trent-Adams.
According to her, it starts with a willingness to lead. Leadership is the ability to inspire or influence others towards a goal. In a healthcare setting, this is manifested by creating a team-centric environment, working towards a specific vision and managing conflict.
Further, nurse practitioners must be innovators. The job is not only to provide excellent care, but also to create new pathways for nursing and the patients that they serve. Innovating practice-based solutions is a key in nursing practice. Identifying a problem or concern and addressing it in a mindful, structured way will empower patients and lead to improved outcomes.
The Nurse Practitioner as Entrepreneur
This requires adopting the spirit of an entrepreneur. “Being able to tell our stories as nurse-engineers, nurse-designers, nurse-advocates gives us a new bandwidth for opportunities to engage into areas of practice where we’ve not been before,” said Trent-Adams. To speak, write and post from a nurse’s perspective is to heighten awareness and create space for change.
“You may not be the CEO, you may not be the dean, you may not be the director, but you are a nurse, and you have something to bring to the table. So lead from where you are,” she said.
View RADM Trent-Adams’s presentation on nurse-innovators here or watch below.
Self-Care is Not Selfish
Eileen T. O’Grady RN, NP, PhD carries Trent-Adams’ concept one step further in her presentation, “Answer the Call to Service: Master the Self.” She urged participants to spend time taking care of themselves and their families.
Dr. Eileen O’Grady is a certified Nurse Practitioner and Wellness Coach who uses an evidence-based approach with people to reverse or entirely prevent disease. She believes deeply that more attention must be paid to getting us unstuck from lifestyles that do not support wellness.
Intentional change is needed to identify and remedy a life that is out of balance. Though health care providers cannot always control the efficiency of their practice or the culture of wellness therein, each can control his or her personal resilience, or “self-leadership.”
Dr. O’Grady’s research focuses on how individuals must define a balance between work, relationships and self. Health professionals, specifically, have difficulty separating the words “selfish” and “self-care.” Individuals that practice self-care are able to provide better care for others.
Growing Wise through Self-Leadership
Worldwide, the top four killers are insufficient exercise, unhealthy food, alcohol abuse and tobacco. “It’s astonishing that so much of what is causing all of these health problems are related to what we’re doing to our own bodies,” she said.
According to Dr. O’Grady, It’s imperative that health providers set workplace and personal boundaries, use a “hell yes” criteria for making decisions, prune away unhealthy friendships and protect their sleep.
Nurse practitioners must “grow wise” instead of old. Positive daily actions create a bedrock for a healthy, prosperous life. Once the bedrock is established, other non-urgent items can be prioritized properly. Growing wise requires a mindset shift, from loving oneself based on people’s approval from loving oneself based on one’s own approval.
When healthcare professionals are already fed and watered with proper self-care and self-leadership, they are more able to focus on their patient’s holistic wellness, providing innovative care, improving outcomes and shifting the landscape of health care one patient at a time.
View Dr. O’Grady’s presentation on mastering the self here or watch below.
Frontier Nursing University is the birthplace of nurse-midwifery and family nursing in America. FNU recently held its fourth annual virtual event in recognition of National Nurse Practitioner Week, Nov. 11-16. See more about FNU’s Family, Women’s Health Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs as well as the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Frontier.edu.