Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN), a partnership between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Northwest Health Foundation, devoted the latest issue of its PIN Point newsletter to the topic of leadership and featured the Leading Toward Tomorrow Project, which cultivates nurse leaders in southeast Michigan, with a primary focus on geriatric care. Below, three project leaders weigh in on what led them to tackle leadership development and what they’ve learned along the way.
Why does your organization see nursing leadership as an area worthy of investment?
Elizabeth Sullivan, MPA, vice president for community investment at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan: We felt it was important to build the nursing workforce and to do it in a way, in this particular project, that supports retention and mobility of nurses. We knew that the need was significant in southeast Michigan, and we knew it was important to do this with nurses in acute and long-term care settings. Our interest was working with novice nurses who found themselves in management positions and were working in care settings that serve a lot of older adults.
Carole Stacy, MA, MSN, RN, director of the Michigan Center for Nursing: On one of our nursing surveys several years ago, one of the questions was: If you’ve left a nursing job in the last two years, what was the reason? One of the answers they could select was that they had difficulty with their nurse manager or with administration. Over the course of several surveys, we kept seeing that particular response chosen in large numbers. Then we really started going out and looking at what the problem was. We found that in Michigan, we do not do a very good job of preparing people to be in nursing management. Just because they’re a good nurse, we assume they’ll have the skills needed to be a good manager. And that’s frequently not the case.
Nora Maloy, DrPH, senior program officer at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation: The Foundation has been supporting the profession of nursing since 2003, when we developed an initiative addressing the nursing shortage. That put us in touch with nurse leaders from around the state. Since then, through our nurse leader colleagues, we have seen the impact of nursing on all aspects of health care, including access, policy and quality of care.