For this assignment, I chose to interview the director of the intensive care unit at my place of work. She has been working in the position for three years and is a competent leader that is trusted by the staff and praised by the upper management. As such, I determined that it would be appropriate to ask her questions about her leadership style and its application in everyday work.
Question: What is your role as a health care team member?
Answer: While I do not work as a team member per se, I am involved in the work of every person and team under my supervision. I make sure that they have everything they require to perform at their best. I monitor their performance, resolve any arising issues, and negotiate with the upper management to obtain necessary equipment and medications. I am also responsible for hiring new staff when it is essential to do so and asking other departments for assistance when we need the help of a specialist.
Question: How do you define professionalism, and how does professional responsibility influence your work?
Answer: To me, professionalism is the ability to do my job competently under any circumstances. There are days when I do not want to leave home and go to work, but I do so regardless and do not let my poor mood affect my coworkers. I expect the same degree of professionalism from my subordinates, but I am aware of how difficult a nurse’s job is. As such, I do my best to make the unit’s burden lighter and prevent burnout among employees.
Question: Do you consider yourself a steward of health care? Why or Why not?
Answer: Yes, I believe that I am a steward of health care, as I have to see that it is delivered quickly and with the highest standard of quality. Thomas (2017) describes the people who hold the strings to the balloons of knowledge and competence as stewards, and the term is appropriate for me. I achieve the goal by carefully managing employee shifts and ensuring that they have the equipment necessary for their jobs. I also carefully review quality improvement proposals submitted by my staff and regularly look into the changes at other ICUs throughout the country. Sometimes I find initiatives that catch my interest, discuss them with the team and management, and implement them to deliver better care.
Question: Is it important to you that leaders exercise professional advocacy and authenticity as well as power and influence when working with colleagues? Why or why not?
Answer: Yes, I think that professional advocacy is essential to any leader, though they should exercise other traits, as well. Beauvais (2019) notes that the promotion of nursing and the protection of nurses are critical to the role of the nurse leader alongside patient advocacy. The friendship should not be superficial, either, as people will see past such facades in prolonged relationships such as those between a director and a subordinate. I should also note that I am still a manager and must sometimes make and enforce decisions that will not agree with my department members to deliver the best care.
The person I interviewed for this assignment is not directly involved in the provision of care, but supervises its quality and performs many other duties. She believes in professionalism as the refusal to let personal factors hurt the quality of her work and expects the same of her subordinates. She agrees with the ideas of both health care stewardship and professional advocacy but notes that she has to put care quality above the desires of the team under her sometimes.
Beauvais, A. M. (2019). Leadership and management competence in nursing practice: Competencies, skills, decision-making. New York, NY: Springer.
Thomas, P. (2017). Integrating primary healthcare: Leading, managing, facilitating. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.