Leadership Institute at WSSU Aims to Help Nursing Professionals Become Leaders
Chancellor Donald J. Reaves of Winston-Salem State University shares a conversation with participants in “Leadership Institute V,” an annual event that draws nursing professionals from across the country to the university’s campus to hone their leadership skills.
More than 90 nursing administrators, professors and practitioners from around the country came together as participants, presenters and speakers June 14 at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) for “Leadership Institute V: Legacy of Leadership: Preparing for Tomorrow” to discuss strategies to help increase the success of nursing students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and at other Predominately Black Institutions (PBI) of higher learning.
“The Institute is designed to groom young professional educators to assume leadership positions as department chairs, deans, directors and other key roles within nursing programs at HBCUs and PBIs throughout the United States,” said Dr. Sylvia Flack, director of the Center of Excellence for the Elimination of Health Disparities at WSSU. “In addition to the discussions presentations, the Institute focused on mentoring those who aspire to leadership positions and individuals who are new in leadership positions as well. We support intergenerational mentoring because it enables both generations to learn from, enjoy and assist each other. It also addresses the need to develop leaders who are prepared to address the serious problems facing students, faculty and HBCU/PBI nursing programs.”
This year’s Institute also discussed some of the broader issues that affect the success of HBCU and PBI nursing programs. Dr. Carol Easley Allen, consultant and co-owner of Twin Solutions LLC who is also the immediate past chair of the Depart of Nursing at Oakwood University, outlined some of the issues institutions of higher learning face with students.
She pointed out some of the differences in students today include the decline in hours spent studying each week and their limited critical thinking skills. There is also a need to develop different strategies to better teach younger students who require a different approach because of their dependence on digital technology and a need for another set of strategies to reach the many older students who are returning to the classroom. Allen also said the issues of lack of resources and being encouraged to move toward scholarship more than teaching affected faculty members’ abilities to be effective teachers.
Dr. Virginia Adams, a consultant on global and diversity initiatives for the National League for Nursing, and the former dean of the School of Nursing at UNC Wilmington, addressed the issue of civility and the impact of incivility in the workplace.
“Incivility can be seen in interpersonal conflict, bullying, isolation of a colleague, not sharing information, and can even escalate into aggression,” Adams told the group. “You can see bullying between colleagues, students and faculty, even patients bullying nurses.”
The environment created by incivility affects the person being bullied in physical ways such as loss of sleep, as well as in the loss of self-esteem and confidence. For an organization, incivility affects productivity because of the time spent in meetings and in documenting incidents which can create higher costs, as can having to install security systems or pay attorney fees of a situation gets too out of hand.
“Leadership in any organization must commit to a culture of zero tolerance,” Adams added. “Leaders also must determine if their leadership style supports a culture of incivility and ensure there is a process for dealing with issues and problems.”
Adams suggested that organization should adopt a civility policy and provide conflict resolution skills for team members. “You must make people feel valued, show respect in resolving differences, and think before you speak,” she said.
In addition to the presentations, the Institute included a panel discussion on best practices in nursing education from the faculty perspective and a series of breakout sessions including several that focused on the use of simulation technology.
“We bring together some of the best minds in the nursing profession to create a focus on transformational leadership,” Flack concluded. “We want to inspire our current and future leaders to understand their roles in engaging and supporting students, leading the way in raising consciousness about the significance of specific outcomes and create an environment where nursing students at HBCUs and PBIs can reach their full potential. In the words of Dr. Danita R. Potter, interim dean of nursing at Grambling State University, ‘I really enjoyed the conference and seeing so many colleagues here for the same purpose! Look forward to next year.’”
Sponsors for this year’s Leadership Institute included the Chancellor’s Office and Office of the Provost at WSSU along with Dr. Janice G. Brewington, Assessment Technology Institute, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars Program.
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