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Authors

  1. Hader, Richard RN, PhD, CNA, CHE, CPHQ, Editor-in-Chief

Article Content

After almost five grueling years of doctoral work, the day came for me to defend my dissertation. My wife and I drove two and a half hours from our home to Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y. I'd dreamt of the day I'd achieve my goal. The scenario wasn't without trumpets blaring, people cheering, and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

  
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Following my successful dissertation defense and necessary editorial modifications, I delivered my paper. I arrived at the nursing department and proudly announced my intent to submit my dissertation-my final requirement to receive my doctoral degree. The department secretary pleasantly said, "Thank you, just leave it on the counter." No trumpets, no cheers. I realized it wasn't the completion of the degree that was important; it was the journey of the learning experience that called for celebration.

 

The proof is in the process

As nurse leaders, we're challenged to meet or exceed budget targets, achieve high employee and patient satisfaction scores, reduce turnover and vacancy rates, and improve clinical outcomes. Soon after one goal's achieved, it's quickly replaced with another even more formidable one. When will we feel that overwhelming sense of satisfaction?

 

The journey toward achieving the goal is the key ingredient in maintaining our commitment to nursing leadership. While taking the journey, glean satisfaction from using your management skills to influence others, make a difference, and successfully achieve your goals. Don't just concentrate on the end result; look for lessons in the process along the way. Compare your journey to that of other nurse leaders by reading the sixth annual salary survey on page 28.

 

To recruit nurses, my institution implemented a program to allow nursing students the opportunity to work part time and receive a full-time salary and benefit package, inclusive of tuition reimbursement and scholarships. We successfully met our program goal, graduating more than 40 registered nurses. The program drove down the vacancy rate and implemented a mechanism for enhancing career opportunities.

 

Coming full circle

One of the program's early graduates returned to school, completed her BSN, and is now a graduate student. The journey of completing her education allowed her to concurrently achieve academic success while supporting herself. Without the program, she wouldn't have pursued the nursing profession.

 

The program's real success wasn't in filling nursing positions, but in the profound difference it made in the lives of the new nurses and their patients. Now I can hear the trumpets blaring, people cheering, and experience an overall sense of accomplishment.