Dear Nursing Executive, I want to give you warm and heart-felt thanks for all you do every day. Doing the work of Angels is not easy but without you, patients and families could not experience the care necessary to heal. The work you do goes so far beyond what is obvious to the eye. As a former Nurse Executive, I understand how much of you is required to accomplish even small bits of progress in the midst of the major challenges you face.
Nursing is at the heart of hospital care and has a tremendous impact on patients, families and the entire healthcare team. If nursing is not performing optimally, every stakeholder feels it. In a society where many feel nursing is an under-appreciated profession, I want you to know you are valued and respected by so many both in and out of your organization.
Patients and Families
It goes without saying that patients and families are the reason we do what we do. They come to your hospital needing your services when they are in their most vulnerable state. They may be afraid, frustrated, or angry. While you may not be privy to the past experiences that shape their perspectives, you understand that their feelings, symptoms, and perceptions result from something bigger. You stay focused on providing the unbiased and compassionate care they want and deserve. Please know for every ‘thank you’ received, there are probably hundreds more that patients and families did not express.
Your willingness and commitment to rise to challenges and high expectations is the difference between having a harmonious and high accountability team and a dysfunctional, ineffective team. You are the driver of alignment—and the glue that bonds and helps sustain alignment among many departments. You acknowledge the work to be done while advocating for your team so that they give and receive the respect and caring everyone deserves for their noble work and commitment to patients and each other. I cannot recall many meetings where the topic of “what nursing should be doing” did not arise. It can be exhausting and disheartening, making you wonder, “Do they understand how hard we are working.” Please know, even if it is not felt at that moment, the work by you and your team does not go unrecognized.
All I can say to you is WOW! Your incredible leadership has the ability to touch lives and transform careers. You congratulate publically and coach privately. Your skillful navigation of the generational divide contributes to a cohesive team focused on the goal of providing each and every patient with an exceptional patient experience. But it does not stop there. You understand that team relationships, both interdepartmental and intradepartmental, have a powerful impact on outcomes. You hold the team accountable for high expectations while fostering an environment that is blame-free and education-centric. Whether you offer a hug to the nurse who just experienced a personal loss or a high five and, of course, pizza when the team pulls through a challenging clinical situation, you do all you can do to be there for your team.
In my early days as Nurse Executive, I remember feeling overwhelmed as each department shared what they needed from Nursing. It was so difficult to prioritize all of these needs. But you do! And, more importantly, you do it in a way that makes other department leaders feel valued and respected. Others leave conversations with you feeling pride in knowing you are the ultimate collaborator and, although your plate is full, you are always open to talk. You approach each situation with the big picture in mind. You know that every department is important to the exceptional patient experience. You embrace your role and lead the charge!
I could go on, but suffice it to say, your leadership helps transform organizations so that they replace tragic outcomes with consistently magic outcomes. Please know how incredibly valued you are, and thank you for doing the amazing work you do every day!