Shaping Nurse Leaders at RWJBarnabas Health

The Future of Nursing in a Changing Landscape

Nursing has always been and will continue to be about enhancing patient care to best meet the needs of patients, but in today’s world the best in patient care goes hand-in-hand with nursing growth, mentoring, professional development and teamwork.

The onset of the global pandemic necessitated shifts in practice and implored nurses to continue their laser focus on authentic communication, collaboration and decision-making strategies. Leadership now and in the future requires us to build on these lessons learned.

RWJBarnabas Health Emphasizes Leadership for Nurses

Shaping the future of nursing together necessitates nurses to assume leadership roles in America’s increasingly complex health care system. At RWJBarnabas Health, the strength of our nursing team is a direct result of our collective work to advance the profession of nursing. What defines us is our commitment to preparing nurses for the future and our support for rising nurse leaders. RWJBarnabas Health Nursing emphasizes:

  • Education
  • Innovation
  • Evidence-based practice

At RWJBarnabas Health our nurses have a voice in their practice environment. Throughout our health care system, nurses play a vital role in shaping the future of nursing together.

Succession Planning Helps Shape the Future

Now more than ever succession planning for nursing leadership is critical in assuring the successful advancement of the nursing profession. At RWJBarnabas Health, we look for leadership characteristics and help cultivate them through The Center for Professional Development (Link), a dynamic, centralized resource for career building activities that helps our diverse team of RWJBarnabas Health nurses reach high and achieve their career goals.

Nurse managers are pivotal in achieving excellence in patient care and advancing health care. With an educational focus on workplace dynamics, diversity and inclusion, emotional intelligence and leadership style, RWJBarnabas Health helps nurses transition to a position of leadership when they are ready.

What Is the Emerging Nurse Leader Program?

The RWJBarnabas Health Emerging Nurse Leader Program is a one-year program designed for nurses to learn the skills required to be a nurse leader. The program identifies staff nurses exhibiting leadership qualities and invites them to participate in succession planning for a leadership role. Curriculum includes courses in a classroom setting coupled with experiential learning where participants shadow a nurse manager to gain direct exposure to the role of a nurse leader.

With a cohort of 11,000 nurses working in RWJBarnabas Health facilities throughout New Jersey, the opportunities for nurse leadership positions are vast. Since its inception, many nurseshave participated in the Emerging Nurse Leader Program, whose goals include:

  • Discovering, preparing and accelerating the advancement of the next generation of nursing leadership
  • Providing an activity-based learning experience that is realistic in order to better understand the evolving role of the leader and the dynamic changes occurring in health care
  • Identifying and helping participants achieve personal, long term career goals and strategies
  • Creating and sustaining an atmosphere of shared vision and purpose

Leadership Essentials Course Teaches Vital Skills

Nurse leaders play an important role in shaping outcomes for patients which makes the cultivation of new nurse managers vitally important for the future of health care. RWJBarnabas Health’s Leadership Essentials is a course that provides basic tips, tools and techniques to assist new nurse leaders to better engage and lead their team. It includes communication techniques in crucial conversations, the art of giving and receiving feedback, diversity and inclusion, financial management and performance management. Through targeted educational presentations Leadership Essentials helps to equip nurses of the future to take on the challenges of a complex health care system.

Professional Nurse Practice Council Gives Nurses a Voice

RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) supports a Professional Nurse Practice Council (PNPC) which advocates for best practices throughout the health care system, ensuring that nurses have a voice in decisions impacting patient care and nursing practice. The PNPC is a vehicle to empower nurses to shape how RWJBarnabas Health provides patient care throughout New Jersey.

The PNPC serves as an approving body for evidence-based professional nursing practice. It supports the integration of clinical initiatives, the implementation of safety behaviors and facilitates improvements to nursing practice within specialty areas across hospital sites.

The PNPC supports the mission and vision of RWJBarnabas Health to provide excellence in patient and family-centered care for optimal patient outcomes and experience. The Council is comprised of a diverse group of nurses representing all levels of experience and all RWJBarnabas Health facilities where professional nursing is practiced. Through the PNPC, this collective knowledge is harnessed to improve the delivery of care.

The goals of the PNPC are to:

  • Review, revise and approve policies, procedures and standards of care related to nursing practice as a means to improve safety, services and quality outcomes for patients, families and populations served
  • Support and ensure alignment with High Reliability Organization behaviors and safety together initiatives
  • Serve as the approving body for Electronic Health Record documentation changes impacting nursing practice
  • Participate in the review of and communication regarding new clinical products and equipment impacting nursing practice
  • Facilitate improvement to nursing practice in alignment with strategic priorities and goals

How Does the PNPC Enhance Nursing Practice at RWJBH?

The PNPC empowers nurses to implement and maintain standards of nursing practice and patient care in an atmosphere that values collaboration and growth. Nursing at RWJBarnabas Health is driven by the philosophy that clinical excellence and professional development go hand-in-hand.

Our nurses have a wealth of experience to share and the PNPC affords them an opportunity to be part of a community that enhances camaraderie, strengthens nursing engagement, provides a sense of belonging and allows creativity to flow. It is on the PNPC that new models of nursing care are discussed, designed, delivered and fortified. Through collaborative work, nurses help strengthen each other and grow, leading to increased fulfillment in the profession. The PNPC supports:

  • Retention
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Resilience

What Is the Importance of the Professional Nurse Practice Council?

The PNPC is an important component of nursing practice throughout RWJBarnabas Health. As the scope of responsibilities for nurses is dynamic and continually evolving, the PNPC serves as a sounding board and counseling body that standardizes evidence based nursing practices across the health care system. This shared governance model facilitates a collaborative environment, encourages professional growth and celebrates nursing successes throughout the system.

In addition, the PNPC serves as a liaison with corporate medical staff leadership to consult on professional matters that impact patient care from both a nursing and medical perspective. In keeping with the goal of administering best practices for patient care, the PNPC helps to incorporate nursing research findings into the clinical arena in collaboration with the Nursing Research/Inquiry Council.

We Strive for a Healthy Work Environment

RWJBH is dedicated to the well-being of nurses and preparing them to help chart the course to good health and well-being for all. Our health care system recognizes the critical role nurses play in achieving health equity, diversity and inclusion and understands the importance of robust education, supportive work environments and autonomy. Nursing leadership is focused on:

  • Skilled communication
  • True collaboration
  • Effective decision making
  • Appropriate staffing
  • Authentic leadership
  • Meaningful recognition

The nurses at RWJBarnabas Health are coming into their own, learning to be innovative and open to different models of care that are more team-centered and collaborative. RWJBarnabas Health is committed to identifying nursing talent to help others grow and paving the way for nurses to be resilient. Nurse leaders are dedicated to coaching, mentoring and guiding nurses on their career journey. Authentic leadership of this nature helps nurses be mindful of their own needs and natural talents and fosters a wellness environment that is helping to shape the future of nursing, for today and tomorrow.

How Are RWJBarnabas Health Nurses Leading the Profession?

The pool of nursing talent is always in flux, with nurses retiring and others freshly starting their careers. Nursing leadership opportunities such as the Emerging Leaders and Leadership Essentials programs enable current nurse leaders to mentor protégés for the inevitable shifts that take place in the nursing workforce. RWJBarnabas Health takes the responsibility of advancing the nursing profession seriously and is committed to fostering new leadership talent.

Nurses at RWJBarnabas Health facilities take pride in the profession and work hard to provide patients with the highest level of care. Our nurses are a committed team of individuals across New Jersey with vast talent and expertise. RWJBarnabas Health promotes an environment of diversity and inclusion.

  • We lead in innovation
  • We nurture and support leaders
  • We advocate for best practices

We are RWJBarnabas Health nurses. Come join us and be a part of our team!

Let’s Shape the Future of Nursing Together

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