NURS 6231: Week 1: Leadership Strategies for Quality Outcomes, Part 1

The tragic death of a young child in 2001 generated decisive action to promote patient safety and improve health care quality.

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As Dr. Peter Pronovost and Eric Vohr explain, “Josie King’s death had a significant impact on Johns Hopkins. Like all hospitals, Hopkins was no stranger to medical errors. However, the senseless death of this eighteen-month-old child affected nurses, physicians, and administrators at all levels. Perhaps it was her tender young age, or the bonds that had formed between doctors, nurses, and the King family during that agonizing month before she died. Or perhaps this error shined a spotlight on the communication and teamwork failures that clearly harm patients; perhaps the time had come for a change” (Pronovost and Vohr, 2010, p. 20).

An examination of the events leading up to Josie King’s death sheds light on how organizational structure and culture, communication between care team members, and interactions with patients and families may help or hinder efforts to keep patients safe and provide high-quality care.

This incident stands out not only as an indication of the life-and-death significance of health care delivery, but also as an exemplar of how health care professionals can join together to do what is right and just on behalf of the patients and families they serve. In the wake of Josie King’s death, Dr. Peter Pronovost and other leaders partnered with her family to create meaningful, sustainable change not just at Johns Hopkins, but throughout the United States.

You, too, can leverage your strengths to provide effective leadership that fosters patient safety and quality of care. This week, you engage in assessment and self-reflection to identify your leadership strengths and determine how they can be applied to promote health care quality.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate leadership strengths
  • Evaluate strategies for applying strengths-based leadership to improve patient safety and quality of care in health care systems

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Rath, T. (2007). Strengths finder 2.0. New York, NY: Gallup Press.

  • Part I, “Finding Your Strengths—An Introduction” (pp. 1–31)
  • Part II, “Applying Your Strengths” (pp. 33–172)

Read Part I first, then complete the online assessment as instructed in the book. Read the sections in Part II that are associated with your five top strengths.

Note: You must purchase a new, unopened copy of this book in order to acquire the access code that you will need to complete the online assessment.

Buckingham, M. (2011). Strong leadership. Leadership Excellence, 28(1), 5.

The author explains how strengths-based leadership creates competitive advantage for organizations. “The opportunity for individuals to play to their strengths most of the time is the key factor that shows the greatest correlation to outstanding performance in the widest range of business outcomes including profits, productivity, customer satisfaction, and safety and employee retention” (p. 5).

Cooper, H., & Cottrell, R. R. (2010). Charting your career path through clear professional values and purpose. Health Promotion Practice, 11(1), 13–15.

This article provides direction for clarifying professional values and purpose, and using that for career development. “The importance of understanding and articulating values at an individual level is that they can assist in developing one’s unique contribution to one’s profession, just as a professional organization’s values assist in directing the organization” (p. 14).

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013d). The nurse leader. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 6 minutes.

Dr. Kenneth Rempher discusses why it is important for nurse leader-managers to recognize their leadership strengths and how they can then apply these strengths to improving quality in health care settings.

It is relatively easy to describe our acquired expertise, but most of us struggle when asked to describe our natural talents.

—Rath, 2007, p. 21

Recognizing innate talents is critical not only for leveraging one’s own strengths, but for fostering a workplace environment in which everyone’s contributions are respected and maximized. This is valuable because “the opportunity for individuals to play to their strengths most of the time is the key factor that shows the greatest correlation to outstanding performance in the widest range of business outcomes including profits, productivity, customer satisfaction, and safety and employee retention” (Buckingham, 2011, p. 5).

Charged with the complex and considerable goal of promoting health care quality and safety, nurse leader-managers must learn how to draw upon each person’s strengths to foster collaboration toward this shared purpose.

In this Discussion, you assess your own strengths and consider how they can be applied in a health care organization to improve quality and safety.

To prepare:

  • Review the Learning Resources focusing on strengths-based leadership.
  • If you have not already done so, follow the instructions in Strengths Finder 2.0 to complete the online assessment and read the sections in Part II that are associated with your five top strengths.
  • Consider the results of the assessment. What insights, questions, or concerns arise as you think about these results?
  • Think about how your identified strengths relate to your current role as a leader-manager and to the professional contributions that you hope to make now and in the future. Give focused attention to patient safety and health care quality; how and why are your strengths valuable for promoting optimal patient outcomes and creating systems-level change?
  • Evaluate strategies for applying your strengths in the health care workplace. Identify at least two that you can use to add value to a team or workgroup to improve quality and safety.

By Day 3

Post a brief description of your identified strengths and explain how and why they are beneficial in your role as a nurse leader-manager. Explain at least two strategies for applying your leadership strengths in a health care organization to improve quality and safety.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Ask a probing question substantiated with additional background information or research.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional resources.

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