Clinical nurse leaders need to understand a wide range of topics to fill their roles. These range from understanding how to communicate optimally all the way to knowledge about informatics and how to create staffing plans and budgets. While it is not possible to delve deeply into all these areas of knowledge in a 12 module course we hope that we have provided you with sufficient information and resources to permit you to deepen that knowledge as you live your leadership roles.
We created this course because as nurses and nurse leaders we felt strongly that nursing leadership should be taught, learned, and lived from a nursing perspective. The best nursing leaders are nurses. The best way to ensure the nurses are invited to fill leadership positions is to prepare nurses for those roles.
The four editors of this book have been working together over the past few years to develop and administer a nursing master’s degree in professional practice leadership. This MScN (PPL) is a collaboration between Trent University and Ontario Tech University. We embarked on this degree because we felt strongly both that nurses should be prepared for leadership roles and that nurses should be hired to lead nurses. In our work on the MScN, it became clear that there was a need for a standalone graduate-level course that could be accessed by nurses for whom graduate work was not accessible or who were not ready or did not want to pursue a master’s degree.
As we reviewed the literature to develop this course it became apparent that there are gaps in nursing education related to leadership, particularly in the areas of resource management, finance, and budgeting. Many authors call for undergraduate courses in finance and budgeting to be added to basic nursing programs. The module included in this course is a very basic overview of budgeting. Another important area of knowledge for nurse leaders is program development and evaluation. Although this is taught in the master’s degree program, we did not include the topic in this course and focussed instead on the key areas of knowledge that had been previously identified as essential for nurse leaders.
While all the editors and authors of the modules should be “the teachers”, we have all learned a lot in the process of developing this course. There are things that we might do differently the next time, one of which is having a clearer guideline for authors to ensure that modules are structured in a more homogeneous way. As a group, we’ve talked a lot about this pondering whether the diversity in the way information is presented in the various modules makes the course more interesting or presents challenges for the learners. We would be interested in hearing your opinions on this.
Best wishes on your journey as clinical nursing leaders. Remember, leaders are not just managers; we all play a leadership role as nurses”.