The concept of developing from a novice nurse to an expert nurse introduced by Patricia Benner has always been a guide to nurses across the globe. This concept of sequential development in the nursing practice, research, and academe highlights the importance of experience in the nursing profession. However, the changing trends when it comes to the demand of competent nurses to take on administrative positions have also led every hospital and nursing school to employ younger nurses who are equipped with exemplary skills, attitudes, academic preparation, and experience for different leadership positions.
The concept of developing from a novice nurse to an expert nurse introduced by Patricia Benner has always been a guide to nurses across the globe. This concept of sequential development in the nursing practice, research, and academe highlights the importance of experience in the nursing profession. However, the changing trends when it comes to the demand of competent nurses to take on administrative positions have also led every hospital and nursing school to employ younger nurses who are equipped with exemplary skills, attitudes, academic preparation, and experience for different leadership positions. These same qualities are seen in the three Chief Nurses that we had the utmost pleasure of interviewing. All in their late 20’s, these three young nurses are grappling tumultuous leadership duties such as supervising a dynamic nursing staff and overseeing patient care as well as attending heaps of administrative functions. An alumnus of Tacloban's St. Scholastica’s College of Health Sciences, Ric An Artemio Gadin RN MAN is the founding chief nurse of Catarman Doctors’ Hospital in Region 8 – Eastern Visayas for the last 3 years. He holds an MA degree in nursing and is an active member of ANSAP, MCNAP, Beta Nu Delta Nursing Society and Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society. On the other hand, Ronnell dela Rosa RN, RM, MAN is a nursing director of a tertiary private hospital in Pampanga. He is both a Registered Nurse and a Registered Midwife with a masters degree in nursing and has teaching credentials. A few days ago, he just successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at the Trinity University of Asia. Ronnell is an alumnus of Bataan Peninsula State University. Moreover, Clint Taburnal, BSN, RN is the chief nurse of Cavite Medical Center. He obtained his BSN degree in 2007 at the University of Perpetual Help Rizal. He is set to finish his masters degree in nursing administration at the Philippine Women University Manila.
Let’s know them better.
Can you tell us about one of your most trying stories that tested your courage and instincts? RG: One of my most trying times was when I was faced with a dilemma to choose either the call of Catarman Doctors’ Hospital or to stay in the academe (my Alma matter where I was connected as a clinical instructor) and gave me financial stability. Much consideration was needed but nevertheless, I had to make a choice. I opted for Catarman Doctors’ Hospital. It was an unlikely choice since the hospital is about 5-6 hours drive away from home. Even the remuneration would not be as much compared to that in the academe. It was the experience to help not just the institution itself, but the community to have alternative and improved healthcare services, as it is the only secondary level hospital in the province of North Samar. Having this in mind gave me the courage to pursue this decision and continually help the community by serving the hospital. RR: My background as a nurse-researcher gave me a lot of strategies and resources in finding a scientific solution in leading the department. The most trying story I had was to continuously provide quality outcomes on the service capabilities operated in the hospital. Handling more than 100 employees was really overwhelming to a young nurse leader like me but instead of thinking out loud the managerial upshot of my position including my personal and professional immaturity, I spotted out the powerful hub of my department (which is also the vision and mission of the hospital) and the people by handling the nursing service and other ancillary services (Central Supply and Sterilization, Pulmonary Unit, Hemodialysis Unit). They believed in me and provided me untiring support mechanisms giving me courage and positive instincts. CT: I think the most challenging experience that I had is the time when I was appointed as the chief nurse of the hospital where I am currently working right now. Responsibilities of being in the senior level management come in different ways and are more complex. There are times when you need to make decisions carefully for the welfare of the staff, without biases or favoritism. Just and due process must be given to those who have violated certain hospital rules regardless if they are your acquaintances or close friends. Fair decision making must also prevail. The decisions of a chief nurse must not be based on personal interest, but must always be in accordance to the organization's welfare. Political system or nepotism in certain organization is the most challenging concern to deal with especially if the staff involved in the case has direct relationship with the executives. At first, I had this fear of imposing disciplinary action to the said staff, but then I realized that there is nothing to fear/worry about if you’re on the right track. I followed hospital protocols and the standards of nursing practice. I made investigations regarding these cases and talked to the staff who committed the violation. When it was revealed that the employee is guilty of the violation, I weighed the severity of the error based on standard hospital protocols and made recommendations on specific disciplinary actions that must be imposed accordingly. At a young age, performing these nursing duties is a very hard and complicated one especially when politics in the management still exists. All actions became limited to a certain degree. But if we have undergone formal education and are adherent to the standard hospital protocols and the bylaws of the nursing practice, we will be able to manage and direct the department assigned under our supervision righteously. Faith with our almighty God and support from family and friends are the sources of my strength in dealing with such complicated situations. Your career leapfrogged. What was it like making the transition from being “on the floor” to an administrative position (Chief Nurse/Director of Nursing) at a young age? RG: The experience was overwhelming. Having an administrative position had never been part of my dreams. It was the urge of compassion that gave me the drive to be of service. When one is in an administrative position, it is like being a mother or father where in one becomes selfless and that self would come last, and the greater good of everyone else becomes a priority. It is a task like no other as it needs quality administrative foundations learned with proper education, skills development through experience, and the necessary service attitude and commitment. These things are rolled into one and are practiced with synchronicity. RR: The transition I had from my 5-year academic experience to another venture of clinical practice really took me in a leapfrog manner. At a young age, I was really driven to lead considering that I only have more than a year of clinical practice as a staff nurse. Despite the traditional criterion, clinical experience became an important aspect in the selection and career progression of chief nurses. Experience generally was measured in terms of years or length of clinical experience. While it might seem logical to presume a nurse with ten years’ experience is a better candidate for a leadership position than one with just a year of experience, this isn’t always the case. I strongly believe that what a young Chief Nursing Officer does in a given time frame can be much more important. Besides, the challenge is to earn the staff’s respect and trust by working hard to build leadership competencies. I expanded my horizon by accepting back-ups as a Nurse Supervisor to an Assistant Chief Nurse position after a 6 month-term and eventually accepted the post as the Nursing Director of the Department. And while I was still active in various nursing organizations and regional activities of the Department of Health (DOH) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Region 3, I was also elected as the National Vice President of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Association of the Philippines (PMHNAP) as well as being an active member of the Regional Quality Assessment Team (RQAT) for the nursing and midwifery programs. Being a nurse executive has greatly improved my nursing persona from a bedside nurse to a leader and an academician thanks to a strong commitment and an endless passion amidst work turmoil. Consequently, my dynamic leadership had led me to follow the ladder from transitional and transactional leadership that encompasses transformative decision outcomes. Now that I am in my third year as a Nursing Director of the nursing service, I believe that the ongoing development of existing and emergent young nurse leaders at this point of time is really imperative. CT: I have been in the nursing profession for almost 7 years. I have been exposed to different nursing field namely ambulatory clinic nursing, occupational health nursing, and hospital nursing. During these years of varied experiences, I was able to experience nursing across the lifespan and across the different disease conditions like medical surgical nursing, maternal and child health nursing, peri-operative nursing, intensive care, infection control and training, research and development and lastly nursing management. I believe that gaining these experiences honed my knowledge, skills and attitudes in the technical and managerial aspect of the nursing profession which I currently utilize to improve the nursing service department. At first it was difficult to be a nurse executive at a young age, but with proper education, experience and support systems (family, friends, peers) I was able to adjust and adapt to the norms and discipline of nursing administration. I am very grateful that at a young age, God gave me the necessary talents to use to improve the nursing skills that are essential in developing competency in my chosen career. I believe this is one of God's missions for me – to bring about positive change in my chosen career and most especially in the institution where I am working – a mission that I am happy to take every day.