Northwest Organization of Nurse Leaders News

Leader Highlight May 2021 - 5 min read

2021 Authentic Leader Award Recipient

What is the Authentic Leader Award?

Beyond servant leadership, this award is bestowed by the Leadership Commission on the Nurse Leader who has been nominated and best reflects the following demonstrated characteristics:

Our 2021 Award Recipient  - Julie Gillespie MSN, RN, ONC

"Imagine a leader who takes a group of extremely high performing professional nurses who consistently strive for excellence, deliver outstanding patient care, and have the outcomes to demonstrate this with a group of entitled, culturally self-governed, negative, and generally known throughout the organization as the team of "no" to create a combined department of inpatient and outpatient surgical nurses during a pandemic.

This leader and her team in collaboration with senior leadership took this on to serve our community and prepare our organization to re-start the surgical program after pausing for months in the spring of 2020. We recognized the volume we would be serving would be initially very high due to the backlog of cases that had been canceled. We would need to re-think how we prepared and cared for pre-operative, operative, and post-operative patients given the challenges of the pandemic, and the patient population (increased acuity, etc.) because of the shutdown.

The fortitude, compassion, diligence, strength of character and leadership of this individual sets her apart. This project has multiple phases and is still evolving. This leader leveraged the strength and knowledge of a team she has led for many years to overcome staff turnover, educational and competency deficits, emotional fallout, bullying and many tactics designed to derail this initiative to bring on new members and raise the bar for the surgical care continuum at our organization. As a result, we were able to manage a Covid-19 surge in the fall and winter of 2020 and maintain our surgical program to assist in the financial challenges associated with the pandemic. This new structure allowed us to continue to serve surgical patients and offer our other inpatient units staff who were crossed trained to care for inpatients and outpatients as well as Covid positive patients and maintain a much-needed revenue stream.

This leader demonstrates the kind of authenticity that draws people to her. Her peers would describe her as the “go to” person as she has organizational history, she puts her patients and staff at the center of her decisions and looks for opportunities to make what is already great, better.

She is kind, loving, and is the first person to compliment others on achievements and deeds. She leads with her heart first, but an incredible mind and sharp wit as a close second and third. Every person who works with and for her would share the sentiment that she is the ultimate authentic leader and this is why she is the choice for this coveted award."

We truly appreciate your contributions!

NWONL seeks to consistently identify and acknowledge the practices of its Member Leaders. Our Awards are a longstanding symbol of the profound impact of Nurse Leaders across the decades in the Northwest. Our sincerest thanks to all participants who have looked out across their practices to nominate Nurse Leaders of distinction and were selected for consideration.