Northwest Organization of Nurse Leaders News

December 2021 Leader Highlight

In December, we asked our 2021 Board Leadership to consider their year and share with us a few highlights and offer some honest reflection. By Nurse Leaders for Nurse Leaders, both from a personal and professional viewpoint.  Honest, thankful, hopeful.  We think you'll find a little of each in their reflections.

    "It’s aspiring every day for “My ideal day” a good place to start! I like to have a mix of spending time with staff and leaders rounding in the units and departments where I can see and engage with them authentically. I strive to make opportunities to improve on where we are; this might be in real time problem solving or discussing quality and patient experience “stories” with our teams. For me this has been exceptionally powerful. I have gained a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude for my staff and teams after this past two years and, quite frankly, if we can laugh and find joy in our day, it is the BEST day!"
    Kelly Espinoza, Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer Legacy Salmon Creek. 2021 NWONL President, 2022 Past-President.
    "As 2021 comes to a close, it is hard not to reflect back on the incredible journey that we have all been on during this pandemic. As a healthcare leader a notable quote comes to mind, “Leadership is not about being in charge, it is about taking care of those in your charge” (Simon Sinek). No one can argue that healthcare workers have been pushed to limits that many never imagined. We have all spoke of resilience as a key attribute needed in healthcare today. As I reflect on my role as a leader, I truly hope that I have helped “those in my charge”. My hope is not that they have become more resilient healthcare workers, but that they understand their limits and they reach out to others for help. This is not the time to continue to say, “I’ve got this” or “I’m fine”. It is a time to say, “I need help” or “I need a break”. That is truly what is going to allow us all to endure into unknown territory as we continue to battle the pandemic and continue to have healthy and balanced healthcare workers into the future. Let’s all remember to be there and have grace for “those in our charge”.
    Jen Packer, MSN, RN, CENP, Chief Nursing Officer OHSU Tuality Healthcare. 2021 NWONL President-Elect, 2022 President.    

     "2020 and 2021 have been a bit if a blur for me, as I suspect of most leaders in healthcare.  My most memorable interactions this past year all have to do with the unbelievably hard things our nursing staff had to do to take care of patients at the peak of our surge when we were at 150% occupancy. I’m still processing the entire experience and pray that we do not have to repeat it. Some things that helped me get through the year were my family, the incredible leaders and staff I am blessed to work with every day, daily exercise, and some books and podcasts that helped me decompress and focus on things beyond work. These include: The Rich Roll Podcast, The Ten Percent Happier Podcast, We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle (podcast), The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (book), and Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (book). My hope for 2022 is that our health care teams will continue to find the courage to show up every day and do what is necessary to serve our communities and each other during such uncertain times."
    Laura Magstadt, Vice President, Nursing. Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. 2021 NWONL Secretary-Treasurer Elect, 2022 Secretary-Treasurer.

     "We saw a lot of employment change in the last year. Some call it the great resignation.  I call it the great reflection.  Folks are taking time to contemplate their quality of life, values, and priorities and making changes to improve their happiness.  Taking time to reflect and improve is one of the most powerful tools available to us as leaders. Reflection helps us think strategically, grow, and successfully lead others. This year, my great reflection has led to a change in how I refuel myself.  I have cared little for my wellbeing in over 25 years in healthcare and nearly 18 as a nurse. Like many of us, I preached self-care without modeling it.  I told my employees to go home while I stayed to finish one last thing. I worked while I was sick or injured.  I took vacation sparingly and bragged as my time off bank grew beyond what I could reasonably use in a year. This year, I refocused my commitment to physical and mental health. The results of eating better, exercising, being mindful, and engaging in self-care were critical in avoiding burnout. I am not perfect. I fall short of my self-care goals many days or weeks. However, my renewed commitment to myself has made me a more patient leader, a better colleague, and improved my work quality. As you reflect on this past year, I challenge you to evaluate your self-care commitments. Is there something you could be doing to care for your wellbeing? Is there something you wish your team were doing that you could model better?"
    Desi McCue, Desi McCue, 2021 NWONL Secretary Treasurer, 2022 President-Elect.

    "The year’s end provides an opportunity to not only reflect on the past, but more importantly, to look forward to the future.  I look forward to 2022 being a year of recovery, innovation, and growth. As nursing leaders, we are in a unique position to impact the health of our patients, families, and communities. I look forward to leading efforts to eliminate health care disparities for the patients and families that we serve, to develop creative and innovative nursing care models and pipeline/recruitment, and retention strategies to address the nursing shortage, and to develop programs and structures to support our nursing leaders. I firmly believe that our front-line nursing leaders are critical to our success and often under-appreciated and supported.  We have opportunity, both at our own organizations as well as through NWONL, to develop robust development and support systems for nursing leaders. Supporting self-care and work/life balance are critical to ensure the resilience of our leaders. Taking time away to enjoy friends, family, and personal pursuits is key and I work to not only promote that but to be a role model as well.  For me, baking, reading (novels!), and frequent weekend getaways in our RV are ways that I disconnect.  What are yours?"
    Bonnie Fryzlewicz, VP Patient Care & CNO, Seattle Childrens Hospital. 2021 NWONL Development Commission Chair, 2022 Secretary-Treasurer Elect.

    "A year of challenges and change from retirement to volunteering at COVID clinics to new professional adventures highlighted by landing a part time rob in Maui – right!? Pinch me… Reflecting over 42 years of a career is an emotional roller coaster ride which caused me to pause and reflect on how to contribute from past and current challenges to support future growth and resiliency in others. My greatest learnings are to listen generously, use manners (please and thank you), and give grace – we all have our own story.  Making professional connections and sharing information to others is what fills my cup.   I have been a NWONL member for longer than I can recall and as I am leaving the NWONL Board in 2022, after a very long tenure, I can’t encourage every nurse leader more to participate and be present with your peers. You will get a return in spades.  Best wishes and wrap some hope around your realities for 2022!"
    Pam Steinke, Senior Vice President, St. Charles Health-system, 2021 NWONL At-Large Member, Representative to OAHH