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Authentic Leadership

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A good leader sets the tone for the unit. AACN’s research shows that healthy work environments are much more likely to have nurse leaders who fully embrace the six HWE standards, creating a culture of compassionate care for team members and patients. Authentic leadership also equips nurses with the skills and encouragement they need to grow in their practice. The result is a more knowledgeable, cohesive unit that consistently elevates patient care.

Standard Definition

Nurse leaders must fully embrace the imperative of a healthy work environment, authentically live it, and engage others in its achievement.

Critical Elements

For Organizations

  1. The health care organization provides support for and access to education and coaching to ensure that nurse leaders develop and enhance knowledge and abilities in authentic leadership, skilled communication, effective decision making, true collaboration, meaningful recognition, and appropriate staffing.
  2. The health care organization ensures that nurse leaders are appropriately positioned in their pivotal role in creating and sustaining healthy work environments. This role includes participation in key decision making forums, access to essential information, and the authority to make necessary decisions.
  3. The health care organization facilitates the efforts of nurse leaders to create and sustain a healthy work environment by providing the necessary time and financial and human resources.
  4. The health care organization makes a formal mentoring program available for all nurse leaders. Nurse leaders actively engage in the mentoring of nurses in all roles and levels of experience.
  5. The health care organization includes the individual’s influence on creating and sustaining a healthy work environment as a criterion in each nurse leader’s performance appraisal.
  6. Nurse leaders demonstrate leadership in creating and sustaining healthy work environments in order to achieve professional advancement.
  7. The health care organization ensures progress toward creating and sustaining a healthy work environment is evaluated at regular intervals using tools designed for that purpose.

For Individuals

  1. Nurse leaders demonstrate an understanding of the requirements and dynamics at the point of care and within this context successfully translate the vision of a healthy work environment.
  2. Nurse leaders excel at generating visible enthusiasm for achieving the standards that create and sustain healthy work environments.
  3. Nurse leaders ensure the design of systems necessary to effectively implement and sustain standards for health work environments.
  4. Nurse leaders role model skilled communication, true collaboration, effective decision making, meaningful recognition, and authentic leadership.
  5. Nurse leaders and team members mutually and objectively evaluate the impact of leadership processes and decisions on the organization’s progress toward creating and sustaining a healthy work environment.

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