The Path to Nurse Leadership is Paved with Fear of Failure

Nurse Leader Insider, October 1, 2015

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Understanding the factors that influence whether Millenials embrace or reject moving into nursing leadership is crucial.

“When nurses go to nursing school, not many of them go in saying, ‘I want to be a CNO,;” says Dawn Pevey Mauk, RN, MBA, BSN, NEA-BC, and the system vice president of service lines at Oshner Health System in Louisiana.

I thought back to my classmates in nursing school and realized how spot-on Pevey Mauk was. I went to school in the late 1990s and the bulk our class was Gen Xers—those born between 1965 and 1984. We wanted to become nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified-nurse midwives, not nurse executives.

But, as Bob Dylan (born 1941, Greatest Generation) has said, the times, they are a-changin'. Research by Rose O. Sherman, RN, EdD, NEA-BC, CNL, FAAN, professor and director of the Nursing Leadership Institute at Florida Atlantic University's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing in Boca Raton shows that members of the newest age-related demographic to join the nursing profession—the Millennials, sometimes called Generation Y, who were born between 1982 and 2004—see themselves as leaders and say they would consider taking on leadership roles.
This doesn't mean, however, that we can count our next generation of nurse leaders before it's hatched. Sherman has identified factors that influence whether Millennials embrace or reject moving into nursing leadership. If we want to grow future nurse leaders we need to keep these factors in mind.

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