NEW YORK NURSE: March 2008
by Nancy Webber
Are leaders born or made?
While that question has been debated for centuries, there are many examples of “ordinary people” who have become legendary leaders.
According to leadership gurus James Kouzes and Barry Posner, “Leadership isn’t a mystical quality that only a select few are born with; it’s a set of behaviors that both experienced and prospective leaders can use to turn challenging opportunities into remarkable successes.”
The NYSNA Leadership Academy is founded on the principle that, with the proper tools, registered nurses are uniquely qualified to be leaders in their workplaces, in the healthcare arena, and in their communities.
The Leadership Academy is an expansion of the successful Leadership Fellows Program started at NYSNA in 1991. Over the past 17 years, nearly 100 members have completed the program and many have gone on to serve in leadership positions at the local, state, and national levels.
“The Academy is designed both to make the program accessible to more members and to intensify the learning experience for those who are committed to becoming leaders and mentors,” said Renée Gecsedi, director of the NYSNA Education, Research, and Practice Program.
The Academy is free of charge and open only to members of NYSNA. It provides three levels of leadership training:
Self-study modules that will be available online, through webcasts, and in a packet of printed materials. In general, members will be required to complete these modules and take a post-test before they can apply for the Academy Fellows Level. Members who currently are in leadership positions may have this requirement waived on a case-by-case basis.
Course content will include topics such as:
Fellows will be appointed by the Board of Directors, based on applications submitted by members. Coursework will include monthly sessions over a 12-month period at NYSNA headquarters in Latham.
Course content will include in-depth instruction on the operation of a multipurpose union and professional association, attendance at a meeting of the board of directors, media training, team building, quality measurement, and business practices.
Applicants will be asked to choose from four tracks:
Academy participants at this level will receive further one-on-one mentorship as they move into actual leadership positions. While the program will be tailored to each individual’s needs, this advanced training is expected to include topics such as developing a strategic plan, advanced negotiation strategies, budget preparation, and lobbying skills.
Due to time constraints, for this year only the Board of Directors will appoint participants at the Fellows Level without requiring them to complete the Preparatory Level. Applications must be submitted by May 1, 2008, and classes will begin in September 2008.
In addition to a resumé and summary of their leadership experience, applicants must submit an essay outlining their personal short-term and long-term goals. They also will be asked to indicate which of the four tracks they plan to pursue: Labor Relations, Legislative Advocacy, Peer Assistance, or General.
Applications are available online at www.nysna.org/education/academy.html or by calling 800-724-NYRN(6976), ext. 282.
“The Fellows Program has been tremendously successful in developing members’ leadership skills,” said Gecsedi. “We hope the Leadership Academy will make these resources more accessible to more members and assure a constant supply of nurse leaders for the coming decades.”