To be a leading medical center in the Kansas City metropolitan area and the Midwest, Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) must be staffed with qualified and exceptional leaders on all levels. Nursing is no exception.
Nurses provide the base for our daily operations and with their strength and leadership comes SMMC’s success. From performing routine tasks to being depended on in high-pressure emergency situations, our nurses ensure the hospital runs smoothly and continues to do so at an exceptional rate.
SMMC has found it crucial to support and supply the tools needed for our nurses to be leaders in their fields and with their peers through the Frontline Leadership Academy. The program is designed to empower our nurses who have shown leadership qualities and skills to become even more effective problem solvers, decision makers and facilitators.
The Frontline Leadership Academy is designed to build and strengthen leaders and empower nurses to use those skills. Most of the Academy participants are frontline nurses and charge nurses; the first class included four dozen frontline nurses.
Program coaches help participants discover the resources and tools necessary for achieving and surpassing their goals. Over two years, the academy gradually teaches greater ownership, power and autonomy to the participants. This instills greater confidence and ambition among frontline nurses to advocate for the patients and improve overall patient care.
Each semester, a class of participants attends a one-day session led by the Health Care Advisory Board followed by an on-the-job practicum. The practicum focuses on identifying, analyzing and solving real-world and real-time problems. The goal for the Frontline Leadership Academy is to achieve the best functionality of units possible, including communication and teamwork within and between units.
During each semester of the Academy, nurses are posed to identify problems in their units and directly develop solutions. In 2007, Academy participant Mark Ballard, then a Charge Nurse for the Progressive Care Unit, worked with three fellow nurses to develop a more effective way to get patients on their units discharged earlier in the day to free up beds for incoming patients.
“The Frontline Leadership Academy helped him to focus on collaborative and communication skills,” said Linda Beal, RN, MS, MSN, Progressive Care Manager, Ballard’s manager on the Progressive Care Unit. “It also gave him the opportunity to follow through with what he learned and impact changes directly that helped prepare him to later become a manager.”
At SMMC, we strive to improve all aspects of patient care, and giving skilled nurses leadership opportunities through the Academy has had an impressive impact.
“With programs like the Frontline Leadership Academy, we are building a strong foundation for SMMC’s future,” said Sheri Hawkins, RN, MBA, MS, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer. “We’re cultivating leaders by building and enhancing leadership skills and empowering nurses with more opportunities to lead decision making and improve patient care.”