Three nurses talking in a group.
On June 5th, 2018, Dr. Jean Watson visited Siena College for the 2018 New York Future of Nursing Annual Summit. This was an event hosted by the Baldwin Nursing Program courtesy of Dr. Lisa Flack and her team. As an attendee, it was an exciting moment in my nursing career to witness Dr. Watson speak to the group, engaging and inspiring nursing professionals from all over New York State and the surrounding areas. As we all gathered excitingly outside the lecture auditorium, I remember feeling the buzz and excitement as we all anxiously awaited the opportunity to meet and listen to Dr. Watson. Like many of the participants, this was also a unique moment in our careers to find ways to translate and integrate some of Dr. Watson’s caring philosophy into our own work. In her opening remarks, Dr. Watson began by lighting a candle symbolizing the light of nursing from around the world. As she began to speak, it became very clear the reasons why our organization adopted Watson’s caring philosophy into its business practices.
In today’s ever-changing healthcare environment, the future of nursing is hinged on our profession’s ability to evolve within a paradigm, while working within a shared framework embracing caring relationships, practices, healing arts, and spiritual dimensions that can literally transform entire healthcare systems (Sitzman & Watson, 2014). My takeaway on these words is that nurses can no longer stay stagnant in our past practices. Instead, we must seek new ways to become change agents and emerging leaders caring and transforming healthcare as a cohesive unit.
As a nurse entrepreneur, I recognize and marvel at the many characteristics that define a good leader. Covey (2004) explains there are three key attributes that make a good leader, namely vision, courage, and humility. He continues to explain that without these essential qualities, it is difficult to continue growing and learning as a leader. In retrospect, having a vision of creating change in healthcare is imperative yet not very effective without the courage to continue and define one’s vision. At the same time, a strong leader must be humble enough to know when to redefine things, seek guidance, and mentors to keep pace with changing times and prepare them to be an effective leader well into the future (Grossman & Valiga 2013). During the closing remarks, it was extremely evident Dr. Watson is a visionary leader who not only has these characteristics but who also possesses a deep understanding of the importance of human caring in all aspects and innerworkings of healthcare. In closing, meeting Dr. Watson in person was inspiring for me, as her caring and genuine words and actions filled me with a renewed sense of purpose about our organization’s vision and mission to help care for and staff the future of healthcare.
Lastly, I want to thank you, Dr. Watson for all your amazing contributions that continue to inspire people from around the globe to use kindness and caring as the cornerstone of creating change that improves the lives of others.
Grossman, S. C., & Valiga, T. M. (2013). The New Leadership Challenge: Creating the Future of Nursing (4th ed., pp. 24-29). Philadelphia, PA: Davis Company.
Sitzman, K., & Watson, J. (2014). Caring Science, Mindful Practice: Implementing Watson's Human Caring Theory (pp. 20-25). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.