The UHealth/University of Miami Hospital and Clinics Bascom Palmer Eye Institute exemplifies transformational leadership in the era of COVID-19 with nursing staff embracing the vision and mission of nursing, which is framed within the Nursing Professional Practice Model (PPM). The importance of being anchored for excellence envisioned and developed by UHealth nurses, the Nursing PPM represents the critical roles that nurses engage in providing high-quality care through research, clinical scholarship, education, and interprofessional collaboration. As the blueprint for patient, family, and community care delivery, the Nursing PPM illustrates the alignment of nursing practice with optimal patient outcomes.
A key example of transformational leadership is the commitment of nurses to advanced education during the era of COVID-19. Six Bascom Palmer nurses fully engaged in pursuing advanced practice education to assure high-quality patient care and engaging in nursing leadership in new roles. [Insert photo and names of nurses].
Several other Bascom Palmer nurses, seeking to contribute more to their patients and the profession by practicing at a more advanced level, pursued further education in master’s degree programs to become nurse practitioners. While nurses were being asked to practice during the pandemic in demanding environmental conditions and at significant risk to their health and safety, these committed professionals saw an opportunity to gain additional clinical knowledge and skills and become APPs/APRNs.
Kimar Estes-Orange MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CEN, Executive Director of the Emergency Department (ED), earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree in 2020 from Chamberlain University. In addition to her commitments to the staff and patients of the ED at Bascom Palmer, during her final year of school, she cared for an ill family member and faced an unexpected change in her leadership team in the ED. With the flexibility of her academic institution to facilitate her required student clinical hours, the support of her colleagues, and the persistent encouragement of her family, she achieved her graduate degree. Her journey was inspirational for her team as well.
Lidia Rivas Aguilera, MSN, APRN, a pre-admission nurse, reflected that COVID-19 provided many challenges in delivering nursing care, but these challenges were not an obstacle to her mission to pursue a graduate degree in family nursing practice. Her dedication and motivation were aimed at fully engaging in a patient-centered philosophy of care. Aguilera not only believes that advanced education added to her knowledge base and clinical skills, but also benefits patients, families, and the community served by Bascom Palmer.
Indira Ponce, MSN, APRN, an outpatient retina nurse, was also driven to pursue her graduate education. Encouraged by the University of Miami Health System’s tuition reimbursement program, she motivated others and fulfilled her desire to utilize evidence-based information to enhance the care she delivered to patients. Ponce reflected that: “The pandemic brought many challenges, but I remained steadfast in accomplishing my educational trajectory.”
Several other colleagues of Estes-Orange, Aguilera, and Ponce also recently pursued advanced education, including Mabel Martinez MSN, APRN, AGNP-C, Alexandra Varona MSN, FNP-BC, APRN, Ugochi Nwanyetodi-Nwaobi MSN, APRN, AGNP-C, Fred Barrios MSN, FNP-BC, APRN, Hector Echevarria MSN, APRN, FNP-BC.
As noted by Viviane Leveille-Charles BSN, RN, MPH, NE-BC and Lina Utrera, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CPAN, Executive Director of Nursing Services: “Several nurses progressed from RN I to RN II and others from RN II to RN III while others sought opportunities for professional development and certification, attesting to their impressive commitment to the mission, visión, visión, and values of our institution. This illustrates extensive support for the Magnet elements of Transformational Leadership and Structural Empowerment [Insert photo and/or names of these individuals in a sidebar].
Another example of Transformational Leadership developed by nursing leaders is the framework for alternating leadership professional work assignments to assure leadership coverage and the health of leaders, as well as staff, who were at risk of acquiring COVID-19. Utrera and Leveille-Charles noted that: “This creative model of work assignments and coverage during the initial months of the pandemic fostered an environment in which nurses and nurse leaders were protected, supported, and empowered. This also safeguarded the presence of leadership to assure optimal patient- and family-centered care, which was a transformational goal of UHealth and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.”