Preparing Future Nurse Leaders Holistically at a Faith-Based University
Hodges, Pamela J.
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Session presented on Saturday, July 25, 2015: The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the premise of the Sacred Vocation Program (SVP) as effective healing begins with nurturing the spirit of each nursing student. The students are able to transfer that nurturing spirit into the care and management of patients and their leadership philosophy. The pilot project was done to determine the effectiveness and feasibility of incorporating the SVP into the curriculum. Background: The SON navigates a new era for higher education and strives to incorporate the mission, vision, and philosophy of the faith-based university into the preparation of future nurse leaders. The students are educated intellectually, morally, and spiritually with a distinct focus on a compassionate healing ministry nourished by Catholic traditions of education and service. It is essential to prepare nurse leaders with skills and tools to deliver holistic, compassionate healthcare in a healing environment. The SON provides within the leadership course a sound foundation based on concepts of professionalism and moral leadership, shared governance, healthcare policy, quality and risk management, decision making, accountability, evidence based practice, and conflict resolution. Method: The project began with the development of the Scared Vocational Program (SVP) in the leadership course. The program was originally developed by Rabbi Samuel Karff during his tenure at the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. Faculty approached the Rabbi and McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics Director about the possibility of providing the program for nursing students as the undergraduate nursing curriculum was being developed. The program was purchased and adapted to meet the needs of the curriculum. The premise of the SVP is that effective healing begins with the nurturing the spirit of self. The SVP was originally designed as the following three-phase program: Recognizing Work as Sacred Vocation (Phase 1): Share their stories of what brought them to the healthcare profession, and how their work is connected to their spirituality, and their understanding of the meaning of vocation Reorganizing Work as Sacred Vocation (Phase 2): Develop recommendations on how to improve the working conditions in their environment so that they can experience work as sacred vocation. Sacred Vocation Growth and Renewal (Phase 3): Examine sustainability and ongoing support of each other Integration of the SVP was innovative at best and the first time such a program has been implemented in an undergraduate nursing program. The goals of the project included 1) help students view their work as a sacred calling 2) emphasize reflection to support the core concept of the nurse as an instrument of healing 3) integrate the school's holistic philosophy into their own personal nursing philosophy and 4) provide a culminating experience for nursing students. The program was organized differently from the original SVP. Instead of using five 60 minute sessions, it was delivered over a two day period. Students spent a substantial amount of time on reflection about sacred vocations, self-care and how nurses can better care for themselves. Students vowed to embrace nursing as a vocation and apply the dimensions to their practice. Each student formulated their philosophy of nursing based on the university vision, their formation in SON, and reflections from the SVP. Results: Students reported experiencing a significant change in their perception of nursing. They also vowed to embrace nursing as a vocation and apply the dimensions to their practice. Various comments from students included the following: 'I was able to reflect on the transformations in my life. It definitely helped me to look at nursing in a more holistic view', 'It felt like it came just in time, at the end of the program', 'This class spoke to me as a person, a student, and as a nurse', 'I enjoyed the past two days. It made me reflect on my thoughts and feelings experienced over the last two years of nursing school.' 'I felt encouraged as a nursing student now transitioning to the working field.' 'This was a great end to the semester and our nursing school journal...I think this should continue to be the last session in the course for each incoming cohort.' 'Great ending to a long journey!' 'Presenter was able to transmit the true meaning of nursing as a ministry.' Conclusion and recommendations: Students and faculty felt that the SVP was a tremendous success and should continue as a component of the curriculum. The faculty commented that having the course offered concurrently with the senior capstone course was an appropriate curricular decision. After completion of the project, it was determined to be both effective and feasible to incorporate the SVP into the curriculum. Limitations: This is pilot work completed prior to incorporating the program formally as a component of the leadership course at one small university school of nursing. Hence, it is not generalizable and transferability is exceedingly limited.