The importance & potential impact of coaching and mentorship for Nurses and Midwives
This blog was written by Patrick Achola, Leadership Coach, email@example.com
I am a transformational leadership and mindset coach specialised in helping people become better leaders and managers through a combination of coaching, mentorship and teaching skills. I help professionals identify and develop their strengths, and reach their full potential as leaders. I help individuals reflect on their whole self – both work and life and validate and define their objectives through to realisation.
I have coached and mentored a variety of leadership professionals among them health professionals; nurses and midwives included. My observation has been that dedicated leadership, staff development, and intentional workplace initiatives are needed to build healthy work environments that enhance professional growth, promote quality patient outcomes, and encourage strong teamwork.
Today’s nursing leaders are faced with a myriad of complex challenges including workforce retention and shortage. Furthermore, just like the current work environment that is plagued by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity given the changing workforce demographics, the COVID-19 pandemic among others, the profession is faced with shifting leadership challenges.
I have grouped these into three categories –
1) Individual challenges given the mixed demographics with each generation having their unique approach to work.
For instance, Generation Zs and millennials are seeking a different leader to help them achieve their goals not the traditional leader;
2) organisational challenges and
3) systemic challenges (That have plagued the profession for years).
These challenges hinder progress for nurses and the profession itself. In the increasingly complex environment of healthcare, the development of skills critical for success is often overlooked and new nurse leaders struggle during their role transition from clinical providers to nurse leaders. From my observation, the nursing and midwifery profession has only provided mentorship and coaching to top leadership leaving out the mid-level leadership. This alone will not address the challenges. I have a strong belief that coaching at all levels is the most effective key for success in addressing these critical and complex challenges in the current healthcare space. Through coaching, I believe that nurse leaders will gain increased resilience, confidence, and better coping mechanisms to overcome these complexities. This will ultimately lead to collaborative teamwork, enhance staff retention, and create a cohesive healthcare team leading to staff satisfaction, motivation, and quality client outcomes.
In my coaching journey with nurses and midwives, I have gathered that coaching is a relatively new concept that seeks to enhance leadership skills, the more dominant approach being that of mentorship, used primarily within nursing and midwifery education as a means of ensuring better academic results. Coaching is an important aspect of nursing and midwifery professional development and is critical to promoting interprofessional teamwork including within the greater healthcare team. Moreover, it provides a valuable opportunity for the coachee to learn from personal experience hence supporting a personal mastery that is associated with personal vision, values, performance, and well-being. This eventually leads to individual and team transformation and eventually larger institutional change.
It is inevitable that given the current challenges faced by the nursing and midwifery workforce, the profession will need to adapt—as individuals, institutions, and the healthcare industry. How these professions evolve and grow will depend very much on how nursing leaders take control and continue to support their teams as well as how they feel supported to address these challenges. Adopting both a coaching and mentorship approach has the potential to ensure staff retention, less conflict and burn out, more productivity and eventually quality patient/client outcomes. It is what will be done now that will help ensure well-being and professional vibrancy even amid the turbulence. For the development of coaching skills to happen, it will need the support of the greater organisational leadership, professional bodies and entities that support the profession.