The healthcare system in the United States of America (USA) with its complex environment and fast-paced changes requires well-prepared professional nurses; with outstanding leadership skills to address the demanding challenge. Nursing schools need to prepare students for that role. To fulfill this commitment, a Medical Surgical II course from a Baccalaureate Nursing Program incorporated into its clinical experience the student team leader role. Leadership skills need to be learned. Instructors cannot expect nursing students to surge through leadership theory, graduate, be exposed to real world situations; and then simply assume leadership positions without hands-on exposure. Preparing nursing students during their school years with theory and practice will prepare them for the demanding health care system.
Each student during the clinical rotation is assigned to be a team leader; performing a leadership role with specific responsibilities, which are described in the syllabus and check list that guides the specific activities. The evaluation of the experience was positive for the student team leader and the students in the clinical rotation. The team leader gained confidence, improved their critical thinking skills, learned the importance of prioritization and was able to communicate positively with other students despite their leading roll. Students who were part of the team sought advice from the team leader; which helped to develop a trusting relationship and influence positively the outcome in the patient's care. This article describes the importance of preparing nursing students for leadership roles; team leader responsibilities, different activities students need to accomplish, and the positive impact the leadership role offers students.
ATINER Conference Paper Series No: HSC2014-0920
Schmidt, Gisela, "Enhancing Leadership Skills in Clinical Practicum: A Medical Surgical Nursing Class Experience" (2014). Faculty Publications. 2.
Retrieved September 23, 2015, from http://www.atiner.gr/papers/HSC2014-0920.pdf