1. Section Editor(s): Raso, Rosanne MS, RN, NEA-BC

Article Content

Do you love what you're doing? In the spirit of February's celebrated value, and transformation leadership, I hope so. An abundance of heart idioms describe our work. How about keeping our best interests "at heart?" Our fundamental concerns-patient- and family-centeredness and healthy practice environments-must always guide our decisions and remain at the heart of what we do. What other heart phrases relate to leadership?

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

"Heart to heart" talks are ingrained in our daily functions. Whether it's a mentoring dialogue, a difficult performance conversation, or even a suffering patient or family, as nurse leaders we give from our hearts every day. A parallel is meaningful acknowledgment and appreciation, which drive staff engagement more effectively than recognition activities that aren't value-based and heartfelt.


Sometimes we have a "change of heart" from our original assessments as we seek different perspectives or evaluate unanticipated outcomes. It takes courage to be honest, open, and willing to admit that we aren't always right the first time. We neither intend to go down an ineffective path, nor do we want to be accused of flip-flopping; nonetheless, changing our minds shouldn't be forbidden when done for the right reasons.


Then we have the "heart of stone," a prime challenge to work with anywhere on the organizational tree. Lack of empathy is a line in the sand for me; if we can't deliver compassionate care 100% of the time, then we have much more work to do from culture building to zero tolerance, value setting, and employee management. A "heart of gold" is the preferred descriptor. In fact, patients and families who've been touched by their healthcare experience often describe the staff members who cared for them in this way-by what's in their hearts.


You may feel confident about your decisions when your "heart is in the right place." Doing the right thing is an analogous phrase. It's surprising how often that seemingly simple principle can be elusive when faced with the myriad variables affecting our work. Staying true to our hearts shouldn't be ignored.


Do you appreciate colleagues and staff members who are "after your own heart?" This commonly means being similar or to your liking, which may comfortably steer your personal and professional relationships. However, does it provide the diversity needed on your team? Generally speaking, we don't want to be constantly yessed, leaving other ways of thinking unexpressed. Whether it's because of alikeness, fear, or timidity, this isn't a healthy team dynamic.


Let's get to the "heart of it." We need both our hearts and our brains to provide extraordinary care, grow the art and science of nursing, and lead others transformationally. So let your heart inspire you-it makes a difference.


[email protected]

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.