1. Hay, Agnes RN, BSN

Article Content

My compliments for your article of August 2006 titled "Who'll replace you when you're gone?" I'm a nursing leader passionate about nursing as a profession. As a nursing leader, I strongly believe and agree in succession planning. It's critical to identify pivotal nursing positions that impact the organization. It's equally important to assess and identify the A players in terms of change response and versatility.


In today's highly competitive and volatile environment, talented staff can come and go with precedent-setting speed if the work environment isn't conducive to support balanced personal and professional growth.


Unexpected departures of key people can cripple a change effort faster than anything, especially if there is no adequate backup. It's important to anticipate the pivotal staff or leaders who might leave, and take steps to prevent it, or make sure backups are in place if it happens.


Other important sources for succession planning are the new up-and-comers. These are the group of staff who demonstrate potential talent to become future leaders. They possess the knowledge, skills, abilities, and talent to lead and influence change in a positive way. With an appropriate development/education action plan and mentoring, these groups can often reveal startling insights or provide information that helps coaches and mentors fine-tune a development plan and make it that much more effective. Ultimately, the coach/mentor must take responsibility for implementing the plans properly and modifying them when they don't seem to be working. The best way of doing this is by soliciting ideas and information from the staff you are coaching.


Lastly, let's not forget the quiet leaders who prefer to work behind the scenes to move the organization forward-they too need successors. The true measurement of effective leadership is when your areas of responsibility continue to function efficiently and effectively after you've left your position.


Agnes Hay, RN, BSN


Boca Raton, Fla.