Finding Your Voice at the Helm
Ginger is almost a year into the Accelerated Master’s Program in the VCU School of Nursing. She earned a BFA in Theater from VCU before beginning her nursing studies to become a Nurse Practitioner. She is currently the President of the VCU Chapter of Nursing Students Without Borders and will contribute her thoughts on her experiences as a student in the School of Nursing over the next few months until graduation in December of 2008. This is her first blog posting. To read Ginger’s thoughts on Finding your Voice, please continue reading.
As a second degree student I have the advantage of coming to nursing with a bag of diverse experiences on my back. However sometimes these experiences can get in the way when trying to add new skills. When it came to blood draws and bedpans I had nothing similar in my bag, so plunk, in they fit. The problem comes when I try to add a new skill that is very similar to something I have used in the past.
My first degree was in theatre direction and I learned how to work with diverse and dynamic personalities to create a cohesive artistic whole. . My leadership skills have been the hardest for me to reframe since starting nursing school. As a president of a student organization it is my job to find that common thread and passion that can allow my peers to work together and support each other. Pulling from theatre again the plawright Henrik Ibsen said “A community is like a ship: everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” Nursing Students Without Borders is committed to empowering individuals to create a positive change in their local and global community.
Dwight D. Eisenhower defined well what leadership is not. “You do not lead by hitting people over the head- that’s assault, not leadership.” While in directing my job was to be a strong driving support working towards a clear goal. As a developing nurse leader I have learned that my goal is to take a step back, be the biggest cheerleader in the crowd, and to be a resource for peers when they find their voice. If it happens to only be a whisper, I can be your bullhorn. If you are scared at the helm, I will stand behind you, until you can be there on your own. In the end if we take turns at the helm we will no doubt end up somewhere beautiful and unexpected.