You will be assessed on your capacity to write reflectively, how well you connect your reflections with your practice and academic literature, and your level of constructive engagement with your peers through online conversations.
The main components of the written task include:
• a short personal biography (approximately 300 words) My name is Barbara Nolan, I am Irish, and grew up in a small village in Ireland. My family are 100% Irish as far back as we can go, and I was raised in a catholic family although I suppose I would be considered a lapsed Catholic now. I am from a typical Irish "Catholic" family, I have four brothers and three sisters, my parents were very supportive and encouraged all of us to get a "good" education, which we all ended up going on to further education after our school years. Throughout our life they have remained supportive, particularly regarding education and they also believe that travel expands your horizons. I went to a convent girls school and directly after school to study nursing, I have never had a different job....actually when I think about it not even babysitting. After I finished nursing having completed RN & RCN, I worked for a brief period in Ireland and subsequently worked in the UK, America, Saudi Arabia and Australia. The majority of my experience in Nursing is in the critical care area, both PICU & NICU. I worked in the clinical field for a long period and then moved to nursing education, I then went into leadership & management, I am currently the Director of Nursing at a Specialist Cardiac Centre in the Middle East. In Australia I met & married an Aussie of Welsh ancestry, both his parents and extended family are from Wales. His parents moved to Australia when they were young. We havetwo children, both girls, 4yrs and 10 yrs, our home is in Australia, but it was actually my husbands work committments that brought us overseas. We all currently live in Saudi Arabia which is very different to the environment that I grew up in, but it is enjoyable, we live in a community where we mix with people of similar backgrounds to ourselves. My work committments keep me quite busy so I like to spend my free time with my children, going to the beach etc., we also travel frequently and I love to listen to music. One of my strengths is empathy, on a personal note I am not sure what I would like to change about myself, as this can sometimes vary..
• a reflection on my professional identity (approximately 500 words)
What difference do you make to the lives of your staff, patients or clients?
How do you know when your staff, patients or clients are learning or improving?
What are your greatest achievements as a professional?
What aspects of your professional role do find most challenging?
What would your colleagues or peers and your staff, patients or clients say about you as a professional?
Why did you decide to become a leader and/or healthcare practitioner
• a reflection on my personal theories and beliefs (approximately 700 words) and
•a statement of your professional philosophy (approximately 500 words).
EXAMPLE...I believe I have the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of my patients. The interactions I have with them tend to be at a time when they are vulnerable and out of their depth. They have been taken out of their usual roles into very unfamiliar territory and are asked to make life changing decisions with very little information on which to base this. One of my main roles is to act as a patient advocate and stand by their side whilst them and their families come to terms with what lies ahead for them. If this roles is carried our effectively it can be empowering for the patient and have far reaching implications on their acceptance and peace with their future lives. I also believe that the simple act of caring can make a huge difference to people these days. In the fast paced, singular world in which we live taking the time to stop, listen and respond can be quiet revolutionary. Showing patients that you have a genuine desire to help and nurture them takes a nurse from one just competing tasks to one who is genuinely involved and present. With regards to my staff I believe that acting as a positive role model and creating a forward thinking environment makes the work environment a productive place in which staff want to excel and push themselves to the next level. I think that as a leader I do this and this is reflected in the way the staff respond to me and my request from them. Continuing to look for learning opportunities and undertaking further education also encourages the staff around me to do this and this continues their growth and development and fends of staleness in the workplace. Discussion with my peer reinforced my beliefs that as a professional I am able to inspire my team and act in a compassionate and competent way towards my patients. It was good to hear this positive reinforcement as it is easy for me to doubt myself and my professionalism. I compare myself to others and this is not always productive for me.
Catching up with my staff both formally and informally helps me to see their development, both personally and professionally. Being available for them and approachable also aids in this opportunity. Discussions with level 2s who work directly with more junior staff also helps in my understanding of their development. I also ensure I witness their interactions with patients regularly and I believe this helps me to further witness their growth and development. Discussion with my critical peer both confirmed and contradicted my beliefs. There was the suggestion that I can be too involved in the personal lives of the staff and that I should take a step away. As a member of staff who started life at my workplace as a casual and has worked my way through different roles into my current managerial role I think this can be difficult as I have known many of the staff a number of years and have formed some close relationships. This also fits with my personal belief that strong team works well together.
My greatest achievements as a professional are really on two different levels.
EXAMPLE....Professionally I have utilised critical thinking and reflective practice in all aspects of my work. I have read many of the comments on here and am somewhat surprised at the number of participants that feel bullying is prevalent in their workplace, yet feel unable to challenge this behaviour. In my current role I have spent considerable efforts to eliminate these behaviours, and things are improving this is a slow process but very worthwhile. I believe that transparency is the key to good working environments and I favour transformational leadership. we introduced an anonymous OVR system which has been wonderful in helping to identify areas that staff feel they require more support, and as a result of this our ethical framework was revised. I suppose my professional identity was established early on, as my parents believed and told us we could achieve anything we set our minds on, when I first started in my current role my first goal was to eliminate disruptive behaviours, slowly we are achieving this goal. I do find passive aggressive people difficult, and it is very important to gear changes so that all staff can "buy in". I also am acutely aware of the difficulties faced at the bedside for nursing staff, and the challenges they have when doing reflective practice activities, in order to try to combat this we introduced a reflective practice component into all our competencies, and we have an additional monthly meeting to discuss other issues that may arise, excluding our administrative meetings. I believe the staff feel well supported as I do by them.
As this assignment is based on your own experiences and reflections, it is most appropriate to write in the first person.
You will be assessed according to the following marking criteria:
1. Demonstrates a capacity to articulate own values, beliefs, motivations and intentions in a coherent philosophical statement
2. Makes clear connections between professional identity, philosophy and professional practice with appropriate reference to relevant literature sources
3. Demonstrates a capacity to reflect critically on own professional learning and practice
4. Engages actively in online conversations
5. Demonstrates constructive and supportive engagement with peers
6. Uses clear written expression with appropriate referencing of literature where required