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“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”

Dale Carnegie

Chapter Objectives

Describe how learning styles influence ability to process information.

Explain the importance of collaborative relationships among healthcare leaders in the context of succession planning.

Examine the beliefs of a nursing legend specific to nursing value.

For most nurse leaders, understanding the tangible work of the profession is straightforward. Managing pain and monitoring vital signs might be seen as core nursing competencies in most organizations. What is not so clear are the intangible relational competencies necessary to interact effectively with individuals from different cultures, different healthcare professions, and different experiences while still all being expected to achieve the same desired outcomes, namely improved patient health. Every day nurse leaders review staffing levels to ensure patients have the right caregiver at the right time. When patient acuity commands greater nursing time, it is the nurse leader who must justify the need. Finance leaders look to nurse leaders to comply with budgeting expectations. When staffing changes conflict with what was budgeted, the ensuing conversations between the two roles can become one of friction or one of mutual understanding, depending upon the level of partnership and collaboration previously established.

In this chapter, we share wisdom specific to the relational aspects of healthcare, which includes understanding the learning styles of colleagues, knowing where to turn for specific sources of business information about your organization, setting lifelong reading expectations, developing relationships with members of your organization’s finance staff, and recognizing and building trust as the glue for sustaining relationships. This chapter concludes with thoughts that Dr. Timothy Porter-O’Grady shared with us about nursing values.

The overriding theme in this chapter is how we can’t define the future alone. We need all roles at the table. This means we need mutual understanding and respect to create partnerships with common core values and goals. Only then can we take on the future in such a way that it can be seen as something to look forward to and embrace rather than fear and dread.


Exceptional leaders are those who strive to be lifelong learners—they have a thirst for new information and challenge themselves making that information applicable in their day-to-day world. Leaders need to have an understanding of how they process new information and how others around them process information. This understanding of learning styles will impact how other leaders will approach them for information and how they may present the information to other nurse leaders. We have heard the phrase “see one, do one, teach one”—lifelong learners are often lifelong teachers and mentors.

A strong understanding of how ...

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