Pearls from Our Nurse Leaders

Demonstrate the Breadth and Depth of Nursing

“Take a moment to appreciate, respect, and support individuals, families and communities for their selflessness, dedication, and tenacity in serving and representing the greatest profession in the world! This is OUR time to shine and show the world the breadth and depth of this profession – from bedside to research to executives to communities – the future of health care will be shaped with nurse leaders at the table!”

Nina Vaid Raoji, DNP, APN, MSN, RN

Co-Founder Nurse Commander

Advocate for Nurses and Patients

Nurse leaders are reporting to the ANA that they are experiencing retaliation for speaking out. “It is in the Nurse Code of Ethics to advocate for patients. Speaking out is advocating for patients and when we’re not, we are doing a disservice to our patients. The ANA supplies nurse leaders with the research and standards they need to speak out with the evidence to back them up so they can advocate for nurses and the patients they serve.”

Dr. Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN

President of the American Nurses Association (ANA)

Promote Confidence & Well-Being

“The role of the nurse leader is to promote confidence in their staff. There are a lot of clinicians listening to the news and that evokes a lot of emotion. People are nervous, and the uncertainty of the virus is creating fear. However, our nurse leaders need to lead with a calm demeanor, with confidence, and transparency. Look at the science and make decisions, with the caveat that things can change the more we learn. Be attuned to the well-being of your staff. We are in this for the long-haul.”

Dr. Robyn Begley, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

Chief Executive Officer of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) and Senior VP / Chief Nursing Officer of the American Hospital Association (AHA)

Communication is Key

“Communication is key. When you think you are doing it well, you probably aren’t, and when you think you aren’t communicating well, you probably are”. No matter how many drills you do, nothing prepares you for a disaster. You are always starting at ground zero. Contingency theory – You need to have contingency plans for all possible scenarios.”

Dr. Timothy Layman, DNP, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Administrator of Clinical Operations at a critical access Medical Center, NC

Stay True to Core Mission

“An organization’s culture determines its effectiveness. An organization’s culture persists despite changes in the environment or to the people within it. It is during these times of chaos that an organization relies on its mission, values, and culture to guide them, especially while navigating these unprecedented times.  An organization must stay true to its core mission and maintain lines of communication with alignment of mission across all layers of the healthcare system.”

Dr. Jessica Coviello, DNP, ANP

Associate Professor at Yale University School of Nursing

Listen and Be Responsive

“It is important to listen to staff and be responsive to their needs. Often, just by listening, staff has offered solutions to issues and provided helpful insight into the current situation.  Equally important is to respond to what they are saying. If you don’t follow through, you lose credibility.”

Ron Yolo, MSN, MBA, RN

VP, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) at Dignity Health, Glendale Memorial Hospital, CA

Anticipate What is to Come

“Listen – listen to what the requests are and listen to the people that are reaching out to you. As you are delivering recommendations for step 1, you need to think of step 2-5 as well. Think – what can I anticipate will likely happen next – and then think critically towards those next steps so you can be ready. And stay calm.”

Shannon Davila, RN, MSN

Director of the Institute for Quality and Patient Safety at the New Jersey Hospital Association

Unleash Your Leaders

“By empowering nurses to “unleash” their potential, they are able to create innovative ideas to ensure safety and quality care despite the challenging demands of this crisis.”

Janine Duran Llamzon, MS, AGNP-c, CEN, NEA-bc

System Director of Nursing and Clinical Operations of St. Joseph’s Health Emergency Services, NJ

Value Collective Wisdom

“Nurse leaders should not feel like they are alone on this journey. Establish touchpoints and use collegial connections for support. Collective wisdom is more valuable than unilateral decision making.”

Dr. Tim Porter-O’Grady, DM, EdD, ScD(h), APRN, FAAN, FACCWS

Chair of the Board of the American Nurses Foundation

Consistency, Reliability, and Truthfulness

“Nursing has a voice that needs to be heard but it can only be effective when presented in a direct tone and professional manner. Respect is gained when trust has been established. This is accomplished through consistency, reliability, and truthfulness.”

Nancy Rizzuto, MSN, RN, ANP, CCRN

Interim Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) and former Director of Critical Care and Cardiac Services, NY

Always Remain Humble and Human

“Always remain humble and human, and never ask someone to do something you would not do yourself. During the peak of the crisis I needed to gather a number of hospital transporters and security officers to move a large number of patients who expired. I explained to them what had to be done, and offered each one the opportunity to be excused. Not one person asked to be excused. As I coordinated and helped them move the bodies, they asked why I was staying and helping. I explained to them that my first job in a hospital was as a transporter, and this was a job that had to be done. And together, with respect and dignity for those who passed, we relocated the bodies together.”

Robert Church, RN, MS, MBA, NE-BC, FACHE

Chief Nursing Officer and Senior VP for Patient Care Services at St. Barnabas Hospital, Bronx, NY

Self-Care is Not Selfish – It is Critical

“I prescribe that everyone writes themselves a script for 10 minutes of Self-Care BID. Self-care should be personalized and be anything that takes you away from stress and technology. For example, stretching or mindfulness. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it is critical to being able to help others.”

TyQuitta Perrier, PMHNP-BC, FNP

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Tele-Health Provider

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

“Approach everyday with passion, accomplish your tasks at hand and don’t be afraid to speak up – We nurses are the ambassadors for our patients. We are at the bedside 24/7. We are key in diagnosing our patients’ needs via using our clinical judgement and analyzing our nursing assessment data for developing our patients’ care plans.”


Surveyor for Joint Commission International (JCI)

Find Your Purpose

Kanarek has been inspired by famed psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s work in logotherapy and his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” when struggling to find meaning in life even when life throws its worst at you-the loss of a child. “By doing this work, and honoring my son, I have found my purpose- to improve the quality of life at others. That sustains me.”

Robin Kanarek, RN

President of the Kanarek Family Foundation

Utilize an Incident Command Structure

“Shared governance and democracy may have to be put to the side to go into a military, incident command structure.”

Rosanne Raso DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Chief Nursing Officer at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell

Share Real-Time Information

“The whole country is impacted, and we are globally impacted by COVID-19. It is needed more than ever before for health care personnel to share best practices across healthcare systems, across states, across the country, and around the world. Nurse leaders can act as catalysts for free and open exchange of information.”

Manjeet Kaur RN, MS, MPH, CPHQ

Assistant Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Hospice at Amedisys, Inc.

Step Forward Boldly and Proudly

“This is not a time for nurses to shrink back. Now is the time to step boldly and proudly forward to show our best to the public and to influence the direction of health care for our communities. This is why nurses are voted the most trusted professionals year after year.”

Dr. Lisa Sundean PHD, MHA, RN

Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Go Back To Your WHY?

“Whenever you find yourself in situations that are out of the ordinary, go back to your WHY? Why did you become a nurse? That answer will help you navigate the stress, challenges, and self-doubt that occurs during times like this. Use this to be present with your staff in the battlefields and your team will follow your leadership patiently and happily.”

Morufat Tajudeen, BSN, RN, CCHP

Regional Nurse Manager of 13 Correctional Facilities in NJ

Kindness Starts at the Top

“Most important thing is to be kind to one another. Kindness starts at the top. It is a difficult time. Listen and be patient. We all have different concerns and fears that affect how we handle this situation. Be concrete with staff about expectations and update constantly as information/data changes by the day.”

Peggy Lynch RN, MSN, ANP-AOCN

Adult Nurse Practitioner in the Urology Survivorship program at Cancer Center in NYC

Leverage Virtual Platforms

“Continuing to leverage our virtual platform may help healthcare advance to where we should be in different realms of healthcare—leadership transparency and increase patient access to name a couple.  Moreover, we need to continue the momentum of reinforcing the importance of infection control and disaster preparation. This is also an opportune situation to flex nursing expertise and to show the value of this profession.”

Faye Christen, MSN, CCRN-K

Primary Care Nursing Director at LAC+USC Medical Center

Clarity is Key

“Clarity is key. Be clear in your communication and communicate your message in a clear and balanced manner.”

Dr. Carmen Portillo, RN, PhD

Executive Deputy Dean and Professor at Yale School of Nursing

Be Humane to All

“Developing a team comes from being humane to all and seeing all as one. Staff are afraid and experiencing anxiety and distress. To develop a team culture, leadership must be visible and check in with staff to see how they are doing.  Nursing leadership has been supportive and visible here in the critical care area.”

Rose Santa-Teresa RN, BSN, CCRN

Clinical Nurse IV at a cancer center in NYC

All Nurses are Educators

“All nurses, no matter what capacity you work in, are educators. Now more than ever we need to stay abreast of current science and promote measures to prevent the spread of illness and promote health. Go back to the basics- the health triangle. Address how to care for physical, social and emotional well-being while under stay at home directives.”

Maryann Kennedy RN, CSN-NJ

School Nurse/ Health Educator - Elementary School

Create Stronger Patient Connections

“Just by lending a listening ear, I am often able to make a difference. Navigating through these uncharted waters together has led to creating an even stronger bond with patients.”

Payal Sharma MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CBN

Nurse Practitioner in General Surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine

Leaders & Reformers of Healthcare

“There is such strength in how united we are in this fight against this novelty disease, in pursuit to heal those affected by it, and in belief that the sacrifices we make every day will ultimately bring the world we miss back.  2020 truly is the year of nurses – leaders and reformers of healthcare. We would make Florence Nightingale proud.”

Dr. Ewelina Gibek, DNP, CRNA, APRN

Lead Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for Outpatients Services New Haven CT

Sustain the New Normal

“Keep pressing ever forward. Do not think of getting back to “normal”. Instead sustain the relationships, collaborative partnerships and respect to forge and sustain a new normal were every voice counts and everyone is valued.”

Dr. Mary M. Gullatte, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN, FAAN

Corporate Director of Nursing Evidence Based Practice and Research for Emory Healthcare

Remember Your Nursing Values

“Remember your nursing values and holistic nursing care. A lot of people and organizations are defining health as Covid or Non-Covid, but health is so much more than that. Nurses are trained to look at health holistically and which is something that has really been lacking since implementation of restrictions in society and in healthcare organizations. Stand up for your patients, stand up for yourself, and stand up for nursing. Now is the time for you to use your voice and that is special and impactful.”

Erin Micale, MSN, RN-BC, CNL

Faculty at an University located in Michigan

Recognize Team Strengths and Weaknesses

“Know your team members strengths and weaknesses.  During times of quick and decisive action you need to ensure you are delegating the right task to the right person and being familiar with the strengths of your team will surely help. I am humbled by the courage shown by our teammates who have shown up and done what needs to be done, when we knew even less than we do now.  That courage fuels and encourages me to keep leading.”

Holly Artkamp, RN

CNO at Continuum Care Facility in Ohio

Trust Each Other

“Respect and value every member of health care team. Trust each other. It is time to work together for the best interest of our patients.”

Dr. Jackie Rowles, DNP MBA, CRNA, ANP-BC, FAAN

President of the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists (IFNA)

See Each Other in a New Light

“COVID-19 shows us that we need to see each other in a new light. Instead of focusing on mending the cracks, see the light coming through cracks and build from there,” said Dr. Cunningham. Dr. Cunningham quotes the powerful lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem” as a message of hope in darkness: There is a crack, a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.

Dr. Tim Cunningham, DrPH, MSN, RN, FAAN

Vice President of Practice and Innovation at Emory Healthcare

Practice What We Preach

“Keeping up optimism and hope in the never-ending barrage of pandemic news while dealing with the grief and sadness of others is challenging. Having an ongoing practice of self-care whether you choose mindfulness, meditation, yoga, spirituality, physical exercise, is essential for us to “practice what we preach” and assist our fellow nurses.”

Dr. Dorrie Fontaine, RN, PhD, FAAN

Dean Emeritus and former Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing at the University of Virginia

Disrupt and Reshape the Future

“Do not lose ground. The world is changing, and this is an opportunity to disrupt and reshape our future. Let us reflect on the lessons learned and return to our roles with a fresh new view and recreate things. All the bricks are not going up all at once, they are going up one by one allowing time to do this.”

Tracy Castleman, CRNA, MS, APN-A, DNP candidate

Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at Monmouth Medical Center

Educate Your Front Line Staff

“Continue to use evidence-based models to align nursing value with revenue generation and quality care. Frontline nurses need the financial acumen to be able to demonstrate their value as revenue generators. It begins by educating frontline nurse on how their actions contain cost and prevent costly adverse outcomes.”


Misty Landor MBA, MSN, RN, CNS, ANP-C, CCCTM

Director of Patient Care Practice of Ambulatory Care Coordination for Emory Healthcare

Allow Yourself Some Grace

“You cannot be the best version of yourself for your patients and their families if you are not allowing yourself some grace and time for self-care. Use the following 4 questions to guide your connections; what was the “high” of your day; what was your “low” of the day; what did you learn; and, what are you grateful for? This allows the opportunity to be more present and connected.”

Dr. Taryn Hamre, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CHOPN

Sunflower Kids Pediatric Palliative Care Team at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Rounding With a Purpose is Key!

“Make an effort to make daily rounds throughout the organization and to afford the opportunity to communicate with staff, to understand their concerns and more importantly, to acknowledge their fears as we navigate the uncharted waters related to this novel Corona virus together.  Also gain insight on what is working well, what is not working well, and whether the team has the supplies and equipment needed to keep themselves and our patients safe.”


Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Emory Decatur Hospital

Have Humility to Listen and Accept

“Having humility to listen and accept when we did not get things right was critical. Never has it been more important to have intentional leadership and rapid innovation that encompasses all voices. We did not get it right every time but learned by listening to feedback from our frontline clinical teams and yielding deference to expertise, we have been able to make change to positively impact care.”

Kathleen Chavanu Gorman, MSN, RN, FAAN

EVP of Patient Care Services and Chief Operating Officer at Children’s National

Recognize Formal and Informal Power

“As many leaders have said before, and originating with President Truman, it is amazing what can be accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit for it. During times like these it is not important who is saying it the loudest or getting credit for saying it but that it is getting accomplished. Nurses are often the voice of reason and may not always get the recognition, but they make sure things happen. And, while it is important to have a formal seat at the table, it is equally important for nursing to use their influence supported by evidence – their informal powers – to get their message to the appropriate people at key decision-making tables.”

Dr. Suzanne Miyamoto, PhD, RN, FAAN

Chief Executive Officer of the American Academy of Nursing

Leverage Nursing’s Visibility and Trust

“Nurses need to leverage their visibility and the trust they have from the public to make changes in the healthcare system. Now is the time for nurses to engage and not sit back and hope others will fix the problems we have seen. Let’s not go backwards. We should evaluate and build off the positive changes we have made during this pandemic. Nurses need to be vocal and engaged.

Dr. Edna Cadmus, PhD, RN, NEA BC, FAAN

Executive Director NJ Collaborative Center for Nursing and Co-Director NJ Action Coalition

Lead Authentically for Collective Impact

“As a leader, it is important to draw upon your strengths and lead authentically.  I am a proponent of Servant Leadership, collective impact and letting others shine. Trust those around you. Be aware of those around you during times of crisis, sometimes people you don’t expect may step up and assume leadership roles.”

Dr. Sheila Davis, DNP, MSN, BSN

Chief Executive Officer of Partners in Health

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