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    Scrubs to Suits: A Pathway for Mentorship for Middle Managers

    Scrubs to Suits: A Pathway for Mentorship for Middle Managers

    Photo By Bernard Little | Navy Capt. Jessica Beard (left), chief nursing officer at Walter Reed National...... read more read more



    Story by Bernard Little 

    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

    By Army Capt. Deborah Edwards
    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, 7E, TBI Service Chief
    Navy Capt. Jessica Beard, chief nursing officer at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, has reemployed “Scrubs to Suits,” an initiative developed within the military for junior leaders to observe the day-to-day duties of executive-level leaders. The experience gained through this informal mentorship opportunity cultivates a shared vision and empowers the junior leader to create change within the organization starting with being better prepared within their current leadership role. Additionally, it supports engagement in organizational initiatives providing a culture of growth and networking amongst different services.
    As the service chief of 7 East, Inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Unit, I was challenged with the reopening of a ward that had been closed for over a year with minimal staffing. Although being an engaged leader and cultivating an inclusive work environment to rebuild our team, I worried if I was doing enough to regain the momentum for our mission.
    Having spent a week alongside Captain Beard put things into perspective I was on the right track, and higher level support is more available and involved than junior leaders may think. Each morning, we sat around the table with the most senior leaders providing updates on staffing, patient safety concerns, operational concerns, and realigning priorities. It was evident Captain Beard was an advocate for her nurses and expected nursing to set the example amongst the various clinical services. It is certainly a misconception that executive leaders sit in their offices and scroll the internet all day. Captain Beard would multitask, advising deputy leadership how to solve complex issues, staying in the loop regarding every nursing initiative for quality improvement, answering on-the-spot questions for the WRNNMC director, recognizing stellar leaders amongst the ranks, leading in training exercises, and providing clear guidance for nursing priorities. It is easy to forget our most senior leaders are people first. Captain Beard stayed abreast with all of her professional duties while supporting her family during a very difficult time and carving out some self-care time to regroup. In her office, she displays the quote, “May your work speak for you.” Well let’s just say Captain Beard epitomizes this saying.
    I share my experience to challenge service chiefs, assistant service chiefs, and those in similarly aligned leadership roles, reengage with a mentor. Often times, we are selected because we are hard chargers who are just used to getting the job done. But even in with our strong-willed nature, we need to be supported to grow ourselves and others around us. Additionally, we may feel overwhelmed and resistant to expressing it openly. Remember, you are human and need the same service you so freely give. So take a pause, know that you are doing just fine, and make time for self-care. Learn to develop those you supervise. There is absolutely no way to do it all. Your staff want to be included. For those difficult situations, remember you have support. Reach out when you need it. My hope is that “Suits to Scrubs” is an avenue for the reestablishment and promotion for a more formal organizational mentorship program. Together we do more!



    Date Taken: 12.21.2021
    Date Posted: 12.22.2021 11:17
    Story ID: 411762
    Location: BETHESDA, MD, US 

    Web Views: 214
    Downloads: 0