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Keywords:

  • nursing leadership;
  • presence;
  • reflection;
  • self awareness

Aim  This paper explores educational strategies for nurses that focus on reflectivity and promote the development of self-awareness, relationship and communication skills and ability to lead with presence and compassion in the midst of change.

Background  Today nurses move rapidly from carefully-controlled educational experiences to a fast- paced clinical world of increasing patient complexity amid calls for improved quality of care. Making the transition to clinical competence and leadership in practice requires a strong sense of self and emotional intelligence.

Evaluation  Pedagogies that integrate theoretical and data-based textbook learning with experiential learning and reflection are a foundation for the development of emotionally- and intellectually-competent leaders and requires new ways of assessing learner outcomes.

Key issues  Reflection is a key instructional strategy for preparing transformational nurse leaders for interdisciplinary settings where they lead patient care management. The remarkable global spread of reflection in nursing education, practice and research follows an emphasis on developing self-awareness as a leadership strategy for improving individual and organizational performance.

Conclusions  Empirical, experiential and anecdotal evidence suggests that reflection has the potential to prepare emotionally-capable nurse leaders.

Implications for Nursing Management  As educators create more reflective and nurturing learning environments, they will promote the development of emotionally-competent nurse leaders who will, in turn, inspire individual and organizational growth and positive change in society.