Professor D’Antonio Reflects on Her Acceptance into the 2021 NLN LEAD Program

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Christine D’Antonio, MSN, RN, professor and director of our BSN Clinical Immersion program, has been accepted into the 2021 National League for Nursing (NLN) LEAD program. LEAD focuses on leadership development for nurses in education and practice who have recently been challenged with rapid transition into leadership positions; those in leadership positions who desire a formal leadership program; and those emerging and aspiring to lead. This program is a part of the NLN Leadership Institute under the Center for Transformational Leadership.

In the Q&A below, Professor D’Antonio shares with us what she hopes to take away from this opportunity.

How does it feel to be accepted into the 2021 NLN LEAD program?

I am truly humbled and honored to be accepted. The NLN LEAD Program is part of the NLN Leadership Institute, which is a nationally recognized leadership program created to mentor and foster the development of nurse leaders from novice to expert. In 2011, I began my journey as a nurse educator and strive every single day to reach a step further into the role of a nurse leader.

What are you hoping to learn from the program?

My top three goals to take away from the NLN LEAD program include:

  1. Develop purposeful management and leadership skills. The NLN Leadership Institute aligns with my goals to develop and enhance my own management and leadership skills through a structured leadership program. As a novice nurse leader embracing a new professional role, I have identified personal mentors among my colleagues whom support my new transition into a management and leadership position.
  2. Develop strategies to enhance effective team building. In my new role as the BSN Clinical Immersion Program Director, I will be challenged to build my “team” from the ground up. In order to develop and implement the program into practice by Spring 2023, this will need to occur within the year. As I have personally served as a member of leadership teams, I recognize the value of structure, efficiency and productivity. To ensure that this new program is a success for the students, for the University and for our partnered health system, the development of an effective, high performing team is of the utmost importance and I strive to lead by example to meet this goal.
  3. Develop effective communication strategies with an emphasis on negotiation and collaboration. Throughout the development of the BSN Clinical Immersion program, I will be responsible for networking and meeting with leaders from the University as well as from our partnered health system. Our dean has set a precedence regarding the importance and value of purposeful negotiation and communication in academia. This year, our annual faculty retreat focused on this topic, and it really caught my attention. These principles are more relevant than ever as I embark in this new endeavor, and I recognize that this is truly an art and that these essential skills will directly support my new position. I am eager to learn more about the development of effective negotiation and communication strategies to produce effective, respectful and focused results.

How do you think this program will help you in your role at Duquesne?

I believe that upon participating in and completing the NLN Leadership Institute program, I will be more purposeful and deliberate in my management and leadership styles. This program will drive my ability to critically think through particular circumstances related to negotiation styles, deliberate communication and sound decision-making. As a novice nurse leader, I am eager to experience a structured program that will provide the building blocks to success. As a full-time professor of nursing, I tell my students that the “fundamentals of nursing” are those pearls of wisdom that they will always carry, regardless of where they may go in their profession.

Through this opportunity, I myself recognize the value of personal and professional reflection. I reflect personally on my own pathway to leadership and embrace the change and opportunity with open arms. As a professional nurse, educator and leader, I challenge myself every single day to be purposeful, responsive and deliberate in my actions. I believe that through the pearls of wisdom set forth from the NLN Leadership Institute, I myself will have another layer of building blocks to success. The NLN LEAD program objectives and outcomes will undoubtedly push me outside of my comfort zone, challenge me to think abstractly, and allow me the opportunity to gain valuable insight into nursing leadership in a way that I have not known before.

I truly admire the leadership style of the nursing administration at Duquesne University, and I plan to carry the pearls of wisdom from the NLN LEAD program into my new role as the Director of the BSN Clinical Immersion program.

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