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April 2016
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Dear VNIP Members,
Welcome to our newsletter!

We hope you find the information in it useful and timely. 

Susan Boyer, RN, MEd, FAHCEP
Executive Director
By Anne Walker, M.Ed.

The word empowerment is thrown around a lot in the business world. Webster's dictionary gives two definitions to the word empower: 

1. Give authority or power to someone 
2. Make more confident or assertive

These two definitions are interconnected - to be empowered takes power and authority, which will lead to confidence and more assertive behavior.

Recently, I worked with a team for 6 months as they endeavored to strategically plan how to turn an organization in a new direction. They worked diligently and with great sensitivity to all those who would be affected. They presented their plans to the board, which were accepted and approved. They implemented the plan and everyone lived happily ever after. 
The implementation of this strategic plan was driven by a Steering Team that gave careful thought to the process, but it was a team that lacked several things. The issue that blocked success for this team was the empowerment of individuals. The organizational leader was intellectually 'on board' with the changes, but when 'push comes to shove', this leader was unable to let go and empower the team.
How many times have we as leaders not quite trusted the teams with whom we work? Nothing stamps out creativity, motivation and commitment faster than holding tight to the reins and the need to be in control. Leaders may complain that staff doesn't run with projects, act motivated, or follow through; while not providing the environment that allows them to do so. How often do we give others enough room to not only succeed, but to allow them to learn from their mistakes?
The real question is "What are we doing to empower others?" If there is a lack of team or individual action, we need to reflect on what we might be doing as leaders that discourages and decreases enthusiasm. Consider: Are team members given enough power and authority for the development of their confidence and more assertive behavior?
Here are 10 specific things that empower:
  1. Catch people doing things right and give honest compliments.
  2. Give feedback without judgment.
  3. Listen. Listen. Listen.
  4. Share knowledge and skills.
  5. Make sure you demonstrate respect.
  6. Be a great role model.
  7. Smile, be pleasant.
  8. Foster creativity and 'out of the box' thinking.
  9. Give people enough space and support to think their way out of problem.
  10. Give encouragement rather than criticism.
Empowerment is a process that is multi-dimensional and cannot happen without a fundamental interconnectedness of groups and individuals. It takes respect, trust and support to develop individual and team capacity. We only get truly motivated and committed to things over which we have some power and autonomy.


ŠVermont Nurses in Partnership (VNIP)
All rights reserved. Copying without permission is prohibited
Albert Schweitzer


VNIP Updates 
by Susan Boyer

Newsletter Question

Some asked last month if they might reproduce the newsletter or share it within their agency.  The copyright policy on that question provides an answer of "Yes, if you are a VNIP Alliance member!" If you are not a member, regrettably the answer must be, "No".  

VNIP seeks to share as broadly as possible, but is also accountable to the VNIP membership. The sharing of resource materials is a component of building sustainability for the work, research, and further resource development of the non-profit organization.  We encourage you to link your agency with VNIP to share resources and the intellectual assets that our national network brings to professional development in healthcare.

VNIP exists to create and disseminate a collaborative, evidence-based, 'best practice' model for clinical competence development. 

Supporting Clinical Transition

VNIP has learned many lessons from over 15 years of experience in transitional support for students, new graduates, orientees, and travelers.   First and foremost, preceptor development and support is crucial to whatever model or framework that is used.  Preceptor support includes having policies in place, instructional guidelines, tools/time for teaching and mentoring in the preceptor role.  Secondly, all parties require clearly defined expectations pertaining to their role and clinical performance expectations. The coaching plans can be established as a resource pool, just as we have books of standardized nursing care plans.  The plans are selected based on the learning needs of the student or orientee, then individualized to their unique needs. 

But the foundation for competency, orientation, preceptor programs, students, and direct care staff are the policies and evidence-base that the program or process is built upon.  For more information about the Clinical Transition Framework and access to VNIP evidence-based, proprietary resources - check out the web site at www.vnip.org and/or e-mail sboyer@vnip.org

Access to Members Only section of VNIP website

The password to the Limited Access section of the website has been updated. If you are a current member of the Alliance and have not been given the new password please contact: 
Newsletter Editorial Board
Susan Boyer, Ellen Hagman 

VNIP Office
289 County Rd
Windsor, VT 05089
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