Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare: Evolution of a Revolution
Kay Kennedy, Lucy Leclerc, and Susan Campis. 2022. Morgan James Publishing. [ISBN 978-1-63195-553-2. 236 pages. US$18.95 (softcover).]
Nurses in a 21st century workforce encounter new and unique problems daily: complex technology, new medicines and treatments, and a constant pressure to meet higher standards with ever shrinking resources. Conquering these issues requires effective modern nursing leadership that meets a wider variety of needs than a traditional top-down style. Nurses Kay Kennedy, Lucy Leclerc, and Susan Campis assert that their new model of nursing leadership—the human-centered model—is up to the challenge.
“Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare embodies the principles of complexity science. It [is] different from traditional leadership in that the leader is embedded in the system. The influencers and innovators are those at the point of care” (p. 1). These three authors provide evidence for their leadership theory with a compelling Institutional Review Board- approved clinical study that yielded qualitative results. Results included anecdotes and narratives, along with literature studies and historical perspectives. Although they provide the reader with a citation to investigate the research study further, the authors’ study summary is somewhat limited. Improvements could include details that would make their conclusions more lucid; for example, the exact length of the study is omitted as well as details about the content of the focus groups. It is mentioned that they categorized the responses into a matrix and “coded” them, but this process is not explained thoroughly. Their arguments would be more compelling if more of the results were directly linked to the conclusions of their leadership model.
From this research study, the authors formulated their theory of leadership based on the idea that self- care, self-awareness, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence are all springboards upon which a leader embeds themself within a healthcare system. “Human- Centered Leaders require intentional development of skills that support the leader’s effectiveness and the ability to create a sustainable culture of Excellence, Trust and Caring” (p. 131). The authors’ outline the attributes of excellence as embodied by the Awakener: a motivator, coach, mentor, architect, and advocate (p. 131). They then list the characteristics of trust embodied by the Connector: collaborator, supporter, edge walker, engineer, and authentic communicator (p. 98). Concluding their leadership model by listing the components of caring embodied by the Upholder: mindful, others-oriented, emotionally aware, socially and organizationally aware, and personally well and healthy (p. 115). The authors’ primary argument is that a truly effective leader in nursing must have all these skills, as well as the ability to discern when it is appropriate to emphasize one over another.
Overall, Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare: Evolution of a Revolution is an excellent resource for nurses. However, the terms and language used assume the reader has experience in both healthcare and leadership. Including a quick-reference glossary with leadership terms and nursing acronyms would be helpful for someone new to both fields. Many skills described like reflective journaling, mindfulness, and appreciative inquiry are useful in developing leaders in other service professions aside from nursing. With this leadership model, Kennedy, Leclerc, and Campis have opened the door to their “evolution of a revolution.”
Julie Kinyoun is an on-call chemistry instructor at various community colleges in Southern California. An avid reader, she enjoys reviewing books that help her become a better educator.