Home health nurses can really make a difference! Not only do they provide care to patients in their homes, but there are also plenty of opportunities for them to expand their skills into clinical leadership and have an even greater impact.
To help you better understand the duties of our clinical leaders, we sat down with Briana Boyd, RN, a clinical supervisor in the South region. Clinical supervisors are RNs who manage the care provided in patient homes. We talked with Briana about her experience as a clinical leader, the most rewarding and challenging aspects of the role, and her advice for nurses interested in moving into leadership roles.
1. What is your educational background?
I attended the Academy of Health Professions at Tampa Bay Technical High School, where my love for the Healthcare field flourished as I was a part of the Licensed Practical Nursing program there. Although I did not get my LPN license after this, it was the foundation upon which I built my prowess in caring for patients during some of the most difficult times in their lives. I currently have an ASN with plans to complete a BSN in the future.
2. What drew you to a career in nursing?
I’ve wanted to be in the healthcare field since I was a child. Although my dream occupation started as wanting to be an obstetrician, throughout my educational career, I found myself coming back to nursing.
I aspire to use what I think are some of the greatest qualities we have to help patients during trying times – the ability to understand, patience, empathy, and compassion. I believe that nursing encompasses all of these aspects, as well as using critical thinking and knowledge to ensure that you are doing what is right for the patient.
3. Why did you choose to work in home healthcare rather than a facility?
The responsibility of being the patient’s advocate has always been one of the most important things to me when it comes to nursing and patient care. In the home care setting, there might not be the rigid checks and balances that are in a health facility, but it becomes your responsibility to maintain Maxim’s core values and policies as you work.
You must make sure you are doing what’s right, and that you allow the patient to have a voice in their care; this is especially true with pediatric patients. This is what I latched onto when the idea of home care was presented to me after getting my nursing license. I started to think about where I could use my talents to better patients’ lives on a one-on-one basis. Even though I am no longer in homes every day, my time as an external field staff has brought a wider view of my responsibilities and tasks as a clinical supervisor.
4. What does your average day look like?
My days consist of lots of emails! Typically I am either setting up visits or attending a visit. When I’m not completing an actual visit, I am usually finishing the process at the office. Emails have become a big part of my day as it keeps me up to date with what is on the agenda in the office and any changes with the patients on my caseload. I am constantly learning more about my role, so I usually have some topics to discuss daily with my fellow clinical supervisors or my clinical manager in the office.
5. How many nurses do you supervise?
I tend to look at the nurses I supervise in terms of the number of patients on my caseload, so I don’t have a definite count. Overall, between the other two clinical supervisors and myself, we have a little over 140 nurses actively taking care of our patients.
6. In your opinion, what qualities does a clinical supervisor need to be successful?
Flexibility, patience, compassion, empathy, a sense of autonomy, openness to constructive criticism and a hunger to learn.
Being flexible and having patience is a huge part of this job. Things are constantly changing daily, and not becoming frustrated will save you from so much stress in the long run. As I mentioned previously, you must have compassion and empathy for others. I feel that is something that we can become complacent with and forget that our decisions and responsibilities affect the outcome of the patients we care for. A case is not just a name on a folder. It is a human being and, by extension, their family that we provide services for.
Having a sense of autonomy is also important. Sometimes you have to govern yourself and ensure that you are doing things in balance. Setting up your schedule and holding yourself to it while also not being so rigid that when the unexpected comes up, you’re in shambles, is something I’m trying to perfect. Finally, being able to take criticism and having a hunger to learn can go hand in hand. I believe when you are willing to learn from your mistakes, you are able to look at your actions and see how they could have been done differently. Also, you must allow yourself some grace when you make a mistake and not fixate on it, take it as a learning experience and apply it to how you handle things in the future.
7. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The certainty in knowing that I am making a difference in our patient’s lives. This position is an integral part of making sure our patients get the care they need, and I can see how my actions and the completion of my duties directly impact the patient and their families.
8. What is the most challenging part of your job?
One of the most challenging parts for me is when the unexpected happens. Discerning the best course of action in a situation can be flustering in the moment, and I’m actively learning not to panic when plans go out the window.
9. What keeps you motivated on a daily basis?
Wanting to continue to improve as a new clinical supervisor has been all the motivation I’ve needed recently. I want to contribute to shouldering the caseload for my colleagues. I want to continue fine-tuning my aptitude for this job role to make a difference for my office and this company. I want my actions to have an impact.
10. What advice do you have for someone who is considering entering clinical leadership?
Don’t doubt yourself about choosing to move into a role like this. You learn so much, and it becomes second nature soon enough. The apprehension you may be harboring could be the one thing that is holding you back from completely changing your life and opening up a world of new opportunities.
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