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  • Writer's pictureDenetra Hampton

Leadership: Practicing Prudence And Prodding

Updated: Aug 28, 2022



adj. Careful or wise in handling practical matters; exercising good judgment or common sense.

The Virtue of Leaders

Prudence means being careful about your choices, stopping and thinking before acting. It is a strength of restraint. When you are prudent, you are reasonable. In a world that exercises and condones imprudence, the profession of nursing is being confronted with complex issues involving politics, law, and policy. Let's face it, most of the complex problems that leaders deal with are human derived, which often stem from some sort of prodding. And fortunately, nurse leaders are grappling with the urgent question of, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO FOR THE FUTURE OF NURSING?

Historically the profession's approach of prudence has worked reasonably well, despite some occasional tense moments. But social media has changed the entire trajectory of how nurse leaders operate. Multiple signs of trouble, such as lack of loyalty, character flaws, and criminal charges have forced the narrative of prudence over prodding, and the future of leadership development in nurses.

In addition, prudence centers around harnessing the power and value that comes from 1-on-1 interactions between people. It relies on a leader authentically engaging in individual conversations with every member of their team.



v. prod·ded, prod·ding, prods To goad to action; incite.

The Capacity of Leaders

Since the Covid-19 pandemic individual nurses have engaged in the practice of radical change and embraced the art of prodding over prudence. The rise of protests, social injustices, vaccination hesitancy and the stress of a global pandemic have all been instrumental in prodding nurses into unconventional roles of leadership. Unfortunately, this is seen as a negative for the profession of nursing. However, it can't be a negative in the profession. Leadership development has taken a front seat among healthcare professionals and how we heed the warning will affect the future of nursing dramatically.

As nursing continues to struggle with diversity and inclusion, the capacity to fully embody the prodding of emerging leaders into such platforms as activism, politics and global health are eluding. As capacity isn’t just about having the knowledge, but also the time and emotional capacity to do a job well. Nursing has been deficient in the area of access, mentorship and sponsorship in nurses of color, this has undoubtedly kept nursing from being seen as reputable leaders across the nation.

In conclusion, great leadership will always fall in the category of prudence and sometimes in prodding. It is necessary to have both, as you navigate your own personal development, the wisdom comes in knowing when to hold'em, fold'em, walk-away, or run.

And most importantly, the profession of nursing must employ different ideas about leadership development.

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