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The challenges associated with delivering quality client care within healthcare systems and environments are characterised by increasing complexity and acuity in client needs, rising consumer (and public) expectations, and increasingly constrained human and financial resources, all of which are everyday realities for many nurses (Courtney et al. 2015). In this context, empowering nurses with the skills, attributes and confidence needed to have control and influence over their own practice is critical. This chapter makes explicit the notions of leadership and empowerment inherent in other chapters, with a particular emphasis on the responsibility we all have to advance the quality and excellence of nursing practice and also to be a voice for our profession and leaders in the changes and improvements necessary to promote optimal health outcomes for local and global communities (Grossman & Valiga 2021, Komives, Wagner, & Associates 2016). This chapter presents various perspectives on leadership and empowerment in nursing, and proposes some strategies and ideas for developing your own leadership potential.
In accordance with the standards for nursing and midwifery education, training and assessment, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) requires students to engage in professional placement experiences as part of an accredited program of undergraduate study, with mandatory hours of activity linked to successful learning outcomes and registration to practise as a nurse in Australia (ANMAC 2017, Ford et al. 2016, Schwartz 2019). Clinical placements are therefore a central component of nursing education, complementing the theoretical foundations and simulation-based learning provided at university.
Preparing you for professional practice is the overarching goal of nursing education. Your success in professional experience placements depends on your ability to effectively draw upon and translate your learning to the clinical practice context and environment. This chapter provides specific information and strategies to help you to better understand and succeed in the clinical practice component of your degree program. The chapter also introduces the rapidly expanding role of social media in nursing education and practice.
The heart of nursing is intrinsically linked to what you do as a nurse and why you do it, but it is also about how you do it – the ways in which you represent and enact the core values and intent of the profession.
While some of your views and beliefs are likely to be shared with other students and experienced nurses, your reasons for wanting to be a nurse, and what you consider to be at the heart of nursing, will vary depending on your personal perspectives and experiences. This chapter begins by considering some of the common perspectives on nursing, noting how your own perspective is likely to change as you progress through your studies and into practice. We look at why people choose nursing, the different views and influences they are likely to encounter and the diverse range of roles and settings in which they may work. We then discuss how this informs what it means to be a nurse and your emerging sense of professional identity. The chapter concludes by exploring caring, compassion and kindness – concepts that lie at the heart of nursing, even though they are likely to be understood, applied and experienced differently in the context of each nurse’s own practice.
Health care in Australia is delivered through a large, diverse and complex system (or set of systems) that is constantly evolving and changing. The system is often considered to be in a state of perpetual change, with frequent restructuring of healthcare priorities and how services are organised, funded and governed (Reynolds, Willis & Rudge 2020).Within this dynamic system and reform agenda, a chapter on contemporary health care can describe how things currently stand but these existing roles and services need to be considered in the context of the frequent changes as noted. Even similarly named roles and services can differ in design and implementation based on local needs and priorities and the varied strategic, policy and operating contexts of different organisations and settings.
We begin the chapter by briefly revisiting some of the key concepts from Chapter 4 and examining the current health landscape. We then turn to some of the current and emerging issues, trends and opportunities in health care, and explore how these might influence and shape the ways in which health, social and community services are designed, prioritised and delivered in Australia.
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