1199SEIU nurses were praised for their crucial work and inspired to do even better at the ninth annual 1199SEIU League Registered Nurse Labor Management Initiative (RNLMI) Nursing Symposium. More than 500 people gathered in Brooklyn on November 27 for the symposium, “Nurses, Leading with Heart and Mind.” Speakers and breakout sessions focused on how RNs can lead the health care industry into the future while building a culture of productivity and exceptional quality of care in collaboration with all members of the healthcare team.

Keynote speaker David Zambrana, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Jackson Memorial Hospital, led the audience through a transformative presentation on leadership and partnership. Emphasizing that nurses at all levels can lead, Dr. Zambrana urged attendees to value strengths in themselves and others, challenging each member of the audience to look into the mirror every day and reflect on whether they truly display effective leadership. “The best leaders are listeners,” he said. “Understanding and relating to others is key to leading them.” Concluding to a standing ovation, Dr. Zambrana said: “Leadership is about being intensely human and making an impact.”

Bernadette Braddy, Co-director of 1199SEIU League Labor Management Project, reflected on the groundbreaking journey that healthcare is on and how nurses have been front and center. Braddy encouraged attendees to reflect on both the future of healthcare and their own personal journeys as they navigated the symposium. Denise Cherenfant, RN and Director of Nursing Programs at 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund, reminded attendees to “continue to touch and influence life and make life better for patients and their families, because that is what we do as nurses.”

At a panel discussion on what it means to be a leader and how to thrive through disruption, Nadine Williamson, RN and Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, remarked: “There is no way to have effective change unless the nurses at the bedside are included.  If the key people who are doing the work aren’t involved, then you ultimately fail at the outcome you want to achieve.” Michael H. Ackerman, RN and Director of Masters in Healthcare Innovation and Professor of Clinical Nursing at The Ohio State University acknowledged that nursing at the bedside is often less valued now than in the past, due in part to a new emphasis on technology. In no uncertain terms, he urged the audience to speak up about the importance of bedside nursing. “At some point it is going to impact you and the last thing you want to think is, what is this?  Where did this come from?” he said of the changes occurring in the industry pulling nurses away from the bedside. Cara Henley, Senior Consultant at Health Management Associates, solidified this point by concluding, “When you are forcing yourself into the conversation and into the room and making your voice heard, people will listen.”

The afternoon offered six breakout sessions, including Mental Health First Aid, Value-based Care, Leadership Behavior and Leadership Development, Staffing for Patient-centered Care and Technology and Innovation at the Bedside. The sixth session, Friday Night in the ER gave participants a chance to problem-solve the challenges of managing a hospital ER department during a 12- or 24-hour period.

You can find photos and presentation materials from the 2018 symposium on the RNLMI Nursing Symposium page.

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