Cleveland Clinic Nursing Hosts 10th Annual Leadership Summit

Milestone event celebrated past, present and future

On Aug. 10, more than 600 Cleveland Clinic nurse leaders came together to celebrate the past, present and future of nursing at Cleveland Clinic’s milestone 10th annual Nursing Leadership Summit.

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Denoting an exciting and transformative decade of unified system-wide nursing leadership under The Stanley Shalom Zielony Institute for Nursing Excellence, the theme for the day was appropriately titled “A Legacy of Leadership.” Additionally, an accompanying mantra followed suit with the American Nurses Association’s 2018 National Nurses Week theme of “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence.”

The momentous event welcomed a number of highly respected, nationally recognized speakers, several esteemed and special guests, intriguing discussion, team building, education and more.

The summit opened with a celebratory video, included a creative art project and closed with heart-warming stories from recent graduates of Cleveland Clinic’s ASPIRE Nurse Scholars program and a recognition ceremony for Cleveland Clinic’s newest DAISY Foundation Awardees.

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Looking ahead: continuing excellence in leadership

Not only did the 2018 Nursing Leadership Summit pay tribute to Cleveland Clinic’s talented nurse leaders, it inspired and encouraged them to think about how they could enhance their daily professional practice and future leadership.

Throughout the day, presenters discussed important topics, including wellness and the future of health and diversity and the future of the nursing workforce.

Guest speaker highlights included:

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  • An enriching presentation from Dr. Gail C. Christopher, an award-winning social change agent, former Senior Advisor and Vice President of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and a nationally recognized leader in health policy.
    • Her inspiring, “we’ve got a new attitude” presentation encouraged nurse leaders to use their influence and power to care for our nation and embrace the humanity of everyone equally.
    • She discussed the six dimensions of wellness, including physical, social and spiritual, and she talked about social determinants of health, such as access to quality healthcare, and how nurses can bring these ideas together at the bedside. She shared her thoughts on the importance of empathy and leading through love, first by loving yourself and then by extending that love to others. For example, she stated that positive motivation sustains engagement and helps reduce stress, in turn, making more energy available for healing. She also talked about movement (exercise) being key to healing and health and how nurses should encourage their patients to embrace their bodies to improve healing.
  • Compelling advice from Rear Admiral June Ryan, a motivational speaker, author, seminar leader and trainer.
    • Ryan is retired from 35 years of military service where she was a known trailblazer who achieved many historical firsts for women, including the first enlisted woman in the Coast Guard to rise to the rank of Rear Admiral, the first woman to serve as Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the third woman to serve as the Military Aide to the United States President. Ryan’s inspiring words were centered on success strategies in leadership.
    • She highlighted key actions, such as having an “attitude of gratitude” where every day, in team huddles or meetings, nurse leaders ask caregivers to share three things they are grateful for that day. She discussed having 100 percent responsibility, using the equation “Events + Response (to those events) = Outcomes” and explained that it’s not the events that define us, but rather our response. She encouraged leaders to make and keep success journals, use positive reinforcements and lead from the inside, even suggesting hugging others on their left side, so you are heart-to-heart with the person you are hugging.
  • A thought-provoking conversation from G. Rumay Alexander, who is President of the National League for Nursing, and Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a professor at the university’s School of Nursing.
    • Alexander has a compelling record of leadership and advocacy for diversity and inclusive excellence and is known for helping organizations succeed in their missions. Focusing her words on inclusive excellence, she opened with the line “the only thing that’s certain in the world today is uncertainty.”
    • She shared how private decisions have public consequences and how imperative it is to move beyond the conversation and take action. For nurses, she indicated acknowledging our rhetoric and conducting culturally relevant research on issues that are not traditionally studied, but imperative to providing inclusive care. She pointed out threats to diversity and stated that all encounters are cultural. She encouraged leaders to have an open mind and to aim to find out more about who people are when faced with specific encounters, stating there’s “power in presence.” Her closing thoughts reinforced that social and demographic issues impact those we care for and how we provide care, calling for the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion in resource allocation, decision-making, and strategic and academic priorities.

Summit attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ movement from Kate Judge, Executive Director of the American Nurses Foundation and Jaime Murphy Dawson, Director of Program Operations for the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Grand Challenge at the American Nurses Association. The recently introduced nationwide initiative is designed to transform the health of the U.S. by supporting nurses to take positive action to improve their health.

Additionally, Jane Ehrman, a Lead Behavioral Health Specialist for the Center for Lifestyle Medicine in Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute provided helpful insight on self-care, how to maintain a positive attitude/behavior, and the importance of recovery for nurses to perform their best. She also led a relaxing mindful breathing activity.

From beginning to end, Cleveland Clinic’s milestone 10th annual Nursing Leadership Summit was one for the record books. To learn more about the structure of our Summit or how this type of annual leadership event may benefit your nursing organization, email