There's a three-dimensional piece of artwork hanging in my office that depicts a well-known cartoon character with his hands firmly pressing on a large, white envelope five times his size. And, yes, it's entitled “Pushing the Envelope.” When I first saw the piece in a gallery a few years ago, I exclaimed, “I have to have it! That's my job!” Since then, it's been a conversation piece for all first-timers who visit my office, serving as an inspiration for me and anyone in the room to do work above and beyond what's been done before—a constant reminder of one of my important roles as a nurse executive.
As nurse leaders, we create environments for greatness. We continually strive for excellence, and we're inspired to do so by our own leaders, calls to action, moral urgency, and myriad internal and external driving forces. What inspires you to innovate and strategize for change? Sometimes, inspiration comes from the most unexpected places: a movie, a neighbor's patient care experience, or a conversation with a colleague. Jayne Felgen's book I2E2: Leading Lasting Change details a change process that starts with inspiration. I've embraced her Inspiration-Infrastructure-Education-Evaluation model for years.
Often, my energizing drive comes from those with whom I work, not always from the boss. Motivation comes in a 360-degree manner from all angles—a helix that keeps winding its way upward. How often does innovative work come from your staff? As leaders, we can help bring those wonderful ideas alive: facilitating, coaching, listening, and even pushing. It's our obligation.
If I'm not inspired, I can't inspire others. Improving the workplace and creating extraordinary patient care environments requires vigor and strength. It involves a “glass half full” perspective. You have to believe in what you're advocating and be passionate about it. We all have our individual passions—quality, patient care, workforce issues, safety, or even finance! If you don't feel a forward momentum, it's time to do something about it.
Growing up as a new nurse leader, I found inspiration in the pages of this journal. I'm now honored and humbled to be your new editor-in-chief. We're lucky to have an amazing editorial board and staff who have the goal of energizing you with every article. Maybe you'll think about an issue in a different manner, learn something new, or relate to a success story in a way that gives you ideas for your own organization. The status quo isn't only boring, it won't get us to where we need to be in our rapidly changing healthcare world. Value-based, accountable, and true patient-centered care isn't for the faint of heart.
The positive energy from inspiration is awesome wherever you are on the helix and whether you're on the receiving or giving end. Using it to push the envelope is a leadership imperative. We have work to do that exceeds what we're doing now. Let's do it!