Kennesaw State nursing professor’s book addresses leadership in healthcare

KENNESAW, Ga. | Mar 21, 2022

A Kennesaw State University faculty member believes a new book on health care leadership she and two colleagues have written comes at the right time to help leaders in the industry navigate through a period of revolutionary change.

Lucy Leclerc

Lucy Leclerc, assistant professor in the Wellstar School of Nursing, released Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare: Evolution of a Revolution in paperback at the end of 2021. 

“This is the perfect time for us to talk about leadership in nursing,” Leclerc said. “We have to address nurses’ engagement with their work, perceived stress, work environment, retention, and turnover, because we know those are the biggest priorities for executives as well as the cascading effect on patient care.” 

Leclerc joined Kay Kennedy, a senior clinical instructor of nursing at Emory University, and Susan Campis, a nursing leadership consultant, in writing the book, which expands on research conducted over a period of two years that preceded and included a portion of the coronavirus pandemic. Leclerc said the authors conducted qualitative research that asked nurses from the bedside to the boardroom about the attributes of leaders they would follow to the ends of the earth and those leaders who made them consider leaving a role or the profession itself.

The three published preliminary findings in the Journal of Nursing Management in January 2021 and published two other papers together before writing the book. 

“One thing we found in our research is that there isn’t a leadership approach specific to healthcare,” Leclerc said. “We found that strong nursing leadership thrives on self-care — nurse leaders advocating for their own self-care and encouraging their nurses to do the same. That self-care then extends to their teams and subsequently their patients. That’s why one of our taglines is ‘It starts with you but it’s not about you.’”

The first half of the book expands on this theory of nursing leadership, while the second half offers a toolkit for healthcare leaders to improve their skills.

Leclerc said she and her co-authors marketed the book more widely than traditional nursing or healthcare textbooks because the book has applications across the broader workplace.

“We're going to be able to reach a larger audience because we thought strategically about writing a practical and accessible book without the constraints and costs of traditional textbooks,” Leclerc said. “We’ve had executives at practice settings such as hospitals already use the book as a ‘community read’ with their leadership teams. Also, academic organizations are consulting with us to integrate the book and theory into their graduate leadership courses, so we've already had an impact.”

The three co-authors previously published Shifts: The Journal for Nurses by Nurses, a diary with writing prompts for healthcare professionals, in 2014. Each spent nearly 30 years in nursing before pursuing other opportunities.

– Dave Shelles
Photos by David Caselli

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