Novice to Expert Nurse Leader

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Gwen Travis
Gonzaga University
NURS 553

The path to nursing leadership most often progresses from novice to expert nurse and then onto a novice nurse manager. The novice nurse manager is asked to lead and rarely given the tools or knowledge to be successful in this new role. The Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition discussed by Patricia Benner includes the following five levels of competency in the clinical nurse (Benner, 1982): * Level I – NOVICE – beginners with no experience with practice situations and an inability to use discretionary judgment. * Level II – ADVANCED BEGINNER – actions/decisions are based on prior experience in actual situations. * Level III – COMPETENT – actions are planned with long-range goals but lack speed or flexibility in decision-making. * Level IV – PROFICIENT – views situations as a whole rather than on an individual aspect and can revise plans in response to changes in a situation. * Level V – EXPERT – no longer relies on rules or guidelines in decision-making but intuitive understanding of the situation.

Novice APN Leader
As a novice nurse we are taught theoretical knowledge in school and along with the healthcare facilities policies and procedures, rely on these in our decision-making. (Gershenson, Moravick, Sellman & Somerville, 2004). As we combine this theoretical foundation along with experience we can progress on through the levels toward expert nursing. The novice nurse manager needs rules to guide his/her actions. As an ASC facility administrator, I supervised a charge nurse who had been promoted to a nurse manager position. The nurse was considered an expert by her peers and surgeons. However, she had no experience/prior training with managing people, knowledge of human resources policies or financial/budget procedures. She struggled with time management, prioritizing duties and staff interpersonal relationships. She often became frustrated and...
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