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How to Cope as an Advanced Practice Provider Without a Leader

Posted on November 6, 2018   |   by   |   Advanced Practice Provider, Advanced Practice Structure, Job Seekers, Leadership

If you are an Advanced Practice Provider without a defined APP Leader, understanding what is expected of you can be confusing. We have advice to help you handle it.

Recently, during a Melnic Collaborative Conversation, a Nurse Practitioner shared her experience of being in a “leaderless” situation. She works in a Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit without a designated APP Lead. During the conversation, she expressed a need for direction. Between the hospital leadership, the CICU Medical Director, and the surgical cardiology team, she often had a hard time knowing who she was reporting to.

Based on that Collaborative Conversation, here are a few tips for anyone who finds themselves asking “who is my boss?”

1. Try to Ascertain Clear Goals of Leadership

The old adage “communication is key” is especially relevant in a situation like this. You want to establish a relationship with each person in leadership as best you can. The idea is to have open lines of communication with each person so you can understand their goals and expectations of you.

This could also be a good time to make sure your leadership understands your capabilities as an Advanced Practice Provider. The better you understand your leadership, and the better they understand you, the less confusion you will have about what they expect from you.

2. If Possible, Get Bosses on the Same Page

The next step after establishing communication and discovering your leadership’s goals is to do what you can to align those goals. If you have two bosses with contradicting goals for you, try and point that out to them (in a respectful manner, of course), and see if changes can be made. The idea here is to manage the expectations of your bosses, so that you can accomplish the goals each one has put forth, without ignoring the goals of another.

3. Identify Each Boss’ Domain

After you understand each of your leader’s expectations, and hopefully eliminate the conflicting areas, it is important to establish for yourself which boss oversees each aspect of your role. For this, it is extremely helpful to have identified each boss’ goals for you. Try to create a mental game plan for the types of problems, questions, and scenarios you will discuss with whom so that when those things arise, you don’t waste your time.

4. Finally, Do Not Be Afraid to Ask

If you end up with unresolved conflict or unanswered questions, it’s best to respectfully ask for input. Most reasonable people would rather you ask questions than make mistakes, or spend every day being confused. Being an APP without a designated lead is a tricky situation. But there’s no shame in needing help to clarify your role, your goals, or your expectations – just ask.

The team at Melnic is here to support you and your nursing career development. If you are looking for a new APP Leadership job, please join our network.

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