The 19th International Meeting of the EAUN held in Copenhagen (Denmark) was the first EAUN congress I attended and it has left a very good impression on me.
The congress offered a wide range of educational opportunities, from academic lectures to poster sessions and practical courses. The broad choice of different topics, research and courses was the characteristic of the meeting I liked most. In fact, it gave me the opportunity to gain new insights about current and future research in the field of urological nursing, and I even improved my knowledge on practical skills by attending the session Nursing solutions in difficult cases and the course on difficult catheterisation. All the sessions I attended were linked with my daily practice as a Head Nurse of a Urology ward of a regional hospital in the north of Italy. The professional way in which this international conference was organised is laudable and the discussions after each session were very useful as it enables the audience to compare the content of the presentation with their various local practices worldwide.
What really left me impressed, though, was the course Nurses in a leadership role: Cultivating your leadership. Working in medical care means being challenged on a daily basis. My experience as a Head Nurse in Urology is limited to 2 years and also my young age (33 yrs.) contributes to making my role challenging to manage.
The course was led by two experts in the field and it included both interactive teaching moments and group work. After an introductive video about famous leaders in history, the speakers presented one of the main topics of the course: the situational leadership model by Hersey and Blanchard. The fundamental underpinning of the model being that there is no single “best” style of leadership.
We learned that effective leadership is task-relevant, and the most successful leaders are those who are able to adapt their leadership style to the abilities and willingness of the group they are attempting to lead or influence. Moreover, effective leadership varies, not only with the person or group that is being influenced, but also with the task, job or function that needs to be accomplished.
The course gave me more insights about how to distinguish technical from adaptive challenges and how to observe my work system. Thanks to this opportunity I could share the challenges of my workplace with colleagues and experts in the same field and received some useful feedback on my leadership style that made me see things and “problems” from another point of view. I can highly recommend the course for next year!
Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to the EAUN for supporting my attendance to the meeting.
Michele Fratti, Head Nurse Coordinator, Regional Hospital S. Chiara, Trento (IT), firstname.lastname@example.org