Conference 2014 Reflection

A few weeks have passed since nursing leaders from across Ontario and beyond gathered at our 2014 NLN conference in Toronto. This has been a time to reflect on the messages delivered by our fantastic key note speakers throughout the two days of the conference in addition to the many learnings from our concurrent sessions. Dr. Greta Cummings opened the conference and challenged us to think about our leadership experiences and our own leadership styles in relation to patient outcomes. On the second day of the conference, Leslee Thompson shared her experience in leading Kingston General Hospital forward on a journey of patient centered care and what each of us can do to promote this within our own environments. Lastly, we were humbled and honoured to have Sue Matthews share her own personal story of being a patient and what we as leaders may learn to improve the experience of care.

Over the next months, I encourage you to translate your learning into action and to think about how you as a nurse leader can live out the vision of NLN “To inspire, support and advocate today for nursing leadership tomorrow”.

Kate Zimmerman, RN, BScN

Conference Chair 2014

Get Connected

NLN continues to merge with growing social media trends as a method of reaching and expanding association membership and enhancing services for NLN membership.

In February the Nursing Leadership Network launched our revitalized website at

The site has enhanced navigation to information about NLN, resources, membership, networking and the conference. In addition there are quick link boxes to information on mentorship, awards and education and research.

NLN also has a presence on Facebook. Check it out. We currently have 295 “likes” and invite you to ”like” our page and invite other nursing leaders (at any level of any organization) to “like” our page as well. Let’s see if we can get to 1000 likes by end of May 2014. Our Facebook page is kept updated and features news items and links to information about the recent NLN conference.

Do you “tweet”? ...Are you a Twitter fan? NLN uses the Twitter handle @nlnon. We currently have 170 Tweets, 180 followers and are following 120 colleagues!. Follow us and send us a “Tweet”.

NLN is a member on LinkedIn which is a growing networking site for business and professional colleagues from businesses and sectors around the world. Connect with over 740 other LinkedIn professionals via our LinkedIn page. Start a discussion on vital issues in nursing leadership.

We welcome your feedback on how to improve these valuable social media connections and resources for NLN members.

Please share ideas and feedback and connect with us via FB, Twitter and LinkedIn!

NLN President’s Update

Nursing Leadership: Who Are Our Future Nursing Leaders?

donna rothwell  I am honored to be the new President of the Nursing Leadership Network of Ontario (NLN.ON). 2014/2015 promises to be an exciting year! Recently NLN.ON had another   successful conference entitled, “Nursing Leadership- Learning from the Patient Experience.” This conference brought NLN.ON’s vision to life. It built connectivity between nurse leaders, facilitated opportunities to coach nurse leaders and modelled optimism for excellence in nursing leadership. I would like to acknowledge and give praise to the Conference Planning Committee and Conference Chair – Kate Zimmerman for an outstanding conference theme. What inspired me most about this year’s conference was the enthusiasm and commitment to leadership in nursing and its impact on the patient experience.

I encourage all of us to ask ourselves, “What does nursing leadership look like in the next five, ten or twenty years from now?” “Who will our nursing leaders be then?” “What are we doing as nursing leaders to coach, mentor and support novice nurses and nursing students to advance their leadership knowledge and skills?” As nursing leaders we play a major role in shaping the profession of nursing – particularly nursing leadership and its impact on our patients and families.

Our NLN.ON Board of Directors has developed a robust agenda to implement and evaluate our strategic intentions which are aimed at fostering nursing leadership.     Our 2012-2015 Strategic Intentions are as follows:

  1. Knowledge exchange and recognition - our NLN.ON Annual Conference will be held March 26 and 27, 2015!
  2. Membership – ongoing recruitment of new NLN.ON members is critical
  3. Partnering with RNAO on leadership initiatives
  4. Board Capacity to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

These strategic intentions will keep us focused on the ongoing importance of nursing leadership today and tomorrow. So, who will our nurse leaders be in the future? Do we have nurses who are willing and able to lead our illustrious profession in the direction we need to move towards? I believe we do! Our future nursing leaders are everywhere! This was evident at our recent conference.

Our vision, “Inspiring, supporting and advocating today for nursing leadership tomorrow,” speaks to the importance of positioning ourselves as we embark upon another provincial election this June. As nursing leaders please consider the relevance of how you can positively influence the political agenda by being engaged in the process. RNAO’s, “Why Your Health Matters” is a call to action to leaders of the political parties to collaborate and focus their work on what matters that will improve the health of people and build on an even stronger Ontario.

As nursing leaders let’s continue to support and mentor new and emerging leaders. Let’s take time to reflect and realize the influence we have to those who are inspiring to become leaders like us!

Donna Rothwell, RN, BScN, MN, President, NLN.ON

Mentorship Team

Judy Shearer     Judy Shearer, RN, BScN, MN, CHE

"Mentorship is an important way to support nurses in the development of their leadership competencies.  I am thankful for the wonderful nurse mentors I have had in my life over my's important to give back!



Meredith Whitehead Photo 2014      Meredith Whitehead RN, BScN, MScN, ENC(C)

The mentor and mentee relationship between novice and senior leaders’ is vital in developing leadership and managerial skills for career development and professional retention. It is an emotional investment that has benefits that are immeasurable. According to Gregory Scott Reid “the greatest success we’ll know is helping others succeed and grow” and this success can be found in a mentoring relationship. I have been extremely privileged to have strong mentors during my career and which has fueled my passion about assisting with the creation a mentorship program that all nurses can access.



Sarah F     Sarah Flogen, RN, M.Ed., Ph.D.(c)

I committed to professional nursing practice and ongoing education when I first graduated as an RN. As a perpetual student, I have benefitted from the mentors I have

met along my academic and professional journey. An attitude of ‘never stop learning’ allows me to see feedback as an opportunity to reconsider my approach, and I have grown tremendously through challenging experiences. I love being and having students or ‘mentees’, and try to challenge others to ask questions, be curious, inquire – that is – engage!


      Kate Zimmerman, RN, BScN

For me mentorship is a significant component to leadership- it is grounded in the value of others and in developing relationships.  I hope to see NLN playing a significant role is supporting and providing opportunities for mentorship across sectors and organizations.



IMG 00000023     Regina Elliott, RN, MN


Leadership is an essential skill for all nurses. As a RN for 28 years I have worked in various settings in both the acute care and public health sectors. As a nurse manager over the past 10 years I truly value mentoring co-workers, staff and students with a positive leadership style. I am excited to join the NLN Mentorship Working Group in developing leadership strategies to build capacity, guide, develop and support all nurses through mentorship.


8x10-Heather-     Heather Preston, RN

My nursing career began as a young 20 year old. My first job was in a rural hospital working as a Registered Nurse on a Medical Surgical unit. Orientation consisted of reading what seemed like an entire encyclopedia and following the Nursing Supervisor around for a couple of days. She wasn’t the happiest person I have ever met.

Along the way I became interested in all things that challenged me. Being a self-driven person and nurse, I carved out my career in the Emergency Department and the Operating Room. Eventually becoming the Leader/Manager of both which gave me many opportunities to influence other nurses lives and careers.

As I became very familiar and no longer challenged in these roles, I searched out an entirely different type of nursing. I bounced into the world of home care for a while then “made the switch” to Long Term Care, following the footsteps of many of my nursing friends. Holding both Director of Care and Administrator roles, once again gave me opportunity to mentor others in a way that I had yet to experience for myself. During this time I also had a casual position as a Registered Nursing Supervisor in a Long Term Care home which was an experience I shall always take with me.

My career saw me in Long Term Care for 9 years. I then moved along and worked with the Central East LHIN as a Quality Improvement Facilitator specifically, at the time, for the Behaviour Support Ontario Project. In this role, I had a mentor beyond mentors. Daily I think of her, her lessons and her guidance.

Currently I use this QI knowledge in a role that was created for me and evolves with each day. I am back in Long Term Care but as a Director of Quality Improvement. Every day I get to teach and mentor 9 Quality Improvement Coordinators in 5 different LHIN regions in the province. What an amazing job!

Without the mentorship of my dear friend in the realm of Quality Improvement, it is less than likely that I would have the joy of guiding, supporting and teaching such unique individuals.

A.Ashton photo NLN    Andra Ashton, RN, BScN, MA (Leadership)

donna rothwell     Donna Rothwell,  RN, BScN, MN




Contact info

Nursing Leadership Network of Ontario (NLN.ON)

c/o First Stage Enterprises

7270 Woodbine Avenue, Suite 305

Markham, Ontario, Canada  L3R 4B9

Tel: 905 415 2220 ext.253

Fax: 905 513 1248


An interest group of