Brandon “Kit” Bredimus is the director of emergency services at Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland, Texas. After starting his career in trauma and emergency nursing, he became a nurse executive in 2013. Last year, Bredimus was featured as a “Rising Star” in Modern Healthcare and was profiled in his local paper as a “20 under 40” standout community leader. Bredimus also participated in the American Organization of Nurse Executives’ “Emerging Leaders Institute.” We spoke with Kit to hear more about his experience as a nurse executive, and to learn why he is passionate in advocating for transparent leadership.
NN: What do you wish more people understand about the role of the “nurse executive”?
Kit: That it is not as scary as it sounds! Ultimately, being a nurse executive is about leadership, not so much about management. I have found that strong leadership skills are what will make you succeed a nurse executive. I would also like to add that as a nurse executive, you get the opportunity to teach, guide policy and impact the direction of your team.
NN: Any particular challenges that stick out to you from your time in transitioning to the nurse executive role?
Kit: Going from the frontline to the director’s office was a big shift. One of the things that I learned through my leadership development is that as a “leader” you feel the obligation to know everything. You think you should be coming up with all the right answers and that you instinctively should know how to do everything. But ultimately, you find that’s not the case.
A good leader recognizes they have weaknesses and that there are things they have to address and learn. And what’s more, they are transparent about it. Leaders do not hoard all the knowledge, they are transparent and involve their team in decision-making because ultimately it’s going to affect them.
NN: Why do you think it’s important for nurses to take leadership roles?
Kit: Nurses need a voice at the table. When I first started in the director position, I would attend meetings with the hospital leadership and I was too nervous to speak up. It was eye-opening to see what kinds of decisions will be made if nurses are not there.
It’s important to have nurses at the table advocating and making decisions, because we can translate information from the bedside to the boardroom. For example, a hot issue across the country in many hospitals is staffing. It’s important to have a nurse at the table to be able to discuss what goes into a staffing decision, how you have to take into account factors like skill level, patient acuity. That comes from the nursing perspective.
NN: You have spent a lot of time in ER nursing. What qualities are important for successful ER nursing team?
Kit: Teamwork is critical to our success. You can’t work in silos in the ER. I think our teamwork is the best in the hospital system (but of course I’m biased) because we have to be so nimble and flexible in order to respond to whatever is going on in the moment. That requires leadership to be flexible as well, in making sure we’re providing the tools, learnings and policies in place for our team to be successful. I need to be out there in the front lines with my staff, and to make sure that I am approachable and know what is going on.
NN: What would you say to nurses who are interested in pursuing a nurse executive position?
Kit: First, if you’re even considering going into a leadership role, you should look into opportunities within your organization, such as an inter-governmental council. You’ll see what’s going on from a systems perspective and you can meet a lot of people outside your department and learn how things operate.
The other piece is to really think about why you want to become a nurse executive. Sometimes, people just want the title. If you’re pursuing the role for that reason, then you’re in for a miserable career. Think about what your passions are and what your strengths are, and see if it’s a good fit for the actual job of nurse executive.
NN: Any advice for current student nurses or new nurses?
Kit: My big advice is that it’s okay to say you don’t know something and it is okay to change your mind. Throughout nursing school, I changed my mind several times about what kind of nurse I wanted to be and what practice area to pursue. Nursing is a great career for curious people, because midway through your career you can completely change your mind and change specialties and learn a whole new skill set.
I’d remind student nurses that it is okay to not have a firm plan all the time, but what is important to be to make sure you’re working on your intentional growth and developing yourself so that you’re ready when opportunities appear.
To learn more about the nurse executive role, visit www.discovernursing.com.