Preparing for Program Changes: Fostering Faculty and Staff Leadership Development Using a Business Case Model

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Jennifer L. Embree, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, NE-BC, CCNS
Department of Community and Health Systems, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN, USA
Nancy C. Sharts-Hopko, PhD, RN, FAAN
College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA
Ainslie Nibert, PhD, RN, FAAN
Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston, TX, USA

Nurses represent the largest human resource across the continuum of care. Developing nurses who can lead health care is critical. The Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy through Sigma Theta Tau and sponsored by Elsevier provides novice faculty opportunities to enhance leadership talents for nurse scholars and leadership team members. This academy affords the scholar opportunities for additional growth and leadership through a triad team of a Faculty Mentor-Nancy Sharts-Hopko PhD, RN, FAAN, and Faculty Advisor-Ainslie Nibert PhD, RN, FAAN, and the Scholar.

Graduate nursing leadership programs can provide a bridge to build new leaders by offering practical experience related to core leadership concepts, translating knowledge into practice and creating relationship skills. Leadership development helps new nurse leaders generate authentic dialogue, collaboration, and mutual decision-making. Nursing leadership integrates nursing, science, leadership, human, financial and other disciplines that prepare nurses to lead health care systems. Nurse leaders' unique contributions to health care center around evidence-based care delivery, outcomes research synthesis, patient safety strategies, creative leadership and evaluation of healthcare systems.  It is important to identify gaps between current conditions and desired conditions in an organization. The Master’s in Nursing Leadership in Health Systems (MSN NLHS) program is one of nine masters in nursing leadership programs in our state. In light of a newly re-vamped Doctor of Nursing Practice program for Nurse Executives, the MSN NLHS program needs to provide foundational leadership for those students seeking a Masters in Nursing Leadership who might later seek a terminal degree.  The current MSN NLHS program was identified as a one weekend per month hybrid program in which to complete ten problem-based case reviews, develop a nursing unit budget, assess a nursing informatics hospital system, and assess hospital systems.  The MSN NLHS program underwent a program review over six years ago, so program review is necessary. Delivery of programs and courses are dependent upon students attending, staff support, such as intructional designers and video conferencing specialists. Including these important stakeholders in the NFLA team provided an opportunity for team input into course and program enhancements as well as leadership development. 

The future of nursing schools, the campus, and programs must be distinctive, effective, efficient, transformative, and nimble in response to change, stakeholder needs, and emerging opportunities. The school’s strategic initiative to increase graduate education capacity’s goal with clear and nimble structures fits well with this MSN NLHS program review.

Ongoing changes at the school of nursing include leadership transition at a variety of levels. Updating faculty, curriculum chairs, and new explanations of the work of the NFLA team was accomplished. The university chose a new learning management system to replace the homegrown system and system implementation is in process. A new ePortfolio system is also under implementation by the university and integration with the learning management system will occur. Continuing relationships with instructional designers, videoconferencing specialists and students afford additional opportunities for course improvement and address important stakeholder needs.