Evidence-Based Leadership Institute: A Model to Develop Nurse Leaders

Sunday, 30 July 2017: 11:35 AM

M. Christine Alichnie, PhD, RN
Department of Nursing, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA, USA
Betsy M. Snook, MEd, BSN
PA State Nurses Assocation/Nursing Foundatin of PA, Harrisburg, PA, USA

Many nurse leaders begin their leadership career having excelled in the clinical arena. However, being a competent bedside nurse does not guarantee an easy transition into a manager/leadership role. Frequently, they assume expanded roles and responsibilities without adequate education, resources, or support. In the landmark Institute of Medicine's Report (IOM Report), recommendation number seven states “...nursing associations should prepare the nursing workforce to assume leadership positions across all levels”. Likewise, a subsequent IOM Progress Report continues to address the challenges of nurses leading the charge for health reforms based on outcomes from evidence-based research. This translational research provides a solid foundation for health care policy reforms and system changes.

Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) represents over 218,000 registered nurses whose vision is “nurses shaping the future of healthcare”. Likewise, the association’s mission statement identifies four major foci; leading, advocating, educating, and connecting with registered nurses across the Commonwealth. Therefore, identifying the skill sets that will be needed by nurse leaders in the future and creating evidence-based educational models to assure these skills are present is essential to the nursing profession and healthcare systems. With heath care and health care delivery systems being characterized by rapid change and new challenges, it is imperative that future nurse leaders have the competencies to create a safe, quality, and effective health care environment for patients, families, and health care workers. This Leadership Institute also supports continuous lifelong learning; another recommendation from the IOM initial report and its subsequent progress report.

Thus, the purpose of this Leadership Institute is to bridge the competency gap between the transition from staff nurse to nurse manager/leader. This transition is achieved by providing evidence-based knowledge and competencies in a supportive and trusting learning environment. Application of these competencies is evidenced through a real world problem-based project. Key features of the presentation must include identification of a real world problem in one’s institution, a hypothesis, measureable evidence-based research, analysis of data, and conclusions with recommendations. Participants are guided over a six month period by seasoned nurse leaders who serve as mentors. The Leadership Institute culminates with individual project presentations to their organizational leadership and colleagues.

Key elements of the Leadership Institute model include an application process for both the participant and the mentor, electronic mentor/mentee screening/ matching process, an orientation program for both the mentor and mentee that launches the relationship, didactic instruction using a variety of teaching methodologies, use of diverse technologies including social media to allow for flexibility in communication between the mentor and participant, on-going communication and collaboration with the program coordinator , guidelines and exit interviews to facilitate a smooth ending, presentation of a real-world, real-time professional project using problem-based learning methodology, and data collection- analyzing formative and summative data on both subjective (satisfaction) and objective success metrics to shape further programmatic decisions and to identify long-term patterns and opportunities for improvement. Evaluations were conducted using a combination of web-based and hard copy questionnaires, surveys, and interviews with registered nurses and mentors who completed the program. The end result is an evidence-based model to develop nurse leaders.