You may not naturally think of becoming a nurse executive, which may seem far removed from the bedside and benefiting patients. Yet, you can significantly impact patient care as a nurse executive, such as a chief nursing officer.
“When you’re caring for patients, as a nurse, you’re caring for a set cadre of individuals,” says Elizabeth Speakman, EdD, RN, FNAP, ANEF, FAAN, senior associate dean, professor, and chief academic officer, School of Nursing, University of Delaware. “When you’re in a leadership role in the clinical environment, you may have thousands of patients you are responsible for.”
If that appeals to you, read on. In this article, we’ll examine a few programs available to prepare for the nurse executive role.
Executive leadership is one of four specializations offered within the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Post University’s American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The program covers leadership, business intelligence, finance, health policy, and health services research.
Students at the 28-month program “typically come with a master’s degree already and have some experience at a leadership level,” according to Kimberly Nerud, PhD, RN, dean at Post University’s American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Perhaps they have worked as a charge nurse or directed a healthcare unit, and “they’re looking to build on those skills that will help prepare them for those advanced opportunities within a healthcare system.”
At the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, students who want to pursue a role as a nurse executive can choose from a range of programs, according to Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, Elizabeth Brooks Ford professor of nursing, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and distinguished university professor, Case Western. Those programs include a doctoral program with an executive focus and a postdoctoral and senior executive program. These programs are housed within Case Western’s Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy.