By Allison Philips  |  05/11/2021

The nursing shortage in America stands at a critical juncture and is projected to worsen over the next few yearsContributing factors driving this acute shortage include:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • Nurses leaving the profession for other jobs
  • The retirement of older nurses
  • The increased healthcare needs of an aging American population

This scarcity of nurses is in turn propagating a shortage of nurse leaders. Now, it is imperative to create more nurse leaders focused on providing positive patient outcomes and workforce needs.

Dr. Marcia Sotelo, the University’s department chair for nursing, states, “Today’s healthcare environment is complex. Navigating this environment while ensuring the best patient outcomes and an effective, efficient nursing workforce requires advanced knowledge and skills in leadership, communication, and administration.”

She adds, “Nurse leaders are put in a difficult position; they must balance the needs of their staff and the financial and regulatory needs of the parent organization. They must often carry out initiatives and implement policies that their staff may find frustrating or difficult.”

The University Launches a New Graduate Certificate for Nurse Leaders

Nurses who have already earned master’s degrees can enhance their knowledge with the University’s  online graduate certificate in nursing leadership. This graduate certificate is designed to bolster students’ skills in leadership, human resource management, operational quality of healthcare sites, and legal and ethical practices.

Students taking the classes for this nursing leadership certificate will determine how best to employ ethics in advanced nursing, improve safe nursing practices and patient-centered care, and advocate for healthcare policies that improve outcomes for patients. They will also learn how to inspire cost-effective care and sharpen their leadership skills. In addition, graduate students who complete the certificate may become eligible Nurse Executive Certification from the American Nurse Credentialing Center if they meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a current RN license
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing
  • Have experience as a nurse manager, supervisor, director, or assistant director full-time for 24 months (or equivalent) in the last five years, have had a faculty position teaching nursing administration in a graduate program, or have held a position in nursing management or executive consultation position full-time for 24 months (or equivalent) in the last five years
  • Have completed 30 continuing education credits in nursing administration within the last three years (does not apply to those who hold a master’s degree in nursing administration)

The University’s online certificate in nursing leadership offers a curriculum created from our nursing and healthcare administration programs. Dr. Sotelo notes, “Both the healthcare administration and nursing leadership programs are very similar, so we have partnered with the instructors from the healthcare administration program to create our nursing leadership certificate.

“There are a couple of reasons we do that. First of all, the course content in both programs is very comparable. This graduate certificate focuses on the legal and ethical aspects of healthcare, managing human resources, healthcare finance, and improving the quality of patient outcomes.

“The other reason we developed a partnership with the healthcare administration program instructors is that there’s a real push for interprofessional education. So what that means is we need to be better at working as a team in healthcare. The doctor, the pharmacist, the administrator, the case manager, the physical therapist, and the dietician….all of these different specialists need to work together in a better way, so that is why our students will take a lot of their nursing leadership courses in healthcare administration.

“That way, they’re working with people who are not just nurses but will also see administrative functions. We think that’s very valuable experience, and then students will also need to complete their full practicum and their full capstone course.”

Making Healthcare Better for Everyone

The COVID-19 pandemic, America’s overtaxed healthcare system and aging population add up to a combustible mix where healthcare is concerned. The University is continually re-assessing and optimizing its classes based on industry changes. This practice ensures that nursing students have a curriculum that reflects emerging trends in the healthcare industry and prepares them to apply new skills and best practices to a fast-evolving profession that should always put patient care as its top priority.

Dr. Sotelo says, “I believe that all of us who go into nursing do so with the desire to care for our patients. Nurse leaders are those people who not only care for the patients that their unit or hospital serves, but also their nursing staff.

“Nursing staff who feel listened to and cared about by nurse leaders are better motivated to work toward achieving positive outcomes for their patients. As with so many areas of life, communication is key.”

About the Author
Allison Philips

Allison Philips has over a decade of experience covering education, financial services, technology, travel and healthcare industries. Her work has appeared in campaigns for clients such as AARP, Audi, Bloomberg BNA, Blue Shield, Burger King, Citibank, Marriott, Oracle, American Military University and American Public University.

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