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Grow Your Own Nurse Leaders

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, May 15, 2012

Nurse leaders are hard to come by. The solution? Create them yourself.

That's the strategy of UnitedHealth Group's Center for Nursing Advancement, which is launching a fully-funded online RN-to-MSN degree program in which about 30 associate's degree-level RNs will get their master's degrees. The pilot program, which launches this fall, will focus on business and leadership education, says Dawn Bazarko, DNP, MPH, RN, Senior Vice President for UnitedHealth's Center for Nursing Advancement.

"There is such a demand now for nurse leaders and it's hard to hire for," she tells HealthLeaders. "So we are taking a position that there's a need to grow our own, frankly, for lack of a better word, and this is one of our strategic programs to do just that."

Taking its cue from the Institute of Medicine's landmark Future of Nursing report, published in 2010, the focus of UnitedHealth's program is leadership and the idea that "in order for us to meet the demands of the changing healthcare system in our country, we need to better prepare nurses," says Bazarko.

Participants receive education on

  • communication
  • finance
  • change management
  • disease prevention
  • multicultural wellness strategies
  • pharmacology and patient safety;
  • patient care technology;
  • leadership and management;
  • policy, law, and ethics
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