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Nursing Education: Program “truly focused on leadership” has no equal in the nation

Posted: Oct. 11, 2016

Pat Carter, PhD, RN, CNS and director of LeaDS meets with students.

What happens when a group of School of Nursing faculty sit down together and ask: What does health care really need and how can we provide it? The answer was a resounding “leadership,” and the result is the new Leadership in Diverse Health Care Settings (LeaDS) master’s degree program, which was offered for the first time this fall.

Designed to respond to a national and local call for nurses to assume leadership positions in diverse health care settings, the program facilitates development of a robust set of competencies preparing the graduate to provide leadership in a variety of patient-centered health care, community and educational settings.

“Teaching nursing leadership is not just one skill that you add to other skills,” said Pat Carter, PhD, RN, CNS and director of LeaDS. “It is an all-encompassing skill.”

The LeaDS program immerses students in topics such as conflict resolution, project management, and managing and leading change. The program goes beyond exposing them to theoretical concepts and then expecting them to apply those after they graduate. “It is truly focused on leadership. At this point, there’s nothing like it in the entire country,” Dr. Carter added.

Students will develop electronic portfolios that they will update
and add to as they move
through the program
and into the workplace. This online depository
comprises videos, presentations and papers
they have written, and
can also serve as a
résumé. Graduates of
the LeaDS program will
be uniquely qualified to lead change in complex, dynamic and challenging environments.

“Rather than have to build sets of skills on the job, graduates will be able to demonstrate competence and apply the knowledge and skills they have already mastered,” said Dr. Carter, associate professor. “We have built into this program both what employers are looking for in nurse leaders and what students need in order to be successful in a complex and competitive health care environment.”

“The School of Nursing has been transitioning for some time into more innovative programs and curricula in order to better meet current health care needs,” said Gayle Timmerman, assistant dean for Graduate Programs. “The LeaDS program is literally leading the way in preparing graduates who are skilled in core nurse leadership competencies and are ready to hit the ground running in order to deliver the best patient care.”

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