Building Nursing Leaders From the Ground Up

By Milenko Martinovich

The UCSF School of Nursing is continuing its rich history of preparing the next generation of nurse leaders to meet growing health care demands through its academic degree programs.

Bold leadership is needed to solve health care’s complex issues. 

The UCSF School of Nursing is stepping up efforts to meet that need with a new, innovative initiative that will equip nurses with the skills to lead within their organizations. In addition, the School is continuing its rich history of preparing the next generation of nurse leaders to meet growing health care demands through its academic degree programs. 

Providing Leadership Development for Nurses

Nurses comprise the world’s largest health care workforce, yet leadership development for this population has lagged significantly. The School of Nursing, in collaboration with UCSF Health, are working to change that with the launch of the UCSF Leadership Institute for Nursing, scheduled for early 2021.

“Health care education has mostly focused on disease pathways and patient care delivery,” said Gina Intinarelli, (MS ‘05, PhD ‘13) the School’s associate dean of clinical affairs and UCSF Health’s associate chief nursing officer for nursing excellence. “And it isn’t just in nursing. Overall, clinicians aren’t trained in leadership and management skills. The vision for the new institute is to offer programming through modern educational techniques that has a national and international reach. We want it to become a global center of excellence.”

The institute, supported by private gifts and contracts, will offer tailored programs based on a nurse’s experience and career trajectory. Director Justin Pohl has identified four groups of clinicians to serve: Those excelling in patient care and show leadership promise, beginning managers with less than one year of experience, those with five to 10 years of managerial experience and executives. Some concepts, like personnel management, will be taught across all four programs while others — like financial management — will be tailored to specific tracks. 

Advancing leadership development for nursing has been a career commitment  for Catherine Gilliss, dean of the School of Nursing, who is writing a book on the subject with four nurse colleagues. In discussions with administrators at UCSF Health and other health systems, she found opportunities for leadership development — outside of formal education — were not keeping up with demand, prompting the School of Nursing and UCSF Health to partner on the new initiative. 

The majority of the institute’s programming will be delivered virtually, providing a global reach. Program instruction will be a collaboration among the School’s faculty and executive health care professionals. 

“By 2024, we expect to be a nationally recognized provider of leadership preparation for nurses,” Pohl said.

Read the full story on our Science of Caring website.

(Posted: Nov. 17, 2020)