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April 26, 2018

Nursing & Healthcare

Resources for current and aspiring nurse leaders.

Dr. Jan Jones-Schenk portrait Dr. Jan Jones-Schenk

Part 2: Resources for current and aspiring nurse leaders.

By: Dr. Jan Jones-Schenk, DHSc, RN, NE-BC
Academic Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer, WGU College of Health Professions

In a previous blog post, we discussed how role models and mentors can be very effective guides on your healthcare leadership journey. It’s wise to identify contemporary healthcare leaders you admire and follow their careers, read their articles, and observe the choices they make. We showcased several nurse leaders who have utilized mentors to build their careers.  In this blog post, we’ll identify several organizations that encourage, coach, and train future nurse leaders, and value nurses’ opinions and expertise. These organizations are designed to support and develop leaders from within the nursing community, while positively impacting healthcare outcomes for all.

Resources for current and aspiring healthcare leaders in the age of accountable care.

The Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC) is chartered with ensuring that at least 10,000 nurses serve on boards, panels, and commissions by 2020 to inform decisions and provide a “insider’s view” of what is happening on the floor. The NOBC’s mission is inspired by the Institute of Medicine’s report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. This report advocates for nurses to be active participants in the boardroom, indicating that this leads directly to improved outcomes for all stakeholders— patients, facilities, and staff. The NOBC provides resources and training to assist nurses in securing board positions. Additionally, nurses already serving on a board can register today to share their stories and spread the word to other potential nurse leaders.

“Strong leadership is critical if the vision of a transformed health care system is to be realized. Yet not all nurses begin their career with thoughts of becoming a leader. The nursing profession must produce leaders throughout the health care system, from the bedside to the boardroom, who can serve as full partners with other health professionals and be accountable for their own contributions to delivering high-quality care while working collaboratively with leaders from other health professions.” National Academy of Sciences Engineering Medicine

The National Education Progression in Nursing Collaborative (NEPIN), is an organization that continues the work begun by the Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) advocates, recommending that 80% of nurses seek BSN degrees by 2020. The goal of this collaborative is to foster innovations that ensure nurses continue to have access to higher education so that they may assume leadership roles. Additionally, more states may follow the lead of New York’s BSN in 10 mandate.

Even if your organization is not actively pursuing a BSN milestone, I recommend taking this challenge upon yourself. The industry needs nurse leaders who have earned their BSN degree. WGU graduates report that, upon graduation, they gain career opportunities that weren’t available to them before they earned their degree. The WGU Loves Nurses Scholarship is available for those looking to pursue advanced nursing degrees.

As an added bonus, BSN degree holders earn on average 11% more than RNs -- Burning Glass Labor Insights

The Accountable Care Learning Collaborative (ACLC) has a mission to accelerate and support the industry’s transition to accountable care. They offer a collaborative forum for members to contribute to the formulation of strategies that enable organizations to implement successful accountable care practices. The ACLC provides workshops, intelligence, case studies, and networking for those interested in embracing the future of value based care. (WGU students are granted free membership to this thought leadership organization.)

If your career interests lie on the technology side of the healthcare industry, HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society is a leader providing resources, professional development, networking and career sourcing to its members. Additionally, they are active in influencing public policy to ensure improved outcomes through utilizing information and technology.  WGU offers free student membership to this organization as well.


By choosing to become a nurse, you are already a leader.  You advocate for your patients, you make life-changing decisions, and you are an integral part of your team. You deserve to be recognized and heard. Following in the footsteps of today’s nurse leaders, I encourage you to join organizations whose mission truly resonates with you and will allow you to tap into your full leadership potential.

Click here for Blog Part I: Seek out Inspirational Leaders

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