While nurses make up 47% of the healthcare workforce in Canada and provide the bulk of frontline care, less than 17% of leaders in the C-suites are nurses. “As the pandemic and its aftermath made abundantly clear, revitalizing healthcare would benefit from the integration of nurses into the highest levels of decision-making,” asserts Ingram School of Nursing (ISoN) Associate Professor Lynne McVey, RN, MSc(A), FHCMgt. Offered through the ISoN’s Online and Continuing Nursing Education (OCNE) office, her unique three-module introductory course called Executive Education for Nurses is designed to do just that.
“With the endorsement of our School’s leadership, which recognized both the need for and the potential of this course, we launched it last May and offered it again in September. The feedback has been phenomenal,” says Annie Chevrier, RN, MSc(A), Assistant Professor and Director of the OCNE.
Facilitated by Prof. McVey and co-developed with Prof. Chevrier as well as ISoN Faculty Lecturer and curriculum designer Katherine Logue, RN, MSc(A), the course offers a combination of management theory, case studies, discussion, personalized career planning, detailed feedback, and mentoring. As Prof. Chevrier notes, unlike other health management courses, Executive Education for Nurses relies on emerging paradigms on how to navigate the future of healthcare administration, which posit that innovative nurse-led initiatives are well suited to address complex and unpredictable events.
Participants benefit greatly from Prof. McVey’s extensive experience as a chief executive officer (CEO) and from her conviction that well-prepared, confident nurse leaders can help transform our healthcare system as it recovers post-pandemic. “For this to happen, we need to invest in specialized, targeted education and support for career advancement for nurse managers who are interested in attaining chief executive positions and have the educational background and administrative experience to excel in these roles,” explains Prof. McVey. A rich body of evidence links nursing care to positive outcomes on numerous patient, organizational and financial markers. Furthermore, as noted by Prof. Chevrier, nurse managers have a broad range of skillsets and competencies, including an understanding of the scope of all members of interprofessional healthcare teams. “However, the skills that got them this far may not be enough to get them into the C-suites and to succeed once there. Our course introduces them to business administration essentials to gain a competitive edge and a roadmap for how to get there.”
According to the course co-creators, it has been validating to see how many nurse managers aspire to executive and CEO positions. “It has been really interesting to witness the power of networking amongst participants in each session, as they organically connect with like-minded colleagues,” says Ms. Logue.
An experienced Advisory Committee that draws on expertise from other McGill faculties, other universities, and the health network is key to the success of this initiative.
In their evaluations, participants gave the course top marks. When asked to describe the strengths of the course, comments included: “the readings and the exercises help the student develop an executive leadership point of view,” and, “La flexibilité de McGill, le respect envers nous, la qualité des références bibliographique et articles, la stimulation de Mme Lynne McVey et ses ecnouragements à notre égard.”
Course materials have been translated into French, live sessions moderated by Prof. McVey are bilingual and participants are free to express themselves in the language of their choice. The next iteration of the three-session course will be offered in May 2024. A follow-up 10-module series titled Advanced Executive Education for Nurses is being planned for mid-October. This advanced course will explore concepts in greater depth and allow more time for executive skills development, networking and career planning.
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