Category Archives: Leadership development

Jul 18 2014

Building a Culture of Health at AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting

RWJF Leadership Reception at the AcademyHealth annual meeting in San Diego in June 2014 RWJF Leadership Reception at the AcademyHealth annual meeting in San Diego in June 2014

At this year’s AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, held in San Diego, California June 8–10, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) hosted “Building a Culture of Health: An RWJF Leadership Reception.” More than 100 RWJF scholars, fellows, and alumni representing 14 RWJF Human Capital programs joined with colleagues and friends of the Foundation for the gathering at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. There, health providers, clinicians, researchers, and graduate students made and renewed the important professional connections that RWJF facilitates.

Among those attending the reception were RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus and RWJF Clinical Scholars Associate Program Director (University of Pennsylvania program site) David Grande, MA, MPA, who presented his paper, “How Do Health Policy Researchers Perceive and Use Social Media to Disseminate Science to Policymakers?,” at the meeting; RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars Lusine Poghosyan, PhD, MPH, RN, and J. Margo Brooks Carthon, PhD, APRN, who chaired and served as a panelist, respectively, at a health care workforce session; and Clinical Scholars Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS, and Katherine A. Auger, MD, M.Sc., who were both chosen as recipients of the AcademyHealth Presidential Scholarship for New Health Services Researchers. This scholarship provides financial support to attend the meeting, and recognizes early-career researchers who demonstrate leadership ability and potential to contribute to the field of health services research.

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Jul 14 2014

Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing

The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action has announced a new program to honor nurse leaders who are making a difference in their communities and to develop their leadership skills. The Campaign will be accepting nominations for its Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award through August 15th.

Nominees must be licensed registered nurses engaged in a state Action Coalition of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Nominations can come from any member of a state Action Coalition, the Champion Nursing Coalition, or the Champion Nursing Council.

The ten nurses selected for this honor will receive national recognition and a Leadership Development Program scholarship from the Center for Creative Leadership, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).  

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May 28 2014

My Greatest Reward: Watching High School Seniors Grow into University-Level Nursing Students

Kelly Andrews Cleaton, MAEd, is a Student Success Advocate (SSA) in eastern North Carolina for Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN), which aims to improve the health and health outcomes of North Carolinians by increasing the educational preparation and diversity of the nursing workforce. RIBN is supported by Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future, a partnership of the Northwest Health Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support the capacity, involvement, and leadership of local foundations to advance the nursing profession in their own communities, and by Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN), an RWJF-supported initiative to advance state and regional strategies to create a more highly educated nursing workforce.


I began my career as a first grade teacher because I love working with students and watching them grow over time. The next stop in my career was at East Carolina University (ECU), where I worked with students who wanted to become teachers. During my work there, I decided that I really enjoyed watching older students develop into their professions.

Quite by accident one day, I saw an online advertisement for a position as an SSA for RIBN, and it seemed like the perfect fit for me. I absolutely love traveling to high schools in eastern North Carolina and being able to talk to students about the RIBN program. The excited look in their eyes when I tell them there is an affordable way to get their bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree is priceless. I enjoy working with five community colleges and putting everything together like the pieces of a puzzle.

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May 19 2014

Quotable Quotes About Nursing, May 2014

This is part of the May 2014 issue of Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge.

“It is only fitting that the theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is ‘Nurses: Leading the Way.’ After all, nurses lead the way in showing an elderly patient how to manage his or her diabetes. They lead the way in making sure their patients—children and adults—get the vaccinations they need. They lead the way in helping our young moms learn how to care for their infants. And they lead the way in conducting research to promote high-quality life for those with chronic illnesses, and to help all of us stay healthy across the lifespan.”
--Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Statement on National Nurses Week, May 6, 2014

“As our global population starts to age, health care as a business is growing rapidly. The rise of local clinics offering ambulatory services and new models of care, such as medical homes, is an outcome of greater demand for services by an aging population. Already the shortage of primary care physicians is being felt. To help fill that gap, the role of the nurse practitioner will continue to expand. Recruiting, training and then retaining enough nurses will be crucial.”
--Olivier Dumon, managing director, Elsevier Academic and Government Research Markets Group, RX for Health Care: Nursing as a Force for Change, Huffington Post, May 6, 2014

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May 19 2014

A Leader Is Not Handed a Magic Wand; A Leader Steps Forward

National Nurses Week has ended, but several nurses are continuing the conversation, blogging about the reasons they aspire to leadership. Karen Rawls, MSN/Ed, RN, serves on the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition, is sitting chair for the Georgia Nurses Association Metro Atlanta Chapter, and is on the board of the Atlanta Black Nurses Association. Rawls is finishing her PhD in Education with a Specialty in Nursing Education and Research. She was named the 2011-12 Nurse of the Year in Education by the Georgia Chapter of the March of Dimes.

Nursing is a profession of opportunities, obstacles, and overtures.

Life as a nurse is very rewarding! I have always considered the profession to be a smorgasbord of delectable treats, with no limit as to how much one could partake. The nurse is one of the few people gifted with the ability to care for the sick, encourage the downtrodden, and support those in need of healing treatments.

So what does this have to do with nurse leadership? Leadership places the nurse at the helm of the ship, allowing ease in making decisions. Nurse leadership takes on a coat of many colors as diversity introduces opportunities to those who often are left behind or may have limited access to the boardroom. I frequently lament the unspoken ideas and unheard options of homogenous committees; imagine the possibilities if each leadership committee was composed of diverse members who collaborated according to care models and cultural competence.

Guiding nurses from different cultures, geographic regions, and ethnicities has allowed me to peer into a kaleidoscope and see our commonalities where others see confrontation and confusion. We truly are more alike than different, and this is particularly true for nurses—possibly more than any other profession. 

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May 15 2014

An RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar on Why She Wants to Be a Nurse Leader

National Nurses Week just ended, but several nurses are continuing the conversation, blogging about the reasons they aspire to leadership. Jing Wang, PhD, MPH, RN, is an assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholar (2013-2016).


When I was a nursing student, I cared for home-bound elderly patients on a volunteer basis. Many of the patients I cared for weren’t able, or didn’t know how, to care for themselves properly. They didn’t always take their medications as they were prescribed, and they didn’t always take their chronic conditions very seriously. Often, they would wind up in the emergency room for conditions they could have managed at home.

I decided to become a professional nurse to help elderly patients take better care of themselves at home—and stay out of the hospital. I am so glad I did; I am overjoyed when my patients learn to become compliant with their medication regimens, eat right, and get the exercise they need to stay healthy.

I know I made a difference with my patients, and that knowledge motivated me to find more, and better, ways to help more patients. I wanted to effect large-scale change, to develop interventions that have the potential to help the millions of people all over the world who suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes.

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May 14 2014

Mentors Can Help Young Nurses Grow into Leaders

National Nurses Week just ended, but several nurses are continuing the conversation, blogging about the reasons they aspire to leadership. Chelsea Savage, RN, MSHA, CPHRM, is a professional liability investigator at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond, Va., and was recognized in 2011 as a young nursing leader by the Virginia Action Coalition.


Like many nursing advocates, I internalized my interest in social justice through my personal history. I was raised by a single mother on welfare, and my childhood had the added stress of an educational disadvantage. My mother, motivated by strong religiosity and the isolation from society characteristic of this construct, took me out of school in sixth grade and forced me into a passive homeschool process. I was given curricula, but not a teacher, so I taught myself and passed the General Educational Development test, better known as the GED, at 15.

I was introduced to nursing while volunteering at a hospital for two–and-half years and pursued an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) for a year at age 16. Later, though, I dropped out of the ADN program. At 26, then a step-mom of three and a biological mom of one, I went back and earned my nursing degree.

Having said goodbye to my cultish upbringing, I was now driven by an insatiable curiosity and felt limitless educational potential. I went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a graduate degree in health administration, and a fellowship in health law. I am now earning my doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) and am seen by some as a nursing leader.

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May 13 2014

An RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholar on Why She Wants to Be a Nurse Leader

National Nurses Week just ended, but several nurses are continuing the conversation, blogging about the reasons they aspire to leadership. Jenee Skinner-Hamler, DNP, RN, FNP, completed her master of science degree at the Rutgers School of Nursing as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) New Jersey Nursing Scholar, and received additional support from NJNI to pursue her doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree at Wilkes University.


Becoming a nurse leader permits me to give voice to help bridge theory and practice by reflecting on educational and practical learning. Nurse leaders help to shape the next generation of nurses. With that being said, why wouldn’t I desire to become a nurse leader? Having a voice helps not just myself, but others to overcome setbacks while constantly thinking of solutions in nursing.

Throughout my nursing career, I have had the opportunity to function as a team leader on a critical care unit. Functioning in such a capacity requires that I engage my co-workers, while at the same time balancing my own ambitions and competence. Nurse leaders broadcast their knowledge and skills, and then share their knowledge with their co-workers, to improve patient outcomes. To become a nurse leader, one must possess a passion for learning.

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May 7 2014

Aspiring Nurse Leaders: Reach for the Future!

Jeannine Rivet, MPH, BSN, FAAN, is executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group.

“When you hold on to the past, your hands aren’t free to reach for the future.

-- Anonymous

I like to share that quote as a way to encourage the people I mentor to grow professionally.

I hope my fellow nurses, in particular, are listening.

I’m grateful for the life-saving work that nurses do at the bedside. Every day, no matter the task, they are helping people live healthier, happier, more productive lives. I started out my career more than four decades ago as a registered nurse (RN) in Rhode Island. I knew then, and I know now, that all nurses are leaders, regardless of their title, because of the skills they use to get their jobs done.  

National Nurses Week HC Blog Logo

As a leader and mentor at UnitedHealth Group, I encourage all the people I work with, including nurses, to be the best professionals that they can be, and do the most that they can do with their careers. All nurses are leaders, sometimes without titles, in whatever they choose to do.

We need more nurses in the upper echelons of business. Nurses are vastly underrepresented in these kinds of roles in our health care system, and we could all—patients, caregivers, and providers—benefit from nurse executive leadership. I’m often the only nurse, and sometimes the only woman, at key decision-making tables at my own organization and on the many boards on which I serve. 

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May 6 2014

The Nursing Profession: A Platform for Leadership

Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, is administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mary Wakefield

Most nurses can reflect on their careers and see multiple pivot points—times when decisions were made that directly shaped their professional trajectory. For some, those decisions were carefully planned and executed with an aim of staying in the boundaries of traditional and very meaningful nursing roles.

That, however, wouldn’t characterize my career path. Serendipity, willingness to operate at the edge of one’s comfort zone, seeing the relevance of nursing knowledge in non-nursing settings, and cultivating a mix of expertise and breadth of relationships in and outside of health care were all key to the path I took and most of the positions I’ve held.


Nurses may end up in very different places, but my bet is that we start from similar beginnings. For me, the appeal of nursing took root when I was still in high school, working part time in a small rural hospital and a nursing home in my hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota. I remember clearly rushing five minutes across town to work occasional back-to-back shifts from evenings at the nursing home to night shifts in the hospital. 

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