Nurses for Tomorrow Fellowship Program: Developing Nursing Leaders for the Future
MetadataShow full item record
(41st Biennial Convention) Purpose: Developing leadership capacity among frontline nurses is critical to promoting strategic succession planning; addressing issues quality of work life for nurses; and fostering innovation at the point of care. The purpose of this presentation is to describe how one large healthcare organization developed and implemented a nursing fellowship program designed to engage nurses in dialogue about leadership theories and ideas, provide mentorship and support for nurses to develop and lead research or quality improvement initiatives to advance the strategic plan, and introduce nurses to project management and change leadership strategies. Methods: The program was implemented at a large academic hospital. Frontline nurses from across the organization were invited to submit proposals for projects that would contribute to the organization's nursing strategic plan. Twelve fellowships were awarded; successful candidates were released from their units for two 7.5-hour days per week for six months to participate in a leadership development program and to lead and complete their projects. Results: The projects have been successfully completed, and the participants have become known as leaders across the organization. Examples of projects include development of a palliative care resource nurse role, implementation of an evidence-based model for addressing pressure ulcers, a transformative information sharing program for nurses, and development of a healthy work environment program. Results of feedback obtained from participants and organization leaders demonstrate a positive impact on leadership capacity building, staff engagement and work life, quality of patient care, and achievement of strategic goals. Conclusion: Frontline nurses are a wealth of innovative ideas for improving care and when supported to do so are able to lead for and make significant contributions to improving quality within and beyond their organizations. The success of this program, as well as the projects created by participants, demonstrates its potential to be implemented in other healthcare settings.