Every May, nurses are recognized for their contribution during “Nurses Week,” commemorating the birthday of Florence Nightingale. This celebration is particularly important this year because nurses have been highlighted as major caregivers during the pandemic.
Nurses have always been a part of our healthcare systems but are increasingly seen as the ‘change agents’ needed to promote public health and advance care in our healthcare systems. For example, a recent report from the National Academy of Medicine, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030, calls on organizations to incorporate nursing expertise in designing, generating, analyzing, and applying initiatives that support equitable care.
Many hospital organizations are recognized for excellence because they integrate nurses into governance, and system changes that ensure individuals at the point of care are engaged and allowed to participate in change at the organizational level. These Magnet hospitals, as they are called, demonstrate how nurses are leading positive change in healthcare. The Magnet Recognition Program, an award from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, designates honors to organizations worldwide where nurse leaders successfully align strategic nursing goals with organizational goals to improve outcomes. Engaging nurses in change leadership supports other disciplines in reaching their peak performance. A recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that engaging in a culture of excellence emphasizes quality, autonomy, relationships, and leadership that reaches beyond nursing because of the commitment to transforming change engagement of everyone.
The Master of Science in Organizational Change Leadership program at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is designed to cultivate leadership skills, preparing individuals to navigate the ever-changing business environment. Healthcare systems are known for rapid change, and there is certainly more to come in the post-pandemic world. Nurses are known for clinical knowledge, caring, and empathy, but they are also known for their problem-solving abilities and creativity, making them great organizational change agents.
This year, several nurse leaders enrolled in the program are gaining the skills needed to further advance our systems, redesign health care, and support the future of nursing. Because of the remote learning capability, nurses as far as California are learning through this program, with experience from pediatrics to geriatrics and from hospital care to long-term care. One key to the success of the student is learning the interprofessional aspect of organizations and navigating complex systems, which is a strength of the Organizational Change Leadership program.
The Organizational Change Leadership track focusing on healthcare is a great opportunity for an academic partnership with nurses looking to advance their knowledge in leadership and influencing organizational change. While there are many degrees to support nurses in the field of leadership, the M.S. in Organizational Change Leadership degree at UW-Platteville provides what all leaders need, particularly nurse leaders, in learning to apply system change in unique and innovative ways, particularly focusing on creating change agents for the future.