Promoting nursing leadership: The Kansas Nurse Leader Residency Program

The Kansas Nurse Leader Resident Graduates, July 15, 2016

The KSAC celebrated its 5th anniversary during the annual summer meeting in Topeka, Kansas.

Dr. Debbie Ford, representing Ms. Liz Carlton, Kansas City, KS, NE Region

Dr. Marlene Pietrocola from Wichita, KS, SW Region

Dr. Kristi Frisbee from Pittsburg, KS, SE Region

Drs. Jan Harding and Chris Hober from Hays, KS, NW Region

Nurses play a critical role in the health care system. Factoring in total time spent with patients, one could argue that they are the face of health care. For this and many other reasons, the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report, Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, advocates for nurses to be full partners in redesigning the current complex healthcare system.

In response to this report, the Kansas Action Coalition (KSAC) was formed to advance nursing leadership, education, and practice.

The KSAC quickly got to work conducting a survey about leadership roles, goals, and barriers among Kansas nurses. Almost 1,000 nurses, representing all regions of the state, participated in the study, and our findings were encouraging:

  • About 60 percent currently serve in a leadership role in their career, professional organizations, or in their community.
  • Participants want to serve in both formal and service-oriented leadership roles.
  • Nurses identified barriers to engaging in additional leadership activities, including insufficient time during and outside of work, and perceived need for future leadership development.
  • Personal leadership knowledge and skills and how to influence policy were reported as important among many of the participants.

Based on these results, the KSAC determined that a statewide leadership residency program was necessary to support future nurse leaders who could be instrumental in their organizations and communities in redesigning the current health care system. With funding from the Health Forward Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the KSAC partnered with the University of Kansas Hospital to develop and implement the Kansas Nurse Leader Residency Program (KNLR).

The nurse leader residency program included nurses from the health areas of acute care, long-term care, public health, and school health. Experts from each of the four specialty areas carefully reviewed and provided input to ensure that the program would meet the needs of nurses working in each of their respective areas.

We also identified regional leaders to help recruit nurses to ensure that the program would benefit Kansans living in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the state.

The KNLR program was a six-month hybrid program with three, regional in-person meetings, four online modules, and a final in-person meeting that culminated in Topeka in July. Program topics included teamwork and building relationships, human resources, quality and safety initiatives, program management, budget and finances, policy, and advocacy.

Each nurse resident worked with a mentor who helped to facilitate the completion of a leadership project in their organization or community. The leadership projects focused on small changes that addressed an important issue facing their unit, organization, or community. The nurse residents presented their projects during the final meeting in Topeka.

Overwhelmingly, the feedback provided to the nurse residents has been that they need to present their work more broadly, including national nursing conferences!

We are proud of this first cohort of the Kansas Nurse Leader Residents who were pioneers in our initiative to implement a statewide residency program! They have exemplified leadership qualities, including enhanced communication, empathy, resiliency, and a strong desire to promote optimal health outcomes among their population of interest, through advocacy and policy initiatives.

The KSAC celebrated its 5th anniversary during the annual summer meeting in Topeka, Kansas. The KSAC welcomes participation of students, nurses, and nurse champions who share the goal of promoting health. They are working toward this aim by preparing the nursing workforce to function as full partners in a complex health care system. We invite you to learn more about the KSAC. You can also “like” their Facebook page to keep current about the KSAC.

Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006