The attendees were chief nursing officers, VPs and senior director levels, to ensure a peer environment where attendees were on similar levels. The program was so successful that UnitedHealth plans to offer it again.
What's important is that the program meets the unique needs and opportunities nurses face. "It's not a mini MBA, although some courses might resemble it," says Bazarko. "It's business education with a nursing perspective."
Bazarko believes the value to the organization will more than repay the expense of sending the nurse leaders for training. The nurses had to bring an idea for a leadership development project for their home organizations to work on during the course and then apply what they learned when they get home so they can drive a major change initiative.
"Despite pulling senior nursing leaders out of their jobs at very busy time in healthcare in our country, we wanted to provide them with lot of opportunity and enrichment in a short time," she says. "But we're always mindful of need for return. We're fairly confident that one year from now when we've implemented the projects, they will drive both quantitative and qualitative benefits."