"The reality is that when financial resources are tight or limited, one has to build a strong case when asking for financial support, or new degree program, or expansion of nursing slots," Kirschling says. "Any provost or president has to prioritize work in terms of investment," and this program is designed to help its participants develop a high level of negotiating ability on behalf of patient care.
"Nurse leaders need to be uniquely positioned and have the skill set to advocate," she says.
The program's inaugural class includes 37 nurse educators from 25 states who lead a diverse array of institutions. But despite their different backgrounds, Kirschling says they're all are experienced deans and directors.
"We were very interested in having people who were not brand new to their role," Kirschling says. In that way, participants will not only learn from the program, but also from each other and have a chance to develop their professional networks.
The curriculum was developed by Wharton School faculty, based on interviews leadership stakeholders and focus groups within AACN. Participants had to apply for acceptance into the tuition-based program, which is sponsored in part by the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence.