Innovation in nursing develops future leaders

April 24, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Avera.

Business leaders look for ideas everywhere. Sometimes, the best ones come from employees.

Avera has recognized this truth with its Avera Rising Nurse Leader Development program, which is an internal effort to help nurses develop leadership skills. It has evolved, and now represents Avera’s first for-the-market product developed and licensed to HealthStream under the guidance of The Innovation Lab, Avera’s partner for innovation and commercialization.

Rising Nurse Leader Development targets high-potential, high-performing nurses who are interested in pursuing nursing leadership. In March, a group of 24 nurses began the fourth cohort of the program. During a six-month period, they will travel to each of Avera’s six regional locations to take part in classroom-based learning designed around American Nurses Association curriculum and Avera leadership competencies. Each cohort has three dedicated nursing leaders who serve as mentors, facilitate group discussions and present content during the program.

Christine Buell, director of leadership development with Avera Health human resources, led the creation of the program, which looked to address retention and succession planning within the health system. Debbie Kooiker, a consultant on the Avera leadership and organizational development team, has been responsible for the ongoing development and implementation of the program. Both are billed as innovators of the product.

“It’s apparent that a need we had for our health system is a challenge that health systems across the nation face,” Buell said.

“It’s exciting that the work we did is now seen as a valuable tool – not just for Avera but across the country. We created this program because it was the right thing to do for Avera and it supported our mission. Registered nurses continue to be in short supply, not to mention the pending retirement of a large cadre of RNs in the years to come. One of our ongoing priorities is to find capable leaders for nursing teams.”

Both innovators are intrigued to see the program go forward to a larger audience.

“Our team is passionate about developing people, and the thought of being a part of developing others outside of Avera is very exciting,” Kooiker said. “This gave me the validation that we had a great program that was developed for the right reasons, and now we can potentially share it with other facilities.”

To date, 70 nurses have completed the program, and 90 percent of them are still employed with Avera. More than one-quarter of past participants have moved into leadership roles with Avera.

Avera is a member-owner of The Innovation Institute, a company structured to cultivate pioneering solutions to transform health care delivery. The Innovation Lab is the health care incubator and accelerator for the institute.

“I’m proud of what we created,” Kooiker said. “It’s impacted our nurses, our patients and our system. It’ll be exciting to see how it can benefit other care providers around the nation.”

Innovation in nursing develops future leaders

“We created this program because it was the right thing to do.” Now, this innovative nursing leadership program could scale nationwide.

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