UB to propel nurses into leadership roles through new certificate program

Nurses in scrubs sitting at table.

Nearly 3 million registered nurses work in the United States, accounting for more than 30 percent of the workforce in health care systems. Photo: Douglas Levere.    

Despite being the largest occupation in health care, nurses are vastly underrepresented in and underprepared for leadership positions

Release Date: February 27, 2019

“We need to invest in nurse leaders as they prepare to assume the responsibilities of running a 21st century health care department or organization.”
Larry Zielinski, executive in residence for health care administration in the UB School of Management

BUFFALO, N.Y. — To increase the number of nurses in leadership and management positions, the University at Buffalo School of Nursing has launched the Advanced Certificate in Nursing Leadership in partnership with the UB School of Management.

The new online, part-time program will help nurses develop the leadership, business and executive skills necessary to promote innovative change and shape the evolving health care environment.

“Nurses need to assume not only traditional administrative roles, but also those that support a culture of safety, quality and care coordination for patients in a complex health care environment that is becoming increasingly demanding,” says Janice Jones, PhD, clinical professor and program coordinator for the Master's in Nursing Leadership and Health Care Systems in the School of Nursing.

Nearly 3 million registered nurses work in the United States, accounting for more than 30 percent of the workforce in health care systems, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But despite being the largest occupation in health care, nurses are vastly underrepresented in and underprepared for leadership positions. Part of the problem, says Jones, is that colleges and universities have not sufficiently provided nurses with the skills and training needed to advance into these roles.

To answer the challenge, Jones developed the certificate in collaboration with Larry Zielinski, executive in residence for health care administration in the UB School of Management, and Maureen Kelly, former vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Executives at the major health care organizations in the region, including Kaleida Health, Catholic Health, Erie County Medical Center, Independent Health, Univera Healthcare, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and Roswell also provided input.

“While leadership development is important in all areas of health care, it is especially critical in nursing,” says Zielinski, whose experience includes serving as president of two health care organizations.

“Nurses represent the core of our caregivers, the people most responsible for day-to-day, hour-to-hour patient-centered care. The plurality of the workforce in many health care settings are being led by nurse managers. We need to invest in nurse leaders as they prepare to assume the responsibilities of running a 21st century health care department or organization.”

The 15-credit certificate can be completed in one or two years, and offers courses in organizational behavior, health policy, leadership, operations and financial forecasting.

The part-time program is delivered online to accommodate working nurses. To enroll, applicants are required to have earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a professional registered nurse (RN) license. Nurses who already hold a graduate degree are encouraged to apply as the certificate is applicable to a variety of nursing specialties.

After earning the certificate, graduates may apply program credits toward the pursuit of a Master's in Nursing Leadership and Health Care Systems or a Master of Business Administration from the School of Management.

For more information, visit the Advanced Certificate in Nursing Leadership website.

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