UB Nursing School offers new master’s program in nursing leadership

UB nursing students.

Release Date: March 22, 2013 This content is archived.

“Our community partners identified the need for a program designed specifically to educate baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses to assume leadership and executive roles. ”
Marsha Lewis, PhD, dean and professor
UB School of Nursing

BUFFALO, N.Y. –The University at Buffalo School of Nursing has received approval by New York State to offer a master’s degree in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems beginning this summer.

The new MS program educates baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses for middle- and upper-level management positions in a variety of health care systems and settings. It can be taken full time, which would allow completion in one year (four semesters), including summers, or part time.

According to the program coordinator, Janice Jones, PhD, RN, clinical professor, the leadership program of study will partner with UB’s Schools of Management and Public Health and Health Professions.

Jones said that the program is accepting applications until April 22, with classes starting in the first summer session. The program will start in the summer this year (all future groups will start in the spring) and plans to admit at least 10 students in its first cohort.

Information about the program is available here:

Why is a master’s degree in nursing leadership being offered when the BSN degree has previously served as the foundation for a management track in nursing?

The UB School of Nursing Dean, Marsha Lewis, PhD, meets regularly with area chief nursing officers and nurse educators to discuss issues that affect health care and nursing education in our community.  The group suggested that UB offer an MS in nursing leadership in an effort to better equip nurse managers with the preparation needed to keep pace with the challenges facing health care leaders today.  

Lewis said, “Our community partners identified the need for a program designed specifically to educate baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses to assume leadership and executive roles.  Today’s health care settings require nurse managers to take on expanding roles in management to promote innovative change and quality outcomes.  As a leader in nursing education, the school has taken up the challenge to provide a program of study to meet the needs of a complex and ever-changing health care environment.

Patient care and management of nursing staff have become more demanding, requiring advanced education, Jones added.

“The acuity of hospitalized patients has changed dramatically. Those patients who previously were in intensive care can now be found on general medical-surgical nursing units,” she said.

“In addition to supervising the staff who care for these seriously ill patients, the nurse manager (which is usually known as the head nurse) is not only responsible for the unit’s budget and staffing but also areas such as quality issues, patient satisfaction, nursing research and evidence-based practice utilization and promoting what we call healthy work environments that promote nurses’ job satisfaction resulting in job retention and better patient outcomes.”

To address the needs of each student, the clinical practicum will be individually designed to apply the evidence-based leadership and management concepts according to each student’s career objectives, Jones said.

These specific career goals will be addressed in the N 640 practicum – a six credit (300 hours) course that will help the candidates develop managerial and leadership skills specific to their purposes and to the strategic outcomes of the organizations and health care facilities the students represent.

One feature of the curriculum is having local administrators take part.

“We have a local chapter of the American Organization of Nurse Executives,” said Jones, “and our students will be encouraged to join this organization. Several members from the organization have already volunteered to act as mentors on an as needed basis.”

Upon completion of the program and after several years of active administrative experience requirements are met, the student will be eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) certification in nursing administration.

Jones said that potential employment opportunities for graduates of the program include:

  • Nurse or unit manager
  • Director or vice-president of nursing
  • Project director
  • Academic faculty
  • Staff development
  • Quality specialists
  • Patient safety officers

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