Skip to main content
Request a demo

Press Ganey’s Nurse Leader Development Program: Empowering nurses to be effective leaders

A great nurse and a great nurse leader often possess two separate sets of skills. But when high-performing nurses are promoted into leadership positions, they’re often given little to no formal leadership training.

Many hospitals and healthcare organizations simply don’t have the time or resources to develop management training and properly equip nurses to step into new leadership roles. And now that many nurse leaders are retiring or making career changes—even moving outside of healthcare altogether—the need for nurse leader training is even greater.

While this problem existed before the pandemic, COVID-19, coupled with the “great resignation” that followed, has exacerbated the issue to such a degree it can no longer be ignored, or put on the back burner. 

A nurse leader needs to understand the responsibilities and demands put upon their staff. But without specific training on best practices for daily clinical operations, people management, quality, data, and financial management, nurse leaders are, at best, not armed for success—and at worst, they’re set up for failure. But the logistics around preparing nurses to be effective leaders are complicated. Overtaxed healthcare organizations often lack the resources and time to properly train the next generation of nurse leaders.And that's the challenge we're helping you tackle with our newly launched Nursing Leadership Academy, as well as the Nurse Leadership Development Program within it.

What is Press Ganey’s Nursing Leadership Academy?

The Press Ganey Nursing Leadership Academy helps health systems, facilities, and organizations arm the next generation of nurse leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to achieve leadership competence. It helps organizations educate and train nurse leaders at all levels of leadership, from front-line managers to seasoned executives, so they can grow and flourish in their roles.

The nursing profession—and, by extension, all of healthcare—has without a doubt faced serious problems for decades, including nurse retention and burnout among high-performing employees. Investing in nurse leader development has a direct and positive impact on both patient and caregiver outcomes. Our academy takes a data-driven approach to identifying the major challenges and opportunities for healthcare organizations. Then, we help apply actionable solutions to these longstanding issues as well as emerging challenges.

What is Press Ganey’s Nurse Leader Development Program, and how does it help healthcare organizations?

Every health system and facility is different. Size, culture, patient load, and many other factors result in an endless combinations of priorities and needs. How can any one training program accommodate all of those demands? The key is flexibility. So we designed the Nurse Leader Development Program as part of our Nursing Leadership Academy to meet the unique needs of any organization, on any timeline.

The Nurse Leader Development Program was developed based on current national professional standards as well as competencies from the American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The program has options for everyone. It helps transition nurses into their brand-new nurse leadership roles, and it helps experienced nurse leaders focus on competencies or skills they would like to strengthen, or prepare for national nursing leadership certification exams. The Nurse Leader Development Program provides a standardized approach to training and developing a strong nursing leadership team.  

Now, let’s dig in a bit, and take a look at the structure. The didactic content can be presented in several ways: a group setting, in person, one-on-one coaching sessions, a “train-the-trainer" format, or virtual training. But while virtual training is an option, organizations typically prefer and opt for the in-person format. There’s also an annual subscription model that regularly updates program content—like new best practices or competency standard changes.

The Nurse Leader Development Program is divided into eight domains, each of which contains three modules that can be presented in 30- to 60-minute timeframes. Organizations can customize the program to align with their needs.

The three most popular approaches for the Nurse Leader Development Program are: (1) Press Ganey-led training, (2) train-the-trainer, and (3) license-only options.

  1. Press Ganey-led training: Our team provides training to nurse leaders one time over several months.
  2. Train-the-trainer: Press Ganey will train internal or organization trainers to then train their nurse leaders.  The organization may customize the curriculum to include specific elements, programs or standards unique to the organization, and use it in perpetuity.
  3. License only: Press Ganey will review the content with the organization, but the organization then moves forward with implementation. This option also enables customization by the the organization and the ability to use the curriculum in perpetuity.

Our clients have already shown great creativity in how they make the program work for their needs. For example, one 50-hospital system decided to purchase the license-only option. They embedded additional training from their health system within the content and implemented it as part of the nurse leader orientation program. There’s also flexibility to implement the Nurse Leader Development Program in its entirety, or for organizations to select the domains that are needed to meet their nurse leader development needs.

New nurse leaders realize extraordinary value in mentorships. To that end, the Nurse Leader Development Program’s toolkit includes a mentor guide, which equips trainers with the skills to coach new nurse leaders as an extra level of support. It helps the nurse leader mentee apply concepts and key principles to real-life scenarios that reinforce what’s learned. Applying these principles and concepts in practice is just one element that make this training so valuable. That’s how information is operationalized and reinforced—and not only brought into a nurse leader’s day-to-day work, but also pushed front and center.

A unique, world-class program for organizations and their nurse leaders 

In creating the Nurse Leader Development Program, while we discuss theoretical foundations, the main focus is on the operational framework essential for success. And one of our goals is to help healthcare organizations take the data around their operational challenges—including nurse retention, turnover, and staff engagement and satisfaction, both at a staff and a leader level—and develop actionable solutions.

The challenges healthcare professionals face today can seem insurmountable. But when dedicated, talented people have the training they need to step up as great leaders, some of the existing problems that seem most intractable become manageable. Front-line nurse leaders play a critical role in building and sustaining a healthy work environment, which is key to great patient and caregiver outcomes. The Nurse Leader Development Program gives those nurse leaders the skills needed to be successful—and set an example for future generations of nurse leaders too.

To learn more about our Nurse Leader Development Program and discuss opportunities for your organization, reach out to Mary Jo Assi, Press Ganey’s Associate Chief Nursing Officer and Partner, Strategic Consulting.

About the author

Kathy directs and leads engagements for the Clinical Improvement solutions team in Strategic Consulting, partnering with clients to strengthen the nursing workforce environment, transcend nursing excellence and develop nurse managers. Kathy has an extensive background in nursing practice and operations. Prior to joining Press Ganey, Kathy most recently served as the Deputy Executive Director of the Office of Nursing Services at the VA-the largest health system in the country.

Profile Photo of Kathy Barry, DNP, MHA, RN, NEA-BC