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Nurse Leader Institute graduates second cohort

The Louisiana Action Coalition’s (LAC) Nurse Leader Institute (NLI) is providing an opportunity for RNs across the state to strengthen leadership skills and to network with colleagues and seasoned nurse leaders. A group of 23 RNs participated in the recent offering and 20 completed all five days of the training.

“The Nurse Leader Institute is divided into three segments,” said Barbara Morvant, MN, RN, project director for the NLI and LAC Core Leadership Team member. “Nurses may attend just one or two of the segments depending on their needs, but most choose to complete all five days. By doing that they are designated as graduates and qualified to participate in the LAC Nurse Leader Mentorship program which we consider the second phase of our leadership training.”

The NLI was created by the LAC Core Leadership Team and Leadership Steering Committee to provide nurse managers and emerging nurse leaders with the tools they need to be successful. Based on priorities identified in a nurse leadership needs assessment survey fielded in 2015 to all RNs in Louisiana, LAC saw leadership training as a need and responded. The 33.2 CE curriculum includes segments on budgeting, communication, recruitment and retention, staff performance, quality improvement and personal leadership skills.

Registered nurses from work settings including hospitals, home health, academia, public health, insurance and claims, research, regulatory and ambulatory care made up the June 2016 group of NLI participants.

"The Nurse Leader Institute was an eye-opener for me," said Jeannie Smith, RN, BSN, CMSRN. "It allowed me to see the potential I have within myself to become a great leader. The information presented by the passionate faculty of RN-leaders gave me the knowledge, courage and inspiration to reach for my dream of becoming a nurse executive. I am no longer a 'lamb,' but a 'lion' in the making."

“The content covered and resources given will be a valuable asset to help me grow within my leadership role,” said Toni Armstrong, RN. “Thanks to LAC for giving emerging nurse leaders the opportunity to spread our wings!”

Those who completed the Nurse Leader Institute are now eligible to participate in a nine-month mentorship program during which each will be matched with an experienced nurse leader in his or her area of practice/interest. Those nurse leaders successfully completing both the Nurse Leader Institute and the mentorship program will be recognized at the annual Louisiana Nurses Foundation Nightingale Gala.

Diane Fulton, RN, MSN, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, served as faculty at both NLI trainings. “Many of us started our leadership careers because someone asked us as a staff nurse to step up and act as an ‘interim manager’ with no formal training - including me.” Fulton said. “I'm glad we now have something available that provides a good foundation for a novice or beginning nurse leader. With more than 17 percent of RNs in leadership positions retiring in the next five years, it is important to train our replacements.”

“The strength of the Nurse Leader Institute is the quality of the faculty,” said Morvant. “Participants get to learn from seasoned nurse leaders who are committed to the profession and so willingly give their time to prepare our future leaders. Our goal is to inspire our future leaders and give them tools to work with on their journeys to greatness.”

Lisa Colletti, RN, MN, NEA-BC, LAC Core Leadership Team member and retired nurse executive, also served as faculty for the second time. She said, “Presenting to young, up-and-coming leaders is one of the highlights of my career. I am always impressed by the participants in terms of willingness to learn and share. Sharing of experiences and networking is essential to learning and building a colleague base to call upon as you develop and grow in management. “

The next LAC Nurse Leader Institute is scheduled for January 9 through 13, 2017, in Baton Rouge. Registration will open in October. Detailed information about the NLI and Nurse Leader Mentorship Program can be found on the LAC website at

Development of the Nurse Leader Institute was funded by donations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Gifted Healthcare LLC and the Great 100 Nurses Foundation. In-kind donations were provided by the Louisiana State Nurses Association through its Louisiana Nurses Foundation, including serving as LAC fiscal agent; and the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, through its Center for Nursing staff. Special acknowledgement goes to Lisa Deaton, BSN, LAC Core Leadership Team member, who volunteered time to staff the NLI throughout the week.

The second Louisiana Action Coalition Nurse Leader Institute cohort: From left, front row: Amy Bufford, Kristi Murray, Jobe Nasca, Elizabeth Robichaux, Sarah Wilson, Lisa Richard, Toni Armstrong, Patty Dufrene, Robin Huet, Danyell Baptiste, Allyson Bennett, Megan Stewart; back row: William Duckworth, Ryan Valentine, Justine Patti, Shelley Burns, Monica Mason, Ryan Fulford and Jeannie Smith.

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