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March 04, 2010

New Program Provides a Forum Where Peers Can Exchange Ideas

Doctor of Nursing Practice for Nurse Executives (EDNP) cohort members (from left) Joyce Cotton, Elaine Bridge, and Maureen Scrozynski discuss common issues.

They come from different backgrounds, different positions, different points of view.

One thing that’s not different for high-ranking nurse executives is the dearth of peers with whom they can problem solve while at work.

That is just one of the primary reasons behind the new Doctor of Nursing Practice for Nurse Executives (EDNP) program in the School of Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions.

“The opportunity to learn alongside people who are going through the same things as me has been outstanding,” said Joyce Cotton, Associate Chief of Nursing and Clinical Services at Spring Harbor Hospital in Maine. “I’ve learned different ways to approach an issue and different philosophies that have been remarkable.”

“I’ve been able to apply things I’ve learned in this program directly to work situations,” noted Elaine Bridge, Senior Vice President for Patient Care at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the incoming president of the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives (MONE). “It’s already made a difference for me.”

First of Its Kind

The program is the first of its kind in New England, and one of a handful in the United States. It is a hybrid of online classes and monthly on-campus seminars where the cohort hears from management experts while having the chance to strategize solutions to common issues they encounter.

Built upon the curriculum of the Boston health sciences graduate school’s existing DNP program - one of the first to be created in the country when it was launched in 2007 - its format was deliberately created to accommodate the demanding schedule of nurse executives who are responsible for patient care at their workplace.

Maureen Sroczynski has been involved from the beginning in the EDNP’s formation. The president of Farley Associates Inc., a management consulting firm, she is a former MONE president with 40 years experience in health care that includes executive positions in several hospitals. She also is chief nursing consultant to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Nursing Initiative.

As a consultant, she needs to keep up with the latest trends in nursing, and had thought a PhD was her only option when she got together with other MONE members - including MGH Institute School of Nursing Dean Margery Chisholm - to address what they collectively saw was a pressing need.

“A PhD educates people to be researchers, which is obviously very important, but there wasn’t anything for executives on the clinical side who manage a staff who give direct care to patients,” Sroczynski explained.

“This program gives us knowledge on things we’re rarely exposed to or have the time to work on, like leadership theory, negotiating skills, informatics, and management assessment tools," she continued. "It’s a high-quality education for nurses in senior leadership positions.”

A Master’s degree in nursing, or a related field as determined by the faculty, is required. Applicants must meet admission requirements similar to those for the Post-Master’s DNP program.

Applications are processed on a rolling admission basis. The next entry date is September 2010.

The MGH Institute of Health Professions, founded by Massachusetts General Hospital in 1977, is an innovative and independent graduate school that operates within the framework of Partners HealthCare. A progressive leader in developing comprehensive models of health care education, the MGH Institute prepares advanced practice professionals in the fields of nursing, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and medical imaging through a distinctive combination of academic study, clinical practice, and research. More than 900 students are enrolled in graduate level and certificate programs, with an increasing number of courses available online. The Institute is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

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