What Can You Do with a DNP in Health Systems Leadership?


Health Systems Leadership

As a registered nurse, you are keenly aware of the demands of the nursing profession and the complexity of our modern healthcare system. As a contributor to health systems leadership, you will use your wealth of experience and knowledge to help dictate the future of nursing.

You can become a health systems leader by first pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. Through a DNP degree health systems leadership program, you will achieve the highest level of clinical nursing expertise and be prepared to take your career in exciting new directions. You may choose to become a leader in patient care, research, administration, or policy. Whichever area you pursue, you will have a significant impact on innumerable lives.

What Does a Health Care Systems Leader Do?

Health care systems leaders are passionate professionals who care deeply about the wellbeing of others. They are responsible for maintaining high standards of workplace efficiencies in order to provide the highest quality patient care. They tirelessly advocate for their patients and team members, creating a safe and effective healthcare environment.

As a health systems leader, you can be a progressive agent of change working to develop and implement health care policies to improve the overall health care delivery system. In order to usher in the most efficient and effective outcomes, leaders in this area of nursing must understand organizational leadership, governmental and system health policy, local and national population health, and health care information systems–as well as how these concepts intersect and impact patient care.

The ever-evolving health care landscape needs advanced practice nurses now more than ever. According to the American Nurses Association, the need for health care systems leaders is intensifying as the general population ages and requires more complex, multidimensional care. It will be health system leaders who will guide the profession through the changes ahead.

What Do You Learn in a DNP Program?

You must have completed a master’s degree in nursing, hold an active unencumbered nursing license, and be employed as a registered nurse to enroll in a DNP degree program. With these credentials already in place, you will have the foundation to hit the ground running as you pursue a health systems leader role.

In your coursework, you will become an expert in leadership in organizations and systems and will deepen your leadership savvy as you explore areas of study including:

  • Healthcare information systems – using data in planning and implementing best practices
  • Healthcare Policy – influence and advocate for positive policy change to impact health systems and clinical practice
  • Advanced health promotion across diverse cultures — identifying, analyzing, and evaluating key public health issues
  • Translating evidence into nursing practice — designing protocols based on data
  • Epidemiology – discovering patterns of disease in human populations

A health systems leader communicates with a network of people, including patients, fellow nurses, administrators, and family members and makes leadership decisions that may have significant impact on others and on the industry. Strong interpersonal skills are necessary to make communication effective. As you work toward completion of the DNP, you will become an adept communicator able to team build, resolve conflicts, problem solve, and work with a variety of populations.

Most DNP programs culminate in a final project focused on defining a problem and applying evidenced-based data to seek solutions. This experience can jumpstart your new career and give you the opportunity to make a scholarly contribution to nursing leadership.

What Roles Can I Have in Health Systems Leadership?

You are a passionate professional who cares deeply about the wellbeing of others. A DNP degree opens many doors and allows you to bring your passion to variety of dynamic careers. You may choose to become a specialist in a particular area of nursing. Or you may decide that a role as a nurse leader—someone who guides the industry through administration, policy, education, and research—is the career for you.

Or you may decide that a role as a health systems leader—someone who guides the industry through administration, policy, education, and research—is the career for you.

Leadership roles in health care include:

  • Director of Nursing
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Hospital Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Nursing Informatics Officer

Gain Systems-Level Leadership Skills

To meet the need for highly skilled health systems leaders, Elmhurst University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program that is designed to accommodate the schedules of working registered nurses. The program is part-time and 100% online with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes, allowing students to earn the DNP in 28 months.

Students must have a minimum of 250 MSN clinical hours to enter the program and must meet all other admission requirements.

When you enter the DNP program, you will join a cohort of like-minded professionals who will be your classmates, colleagues, study partners throughout the program. Our new DNP program will accept its first cohort of nurses in Fall 2023.

Create Meaningful Change as a Health Systems Leader Through a DNP Degree

Health systems leaders are vital members of the healthcare team, guiding their staff in safe, effective, and compassionate care policies that save and improve the lives of their patients.

Elmhurst University has been a leader in nursing education for 50 years, and our nursing programs have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the nation. Let your career as a health systems leader begin at Elmhurst where leaders train leaders.

Ready to get started? Fill out the form below to request more information about Elmhurst’s DNP degree program.

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Illustration by Telegramme
Posted March 28, 2023

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