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Wharton Nursing Leaders Program

Program Overview

As nursing leaders advance within their organizations, the decisions, the issues, and the projects become increasingly complex and often occur across silos. Developing leadership skills is critical for this group to be effective managers and patient advocates, especially as hospitals and health systems face resource constraints and changes in both health care policy and patient care delivery.

Wharton Nursing Leaders Program addresses this complexity — from identifying the key stakeholders and influencing their behaviors to learning to manage resources, and knowing when to terminate a task force or project. Small-group work enhances learning and applying the lessons from the classroom.

Read more about the Experience & Impact »

Nursing Leaders Program Highlights & Benefits

  • Develop essential financial skills, and better communicate budgetary information to peers and staff
  • Gain an awareness of the strategic issues facing the health care organization and the stakeholders within and outside the organization
  • Develop critical analytical skills necessary to manage task forces or project teams
  • Enhance the ability to manage resources, both human and financial, and to optimize clinical and administrative performance

Contact Us

Schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your professional goals:



Dates TBD

Download the program schedule, including session details.

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change.

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Experience & Impact

Recognizing the importance of strategic leadership in a rapidly evolving health care setting where patient satisfaction and accountability are increasingly important, this program presents a comprehensive approach to strategy development that emphasizes management skills, both financial and human, that are crucial for success. Wharton Nursing Leaders Program is designed to help you be a more effective nurse leader, with tools to better manage resources, be more responsive to stakeholders, and optimize your nursing staff’s performance.

Wharton faculty apply their field-based research and the latest strategic insights to help you enhance your leadership in a health care setting. Faculty members bring particular content expertise and vast experience working with senior clinician executives.

This program provides nursing leaders with well-tested tools and frameworks that will clarify and enhance their strategic thinking, whether they need to negotiate for additional resources, unveil a new strategy, or simply oversee the day-to-day operations of their department.

Session topics include:

  • Planning for Execution
  • Hospital Finance
  • Stakeholder Mapping
  • Effective Decision Making
  • Team Building and Motivation
  • Managing People: Influence and Persuasion

Through highly interactive lectures, exercises, and case studies, both in the classroom and in smaller work groups, this program will give participants the business acumen, leadership, and critical thinking skills that will enhance their value as both a nursing leader and a hospital administrator.

Participant Profile

Participants by Job Function

Wharton Nursing Leaders Program participants by job function

Participants by Company Size

Wharton Nursing Leaders Program participant by organization size

Participants by Years of Experience

Wharton Nursing Leaders Program participants by years of experience 

Who Should Attend

This program, which is co-provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, is for higher-level nurse managers who are preparing for the role of chief nursing officer (CNO). Specifically, an individual attending this program must meet two of the three following criteria:

  • Reports directly to the CNO of the organization
  • Has multi-unit fiscal and management responsibilities
  • Manages direct reports who have supervisory responsibility

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Participants leave the program with an expanded peer network, plus specific tools and frameworks to more strategically lead the nursing staff in their health care organization.

Plan Your Stay


G. Richard Shell, JD   See Faculty Bio

Thomas Gerrity Professor; Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics; Professor of Management; Chairperson, Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department, The Wharton School


For anyone who works as a nursing leader in health care, the Wharton Nursing Leaders Program is a wonderful opportunity to practice what you learn in the classroom and address a real-world problem. In less than 48 hours, we were divided into small groups to come up with strategies on how to execute a plan for resolving a complex issue. Wharton’s faculty gave us new tools — project software, network diagrams and clarity worksheets. It pushed us out of our comfort zone and showed us more of the business side of sales and marketing that are needed to get things accomplished. We learned about the art of negotiation, which was extremely relevant for me since my biggest challenge as a healthcare leader is how to persuade finance leaders, who are not in the nursing discipline, to see the value of our programs. There is always a cost factor and if we’re not able to show the value or the financial return on investment, we won’t be able to fulfill our mission to our patients.

Wharton most definitely has changed the way that I organize and assign tasks. It also enhanced my critical thinking skills. We spent a full day focusing on critical thinking — honing it in ourselves and in the nurses we develop. That’s important because everything is moving at such a fast pace in this ever-changing healthcare environment. As leaders, we need to be able to make sound decisions based on evidence-based practice. We need to assess and evaluate best practices so that we can minimize errors that potentially cause harm to the patients that we care for. I’ve recommended Wharton to numerous colleagues.”

The Wharton Nursing Leaders Program was one of the best programs I’ve ever been involved with — it was applicable, it was real, it made sense — everything about it was just amazing. On a personal note, I was in the Wharton program while serving in an interim role for the chief nursing executive position at my hospital. Just being able to hold your own in a room with such talent and intelligence gave me a lot of confidence — it helped me realize that this is the role I could do. The program has helped me with everyday work challenges, from getting buy-in, to making the case for resources, to handling change management and day-to-day operations, to building trust with my staff. In fact, I plan to use some of the program’s tools with my own staff. I highly recommend this program to any nurse leader.”

As the SNO (Senior Nurse Officer) and the Department Head of the Primary Care Department for a US Naval Air facility in Japan, I am responsible and accountable to the Officer in Charge for the coordination and efficient operation of all nursing and clinical services. Frequently, as acting Officer in Charge, I am responsible for all clinic operations and a staff of 110 personnel. Some 30% of our staff rotates every year to include leadership, and even our Commanding Officer (CEO equivalent) will rotate to another duty station every two or three years. Our biggest challenge is not only managing this constant turnover of staff but also completing our military requirements, ensuring staff career mentoring and providing a true patient experience. The Wharton Nursing Leaders Program has given me an improved skill set to better manage organizational change, team performance, and successful strategic planning. Specifically, I can better identify key stakeholders early when managing organizational change and not be afraid to terminate a project if needed. I’m a better leader today because of the Wharton program.”

I am a Nursing Director of the intensive care units at Texas Children’s Hospital. My scope encompasses 88 beds of critically ill children and approximately 300 nurses. Being able to set goals with executive leadership to drive performance in a quality way is really a challenge while you’re running at full capacity. The Wharton Nursing Leaders Program helped me shift my focus from operations to strategy, as well as how to maximize team performance. I’ve also been able to network with peers and develop a variety of skill sets beyond clinical, from business acumen to emotional intelligence. I highly recommend the Wharton program to nursing leaders.”

Gail Parazynski

Nursing Director at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

The Wharton Nursing Leaders Program has helped me on a number of levels. I refer to the conflict resolution piece of the program daily in my role leading 180 nurses. The nurses in my department float to every division in the hospital, so I am constantly communicating to various hospital divisions, advocating for my nurses. Wharton emphasized the importance of clear and frequent communication. We always encourage the departments to engage nurses in a conversation, so they know their competencies, their comfort level, and their limits. It’s critical to not assume that everyone is exactly the same.

I’m also responsible for several large projects at my hospital, from implementing a system-wide uniform program that affected 4,000 employees, to recruiting and onboarding new nurses, to evaluating patient satisfaction. Wharton’s project management piece was extremely relevant — how to successfully line up your strategic partners and get buy-in from other divisions, including explaining why we should invest our efforts. Being able to roadmap that out and manage it from concept all the way through has been a key benefit of my Wharton experience. I learned that not all ideas should get implemented — that you need to be very mindful and intentional and make sure you have the evidence and support behind a new idea before moving forward.”

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