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How to Become a Nurse Practitioner Executive Leader

Executive Leadership Program

Hear from nurse practitioners about the benefits of this immersive experience.

In 2021, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) launched the AANP Executive Leadership Program. As past president Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, said at the time: “The AANP Executive Leadership Program prepares our future leaders. It is an honor for AANP to launch this program and to introduce our first cohort of what we expect will be influential and compelling leaders of the future.”

Now coming up on its fourth year, the AANP Leadership Program has graduated 42 participants, and applications for the 2024 program open Oct. 4, 2023. At the 2023 AANP Fall Conference in Austin, two members of the 2022 AANP Executive Leadership Program cohort shared how they found out about the program, what convinced them to join and what skills they obtained from their experience.

Turning Interest Into Action

James Sims, DNP, APRN, ANP-BC, NP-C, is a nurse practitioner (NP) practicing in Oregon. He learned about the program directly through AANP’s website and joined to fulfill his personal goal, which was “to move into greater levels of leadership within medical organizations and into positions that traditionally had only been thought of as leadership positions for physicians,” he explained. “I pursued the executive leadership training as part of that goal.”

When it launched in 2021, the AANP Executive Leadership Program was conceived as a learning opportunity that “reinforces and further develops the personal qualities, relationship-building and problem-solving skills necessary for effective leadership, particularly at the executive level.” Sims was served well by the program, and notes that “the cohort was very multifaceted. We had educators, we had folks who were experts in wound care and in all other aspects of health care.” The variety of participants from all over the country with a similar vision for the future of health care made for a lively and open-ended environment, Sims remembers. “It was a good opportunity to sit in a small group and have discussions around topics of interest, such as full practice authority.”

Skills Put to Use

Jordan Mount, MSN, MHA, CRNP, FNP-C, CWCN-AP, CCRN, is an NP working in thoracic and vascular surgery, and is based out of Vancouver, Washington. Mount had a graduate business degree and ran a business in Philadelphia previously, and felt primed to take his leadership and executive skills to the next level. “I was like, ‘This sounds like something that's right up my alley,’” he recalls. “The program itself was very hands-on, and a small group. We came from all over the country, and from different areas. Some of us were working in industry, some in education and others in clinical settings.”

Unlike other programs dedicated primarily to networking or education, the AANP Executive Leadership Program was designed to impart upon participants skills that they would be able to use every day in their professional lives. “I really enjoyed that program,” says Mount. “The skills I learned were things that helped me navigate organizational conflicts, how to represent the NP at the executive level and how to show that there's other things that we can offer other than just seeing patients and keeping the cog of medicine working. I've been able to use those tools.”

Become an NP Leader

If you are ready to take your leadership skills to the next level, applications for the AANP Executive Leadership Program open Oct. 4, 2023. The program itself consists of two weeks of instruction and a webinar. The first week of instruction will take place at The George Washington University School of Nursing, April 8-12, 2024, in Ashburn Virginia; the second week is presented virtually, June 3-7, 2024. The webinar takes place May 8, 2024.

Eligibility requirements for the AANP Executive Leadership Program include the completion of the 12-module AANP Introductory Certificate on Leadership course on or before 11:59 p.m. CT on Nov. 6, 2023. This course explores topics associated with leadership skills, including leading teams, organizational leadership, mentorship and more.

Additionally, AANP Executive Leadership Program participants must be AANP members with at least one year of continuous membership since Oct. 1, 2022, and at least one year’s experience as a practicing NP. They may not be an AANP staff member, a current or past board member, or an elected official of AANP, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American College of Nurse Practitioners.

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