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January 28, 2011

Two Nurses accepted into competitive national management fellowship

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The nationwide nursing shortage has caused hospitals around the country to think not just about who will be delivering bedside care in the future, but who will be the nurse leaders of the future. Two University of Virginia Health System nurse managers will spend the next year improving their leadership skills as they participate in the American Organization of Nurse Executives’ (AONE) nurse manager fellowship.

Veronica Brill, R.N., MSN and CMSRN, and Jill Laird-Sanders, R.N., M.N., ACHPN, were among just 30 nurses from around the country selected to participate in the fellowship. Brill is manager of UVA’s outpatient orthopaedics clinic, the McCue sports medicine clinic, the pain management clinic and the physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic. Laird-Sanders is manager of the UVA Medical Center’s bariatrics/geriatrics/palliative care unit.

They will attend four fellowship retreats, complete projects that focus on improving patient care and employee satisfaction, and communicate throughout the year with other fellows and faculty.

According to AONE, 46 percent of chief nurse executives are older than 51 years old, and 27 percent of chief nurse executives expect to retire within six to 10 years.

“There’s a national shortage of nursing leaders in the pipeline for future nurse executive roles,” said UVA Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Clinical Officer Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, R.N., FAAN. “The fellowship gives promising managers an opportunity to further develop their talents in management and identify issues, develop projects and make concrete contributions to the profession.”

As managers, Brill and Laird-Sanders usually don’t care directly for patients, but they must provide support for employees in their area and look for creative solutions to problems. Laird-Sanders recalled some words of wisdom she was once told in a training session: “‘As a nurse, it’s your job to know what your patient needs. As a manager, it’s your job to know what your staff needs and look after your staff.’ I just thought that was a great analogy.”

“I feel that it’s my role as a manager to help my employees grow,” Brill said. “My job is to be creative in figuring out what I can do to meet my employees’ needs so they can do a good job.”

Brill and Laird-Sanders were selected by the UVA Health System’s Nurse Executive Leadership Committee to apply for the fellowship because both have master’s degrees and are on a management career track. The fellowship’s $6,000 tuition will be covered by a Health System nursing education fund.

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