This spring, the Opus College of Business and the UnitedHealth Group Center for Nursing Advancement launched the UST Nurse Executive Leadership program. Recognizing the critical role nurse leaders play in modernizing the U.S. health care system, they have designed the program to shape the leadership and business skills of nurse leaders – which include nurse executives, policy advisers, care delivery innovators and leaders in evidence-based practice.

The seven-day, intensive program offers courses on executive mindset, financial analysis, executive communication, collaborative leadership and systems thinking. The program is one of only a few of its kind in the nation.

UnitedHealth Group is one of the nation’s largest employers of nurses with more than 7,000 in 43 states. Twenty-four nurse leaders from across the country, including six nurses from UnitedHealth Group, participated in the first program cohort.

“Nurse leaders will continue to play a critical role in redesigning the U.S. health care system,” said Christopher Puto, Ph.D., dean of the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas. “As leaders, nurses have to act as full partners at the executive level. The program prepares nurses with the leadership competencies and business acumen they need to be successful now and in the future.”

Dawn Bazarko, senior vice president for UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Nursing Advancement, agrees. “We want to help nurse leaders be even more prepared to meet the expanding, unanticipated demands that go beyond excellent clinical skills and involve strong business, technological, executive communication and leadership skills.”

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