60 Seconds with ... Mary Rita Hurley, RN

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Q: The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, is creating a nationwide Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy. Why?

A: We all get promoted into leadership/management positions and we're ill-prepared to do it. The bulk of a nurse's baccalaureate education covers only clinical care and critical thinking. This will be a lot of mainstream leadership material, with a customized focus, too.

Q: Don't other groups also have leadership programs?

A: Yes, but nobody has this model. We have a proven track record with a similar mother-child health program.

Q: What format will it take?

A: There will be criteria for mentors and mentees. This will help the person connect with another nurse who is really skilled. It's paramount to know you're not out there alone.

Q: What will the courses be like?

A: They're still being formed. People will be able to sign up in 2008, after we get things set up and a grant to implement it. Courses will eventually be online, and participants will get CE credits for it, probably a minimum of 30 credit hours. It will be affordable.

Q: How did this become possible?

A: With a $530,000 grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Mary Rita Hurley, RN, is Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy Project Director.
For more information on the academy, visit www.nursingsociety.org.