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Center for Professional Practice of Nursing

Center for Professional Practice of Nursing

The Emerging Nurse Leaders Institute

Leading change from the point of care

The Emerging Nurse Leaders Institute prepares developing nurse leaders to be effective and inspired agents of change in their work environment. This two year part time program provides nurses with the knowledge, skills, and guidance necessary to effectively lead and shape the future of nursing at UC Davis Health System. During the 24 month program, participants engage in interactive and instructive activities focused on decision making, change management, leadership skills, and communication techniques. This unique and challenging program provides participants with career planning, seminars, professional coaching, and peer networking experiences.

The goal is to build the next generation of nursing leaders with the leadership and change management skills needed to affect and sustain positive change at the point of care.

Program structure

The Emerging Nurse Leaders Institute is structured so that learning is continuous.  Individualized new improvement goals are set throughout the program.  The program utilizes highly experiential and hands-on learning, such as:

  • Role play
  • Simulation
  • Organizational projects
  • Psychometric tests
  • Case Studies
  • Coaching
  • Monthly Leadership Salons

During the first year of the program, participants attend quarterly seminars and a monthly leadership salon. The second program year provides continued opportunities for class offerings in targeted leadership areas.  Participants will work in small groups to develop and implement a patient-related improvement project during the second program year. 

Competency-based leadership skills

Participants cultivate the following leadership skills:

  • Develop an effective leadership style consistent with individual  strengths and  needs
  • Craft an individualized leadership development and career plan
  • Make and communicate decisions that effectively improve safety and quality of patient care
  • Provide constructive, clear, and honest feedback to others
  • Develop and communicate UC Davis Health System's vision and goals in context of its mission
  • Understanding the changing health care environment (internal and external)
  • Recognize how to gather and apply information and evidence for improving nursing practice
  • Develop awareness of the professional and organizational culture and how it impacts the purpose and work of nursing staff
  • Develop skills to work successfully with others
  • Understand and utilize the latest, most effective technologies

Program elements

The Emerging Nurse Leader Institute is comprised of the following elements:

Seminars (1st year) 

The educational phase of the program begins with four core leadership development seminars. The purpose of these quarterly seminars is to provide first year participants with an opportunity for group problem solving, reflection, and role playing. 

Leadership Salons (1st year) 

During the first year, the cohort attends a leadership salon. This group meets on a scheduled day every month from 7:30 to 9 a.m. in a hospital conference room to discuss specific leadership topics/issues. The group is co- facilitated by a coach and recognized nursing leader.

Personal Learning Plan (1st & 2nd year)

Participants create their own professional and career plan that combines the model of leadership with their assessment of their personal strengths and weaknesses. Then, they record and share their goals while coaches and instructors provide guidance.

Mentorship (1st & 2nd year)

Participants will be paired with a nursing mentor that complements the individual’s career and learning goals. Mentors may be active or retired UC Davis Health System nurse leaders that volunteer to help guide less experienced nurses in their professional development.  Participants and mentors will meet quarterly either in person or by telephone. 

Elective Course Offerings (1st & 2nd year)

While the seminar is designed to build a core competency in leadership, additional elective offerings that build more targeted skills also are be offered. A minimum of one course is taken from each four leadership domains during the program. Elective course offerings will be open to all UC Davis nursing staff, but Institute participant will have priority enrollment. 

Professional Coaching (1st & 2nd year)

Each participant has access to two hours of individual professional leadership coaching offered at no cost by UC Davis Academic and Staff Assistant Program. The coach reviews participant’s individual leadership assessment results and helps participants design a learning plan that meets short and long term career goals.


The Emerging Nurse Leaders Institute is open to nurses that meet the following qualifications:

  • UC Davis Health System career nursing employes (CN II, CN III, AN II)  with at least three years of service
  • Be open to learning about themselves and their organization – and to make changes to meet the future needs of the UC Davis Health System nursing service
  • Agree to engage in a network of nursing leaders at UC Davis Health System after completing the Institute
  • Recognized as a leader or currently working in a leadership capacity, such as:
    • Participation on a governance council (unit-based or systemwide)
    • Managing a specific project or initiative (unit-based or systemwide)
    • Acting as a first line manager (AN II, relief  charge nurse)
    • Function as a preceptor

The Emerging Nurse Leaders Program is designed for future nurse leaders who have demonstrated a long-term commitment and passion to enhance the practice of nursing at UC Davis Health System.

Priority Deadline

Applications received by 11:59 Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013 will be considered for priority review and consideration for admittance with priority acceptances announced via email in early November 2013.

Final Deadline

The final application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Friday, Nov 1, 2013 with acceptance announced late November. Please note that completed applications received between Oct 1 and Nov 1 will be received on a space-available basis only. Once the cohort is full, we will accept applications for the wait list only.

Applicants need to:

  • Complete an online application
  • Have a reference form (PDF) submitted on their behalf
  • Demonstrate in their application how they have organized and motivated others in their current position
  • Selected semi-finalists may undergo an in person interview on request

The Institute’s program and course content are administered by Patient Care Services Professional Practice of Nursing. ANCC and BRN contact hours are offered for the program. The application instructions are available for download here (PDF).


Emerging Nurse Leader participants agree to fully engage in all aspects of this 24 month program.  Specifically, participants agree to:

  • Actively participate in all institute activities, including attending 4 core seminars and a minimum of 8 leadership salons during the first year of the program.  A minimum of one course will be taken from each four leadership domains during the program.
  • Develop and track leadership development goals
  • Contribute to an interdepartmental improvement project
  • Secure managerial approval for planned leave to attend course offerings
  • Participate in program  evaluation and research studies if requested
  • Join the alumni network after completing the Institute. 
  • Complete all the program requirements within 24 months


UC Davis Medical Center Patient Care Services sponsorships of participants covers the majority of the course cost, which includes educational materials, seminars, and other learning experiences.  Participants are asked to cover their meal costs and other incidentals.  Participants may use available professional leave with approval of their manager for program activities.