Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy: Regenerating passion for nursing education

By RNL Editors | 11/17/2014

Leaders mentoring leaders helps alleviate nurse faculty shortage.

Meg ZomorodiMeg Zomorodi, PhD, RN, CNL, was struggling in her journey as a faculty member. She felt burned out. She wasn’t sure if she was at the right school and even wondered if she belonged in the academic environment.
Her division chair, Marilyn Oermann, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, recommended the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (NFLA), a 20-month leadership program of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) presented in partnership with The Elsevier Foundation.
“In all honesty, the NFLA saved me,” Zomorodi says. “My mentor (Judith Halstead, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN) gave me the skills to become a leader—and allowed me to be true to myself in the process.
“I used the NFLA to reach out to leaders in my academic community and get their insight about a lifetime career as an academic. I was able to become the leader I wanted to be. And more importantly, I was re-invested as a faculty member.”
A lot has happened to Zomorodi, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, since she participated in the 2012-13 NFLA cohort. She has taken on several leadership positions—including chair of the Master’s Executive Committee and faculty coordinator for Health Care Systems graduate options—and is mentoring new faculty. She is co-author of two journal articles.
An especially significant accomplishment was being selected as a Josiah Macy Faculty Scholar. “When I was selected as a finalist to interview,” Zomorodi says, “I utilized skills from the NFLA to help me with my elevator speech, and I was able to clearly articulate my career goals.”
As Josiah Macy Faculty Scholars, she and her team are starting a graduate clinical immersion experience focused on population health management for students in health affairs schools (nursing, medicine, social work, nutrition, public health, and pharmacy). “This is a very large project that is challenging our current educational models and allowing us to provide more interprofessional experiences for our students,” she says.
During NFLA, her mentor and her faculty adviser helped her create an Individual Leadership Development Plan—the first time she had imagined short- and long-term goals.

She also completed a project titled “Online Curriculum Adaptation of a Clinical Nurse Leader Program.” She used her NFLA experience to re-examine competencies of the clinical nurse leader (CNL) and develop online teaching strategies, completely revising two courses. The program had struggled with enrollment but is now the most popular of the school’s MSN health care system options. Through a small grant, she is also developing clinical sites for CNLs that are outside the acute care setting.
“I am passionate about nursing education,” Zomorodi says. “Just as health care is evolving, so is the role of the nurse. The nurse educator needs to be on the forefront of these changes and teach students in innovative ways so that they are prepared for the changing health care system.”

Zomorodi highly recommends the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy. “It shaped me into the leader I am today,” she says. “If you are trying to figure out your role in academia and desire to grow personally and professionally, then the NFLA is for you.”

NFLA is ...
The Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy is an intense international leadership development experience designed to:
  • Facilitate personal leadership development
  • Foster academic career success
  • Promote nurse faculty retention and satisfaction
  • Cultivate high performing, supportive work environments in academe
The academy is designed for aspiring leaders in nursing education who have at least two years, but no more than seven years of experience as full-time, non-tenured faculty in a school of nursing. Scholars are chosen through a competitive selection process.

For more information.

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