The Business of Nurse Leadership

Widener’s executive nurse leadership program teaches students like Lauren Thomas ’24 how to lead at every level of the health care industry and deliver improved health outcomes for patients across populations.

Lauren Thomas presents her research poster.
Lauren Thomas '24 presented her research findings at the 2024 HIP Fair.
Lauren Thomas
Class of 2024
Graduate
|
MSN - Executive Nurse Leadership
  • School of Nursing
Career Plan: Nurse Executive

After more than a decade in the field, Lauren Thomas ’24 was ready to take her nursing career to the next level. Lauren, who works as a nurse in Widener’s Student Health Services, wanted an advanced degree that would elevate her career and allow her to lead and implement patient-centered quality improvement efforts.  

“Quality improvement and policies and procedures have been something that has become more or less a passion of mine,” said Lauren.

She didn’t have to look any further than Widener’s graduate executive nurse leadership program.

 

Learning at the intersection of nursing and business

Lauren was attracted to the program’s blended curriculum between the School and Nursing and the School of Business Administration


“You're able to focus on both nursing leadership and take classes in the School of Business to learn about important business aspects,” said Lauren. 


The featured business classes teach the technical data and process management skills needed to improve health outcomes for target patient populations, an area of practice that Lauren has been drawn to since joining the profession.


Once you start working in nursing, you see that there's always room for improvement in health care. I like being part of the process team that helps with implementing change and improving practices for patients.” —Lauren Thomas


For Lauren, the business course crossover has been tremendously helpful and given her the tools to analyze and present intricate data and contribute to meaningful outcome-oriented research. 


“This type of degree will definitely help you become more advanced,” said Lauren.

A flexible course plan

Like many graduate students, Lauren enrolled in Widener’s program as a full-time working parent. The flexible course delivery allowed Lauren to set her pace and complete requirements, such as her practicum hours, in ways that best fit her needs. 

 

“I’ve been able to do this at my own pace. I got into the program back in 2020 and I've slowly been taking classes and I'll finally graduate in May,” said Lauren, referring to the May 2024 commencement season. 

 

Unlike other graduate nursing programs, Lauren was able to complete her practicum at work which afforded her more time to focus on schoolwork while simultaneously building deeper connections with colleagues who served as her nurse preceptors. 

 

“It really helps build a stronger bond of a working relationship with them and also they’re able to teach me at the same time about key leadership skills. That's probably something I wouldn't have been able to get if I wasn’t in this program,” said Lauren.

An introduction to high-impact research

As a veteran nurse, Lauren has no shortage of clinical experience. While in Widener’s program, however, she stepped into to the research side of nursing for the first time. 


As part of the course requirements, students must create and lead a health outcomes improvement plan. Based on her experience, Lauren led a research project aimed at improving sexual health and education among an undergraduate population to help increase testing rates for sexually transmitted infections (STI).


With encouragement from program faculty, Lauren submitted her research to be presented at Widener’s annual High-Impact Education Practices (HIP) Fair. The annual event showcases selected undergraduate and graduate achievements that demonstrate meaningful learning experiences such as hands-on research.


This was the first time I've been picked to present research that I gathered. It was exciting.” —Lauren Thomas


Participating in the HIP Fair program rounded out the research experience for Lauren. Not only was she able to learn from the process of developing and presenting a research poster, but she was also able to share her project goals with the Widener community.


“I think it's great, especially because I work here. The faculty, students, and staff realized that it's going to be something that's an improvement for the university.”

Career Plan: Nurse Executive

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