A new cohort of nursing leaders is headed back to the classroom this semester as part of a partnership between Case Western Reserve University and Summa Health.

The new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Executive Leadership Track is offered through the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve and Summa Health.

The three-year, part-time hybrid learning program is designed to encourage hospital-based nurse leaders at Summa Health to enhance their leadership skills while retaining their full-time positions. Its goal is to prepare students to pursue executive-level positions within nursing and healthcare—and excel once they are in them.

Carol Musil

“This collaboration,” said nursing school Dean Carol Musil, the Edward J. and Louise Mellen Professor of Nursing, “is expanding learning opportunities for current nursing executives while also preparing new nurse leaders to be involved in the design, planning, management and delivery of care, and in the development and implementation of health policy at all levels.”

The program, supported through funding by the Samuel and Maria Miller Foundation and the Summa Foundation, comes at a time of rising demand for nurse leaders and registered nurses. A 2021 survey by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership found that 45% of chief nurse officers and nurse executives selected staffing shortages as the biggest new challenge in nursing.

Joyce Fitzpatrick
Joyce Fitzpatrick

“Together, with our hospital partner, Summa Health, we launched this program to empower nurse leaders with a diversity of perspectives and experience from academic settings to the boardroom,” said Joyce Fitzpatrick, the Elizabeth Brooks Ford Professor of Nursing at the nursing school.

“We are committed to providing our nurses with access to programs that offer advanced education and opportunities to grow as leaders,” said Penelope Gorsuch, senior vice president and chief nursing executive for Summa Health. “We’re pleased to be able to partner with Case Western Reserve University and look forward to our continued collaboration in the future.”

The DNP executive leadership track is the third cohort of its kind offered by the School of Nursing and first in partnership with Summa Health. Nine students are enrolled in the current cohort.

To learn more about the Doctor of Nursing Program Executive Leadership Track, visit the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing website.


This article was originally published Sept. 7, 2022.