Frontline Leader Certificate Program - Online Course

This evidence-based course will play a crucial role in the charge nurse/frontline leaders role in the organization.


Accreditation:  Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Frontline leaders/charge nurses, around the globe, are the first line of leadership for both patients and staff. This evidence-based course will play a crucial role in the charge nurse/frontline leaders role in the organization. This course will provide clinical charge nurses/frontline leaders with the knowledge and skills essential for their role. This course will enhance their ability to manage patient flow, conflict, staff performance, and concerns from patient, family, or staff interdepartmental colleagues. A proactive approach to training could be the first step to structural empowerment of charge nurses and creating a desirable organizational culture with positive financial impacts. Based on Kanter’s Structural Empowerment Theory (1977 & 1993), this course will empower and equip charge nurses to lead through optimizing communication strategies.

Program has been mapped to Magnet Standards, Pathway Standards, and QSEN competencies.

What’s in it for me?

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (2010) recommends that nurses at all levels receive training. It also states that strong leadership and preparation for leading change are crucial to transforming healthcare. Charge nurses are critical links in the delivery of care to patients, families and the work environment. Charge nurses identify role ambiguity as a point of frustration and feel ill prepared for their role. Nurses are not prepared or equipped to transition from clinician to leader. Research shows that only 20% of charge nurses were provided formal training in their role.

Charge nurses are commonly selected for their role due to seniority or clinical skill. Training may consist of the passing of keys and the unit routines such as crash cart checks or staff assignments for the next shift. In the aging workforce, leadership will be a gap to fill within the organizational structure. CNs are untapped resources who could be developed for future leadership positions. Developing and mentoring charge nurses for future management and executive roles should be viewed as an opportunity for succession planning.

Training can empower charge nurses to ameliorate in their roles.

Course Learning Outcomes

  • Enable the learner to incorporate leadership principles and strategies to their role as a shift leader.
  • Empower the learner through an increase in self-discovered knowledge and skill application.

Course Listings:

  • Introduction to Structural Empowerment
  • Introduction to Role
  • Leadership Styles
  • Communication
  • Healthy Work Environment
  • Conflict Management
  • Customer Relations
  • Performance Management/Feedback/Coaching
  • Managing Teams
  • Prioritizing/Organizational skills
  • Delegation
  • Managing Flow and Clinical Operations
  • Safety and the Regulatory Environment

Blended Learning Tools:

Learner Development Plan

  • Guides learning to set goals as they expand their knowledge through course completion

Learner Workbook

  • 12 activities that the learner can utilize for self-study or a facilitator can utilize as assignments

Interviews with frontline leaders

  • Gives learners practical tips from frontline leaders

Interactive scenarios

  • Practical scenarios on how to use the H.E.A.R.T. model in practice

Knowledge Check

  • Knowledge check questions engage the learner in reflecting on key points presented in each module

About the Authors

Sarah Abel, MSN, RN, CEN, is the Sigma Nursing Manager of Education and Lead Nurse Planner. Prior to joining Sigma, Sarah had 15 years of experience in emergency nursing as a nurse extern, tech, staff nurse, charge nurse, manager and director. She has served on local, state, and national professional organization committees Indiana Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC), Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), and Indiana Association of Nursing Students. Sarah will complete her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Systems and Organizational Leadership in April 2019.

Cheri Clancy, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CPXP, is a patient experience leader, author, and speaker. She is the founder of Cheri Clancy & Associates, LLC, a coaching and training firm that uses hard science as a catalyst for soft skill leadership development. Cheri has published numerous articles on leadership topics and published her first book with Sigma Theta Tau, titled Critical Conversations in Healthcare: Scripts and Techniques for Improving Interprofessional and Patient Communications.

Amy Costanzo, PhD, RN, RN-BC, currently serves as the Director for nursing education and research at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. She teaches interactive bedside nursing leadership classes and recently published "Just a Nurse, or a Bedside Leader". She is a member of the HRSA NEPQR funded team that implemented nurse-led interprofessional bedside rounding at UCMC. Her doctoral research investigated the culture of interprofessional collaborative practice.

Dennis Doherty, PhD, RN, NPD-BC, is a Senior Professional Development Specialist Nursing Professional Development Specialist at Boston Children's Hospital, where he oversees Nursing Orientation programming, leads the Evidence-based Practice Mentorship Program, and facilitates leadership development workshops.

Terry Eggenberger, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, CNL, is an Associate Professor at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University. She holds certification in three areas: Nurse Executive Advanced, Nurse Educator, and Clinical Nurse Leader. Dr. Eggenberger’s research interests are related to interprofessional practice, leadership, communication and teamwork Her doctoral research was on Holding the Frontline: The Experience of Being a Charge Nurse in an Acute Care Setting.

Crissy Lough, DNP, MHA, RN, is AVP for Quality and Risk Management, Regulatory, Magnet and Patient Safety Officer for a large Academic Health Center and safety net hospital I the Midwest. Crissy has achieved a BSN, MHA and DNP during her professional nursing career. Her interests include risk reduction strategies, enhancing patient safety, improving the patient experience, and improving nursing outcomes. Crissy has led her organization in multiple regulatory visits, including 4 successful Joint Commission Triennial Surveys.

Allison McCarty, RN, is currently working as an Administrative Representative at St. Vincent in Fishers Indiana. She began her career at IU Health Bloomington in the Emergency Department as a Registration Clerk/Nurse Tech. After obtaining her Nursing Degree in 2003, she started as a staff nurse in the Emergency Department. She became a Charge Nurse in 2009.

Kelsie Scaringe, BSN, RN, CEN, is 2011 graduate from Marian University School of Nursing in Indianapolis, IN. She started her career as a Medical/Surgical Nurse at Community North and shortly after joining the ER at Methodist hospital in 2012 where she currently serves as a Shift Coordinator on nightshift. Kelsie is also adjunct faculty at Marian University teaching clinicals to seniors.

Rose Sherman, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is the Director of the Nursing Leadership Institute at Florida Atlantic University where she also serves as the Graduate Coordinator for the Nursing Administration Master’s Program. Prior to joining the FAU faculty, Rose had a 25-year career with the VA. Rose serves on th

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