Leadership Succession Planning - Online Course

This course aims to fulfill the need to contribute to nurses' knowledge and tools necessary to successfully conduct succession planning and increase the percentage of titled leadership conducting succession planning.


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.

Seventy-four percent of nurse leaders are not conducting succession planning due to lack of understanding how. This is evidenced by a gap in the literature regarding how to conduct succession planning, and the small percentage of leaders actually doing it. This course aims to fulfill the need to contribute to nurses' knowledge and tools necessary to successfully conduct succession planning and increase the percentage of titled leadership conducting succession planning. Of nurses who completed this course as part of a pilot program, 100% demonstrated increased knowledge regarding succession planning. The majority reported having initiated recommended steps towards their own succession planning within 3 months.

Key Features:

This one-hour interactive online course is divided into four sections with content developed by experts on the topic - The Case for Succession Planning, Authentic Leadership, Mentorship, and Identifying Future Leaders. Content includes interactive knowledge checks, evidence-based frameworks, self-assessment and reflection exercises, as well as downloadable references.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Describe at least one reason to develop a succession plan for your unit, area, or department
  2. Describe at least one way being an authentic leader develops future authentic leaders
  3. Distinguish at least two ways to identify current or future leaders within your organization
  4. Distinguish the role mentoring plays in succession planning

Content Editor

Sherri Brummett, MSN, RN, OCN
Sherri Brummett, MSN, RN, OCN has been a registered nurse for twelve years, currently practicing as nurse manager at Indiana University Health Morgan. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing, focused on Leadership/Management. She is currently studying in the Doctor of Nursing Practice, Executive Leadership Track program at Indiana University School of Nursing. As part of her DNP scholarly project, she conducted this course to enable and empower nurse leaders to build and implement an effective leadership succession plan.

Content Reviewers

Tracy Phillips, DNP, RN, NE-BC
Tracy Phillips, DNP, RN, NE-BC served as the Director of Nursing for a respiratory telemetry unit at Baptist Health Paducah. After completing her Doctor of Nursing Practice program, she was the nurse researcher for five years for the facility and lead the effort to develop a leadership succession planning program. Her scholarly publications include work on succession planning.

Shannon Kunberger MSN, RN, NEA-BC
Shannon Kunberger, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, serves as the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) at Cleveland Clinic Euclid Hospital. With twenty-five years of nursing experience, Kunberger has a successful history of leading engaged nursing teams in the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care. In her role, she, organizes, leads, and evaluates nursing care delivery for all Euclid Hospital nursing services, ensuring that nursing care is provided per quality, regulatory and accreditation standards. Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic, Kunberger served as Executive Director of Network Nursing for Community Health Network (CHNw) in Indianapolis where she oversaw nursing strategy and operations for a team of 300 nursing caregivers across multiple hospitals and ambulatory sites.
Graduating with honors, Kunberger holds a Master of Science in Nursing Health Administration from Ball State University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Indianapolis. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice at Indiana University School of Nursing.

Kasey Rulon, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Kasey Rulon, MSN, RN, NE-BC is a Clinical Operations Director at Indiana University Health. In this role she serves the cardiovascular and pulmonary service line at the adult academic health center. Kasey earned her bachelor's degree from Indiana University School of Nursing and her master's degree from the University of Indianapolis.

Shaila Cavatorti, MScN
Shaila Cavatorti is nursing director at Bellinzona Regional Hospital in Southern Switzerland. She sometimes teaches leadership at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland. She is facilitator in Re-Igniting the Spirit of Caring by Creative Health Care Management. Until February 2019 she was clinical nurse specialist and bed manager. Her major competences are about Health Care and Management, Bed Management, Leadership. She is member of national and international nursing associations.

Authors by Course Section

The Case for Leadership Succession Planning
Dr. Suzanne Prevost, MSN, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Suzanne Prevost has served as dean and professor at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing since 2013. She served as clinical editor of Nursing Clinics of North America from 2007 to 2012. She served as president of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society from 2011 through 2013, is a former chairperson of the Sigma Leadership Succession Committee, and presently chairs the Board of Directors for the Sigma Building Corporation.
Dr. Prevost earned her bachelor's degree at Villa Maria College in Pennsylvania, her master's degree at the Medical University of South Carolina, and her doctoral degree at Texas Woman's University. She has completed a Hartford Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; and she is a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Fellow.
Dr. Prevost is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). Dr. Prevost has held senior leadership roles for over 30 years in both clinical and academic nursing.

Authentic Leadership
Dr. Elizabeth Rosser, DPhil, MN, RN, RM, Dip N Ed, Dip RM, RNT, PFHEA
Elizabeth Rosser is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, England. She has held a number of strategic leadership positions including being a member of Sigma's Board of Directors (2015-2019), a member of the University Board (2011 - 2018), Professor of Nursing (2009 - 2018), and many others. Elizabeth is an experienced and passionate leader and educationalist, focusing more recently on developing the next generation nurses in a variety of programs.

Dr. Lois Marshall, PhD, MN, RN
Dr. Lois Marshall earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Miami, a Master of Nursing from Emory University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Miami. Dr. Marshall has held a variety of faculty and administration positions while at the University of Miami School of Nursing, where she taught as a professor for twenty-six years, before leaving to pursue a consultative career in nursing education, evidence-based practice, research/grants, and career development and management. She most recently received the Florida Nurse Association ICON award for Mentorship in 2019. Dr. Marshall is the Lead Advisor for the Sigma Career Center, the Coordinator for the National Student Nurses' Association Career Center, and the author of Take Charge of Your Nursing Career, the book for nurses across the lifespan of their careers (Sigma Theta Tau International, 2022). Dr. Marshall also serves as the Lead for the Sigma Mentor Program and the Virtual Writing Academy.

Identify Future Leaders
Dr. Tamar Rodney, PhD, MSN, RN PMHNP-BC, CNE
Dr. Tamar Rodney, Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) and has been a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) for five years. Dr. Rodney is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who has worked in trauma

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