Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 29(2) June 2016 : 10-30.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2016.24811
Special Focus on the Dorothy Wylie Health Leaders Institute

Impact of a Leadership Development Institute on Professional Lives and Careers

Nancy Purdy


An evaluation study was conducted to determine the impact of a leadership institute, The Dorothy Wylie Health Leaders Institute (DWHLI), over the decade since its inception. The aim was to better understand the perceived influence of the Institute over time on professional lives and careers of alumni and identify the critical design features that supported leadership development. Nurses and other health disciplines from all levels of leadership and from most provinces completed an online survey (n = 165) and a subset was interviewed (n = 33). The majority of alumni (50–68%) rated the impact of the Institute as significant or very significant on seven of the eight selected intended leadership outcomes. For 73–78% of the alumni, the Institute had a recurring or profound positive impact on their professional lives as leaders and personal careers. Alumni who reported the greatest impact of the program on their knowledge, skills and confidence as leaders also had higher levels of career satisfaction and work engagement. Design elements that impacted their development included the theoretical and conceptual content, interactive and experiential structure and mentoring. Recommendations for organizational sponsors included the need for opportunities to apply learning, ongoing coaching, mentoring and career counseling specific to their leadership career path.



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