About Health Systems Executive Leadership

The demand for change in how health care is defined and delivered has never been more pressing. The Health Systems Executive Leadership (HSEL)  area of concentration in the DNP program prepares nurses to function in executive leadership and management roles that focus on creating or redesigning systems to meet the demands of the emerging healthcare market.

Graduates of this program will lead the transformation of health care as chief executive officers, chief nursing officers, and executive directors of quality, clinical informatics, population health, and clinical practice in hospitals, ambulatory clinics, and non-profit and governmental organizations. Pitt faculty have extensive experience in leadership of clinical systems, executive practice, professional communication and development, and health policy.

This post-master’s program is designed for students with at least two years of management experience preferred. Coursework can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. This program is fully online and does not require on-site participation. The DNP HSEL curriculum focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to lead complex clinical environments effectively including:

  • Understanding organizational behavior;
  • Implementing evidence-based management, practice, and quality improvement;
  • Integrating leadership in complex systems;
  • Utilizing principles of finance and healthcare economics;
  • Facilitating health policy
  • Incorporating data analytics and population health into clinical systems design.

Students complete a leadership practicum or residency with a senior-level mentor. The DNP HSEL student completes a DNP project focused on a system-level practice change. The DNP project is a rigorous investigation of a clinical concern or issue that results in the translation of evidence into practice. The DNP project should result in a new or expanded area of expertise for the student and serve as a foundation for future scholarship and practice.

Sample DNP Projects Completed by DNP HSEL Graduates

  • The relationship between nurse manager transformational leadership practices, nurse-sensitive outcomes, and RN satisfaction
  • The Health Connections Center: An academic community partnership to address the health and resource needs of individuals experiencing food insecurity
  • Improving the use of evidence-based practice and research utilization through the identification of barriers to implementation in a critical access hospital
  • Identifying exemplars of high performing behaviors and factors of sustainability among nurse managers in one multi-designated Magnet® organization