Nurse Executive Uses DNP to Encourage Nurse Leadership and Academic Progression for Montana Hospital Association

– DNP Helps Nurse Executive Initiate Positive Change for Montana Hospital Association and Its Members–

AURORA, Colo. – August 27, 2015 – The complexities and uncertainty in today’s healthcare system have created a need for nurse executives with expertise in practical leadership to strengthen the design and delivery of healthcare.

After spending more than a decade as the director of the Flathead County Home Health Agency in Whitefish, Montana, Casey Blumenthal, 61, DNP, MHSA, RN, CAE, of Helena, Montana, knew she wasn’t done with education. “I’ve always wanted to get my doctorate, but I never felt that a Ph.D. made sense for my career path,” she says.

Then in 2002, Blumenthal became the vice president of MHA…An Association of Montana Health Care Providers. She knew from the beginning how important it was to understand the needs of her members and possess the effective executive skills to address a variety of healthcare issues.

After starting off by assisting MHA members in the post-acute environment, her role expanded to include many other focal areas, including fostering nurse leadership and academic progression. Blumenthal chose American Sentinel University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice, executive leadership specialization to acquire the leadership skills needed to improve the nursing industry in Montana and to better help MHA members navigate their dynamic workplaces.

“The complexities of the healthcare system require credentialed nurses who have the skills to understand everything from finance, to healthcare reimbursement, to policy making, to strategic planning, etc. This is not something that nurses typically learn during their education,” says Elaine Foster, PhD., MSN, RN, associate dean, nursing graduate programs at American Sentinel University. “The only way to master these executive leadership skills is for nurses to attain an advanced education.”

It took time for Blumenthal to find the ideal DNP program that balanced her current work and lifestyle, but when she learned about American Sentinel’s DNP, executive leadership specialization at a conference in 2012, she knew she had found the right one.

She enrolled three months later, and in the time since, graduated with the knowledge to help her in the VP role.

“This is a membership driven association, and I’m one of the few clinical people here,” says Blumenthal. “I understand the obstacles that Montana nurses face and being in the DNP program helped me understand what our members, many of them nurse leaders, were experiencing. I’m not a chief nurse executive in the traditional sense, so I brought an entirely different perspective to our cohort.”

Changing Montana’s Nursing Industry

As a Montana nurse leader outside of the hospital setting, Blumenthal was looking out for more than just herself.

Raised by a doctor and a nurse, Blumenthal says there was never any question of what her chosen field would be. “Healthcare has been part of the fabric of my life,” she says.

She is co-lead for the Montana Action Coalition, which carries out the recommendations of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation landmark report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”

“This is a time to take action in Montana, and I’m excited to encourage nurses to further their education and leadership,” she says.

The Montana Action Coalition’s home is within the newly formed Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing. In addition to fostering nurse leadership and academic progression in nursing, Blumenthal and her team are also working to expand nurse residency programs for Montanans.

Dr. Foster says that in addition to learning valuable skills and knowledge that is immediately applicable, doctorally prepared nurses, like Blumenthal, will play a significant role in healthcare transformation.

Blumenthal graduated from American Sentinel in 2014 and said the DNP program was worthwhile. She credits the program for helping her to analyze and evaluate choices with a critical eye and using evidence-based data to make important decisions that impact all MHA members.

“The DNP has made me well-versed in everything that is happening in healthcare today,” she says. “I understand my colleagues’ issues better. And I believe I have a broader knowledge base that prepares me to deal with anything that comes my way.”

As a result of her experience, Blumenthal was a key reason MHA recently chose American Sentinel as a nursing education partner.

“Earning my DNP helped me acquire more effective management expertise, and now I know that I have the ability to approach problems that are yet to emerge in healthcare and make a difference for my association and its members,” she adds.

Learn more about how a DNP with a specialization in executive leadership prepares master’s educated nurses for leadership roles in the healthcare system.

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.