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KentuckyOne Administrator Earns DNP Executive Leadership for New Role in Clinical Education

– Clinical Educator Champions Professional Development at KentuckyOne –

AURORA, Colo. – September 21, 2016 – Working nurses who want to become leaders in their field can jump-start their careers by pursuing an affordable online doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree.

“A DNP degree with a specialization in executive leadership prepares master’s educated nurses to step into healthcare leadership roles immediately. With an emphasis on what is happening in healthcare today, students examine legislative policy issues and economics, improve their critical thinking skills, and develop into marketable leaders,” says Judy Burckhardt, Ph.D., MAEd, MSN, RN, Dean, and Professor of Nursing and Healthcare Management programs at American Sentinel University.

American Sentinel is just one of a few nursing schools that offer a DNP degree with an executive leadership specialization. This DNP specialization is designed to develop the five key competencies most needed by today’s nursing executives: leadership, business intelligence, finance, health policy, and health services research.

A Joint-operating Agreement Offers a Big Opportunity

The 2013 joint-operating agreement (JOA) between Catholic Health Initiatives-owned KentuckyOne Health and the University of Louisville Hospital opened new doors for Pam Elzy that presented her with the nursing leadership opportunity of a lifetime.

Elzy started out in the operating room and transitioned to critical care, earning her BSN degree along the way and later became an administrative director with oversight of surgical services (operating room, post-anesthesia care, and same-day surgery), women’s services (pediatrics, labor and delivery, postpartum, nursery and an outpatient maternity clinic), and nursing education.

In 2014, Elzy became the system director of clinical education for KentuckyOne Health. “It was an extraordinary challenge and opportunity to bring together three legacy education systems,” she says, referring to the 2012 merger of Louisville-based Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare and Lexington’s Saint Joseph Health System to form KentuckyOne as well as the KentuckyOne-University of Louisville JOA.

“My role is to create one cohesive department. It’s fun, interesting, and extremely challenging in today’s dynamic healthcare market, and I take the professional development of my staff very seriously,” says Elzy.

American Sentinel is now a preferred educational provider for Catholic Health Initiatives employees.

A Longtime Goal

Elzy had been thinking about pursuing a doctorate and even looked into several Ph.D. and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. After securing her new role at KentuckyOne, the time was right.

“I called American Sentinel to get information and was impressed with their admissions team, and I even got a personal call from the program chair,” she says. “There was no question that the DNP would push me to my limits and benefit me, but the dedication of the entire staff to giving students the tools they need to be successful is what sold me.”

Never Too Late

Elzy surprised colleagues when she started the DNP Executive Leadership program in February 2016, but she remains steadfast.

“A few people thought I was crazy to do this at this stage of my career, but I knew I’d never be satisfied if I didn’t,” she says.

Elzy had another reason: her professional influence. “I can’t be the champion for professional development without practicing what I preach. I want to show by example that it’s never too late to go after your goals.”

An Emphasis on Applied Learning

American Sentinel DNP students are required to complete a DNP Project that allows them to design and implement a project that closely integrates their current work experience with their coursework, under the guidance of a DNP Project Chair and Committee Member.

“The projects in the DNP program provide students with the flexibility of online learning and the benefit of working with experienced faculty who have significant executive leadership experience.  Our curricula is kept up-to-date so students are prepared to deal with issues that are important to healthcare today and can apply what they learn immediately in their current roles,” says Dr. Burckhardt. “More importantly, students have the convenience and control to participate in classes around their busy schedule. This allows students like Pam Elzy to tailor their learning experience to best meet their needs.”

Making Her Family Proud

When Elzy graduates in 2018, she will be only the second doctorally-prepared person in her entire extended family. Her daughter has followed in her footsteps and holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education and is currently working toward a second master’s.

“I’m proud to be doing this, and I think I’ll be a better nursing leader because of it,” she says. “The DNP degree will help me make a meaningful difference in my profession. That alone makes it worth it.”

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.