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Durham, N.C. – In an effort to arm nurses with the leadership skills required for the growing demands of providing primary care, Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing have partnered with Johnson & Johnson to create the Duke-Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program.

The initiative is a unique collaboration to develop the leadership and management skills of advanced practice nurses, especially those who practice in community clinic settings.

Duke was the sole institution chosen by Johnson & Johnson to implement the program, which is supported with a grant as well as access to the company's expertise and innovative approaches in health care. Johnson & Johnson has long supported initiatives promoting the nursing profession and has provided leadership and development opportunities to advance the field.

"Nurses have made tremendous strides gaining leadership roles in hospital and business settings, and Johnson & Johnson wants to help foster similar opportunities in nurse-led clinics and practices in the community," said Sharon D'Agostino, vice president of Corporate Citizenship at Johnson & Johnson. "Duke has a history of excellence in clinical leadership training for nurses, especially those practicing in community settings. We are pleased to be working together to provide nurses transformational leadership development."

This fall, Duke will recruit the first class of 20 participants from across the country to participate in the program. The Duke-Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program is designed for advanced practice nurses who have post-graduate education in nursing.

"We are excited to introduce a new training program that will strengthen primary care services in community settings, and are grateful to Johnson & Johnson for their support of nursing leadership," said Anh Tran, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of community and family medicine and vice chief of education for the Division of Community Health at Duke and director of the Duke-Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program.

"Advanced practice nurses are highly-skilled practitioners who have great potential to lead community clinics and develop new practice models. However, they may not have the leadership training that can help them take on these roles," said Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, professor of nursing at Duke and a core member of the leadership program's faculty. "The skills we will be teaching in the Duke-Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program will equip these nurses to be leaders."

The partnership comes shortly after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services selected Duke University Hospital as one of five centers in the nation to help train more advanced practice nurses to provide primary care in underserved areas. The four-year initiative will help achieve several goals of the Affordable Care Act: increase health care access, cut costs and ensure high quality health care.

A shortage of primary care physicians and the growing cost of health care have increased demand for nurses and other health professionals to provide primary care services. According to the National Nursing Centers Consortium, approximately 250 clinics nationwide are managed by advanced practice nurses. Strengthening leadership and management skills may help grow the number of nurse-managed clinics and contribute to the success of these professionals delivering care.

Nurse-managed practices can also bring necessary clinical services to underserved populations. The Duke-Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program encourages fellows to apply their advanced training to serve these communities.

"This training program will foster a pipeline of new nurse practitioner leaders. Our goal is for the graduates to bring their new skills to their own communities to improve access to care," said Michelle Lyn, MBA, MHA, chief of the Division of Community Health at Duke and a core member of the leadership program's faculty.

Duke will begin accepting applications for the new training program in December, with its first class convening in May 2013.

The website for the Duke-Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program is currently in development. Visit https://duke-jjnurseleadership.duhs.duke.edu/ for initial information.