Nurse Leadership - Association of California Nursing Leaders (ACNL)

ACNL case study image


The Association of California Nursing Leaders (ACNL) is always looking for new ways to engage members and support their network of California nurse leaders. In partnership with OpusVi, ACNL supported 30 California nurses across diverse healthcare settings ranging from CNOs to Clinic Supervisors, among other specialties, as they completed a 12-week Certificate in Nurse Leadership program with Duke CE. The success of this program not only bolstered the knowledge, skills and attitudes of learners but also contributed to increased ACNL membership.


The Challenge

According to the Hospital Association of Southern California, nursing vacancy rates among local hospitals exceed 30%. Before the pandemic, the average vacancy rate was 6%. Nurses across the state are facing unprecedented challenges with staffing shortages and an increased retirement rate. This has caused many nurses to need to rise into leadership positions without the same level of training afforded to those who came before them. 

ACNL needed a way to support its members on their career and leadership development journeys and wanted to find ways to increase engagement and retention within the ACNL network and hopefully increase memberships along the way.

How We Did It

In a Fall 2023 initiative, 30 ACNL nurses from diverse healthcare settings across the state of California joined a collaborative learning experience in a 12-week Certificate in Nurse Leadership program with Duke CE and OpusVi. 

The Association of California Nurse Leaders Circle of Giving distributed partial scholarships to all participants underscoring their commitment to advancing nursing excellence and ensuring that quality education is accessible to nurses statewide. Nurses across this wide-ranging group came from SutterHealth, Commonspirit, Rady's Children's Hospital of San Diego, Stanford Healthcare, Valley Children’s, Memorial Care, Cedars Sinai, UC Davis, Community Regional Medical Center, Sharp, Chico State University and National University. 

In addition to the certificate course programming, OpusVi and ACNL held 3 virtual sessions to discuss the course impact on their professional role and career trajectory. This unique opportunity brought together these dedicated professionals to enhance their skills and knowledge, foster a collaborative environment and become better leaders in their organizations. 



93% of the course graduates are still working or have advanced within their organizations since bringing the course learnings back to their teams. As a result of this program, ACNL also gained seven new organization members, illustrating the deep interest these nurses have on advancing their careers and leadership skills.


of course graduates are still working or have advanced within their organizations since bringing the course learnings back to their teams


of course graduates would recommend this course to other current/aspiring leaders


of course graduates listed “Coaching for Performance and Development” as a key course takeaway


of course graduates listed “Leading and Managing Change” as a key course takeaway

“The ACNL and Certificate in Nurse Leadership program from OpusVi has been a transformative experience for me. It has provided me with the knowledge, skills and confidence to excel as a nursing leader, positively impacting the care we deliver and the well-being of my team.”

- Vicky Tilton DNP, MSN, RN, Vice President Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer at Valley Children’s Healthcare.

“This program has already largely impacted my professional journey. I have had the opportunity to workshop opportunities with colleagues and peers to bring back a stronger version to my organization for consideration. I appreciate the approach of the course and the layout, which allows me to learn in sections and at my own pace.”

- Samantha Nguyen, BSN, RN, PCCN, SCRN, Caritas Nurse, Interim Patient Care Manager (PCM)- Clinical Trials at Stanford Healthcare

About Phoenix Children's  

Phoenix Children's is one of the nation's largest pediatric health systems. It comprises Phoenix Children's Hospital – Thomas Campus, Phoenix Children's Hospital – East Valley at Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, five pediatric specialty and urgent care centers, 11 community pediatric practices, 20 outpatient clinics, two ambulatory surgery centers and seven community-service-related outpatient clinics throughout the state of Arizona. The system provides world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care and has been serving children and families for 40 years. Phoenix Children's Care Network includes more than 1,175 pediatric primary care providers and specialists who deliver care across more than 75 subspecialties. Alongside our colleagues, collaborators and communities, we're elevating pediatric care, education and innovation, so we can all grow healthier together. For more information, visit