First anniversary of OpusVi and Duke CE’s Certificate in Nurse Leadership highlights healthcare’s tumultuous year

4 min read


Phoenix, AZ 

From thriving to being furloughed

What a difference a year makes — in July 2019, we launched our first program, the Certificate in Nurse Leadership, which is one of the first online leadership offerings for nurses in the nation. At the time, the profession was thriving and the outlook was bright, with more than 3.8M registered nurses, and nursing schools that couldn’t keep up with the demand.

A year later — even though it may seem longer to most — we are over six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.4 million healthcare workers — many of them nurses — were laid off or furloughed in April 2020 alone. While many patients are still limiting themselves to getting only the most urgent care, health systems continue to struggle and the trend of furloughing staff continues.

Upskilling and reskilling in the age of COVID-19

To meet the needs of today or find new opportunities, many nurses are looking to workforce development programs, especially affordable and flexible online options. These programs can provide the skills that employers seek when making staffing decisions and can help valuable workers retain or gain new positions. Leadership skills at all levels are especially important in the current situation to manage ongoing challenges, to motivate colleagues during stressful times, and to prevent burnout.

“None of us have ever seen a marketplace like we currently face,” says Patty White, BSN, FACHE, the former President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and a faculty member of our Certificate in Healthcare Leadership, which we recently launched following the positive feedback for the Certificate in Nurse Leadership. "Building knowledge and skills is one of the most important steps any healthcare worker, especially mission-critical nurses, can adopt to help them navigate today's tumultuous environment."


The Certificate in Nurse Leadership proves useful in times of crisis

Graduates of the Certificate in Nurse Leadership report high levels of satisfaction, particularly concerning the practical knowledge provided.

In a survey taken towards the end of the program, 98% of learners in the July 2019 cohort indicated that they would recommend it to other current and aspiring leaders. Learners furthermore reported that they were able to put skills such as coaching for performance and development (80%), leading and managing change (78%), and overcoming resistance to change (76%) into action — these competencies are direly needed in battling a crisis of this magnitude.

Apart from the pre-produced content, learners can benefit from discussions with their peers and expert instructors to exchange knowledge and support.


Featured Program

Certificate in Nurse Leadership

Further Your Nursing Career and Lead Yourself, Your Team, and Your Organization Into the Future

Certificate in Nurse Leadership

How has the program expanded in order to include feedback and accommodate new challenges?

In the end-of-course survey, 100% of the learners either strongly agreed or agreed that the program has helped them to identify where energy gaps exist and use tactics for building resilience and avoiding burnout. Since resilience is so paramount for frontline healthcare workers in this crisis, we at OpusVi have further expanded our efforts and launched a micro-course in resilience.

Apart from launching this hour-long independent program, we have also added to the existing Certificate in Nurse Leadership by introducing a Supervisor Guide, a resource for collaboration with the learner’s supervisor in order to implement strategies from the program and make a larger impact on the learner, the team, and the organization.

Accommodating changing learners needs

As many learners’ circumstances were suddenly changing, they were given the time to adjust to the new situation. One of these learners is Julia Profit-Johnson, BSN, RN, Birthing Center Manager at Bailey Medical Center (BMC) in Owasso, Oklahoma, and Secretary/Treasurer for the Oklahoma Nurses Association (ONA). She started taking the 16-week program in late January, when COVID-19 hadn’t yet begun to impact hospitals in the U.S., and remembers juggling the program and the shifting nature of her work.

“The timeframe is very doable, even in the midst of a pandemic. While everyone was finding their new routine, we were allowed extra time to hand in assignments and complete the courses, which was very much needed. Once you get into it, you’ll see that every week you’ll build upon your knowledge, feel a little more confident, and develop a routine. I found myself very excited about the next week’s lesson because I got so much out of the content.”


We have also introduced flexible pricing, including monthly payment options, as well as partnering with state nursing associations to provide their members with exclusive discounts, most recently completing an agreement with the Oklahoma Nurses Association.

Transforming the Healthcare Workforce

About Duke CE

Duke CE is the leadership development unit of Duke University. Duke CE works with some of the world’s largest corporations in areas of talent and workforce development. The Financial Times has ranked Duke CE among the top three globally in custom executive education for 19 consecutive years. Duke University is consistently ranked in the top ten U.S. News ranking for national universities and in the top 20 globally.

About Duke CE

Explore Our Programs

Learn More