Executive Nurse Leader

Preparing you for a lifetime of leadership.

Accepting Applications

The fast-changing world of health care needs strong nurse leaders. It takes a unique combination of clinical expertise, visionary leadership and management skills. Our Master of Science in Nursing with an executive nurse leader (ENL) focus prepares nurse leaders to guide and oversee the successful delivery of health care services, now and into the future.

Our curriculum is based on the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) Nurse Leader competencies. As an executive nurse leader student here, you’ll gain skills in everything from communication and quality management to partnership building and strategic planning. Our faculty of nurse scientists and advanced clinicians teach you how to design and implement policy, and how to apply information technology to nursing education. 

Although executive nurse leaders engage in project management more than hands-on patient care, there is no substitute for the personal connection in nursing—starting right in the classroom. Our faculty of nurse scientists and advanced clinicians understand the power of compassion, and we go above and beyond in the way we work with you, and show up for you. Via our nursing consortium and extensive network of alumni, we partner you with opportunities not only at graduation, but throughout your career. For information on career opportunities for Nurse Leaders, read our Guide to Becoming an Executive Nurse Leader.

portrait of Ricky Padilla

Alumni Spotlight

"The Master of Science in Nursing, Executive Nurse Leader (ENL) program has set a trajectory for me both professionally and academically. The ENL emphasis specifically offers a wide array of knowledge which can pertain to entry level nurse managers and even nurses in senior administrative positions. My entire experience at USD has been phenomenal and I have formed life-long relationships with staff, faculty, and students."

–Ricky Padilla, PhD, MSN, RN, CCRN

Program Outcomes

  • Communication and relationship management: Works within a collaborative and inter-professional environment to influence and improve patient experience of care, the health of populations, and reduce the per capita cost of healthcare.
  • Knowledge of healthcare environment: Apply high reliability concepts to improve organizational performance.
  • Knowledge of healthcare environment: Examine the effect of health policy on legal and regulatory processes of nursing practice, healthcare delivery, and outcomes.
  • Leadership: Use knowledge of classic and contemporary systems thinking in problem solving and decision making for a healthcare organization.
  • Professionalism: Identify a vision of nursing practice to promote the delivery of safe, timely, efficient and patient centered healthcare.
  • Business Skills: Recognize the need for financial, resource, strategic, and information management as underpinning of a viable and sustainable healthcare organization.