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Published on May 16, 2018

Gundersen's new fellowship program prepares nurse for manager role

Nurses who seek management roles at Gundersen Health System can now learn and practice the skills needed to become effective leaders, thanks to the Clinical Manager Fellowship Program.

Established in May 2017, the program helps provide a ready pipeline of candidates to become clinical managers throughout the organization.

Mao Kong, RN, is the first graduate of the program. "I really never thought about becoming a clinical manager. I just wanted to come to work and make a difference caring for my patients," says Kong. It wasn't until an administrative director approached Kong, and pointed out her leadership potential, that she decided to apply.

The Clinical Manager Fellowship Program is a full-time, salaried 6-to-12-month position. The fellow is partnered with a primary mentor who is an experienced clinical manager. The program provides ample opportunities for learning, observation and hands-on experience in many components of the leadership role. Upon successful completion are nurses—like Kong—who are well prepared to be competitive candidates for open clinical manager positions.

"What I found most helpful during the fellowship program was developing trusting relationships with the leaders, staff and patients. I'm a firm believer that in order to connect with people, they first must know that I care," says Kong, who is now the clinical manager of Urgent Care at the Gundersen Onalaska Clinic.

"Words cannot express how grateful I am of the support I've received from Gundersen. Not only did I receive help from the Tuition Investment Program to complete my BSN, but I also received a lot of support from so many mentors to help seek out and achieve my career goals," Kong adds.

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