Director Professional Nursing Excellence – Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Nashville, TN

Director Professional Nursing Excellence

Professional and Managerial

Primary Location
TN-Nashville-Medical Center North (MCN)

Practice Excellence 201858


Job Summary:

The Director – Professional Nursing Excellence partners with nursing leaders and organizational stakeholders to create and sustain a professional nursing practice culture that maintains a high level of satisfaction for nurses. Supports shared decision making and professional governance through the collaboration of nurses with physicians, other disciplines, departments, services and representatives. Assures nursing participation in decisions affecting nursing practice and the clinical work environment through programs and processes that promote decision-making as close to the clinical work as possible. Partners with organizational leaders and staff to maximize shared decision-making structures, processes and accountability that improve the quality of care, safety and well-being at work. Coordinates programming and processes that promote and sustain initial and ongoing professional excellence designation. Utilizes evidence-based strategies to drive this important work in a rapidly changing environment.

Department Summary:

Practice excellence requires the use of the best evidence, research, and innovation. Research is one of the primary missions of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and there are rich resources available for nurses. Our commitment to evidence-based practice and research is one of the reasons VUMC is the only Magnet designated medical system in middle Tennessee. Magnet recognition measures organizations for excellence in five areas — transformational leadership; structural empowerment; exemplary professional practice; new knowledge, innovations and improvements; and outcomes. At VUMC, every nurse has a voice. Our culture of Shared Governance supports the principles of decentralized decision making, shared accountability, and partnerships among all staff to deliver exceptional patient care, improve quality of care and enhance work life.

Position Shift: 1st shift; Days (hybrid schedule)

Discover Vanderbilt University Medical Center:

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, and operating at a global crossroads of teaching, discovery and patient care, VUMC is a community of individuals who come to work each day with the simple aim of changing the world. It is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity — of culture, thinking, learning and leading — is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something that is bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt’s mission is to advance health and wellness through preeminent programs in patient care, education, and research.

VUMC Recent Accomplishments

Because we are committed to providing the best in patient care, education and research, we are proud of our recent accomplishments:

  • US News & World Report: #1 Adult Hospital in Tennessee and metropolitan Nashville, named to the Best Hospitals Honor Roll of the top 20 adult hospitals, 10 nationally ranked adult specialty programs, with 3 specialties rated in the top 10 nationally, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt named as one of the Best Children’s Hospital in the nation, with 10 out of 10 pediatric specialties nationally ranked.
  • Healthcare’s Most Wired: Among the nation’s 100 “most-wired” hospitals and health systems for its efforts in innovative medical technology.
  • Becker’s Hospital Review: named as one of the “100 Great Hospitals in America”, in the roster of 100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Oncology Programs and to its list of the 100 Hospitals with Great Heart Programs.
  • The Leapfrog Group: One of only 10 children’s hospitals in the to be named at Leapfrog Top Hospital.
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: The School of Medicine has 112 elected fellows
  • Magnet Recognition Program: Received our third consecutive Magnet designations.
  • National Academy of Medicine: 22 members, elected by their peers in recognition of outstanding achievement
  • Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index: 6th year in a row that Vanderbilt University Medical Center was a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Create and evaluate programs and processes for Magnet and Pathway to Excellence designation or re-designation activities.
  • Effectively use evidence-based problem solving, data, improvement knowledge and regulatory/accreditation standards to inform decision-making by project teams.
  • Oversee, promote and facilitate shared-decision making processes across VUMC, informed by the Nursing Staff By-Laws and in collaboration with nursing leaders and interdisciplinary stakeholders.
  • Align activities with the VUMC nursing strategic plan.
  • Collaborate with marketing and communication resources and other stakeholders to promote the image of professional nursing at VUMC.
  • Promote the development of publications/presentations to promote the professional activities of VUMC nurses at local, regional and national levels.
  • Provide consultation for staff and leadership across the clinical enterprise to sustain the culture of professional excellence.
  • 1. Nursing degree required. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP). 2. Masters degree or higher education required. 3. If nursing degree at Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) level, then masters can be non-nursing degree. (Required)
  • 5+ years experience (Required)
  • Registered Nurse (Required)

Technical Capabilities:


  • Understands the difference between managing people and leading people. Demonstrates leadership with peers and as a member of a team. Influences others positively in work situations without having commensurate authority. Shows technical leadership by taking responsibility for projects and assignments. Demonstrates company values, high ethical principles and personal integrity in everyday activities.

  • Demonstrates ability to realistically anticipate resource needs, identify discrete tasks, set priorities, define dependencies, schedule activities, meet deadlines, and organize work within areas of direct responsibility. Appropriately matches equipment and capital resources to task demands. Achieves results within budget. Competently handles multiple assignments simultaneously. Reshapes project during life-cycle evolution, if needed. Demonstrates ability to break down work into manageable and measurable units. Accepts changes to assignments with minimal disruption and loss of productivity. Able to absorb changes to major assignments while maintaining a high level of performance. Uses available time efficiently. Follows up to assure problems and issues are resolved.

  • Quickly and effectively adjusts to changing work priorities and environmental conditions. Develops and expands work skills in order to grow and assume more responsibility. Proposes new ideas, goals, policies and procedures, if appropriate, and accepts meaningful ideas and actions developed by others. Constructively challenges policies, procedures and guidelines by suggesting positive improvements and alternatives. Contributes to creating and maintaining an environment supporting the direction and leadership of the organization. Has developed a meaningful political sensitivity and understands the way the organizational components uniquely function.

  • Demonstrates good training and mentoring practices on a regular basis. Acts as a mentor to a person in need of support and direction. Makes a concerted effort to seek problem definition so it is clearly understood, clarifying and refining goals, as needed. Knows how to make personal gains apparent, supporting pride in accomplishment. Cites specific examples of conduct and responds to lack of progress in constructive ways. Encourages two way dialogue, soliciting opinions of people being trained and mentored. Explores alternative solutions and approaches which make a person or team more likely to accomplish their goals.

  • Demonstrates the uppermost levels of expertise in applying departmental policies and procedures in challenging and complex situations. Often takes a role in establishing departmental policies and procedures for the company. May participate in advanced departmental technology or architecture areas which set standards for new products and processes as they are brought into the company.

  • Successfully applies quality management techniques to challenging and complex situations. Uses techniques across multiple departments where business processes cross organizational lines. Demonstrates the ability to lead a group through quality management tasks resulting in measurable system, product and service improvements. Often takes a lead role in highly pressurized situations when there is a need to achieve superior results. Consistently delivers results in a creative and imaginative manner while setting a standard for others.

  • Organizational Impact: Delivers projects/assignments that have a direct impact on goals/objectives of the unit/department that the job is in.
  • Problem Solving/ Complexity of work: Conducts extensive analysis of situations or data to resolve numerous, complex issues; may involve the input/work of others.
  • Breadth of Knowledge: Has in-depth level of knowledge within a professional area and working knowledge of other areas.
  • Team Interaction: May lead mid-sized projects; coaches and guides team members.


  • Develops Self and Others: Invests time, energy and enthusiasm in developing self/others to help improve performance and gain knowledge in new areas.
  • Builds and Maintains Relationships: Maintains regular contact with key colleagues and stakeholders using formal and informal opportunities to expand and strengthen relationships.
  • Communicates Effectively: Recognizes group interactions and modifies one’s own communication style to suit different situations and audiences.

  • Serves Others with Compassion: Seeks to understand current and future needs of relevant stakeholders and customizes services to better address them.
  • Solves Complex Problems: Approaches problems from different angles; Identifies new possibilities to interpret opportunities and develop concrete solutions.
  • Offers Meaningful Advice and Support: Provides ongoing support and coaching in a constructive manner to increase employees’ effectiveness.

  • Performs Excellent Work: Engages regularly in formal and informal dialogue about quality; directly addresses quality issues promptly.
  • Ensures Continuous Improvement: Applies various learning experiences by looking beyond symptoms to uncover underlying causes of problems and identifies ways to resolve them.
  • Fulfills Safety and Regulatory Requirements: Understands all aspects of providing a safe environment and performs routine safety checks to prevent safety hazards from occurring.

  • Demonstrates Accountability: Demonstrates a sense of ownership, focusing on and driving critical issues to closure.
  • Stewards Organizational Resources: Applies understanding of the departmental work to effectively manage resources for a department/area.
  • Makes Data Driven Decisions: Demonstrates strong understanding of the information or data to identify and elevate opportunities.

  • Generates New Ideas: Proactively identifies new ideas/opportunities from multiple sources or methods to improve processes beyond conventional approaches.
  • Applies Technology: Demonstrates an enthusiasm for learning new technologies, tools, and procedures to address short-term challenges.
  • Adapts to Change: Views difficult situations and/or problems as opportunities for improvement; actively embraces change instead of emphasizing negative elements.

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