Rising Nurse Leaders (RNL) is a two-year part-time program designed to provide frontline nurses with opportunities to acquire essential knowledge, skills, and abilities for ongoing professional and leadership development.

Program objectives

Upon completion of the program, the RNL participants will:

  • Develop a leadership style consistent with individual strengths and goals
  • Integrate planning, mentorship, and experiential learning in ongoing professional and leadership development
  • Increase awareness of current professional, practice, and organizational issues relevant to nurse leaders
  • Demonstrate leadership through the facilitation of a change process integrating concepts on best practices, quality/performance improvement methodologies, and project management

Program activities

Program participants will engage in learning activities such as seminars, workshops, coaching, mentorship, and group activities. The program utilizes various instructive and interactive methods to enhance learning and skills development. During the program, the participants will engage actively in completing an individualized professional development plan, leadership portfolio and project. An overview of components are as follows:

The quarterly leadership seminars consist of eight core educational offerings to provide participants with an opportunity to learn leadership concepts, problem-solving, reflection, and skill development.

Leadership forums are conducted every month and co- facilitated by a coach and or a nurse leader. The sessions provide the participants a venue to debrief or discuss specific leadership topics/issues and learn real life leadership strategies.

Participants will be paired with a nursing mentor that complements the individual’s career and learning goals. Mentors may be active or retired UC Davis Health leaders that volunteers to support or assist RNL nurses in their professional development.

Each participant has access to two hours of individual professional leadership coaching offered at no cost by UC Davis Academic and Staff Assistant Program. The coach reviews participant’s individual leadership assessment results and helps participants design a plan that meets short and long term career goals. For appointments, call ASAP (916) 734-2727.

The participants will have an opportunity to partner with mentors to acquire and demonstrate leadership skills by working or developing projects that support institutional goals and priority areas.

While the seminar is designed to build a core competency in leadership, participants may take additional elective courses based on their individual needs. These elective course offerings are open to all UC Davis nursing staff.


The Rising Nurse Leaders program is open to nurses that meet the following qualifications:

  • Each cohort is limited to 20 participants.
  • UC Davis Health career nursing employees (CN II, CN III, AN II) with at least two years of service
  • Demonstrates leadership qualities or potentials
  • Motivated, committed, and engaged in learning new perspectives
  • Willingness to contribute to improving the quality of care and services at UC Davis Health


Participants agree to engage in all aspects of this 24-month program fully, specifically:

  • Secure supervisor's approval for planned leave to attend program activities
  • Actively participate in all program activities, including attending quarterly seminars and a minimum of 8 Leadership Forums a year during the program
  • Develop and implement an individualized professional plan
  • Develop a professional portfolio that will provide evidence of learning and competency
  • Participate in leadership projects that support institutional goals or priority areas
  • Participate in program evaluation and research studies if requested
  • Complete all the program requirements within 24 months


UC Davis Medical Center Patient Care Services sponsorships of participants cover the majority of the course cost, which includes educational materials, seminars, and other learning experiences. Participants may use available professional leave with the approval of their manager for program activities.

Application procedures

Thank you for your interest in the Rising Nurse Leaders program! Priority applications for the program are now open. All application requirements must be turned in by June 9, 2018. Applications received after June 9 will be reviewed on a space-available basis only. You will receive an e-mail once we have received ALL application requirements. It is important to check your work e-mail regularly for notifications. Final decision and acceptance letter will be e-mailed to you on or before June 30, 2018. The program starts August 23, 2018.

Open application dates

2018: April 16 - June 9, 2018

Part I: Applicant
The online application cannot be saved between sessions; it must be completed in one single session. Before you access the online application form, prepare or draft the following:

  1. Resume
  2. Statement of purpose: Tell us about your professional background, professional goals, leadership experience or how you have demonstrated leadership, evidence of committee or project work, and how this program will support your goals (minimum of 100 words or maximum of 1,000 words)

Once you are ready with your application, access the link below. Answer few questions and cut and paste your resume and statement of purpose in the space provided.

Part II: Professional Reference

  • You will need 2 professional references.
  • Professional references should come from someone (co-worker, supervisor or colleague) that knows you well and can speak to your work and or leadership potentials. Please give your referee as much advanced notice as possible and follow up with to make sure they completed your letter before the deadline.
  • Share the link to this website to your professional references.

The online professional reference form cannot be saved between sessions; it must be completed in one single session. Before you access the form, draft your answer to the following question: Give 3 reasons why this applicant should be selected or considered for the Rising Nurse Leaders Program. Once you are ready, access the link below. Answer a few leadership trait survey questions and cut and paste your answer in the space provided.

Program coordinator

Sabrina McKinney, R.N.-B.C., M.S.N.
Professional Development Specialist


For questions about the Rising Nurse Leaders program, please contact the program coordinator by e-mail at smckinney@ucdavis.edu.