Nurse scientists spent six days learning from program faculty and each other

The 2021 cohort attends a convocation session on Saturday, July 31 with members of the National Program Office and program faculty instructor Christi Zuber. (C) UC Davis Regents. All rights reserved.The 2021 cohort attends a convocation session July 31 with members of the national program office and program faculty instructor Christi Zuber.

With the effects of the coronavirus pandemic still in full swing, the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators National Program Office once again pivoted from an in-person convocation to a virtual gathering to continue providing valuable educational sessions for the inaugural cohort as well as welcome the newest cohort of fellows to the fellowship community.

Convocation is an annual cornerstone event of the fellowship, which is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The event focuses on building community and fostering connection among fellows, program faculty and the Fellowship National Advisory Council. To accommodate the program’s growth, convocation expanded by a week and spanned two weeks this year, from July 19-31, with each individual cohort spending six days together on Zoom.

“We were really hoping to be together in person this year, but both of our cohorts did an amazing job connecting with each other on Zoom and building meaningful relationships despite never physically being together,” said Heather M. Young, national program director for the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators.

Each cohort participated in leadership development activities led by the national program office, UC Davis Graduate School of Management and national thought leaders who are experts in their fields. During the first week of convocation, the inaugural cohort attended sessions focused on strategic thinking, strategic communications, meaningful feedback in diverse workplaces, human-centered design, and interpersonal relationships and negotiation skills. During the second week, the new fellows focused on expanding their leadership skills, team-building skills and developmental networks, while also learning about technological innovation and human-centered design. Sprinkled throughout each cohort’s online sessions were social gatherings and coffee breaks to help solidify the relationships built throughout the week. 

At the start of the second week, both cohorts enjoyed a day of overlap and the inaugural cohort hosted a meet-and-greet session with the new fellows to identify similar areas of interest and learn about each others’ journeys as nurse scientists. Then, all the fellows met with the Fellowship National Advisory Council and physician Harvey Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, during a special session. The session included a discussion of the latest report from the National Academy of Medicine called “The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.” Other topics focused on how to lead with an equity lens and how to advance policies and systems that promote equity and address racism, discrimination and bias. A social gathering followed where fellows met in smaller groups via Zoom breakout rooms with national advisory council members to discuss leadership challenges and their trajectories as leaders throughout their careers.

Elena O. Siegel, associate director for the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators, said the convocation sessions introduced many new and challenging concepts for the fellows to consider as they launch their projects and continue their leadership and innovation journey.  

“They were highly engaged throughout the sessions, and it was exciting to see the different ways they are already starting to think about integrating the concepts in their projects and their journeys,” Siegel said. “We look forward to supporting their continued reflection and application of these new concepts and ways of thinking throughout the fellowship.”   

Young agreed and said she is excited to see the fellows apply what they learned and grow as leaders.

“Our fellows have diverse interests and experiences; yet share a common drive to make our communities and our world a better place for everyone. I am struck by the rich learning possible as the fellows share their aspirations, challenges and strategies,” Young said. “I am so excited to see the next generation of nursing leaders build momentum together.”

Both Young and Siegel said they hope next year’s convocation can take place in person at Betty Irene Moore Hall on the Sacramento UC Davis campus.

“It will be so exciting to have three cohorts, more than 30 fellows, together in the same room. I’m so looking forward to meeting everyone in person,” Young said.