The Bridge to Nurse Executive

Sydnee Logan
By Sydnee Logan  | 
The Bridge to Nurse Executive

Picture this.

You’re a career driven nurse manager (and maybe you have been for some time); you experienced the bedside but know administration is your best fit. You earned your MSN and have your eyes on the “nurse executive” ball, found the DNP Executive track at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing that fits you just right and—

You don’t have the clinical hours. But this can’t be right. You had the vision, you know it’s meant for you. You’re determined to find a way.

We hear you. And now the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has developed a bridge post-master’s certificate to help nurses who are not advanced practice registered nurses (ex: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, midwives, or nurse anesthetists) achieve the required clinical hours without APRN licensure.

Post-Master’s Certificate in Healthcare Organizational Leadership

Meet the first students in the inaugural Post-Master’s Healthcare Organizational Leadership Certificate program that acts as a bridge to the DNP Executive track: Jane Powell, Eileen Pummer and Jamie Gebel.


Jane Powell

My passion is where research meets clinical; my calling is the execution of research.

Jane Powell

“My passion is where research meets clinical; my calling is the execution of research,” Jane says. “That’s what I feel the DNP Executive track will prepare me for—to bring evidence-based practice to the bedside.” Now Director of Cardiovascular Clinical Quality at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, TX, she earned her BSN and MSN while an Air Force officer; “I felt like I should have the degree to match the experience I was getting,” she says. 

Next Jane wanted a DNP because her focus was leadership: the demonstrable competency to lead and coach others in quality and patient safety, infection control and more. There were other programs that wouldn’t require more clinical hours, but “I wanted my degree from Johns Hopkins because it’s the best, and I didn’t want to pursue nurse practitioner licensure because it’s a clinical focus I will never use.”

“So far, the program is a good way to ease back into school, a doctoral pursuit is kind of daunting,” Jane says. Furthermore, Dr. Jessie Casida, track coordinator, has been great about treating her cohort as peers. “He says we are colleagues who just happen to be students right now.”


Jamie Gebel

I always knew I wanted to go beyond the bedside.

Jamie Gebel

“I always knew I wanted to go beyond the bedside, and I have a passion for the administrative aspect of caring for nurses and my staff,” Jamie Gebel says.

A nurse for seven years, she’s been a clinical coordinator since 2017 and earned her MS focused on nursing administration in 2019. Now her eyes are set on a DNP/MBA because: “It’s important to understand the implications of finances and budgeting to be successful in health care,” she says. Johns Hopkins is one of few universities offering a dual degree program.


She began the degree program in summer 2021. The bridge was a great introduction to Johns Hopkins and “the Hopkins way” and to relationship building in the nursing profession. A benefit of working and earning a post-master’s degree is that she already had relationships to tap into for her clinical hours.

Jamie began what will become her dual degree doctoral research project at the post-master’s level. Her work will support nurse managers. “There is a big push to onboard new hires, but there is little research on onboarding nurse managers as new leaders,” she says. The lack of attention to new nurse managers contributes to turnover, which ultimately impacts patient care and the hospitals’ finances. She is investigating the approaches used with new nurses to identify what strategies may be used for new nurse managers.


Eileen Pummer

I wanted to come full circle in nursing and teach the future nurses of the world.

Eileen Pummer

“I always knew I wanted a doctorate, I wanted to come full circle in nursing and teach the future nurses of the world,” says Eileen Pummer.

As of 2021 she’s been a nurse for 36 years, spanning bedside nursing (critical care, trauma, ICU and heart surgery) and quality and safety management. She’s currently the Senior Director of Quality, Safety, and Improvement Management at Suburban Hospital. Each step of Eileen’s career has been guided by serendipity.

For example, when she worked night shifts in the trauma ICU, and had three children and a busy life, luck struck because the hospital where she worked was pursuing magnet status. They encouraged employees to get advanced degrees, made it convenient with a hybrid online program and in person courses right on hospital grounds, and even offered full tuition reimbursement.

About three years ago serendipity struck again. She was living in California, her children were going off to college, and she and her husband considered moving to Maryland to be closer to their aging parents. And then a job posting for a quality director at Suburban Hospital appeared. Within three months she was living back on the east coast, working in a Johns Hopkins Health System hospital, and, with one of the most prestigious programs in nursing nearby, she began thinking about the doctorate again.

Having earned her MSN some time ago, Eileen knew she would have to do some prerequisites. But upon learning she needed even more practice hours, “I was heartbroken, I felt like I was so close and may not make it,” she says. But she learned about this bridge program and said, “I just have to roll with the punches. Now I’m here and I’m ready.”

In 2020, Suburban became a COVID-19 vaccination site; Eileen became a safety leader with projects regarding cleaning and disinfecting. “Things are brought into our lives for a reason,” she says. Now her work and school life are blending together; she is partnering with a physician colleague to author a scholarly paper on the impact of patient quality and safety during the pandemic.  


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Sydnee Logan, MA is the Sr. Social Media and Digital Content Specialist for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She shares Hopkins Nurses with the world.

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