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i-LEAD Nursing Leadership and Health Systems


Nursing administration has become a very specialized and integral form of management. i-LEAD (Innovation in LEadership and ADministration in Nursing and Health Care Systems) provides nurses who are interested in advancing their careers with essential competencies to become effective leaders and managers in a variety of health care settings. Knowledge gained in cultural competence, informatics and evidence-based practice will provide educated leaders with the ability to excel in today's complex and changing health care system. Students who graduate from the iLEAD program are eligible to take the AONE or ANCC Nurse Executive certification.

For more information regarding graduation rates, the median debt of students completing our certificate programs and other important information, please visit the University of Colorado Denver Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

i-LEAD Nursing Leadership Program Practitioner Gainful Employment Disclosure​

Plans of Study

Program Description

One crucial point in national health care reform is the state’s demand for nurses to support health care services continues to exceed the supply of qualified and educated nurses in health care systems. In addition, requirements of the nationally acclaimed Magnet Hospital recognition program have mandated that nurse managers hold a master’s degree. Our i-LEAD Program strives to make a substantial contribution in overcoming these obstacles.

Benefits and Uniqueness of the i-LEAD Program

  • The College of Nursing faculty are experts in health care systems, informatics, leadership, research and practice.
  • i-LEAD is available entirely online; therefore, it is accessible to students in rural Colorado, nationally and internationally.
  • i-LEAD utilizes the benefits of social media to integrate students into the administrative network of experts within Colorado as well as across the country.
  • Both in-state and out-of-state students share one low tuition rate.
  • The program is designed to foster nursing leadership and reduce health disparities.
  • Nurses interested in administrative positions will gain core competencies in management.

Exit Options

This master’s program provides a 30-credit core master’s degree in nursing leadership and health care systems, with the following exit options:

  • Graduation with a MS in nursing leadership and health care systems
  • Completion of an additional 12 credits for specialization in Health Care Informatics, offered as a post-master’s certificate
  • Seamless progression into our PhD program with a health systems research focus or our DNP Health Systems Leadership program.

More Information and Contacts

While seeking admission to this MS option, a potential student would be eligible to enroll as a non-degree-seeking student and may take up to 12 semester credits prior to acceptance into this MS option.

Please contact CON.ExtendedStudies@ucdenver.edu​ for more information about enrolling as a non-degree-seeking student.

How long will it take to complete the i-Lead, innovative in leadership and administration in nursing and health care systems option program?

The required core master’s Nursing courses and the required courses for the i-Lead option program total 30 credit hours. It is anticipated that a student would be able to complete the program in a 2 to 2 1/2 year period of time. Course offerings vary by semester and the required option courses are not offered every semester. Once admitted into this master’s option program, it will be necessary to meet with an assigned academic advisor to plan your program plan and to discuss current scheduling information.

Are all of the required option courses available online?

Yes, all of the courses are offered online. We develop a program plan with every student to insure their success in getting into the online sections of core classes in the MS program.

Will I be required to do any clinical experiences?

Yes, there is a 3 credit hour (135 clock hours) administrative internship required.

Will I be required to come to Denver to do the clinical internship?

No. The clinical experience will be arranged with the assistance of the faculty coordinator and student to do clinical hours in the student’s home community. Selected preceptors for the i-LEAD master’s option will be managers and executives in health care systems who have at least 2 years of experience. The program faculty will work with each student to identify the appropriate preceptor that will assist the student to meet his/her competencies.

Can I take a course before I apply?

Yes, you may take up to 12 semester credits as a non-degree student prior to being accepted to the program. Students enrolled as a non-degree student are not eligible for financial aid. Please see the Office of Professional Development for more information.

Can a new BS graduate apply for this specialty option and/or take a course as a special student with limited clinical experience?

Yes, any qualified BS graduate can take a course as a special student and be eligible to apply for admission into the i-LEAD master’s option program with minimum or no prior clinical experience.

Is the master’s program accredited?

Yes, the master’s program has full accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Who can I contact to obtain more information?

You may contact the i-LEAD Program Coordinator, China Hutchins, for additional information.