Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Yale University School of Nursing

First Advisor

Judith Kunisch


This manuscript describes a project to create an evidence-based succession planning tool for the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) role within academic medical centers. The purpose of this project was to design and validate a tool that could be used by Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and CNOs to prospectively implement development plans for qualified internal nurse leaders. This project is based on evidence that suggests succession may be disruptive to organizations and that the development of effective succession management programs can help mitigate challenges associated with leadership transitions. The methodological approach for this project included a review of the literature, accreditation standards and hiring practices related to the CNO role. The review process informed the design of the succession planning tool, which contained 21 elements. Each element of the tool was then reviewed by a group of fifteen experts, comprised of current and former CNOs, CEOs, academicians and healthcare leaders. Each expert rated tool elements in terms of importance and relevance to the CNO role within the context of academic medical centers and teaching hospitals. Aggregate scores were reviewed and elements were revised and categorized as “essential” or “recommended” based on the overall rating. The final result is a content validated succession planning tool with 17 essential and recommended elements that can be used to develop internal candidates for the CNO role.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access