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Leading Care: Dr. Anne Krause and the Widener University School of Nursing

In this interview,  Anne M. Krouse ’81 BSN, PhD, MBA, RN-BC discusses her leadership in advancing nurses and health care through higher education. 

She is Dean and Professor at the Widener University School of Nursing.

Dr. Anne M. Krause

How did you rise to this leadership position?

I worked on my personal leadership development during my academic career and took on formal and informal leadership roles in academia.  One of the roles that really changed my career trajectory was the elected role of Faculty Chair at Widener. Also, I took that risk and left Widener for 2 years to take on the role of Associate Dean at the University of Delaware. That gave me the opportunity to build a new skill set in a different type of university.

Who influenced you?

My professional mentor has been Karen Morin and she has been a great support to me during my career changes.  I have also been influenced by the great leaders that I have worked with over time, both within and outside of Nursing. I have learned a lot by watching them.

Why is it important to you? Why are you enthusiastic about your work in this role?

Being a Dean has given me the ability to create change that (hopefully) will have a positive effect on students, faculty, the university, and the Nursing profession.  That change happens through the development of great teams and creating an environment that fosters their success.

What are the issues you deal with and what’s the biggest challenge in your area?

The issues that I deal with are varied and range from personnel to student success. The most challenging issue is growing the School of Nursing enrollment without compromising quality and student outcomes. This takes a commitment to ensuring that the resources are in place to ensure success.

How are you effective in your role? What’s critical to your success in the role?

I think that only the student, faculty, and administration can say how effective I am in my role. What is critical to my success is having a committed leadership team, faculty, and staff and administration that understands and supports Nursing.

How does innovation fit into your role as leader?

Innovation is part of my everyday role, whether it is developing a new program, a new delivery method, or finding a way to fund something out of a flat budget.  As a Dean it is also important to be open to innovation from others and to be ready to support it when it fits with the mission and vision of the school.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently on your rise to this position or while in it?

I think that I would have sought a position external to Widener earlier – an external view helps a leader avoid groupthink.

What’s your advice to someone who wants to be a leader in their area of interest?

Seek out opportunities to develop yourself as a leader through informal leadership opportunities and leadership development programs.  Be reflective in everything you do. Know what is important to you and be committed to it.  Be respectful, honest, and of high integrity. Be curious and take chances.

What is your leadership philosophy?

Lead by example, with authenticity and integrity.

What’s your hope for our profession?

That we come together as a profession without multiple entry pathways so we can build a strong profession with a strong voice in advocating for our patients and our profession.