Advanced Practice Nurses As Members Of Healthcare Boards 5
Why is it meaningful to have doctorally prepared advanced practice nurses as members of health care boards? What is the role of the nurse on these boards? 1 page, 2 sources, APA.
As the spotlight on healthcare reform continues, it is becoming clear that hospitals need to focus on improving value by optimizing the balance among healthcare cost, quality and accessibility for patients and other stakeholders. In moving toward a more value-driven basis for healthcare delivery, hospital boards and leaders will benefit from tapping resources with clinical care expertise and an understanding of patient and com- munity needs. Add to that skills in communications, decision making, management and leadership, and you have the basic job description of many of todays nurse executives.
Research on nonprofit hospital gov- erning boards indicates that only about 2 percent of their members are nurses. In this column we examine why hospital boards should take a closer look At nurses—a governance resource that remains largely untapped by most boards.
The value nurses can bring to the board table has been acknowledged and supported by many healthcare leaders. Donald M. Berwick, MD, president and CEO ofthe Institute for Healthcare Improvement, noted in the April 2005 issue oîBoardRoom Press, ‘̂It is key that nurses be as involved as physicians, and I think
boards should understand that the performance ofthe organization depends as much on the well-being, engagement, and capabilities of nurs- ing and nursing leaders as it does on physicians. I would encourage much closer relationship between nursing and the board.”
Because nurses have the most
contact with patients, families
and physicians, nurses have
in-depth knowledge of
healthcare delivery that could
prove valuable to a board of
trustees on relevant issues.
In 2007, the Center for Healthcare Govertiatice’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Health Care Governance recom- mended that boards “include physi- cians, nurses and other clinicians on the board. Their clinical competence and viewpoints are valuable to other board members and will help the board better understand the needs and concerns of several ofthe orga- nization’s stakeholders.”
And a 2009 Grant Thornton LLP study of governance in community health systems urged that “All boards
should consider enriching their mem- bership with greater racial and gender diversity; they also should consider the appointment of highly respected and experienced nursing leaders as voting members ofthe board to com- plement physician members and strengthen clinical input in board deliberations.” The study also said, “Engaging leaders in the nursing profession on hospital and health sys- tem boards has not yet become the norm, nor has it been accepted as a benchmark of good governance. However, given the importance of nursing in the provision of̂ patient care, it seems likely that the idea of engaging nurses on boards and board committees will receive growing con- sideration in the future.”
Exploring Nurse Executive Skills Nurses are the largest group of healthcare professionals and the fastest growing group of primary care professionals in the United States, according to the National Nursing Centers Consortium. As boards consider governance effec- tiveness under healthcare reform, the skills and attributes that nurses can bring to the board table are worth closer examination.
Because nurses have the most con- tact with patients, families and
8 4 Hcahhcare Executive MAY/JUNE 2010
physicians, nurses have in-depth knowledge of healthcare delivery that could prove valuable to a board of trustees on relevant issues. Nurse leaders also possess addi- tional attributes that make them a key asset for healthcare organiza- tion governing boards. These include having:
‘ Credibility with policy-makers, employees, health plan administra- tors, physicians and executives.
• The ability to identify and triage
• An understanding of issues concerning hospital staff and
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effective approaches to employee retention. Advanced Practice Nurses As Members Of Healthcare Boards 5
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