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Why nurse leaders should be on hospital boards

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Richard A. Hachten II, former chief executive officer of Alegent Creighton Health, the Omaha, Neb.-based regional health system now known as CHI Health, and Kathryn Mershon, MSN,  who served on the Alegent Creighton Health board for nine years and was the first woman vice president of Humana Inc., argue that putting  nurse-leaders on hospital boards strengthens the institutions. Among their remarks in Hospital Impact:

“We view this as an optimal time for health systems to add a nurse leader to their boards because the profession’s caregiving expertise and awareness of patient perspectives is needed for sound strategic decision-making. …

“Here’s our short list of ways a nurse with high-level business expertise can help a health system board strengthen profitability and patient outcomes:”

  • “A nurse who has a strong business background and substantial healthcare experience can offer practical, useful input to improve a health system’s board.”
  • “To improve quality outcomes, resource utilization and financial metrics, it’s critical that nursing leadership and front-line nurses, executives and board governance are all in partnership. Without that, change is simply not possible.”
  • ”A board without diverse perspectives risks overlooking uncomfortable yet important issues.”
  • ”There is a ready cohort of nurse leaders with the governance and healthcare expertise to be excellent board members. All the board has to do is get them oriented to the organization. This next-generation cadre of nurse leaders is ready for an important task. Their input on behalf of the critical issues and the bigger picture will be essential to protecting and reinforcing the nation’s vital healthcare sector in the coming era.”

To read their essay, please hit this link.



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