Lessons From a Hospital Boardroom

Monday, 30 October 2017: 1:55 PM

Therese A. Fitzpatrick, PhD
Kaufman Hall Associates, Skokie,, IL, USA

Sigma Theta Tau International's (STTI) book Nurse on Board: Planning Your Path to the Boardroom maintains that the nurse's voice is essential and critical to the governance of healthcare organizations. As we know, nurses represent the largest professional group in healthcare, account for the greatest human resources expense, and—most importantly—are closest to patients and their families, physicians, and the community. Nurses are leveraging this expertise in pursuit of the most strategic and powerful positions in government, academia, businesses, and health care organizations. As more nurses lead an enterprise this suggests that nurses should claim their rightful place on governance boards, a role which requires a deep understanding of our fiduciary and organizational performance responsibilities.

There are nurses who are embracing their valuable nursing knowledge base and their unique perspectives on health and health care to lead hospital boards. Because nurses possess the greatest breadth and depth of health care experience in hospitals, clinics, long-term care and the home, nurses are a tremendous source of information on how to lower costs and raise the quality of care. As nurses rise through the levels of leadership, an evolving skill set is required to assume these sophisticated roles which require strategic insights and bold action. Skills such as systems thinking, differentiating the role of governance from management, leading the board and board committees, establishing appropriate relationships between board members and executive leaders, evaluating the CEO’s performance and monitoring patient safety and quality to name a few. In this session, a nurse leader who has chaired a hospital board will describe her path to the board room, her election to the chair role and her relationship with the hospital CEO. This session will also describe governance best practices, how to develop, nurture, and leverage your personal and professional networks to ensure you are on the radar screen when board roles become available.