Using activism to get nurses on boards


Over the past 15 years, there has been a growing call for nurses to be placed on boards of hospitals and health systems. Rationale for this action includes the changing nature of health care; a greater emphasis on person and family-centered care; nurses' background and experience in health care delivery; and that boards with a more diverse composition are associated with better organizational performance. Several national organizations have come forward to support this, among them the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Hospital Association, the Institute of Medicine, and several industry leaders in health care. While progress has been made, however, nurses still occupy only 4% of board seats. This article reviews some of the myths and barriers that have prevented nurses from serving on boards, as well as offering 3 major recommendations for action that reflect not only long-term efforts but also short-term activism.

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