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NYAM’s Nursing Leadership Group Seeks Increased Participation by Nurses in Health Care Governance

On April 3 the Nursing Special Interest Group of NYAM will present a full-day event, “Preparing Nurses for Board Governance: Creating a Path to a Seat at the Table.” The aim of the event is to equip each participant with the strategies and tools needed to plan and navigate a path to a board appointment.

The event will feature keynote speaker Diana Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, Rudin Professor of Nursing at Hunter College and President of the American Academy of Nursing, and program speaker Connie R. Curran, EdD, RN, FAAN, CEO of Best On Board and Editor Emerita of Nursing Economics. Both speakers have extensively published and presented on the topic of nursing governance and the representation of health professionals on boards. 

The Institute of Medicine’s 2012 report, The Future of Nursing, recommended that nurses make significant efforts to serve on boards, commissions, task forces, and other policy-related entities in order to have a voice in healthcare policy decision making. Connie Vance, EdD, RN, FAAN, Chairperson of the NYAM Nursing Special Interest Group, underscores the importance of expanding nursing’s involvement in health care governance so that the profession’s unique perspectives and values on health care in this country are heard and acted on.

“We want to provide important information, training, mentoring and networking opportunities to prepare nurse leaders for this important role in governance,” Dr. Vance said.

“Nurses must be full partners with doctors and other health professionals in redesigning health care in the United States,” said Program Co-Chair Donna Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FAAN, Editor of Nursing Economics, Professor at the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, and Executive Officer at the CUNY Graduate Center. “We need to make sure all health professionals have equal representation—if 20 percent of the members of hospital boards are physicians, then why aren’t 20 percent of nurses and other health professionals? Currently, less than 5 percent of members of American health care boards are nurses.” 

Along with Co-Chair Suellyn Ellerbe, MN, RN, NEA-BC, President & CEO at Suellyn Ellerbe & Associates, Dr. Nickitas led a task force committee that worked with Donna Fingerhut, Deputy Director of NYAM’s Office of Trustee and Fellowship Affairs, to determine the best approaches for this issue.

“Most nursing leaders are fully capable of contributing important ideas and information to boards within healthcare and boards of organizations outside healthcare,” Ms. Ellerbe said. “But to attain appointment to a board and to understand the workings of a board of directors requires information that nurse leaders often do not possess.”

The objectives of the April 3 leadership event are to discuss the need for nurses to move into board roles; review the essentials of board governance; compare and contrast nonprofit, governmental, and corporate boards; identify and analyze a “target board”; and develop approaches to personal branding to maximize contacts, networks, and mentors.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for nursing and for The New York Academy of Medicine to address the need for board training,” Dr. Nickitas said. “The focus is preparing nurses for board governance in New York City and through the New York state region. We’re hoping that participants will come to the meeting with a particular board they’d like to serve on, and that each participant will walk away with a better understanding of how to get there.”

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Posted on February 14, 2014

Gina Ravosa
Director of Marketing & Communications
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
(212) 822-7285


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