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Nursing Leadership from Bedside to Boardroom

On January 20, 2010, a first-of-its-kind survey was released by Gallup on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Nursing Leadership from Bedside to Boardroom: Opinion Leaders’ Perceptions" explored the views of opinion leaders on the role America's nurses can and should play in our health care system.

Key Findings

From reducing medical errors, to increasing the quality of care, to promoting wellness, to improving efficiency and reducing costs, a new survey finds that an overwhelming majority of opinion leaders say nurses should have more influence. But these opinion leaders—including insurance, corporate, health services, government and industry thought leaders as well as university faculty—see significant barriers that prevent nurses from fully participating as leaders in health and health care.

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Key Findings

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  • Opinion leaders feel that nurses' primary areas of influence are reducing medical errors, improving quality of care, and coordinating patient care in the health care system.
  • Nurses are viewed as having less influence on health care reform than government, insurance and pharmaceutical executives, and others. A strong majority of respondents say nurses should have more influence than they do now on health policy, planning and management.
  • The major barriers identified to increased influence for nurses are that they are not perceived as important decision makers or revenue generators compared with doctors, and do not have a single voice on national issues.

It’s time for change. And in this survey, opinion leaders said so. A strong majority said that nurses should have more influence than they do now on health policy, planning and management. They want the barriers removed, and they want nurses themselves to step up.

- Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, RWJF president and CEO, in a column for Kaiser Health News