Category Archives: Leadership Development

May 3 2013

In the Media: Nurses, Nursing Champions Well Represented Among Most Powerful Women in Health Care

This is part of the May 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has called on nurses to take on more leadership positions so they can use their unique insights to help redesign the nation’s ailing health care system.

But some nurses are already there.

In its biennial list of the 25 most powerful women in the health care industry, Modern Healthcare, a leading health policy journal, included nine women with nursing backgrounds and two others who are vocal champions of nurses and nursing.

Nurses and nursing champions, in other words, comprised nearly half the list, which was released in April.

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Dec 4 2012

Board Leadership for Nurses: The First Steps

The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Future of Nursing report recommends that nurses serve on boards and in other key leadership positions at every level, but getting a board appointment and taking on that responsibility can be daunting. In an article for American Nurse Today, RWJF Senior Adviser for Nursing Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, offers advice for nurses looking to take the first steps toward board service.

Before considering board service, Hassmiller writes, consider creating a personal strategic plan and finding an organization outside your workplace with a mission and issues you support and understand. She suggests starting locally to find opportunities to serve in leadership positions, and building connections outside, as well as within, your profession.

“With activities taking place across the nation to make the IOM recommendations a reality, this may be one of the most exciting times in the history of nursing,” Hassmiller writes. “Make the effort to do the work required to prepare for leadership and to step onto the first rungs of community board service—and beyond.”

Read the article from American Nurse Today.

Oct 24 2012

Palliative Care Nurse Has 'Phenomenal' Experience at New Palliative Nursing Leadership Institute

By Sally Welsh, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Executive Officer, The Alliance for Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Nursing


On July 15, 2012, the Palliative Nursing Leadership Institute became a reality.

The institute was a joint project supported by the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association (HPNA) and the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Foundation (HPNF). Leadership development is a cornerstone of HPNA’s mission statement, which is: “Leading the way to promote excellence in the provision of palliative nursing care through leadership development, education, and the support of research in the field.”

The guiding vision for the Palliative Nursing Leadership Institute is “a national health care system in which every patient has access to quality palliative nursing care.” The mission of the institute is to “develop leaders who will embrace, utilize, and integrate palliative nursing concepts into professional nursing practices throughout the health care system, as achieved through a model of education and mentoring.”

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Aug 9 2012

Women Underrepresented as Health Care CEOs

While they make up 73 percent of medical and health services managers, women account for only a small portion of CEOs at hospital and health care organizations, according to a report by RockHealth. The analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other surveys finds that just 4 percent of health care organization CEOs and 18 percent of hospital CEOs are women.

RockHealth’s report highlights a range of barriers to women’s advancement, including persistent gender roles in the workplace, a lack of mentors and role models for women, and more. To understand what women in the health care workforce thought, RockHealth conducted interviews with 100 women in the field. Nearly half the survey respondents reported that insufficient self-confidence was one of the biggest barriers to their career advancement. Among other reported obstacles: time constraints (45 percent) and the ability to connect with senior leadership (43 percent).

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has long championed leadership development, for women and men alike. Many of the Foundation’s programs offer leadership training for nurses, physicians and other health care professionals, to help advance their careers. Learn more about RWJF programs at

What do you think? Are females underrepresented in health care leadership? What can we do to increase their representation? Register below to leave a comment.

See the RockHealth Women in Health Care report.
Read coverage of the report from Fierce Healthcare and Forbes.

Jul 18 2012

Exceptional Young Physicians Named 2013 RWJF Clinical Scholars

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) this week announced the selection of 27 new RWJF Clinical Scholars—young physician leaders who will spend two years examining the delivery, impact and organization of health care, while receiving training in leadership, health policy, and community-based participatory research training.

The new Clinical Scholars will begin their two-year fellowships in July 2013. In addition to the usual participation of a number of primary care physicians, this year’s class includes four OB/GYN specialists, four surgeons, and a urologist.

The Clinical Scholars program, RWJF’s first grant program which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, has more than 1,200 alumni across the country in every level of academia, government service, and clinical practice.

Learn more about the 2013 RWJF Clinical Scholars.
Learn more about the RWJF Clinical Scholars program.

Jun 14 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Allergies in kids, diabetes among the elderly, debate teams, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

A study by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholar Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, finds female physicians considered to be among “the cream of the crop” make an average of $12,000 less a year than their male counterparts. The disparity persists even after accounting for physicians’ specialties, productivity, family status and other factors. HealthDay, Reuters, the Washington Post, Fox News and the Associated Press are among the outlets to report on the findings. Read more about the study. reports on a study led by RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) grantees Michele Balas, RN, PhD, APRN-NP, CCRN, and William Burke, MD, that finds a series of evidence-based practices employed by a nurse-led health care team can reduce the risk of delirium for ICU patients and speed recovery after discharge.

Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPH, a Physician Faculty Scholar, is the author of a study that finds children who live in rural areas are less likely to have food allergies than children who live in cities. The study is the first to examine the prevalence of child food allergies by geographical region. CBS News, HealthDay, Parents Magazine’s High Chair Times blog and the Scientific American are among the outlets to report on the findings.


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Jun 14 2012

Nominations Open for RWJF's Young Leader Awards

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recently announced the establishment of the Young Leader Awards: Recognizing Leadership for a Healthier America. The awards will honor young leaders, 40 years of age and under, who offer great promise for leading the way to improved health and health care for all. Up to 10 awards of $40,000 will be granted to outstanding young leaders.

The Young Leader Awards will recognize emerging leaders who have demonstrated the characteristics needed to improve health and health care through leadership and innovation. These characteristics—a combination of personal attributes, commitment to health and health care, and successful experience—demonstrate an ability to lead and innovate and they signal the potential to become a greater leader in the coming years.

The Young Leader Awards are part of RWJF’s 40th anniversary celebration. Awardees will be announced in October.

To learn more about the qualifications or to nominate a Young Leader, visit

May 25 2012

"We Knew the Need Was Significant": Nurse Leadership by Example

Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN), a partnership between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Northwest Health Foundation, devoted the latest issue of its PIN Point newsletter to the topic of leadership and featured the Leading Toward Tomorrow Project, which cultivates nurse leaders in southeast Michigan, with a primary focus on geriatric care. Below, three project leaders weigh in on what led them to tackle leadership development and what they’ve learned along the way.


Why does your organization see nursing leadership as an area worthy of investment?

Elizabeth Sullivan, MPA, vice president for community investment at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan: We felt it was important to build the nursing workforce and to do it in a way, in this particular project, that supports retention and mobility of nurses. We knew that the need was significant in southeast Michigan, and we knew it was important to do this with nurses in acute and long-term care settings. Our interest was working with novice nurses who found themselves in management positions and were working in care settings that serve a lot of older adults.

Carole Stacy, MA, MSN, RN, director of the Michigan Center for Nursing: On one of our nursing surveys several years ago, one of the questions was: If you’ve left a nursing job in the last two years, what was the reason? One of the answers they could select was that they had difficulty with their nurse manager or with administration. Over the course of several surveys, we kept seeing that particular response chosen in large numbers. Then we really started going out and looking at what the problem was. We found that in Michigan, we do not do a very good job of preparing people to be in nursing management. Just because they’re a good nurse, we assume they’ll have the skills needed to be a good manager. And that’s frequently not the case.

Nora Maloy, DrPH, senior program officer at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation: The Foundation has been supporting the profession of nursing since 2003, when we developed an initiative addressing the nursing shortage. That put us in touch with nurse leaders from around the state. Since then, through our nurse leader colleagues, we have seen the impact of nursing on all aspects of health care, including access, policy and quality of care.

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May 8 2012

National Nurses Week 2012 and New Jersey

Happy National Nurses Week! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has a proud history of supporting nurses and nurse leadership, so this week, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will feature posts by nurses, including leaders from some of our nursing programs. Check back each day to see what they have to say. This post is by Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, interim provost for The College of New Jersey, and program director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.


The American Nurses Association theme for National Nurses Week 2012 is “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring.” It emphasizes critical areas of focus for professional nursing in New Jersey and the nation that align well with the 2010 Institute of Medicine report entitled Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. National Nurses Week is an opportune time to highlight nurses and nursing and the scientifically proven contributions that our profession makes to improve health and patient care.

It is also a good time to talk about what we still need to make happen to improve health and health care. For one thing, we must continue to push for more registered nurses to earn advanced (masters and doctoral) degrees. This is essential for nursing practice, education and research. We need many more advanced practice nurses for primary and specialized care, more nurse educators to prepare nurses for the future, and more nurse scientists to continue to build the evidence for our practice and teaching.


One of the wonderful aspects of a nursing career is that nurses can have multiple careers within it and can be clinicians, teachers and researchers. We need to advocate for a better educated profession with a higher proportion of nurses having baccalaureate and higher degrees as well as advocate for healthier lifestyle opportunities for our society and for a better health care system for those we care for.

We must lead for a better future. Nurses should seek to lead, wherever they are, throughout their careers. Leading requires gaining specific and broad knowledge, taking a public position, being willing to find solutions and engaging in difficult dialogue when necessary. It also requires us to be willing to speak up inside and outside of nursing, with members of other disciplines.

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May 4 2012

Terrance Keenan Institute: Leadership from Wherever You Sit

By Jasmine Hall Ratliff, MHA, program officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


In 2010 Grantmakers in Health, an affiliation of health funders across the country, launched the Terrance Keenan Leadership Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy (TK Institute) to commemorate the life and leadership of long-time Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leader Terrance Keenan. The TK Institute was created to nurture the next generation of leaders, build relationships among them, and connect them with established figures in the field.

Terrance Keenan, affectionately called Terry, created and led many RWJF signature funding programs that included the Nurse Faculty Fellowships, Community Care Funding Partners Program and the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Program (which later became Faith in Action). (You can read more about Terry here.)

I was fortunate enough to be nominated and then selected to represent RWJF in the inaugural class of the TK Institute. Other participants came from foundations in Massachusetts, Ohio, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, DC and California; they worked at community, private and family foundations with assets across all ranges. Though we represented different regions and health priorities, we had many things in common: we were under the age of 40 and had a passion for moving philanthropy forward as a field.

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