Article Claims Chief Nurses Can Play a Key Role in Preventing Errors in Health Care

Nurse Executive Leadership Conference

The Harvard University Nursing Research Institute organized the "4th Annual National Invitational Conference on Executive Nursing Leadership in Academic Centers and Major Teaching Hospitals," June 21–22, 1999, in Cambridge, Mass.

The Institute held two previous conferences for nurse executives, which were also funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) (see Program Results on ID#s 028370 and 031421). Prior to these conferences, no forum existed for academic nurse executives to meet with their peers and analyze common problems.

Key Results

Project staff reported the following to RWJF:

  • Approximately 100 chief nurse executives in practice, education, and research from leading teaching hospitals and academic health centers attended the invitation-only conference.
  • In addition, leaders from nursing policy-making bodies, national associations, and the federal government participated.
  • Fifteen speakers addressed:
    • Current and emerging trends affecting the health care workforce.
    • How the role of the nurse executive is changing.
    • Leadership and management challenges.
    • Needed competencies for nurse executives.
    • Strategies for overcoming challenges confronting nursing executives.
  • Nursing Outlook, the official, peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Nursing, published an interview with one of the conference speakers, Dr. Lucian Leape, a health policy analyst at HUSPH, on the causes and prevention of adverse events in health care and the role that nurse executives can play in changing health systems to prevent those errors. (See the Bibliography for details.)


RWJF provided $19,593 in funding to the Harvard University School of Public Health from May 1999 to September 2000 to support the conference.

The next conference took place April 22–24, 2001, in Cambridge, Mass., with partial funding from RWJF (ID# 041761), and was entitled "Work Force Challenges in the 21st Century: Implications for Healthcare and Nursing." It was sponsored by the Institute for Nursing Healthcare Leadership, a group formed by Harvard-affiliated hospitals to replace the Nursing Research Institute, which disbanded in March 2000.

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