Nursing Leadership

Championing Quality and Patient Safety in the Boardroom

For health consumers to receive the quality of care and safety they deserve, those who lead and govern health care organizations must play an important role in planning how health care is delivered. In this article, the authors identify the extent to which hospital boards of trustees, chief nursing officers (CNOs) and CEOs are engaged at the leadership level in ensuring optimum delivery and quality of health care services.

The researchers conducted a series of 73 interviews with hospital leaders (CNOs, CEOs and board chairs). The leaders represented 63 hospitals across the United States, ranging in size from 20 to 935 beds. The interviews revealed that there are significant differences in the perceptions that CNOs have about leaders' abilities to manage quality of care in hospitals compared to those of board chairs and CEOs. For instance, CNOs perceived board members to have only moderate engagement in initiatives about quality of care, whereas CEOs and board chairs gave higher ratings to board members' abilities to integrate planning for quality with overall strategic planning. The authors contend that CNOs have an important role to play in influencing board members and providing insights, for instance, into how nursing quality goals might integrate with key business goals. They found that board members' understanding of improving the quality and safety of nursing care is generally restricted to staffing concerns and should be expanded.

This article was published with permission of Nursing Economics.

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