Nursing Leadership From Bedside to Boardroom

A Gallup National Survey of Opinion Leaders

Nurses comprise the largest segment of the health care work force; the quality of nursing care is now a determinant of the reimbursement rates that Medicare and Medicaid use to pay hospitals; still, nurses are left out of health care policy- and decision-making.

In a Gallup survey funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, health care executives were surveyed about what might be keeping nurses out of the decision- and policy-making process. Between August and October 2009, a time of fervent debate over health policy, Gallup extracted opinions from academic, insurance, corporate and health services executives.

Key Findings:

  • Only 14 percent of executives believed that nurses had a great deal of influence on health reform.
  • Well over 60 percent of executives said that nurses are deprived of leadership roles because they are not key decision-makers and do not generate revenue.
  • Almost all executives envisioned nurses having at most, a moderate influence on health reform over the next decade.

When health care leaders were asked about the lack of nurses among their ranks, most agreed that the shortage of bedside nurses must be met before nurses can migrate to leadership positions.