Author Archives: Linda Burnes Bolton

Nurses: Climb the Leadership Ladder, Call the ‘Circle’

May 8, 2014, 12:00 PM, Posted by Linda Burnes Bolton

Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, is vice president for nursing, chief nursing officer, and director of nursing research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif., and a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Board of Trustees.

Linda Burnes Bolton

When troubles arose in ancient times, tribal leaders, known as “circle callers,” called on villagers to discuss problems and explore solutions as they sat together around a communal fire.

We need more of this kind of inclusive decision-making in our modern hierarchical society, and in our health care system in particular—and nurses are in a prime position to make that happen.

Nurses, I believe, are natural circle callers. They assess health from all sides and all angles. They look at individuals’ symptoms and diagnoses, but also their diet and exercise habits, their living and working conditions, their neighborhood environments and personal resources. They spend more time with patients than other health care providers and develop strong, trusting relationships with them and their loved ones. They focus on patients, but they also work with family members, caregivers, providers, administrators, payers, and community-based supporters.

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In our health care system, nurses are masters of inclusive decision-making. We need nurses in positions of power so they can share their unique insights and help answer pressing and persistent questions like how to narrow deeply troubling disparities in health and health care; how to provide more coordinated and more patient-centered care; and how to improve the quality and safety of care while, at the same time, reducing costs.

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A Journey Well Worth Taking

Oct 15, 2013, 11:00 AM, Posted by Linda Burnes Bolton

Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, is vice president for nursing, chief nursing officer, and director of nursing research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was vice chair of the Institute of Medicine Commission on the Future of Nursing, and is a trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It has been three years since the Institute of Medicine issued Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

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Developing the Institute of Medicine report, Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health and working to implement its recommendations has been a magnificent journey. It hasn’t been about nursing, but rather about health and health care. We focus on nursing, because it is one of the keys to improving health and health care. But our success, and the reason people are joining us on this journey, is because the report and its recommendations mean better health for the public and a stronger health care system for the country.

Linda Burnes Bolton

What began as a report has become a groundswell.  It is doing exactly what we hoped it would do, bringing people together to strengthen our health care system. Today a large, multidisciplinary, national movement is engaging nurses, consumers, and other health professionals in local and regional efforts to bring this report to life. There are great examples, for instance, of people from diverse fields coming together to remove practice barriers, physicians saying they believe medicine must be a “team sport,” consumers working to improve care in their communities—and much more.

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