In the Media: Nine Nurses Named To Magazine's List of 100 Most Powerful in Health Care

    • September 22, 2010

Once excluded from positions of power in the health care sector, nurses are beginning to claim their place as leaders of the industry, according to an influential health care magazine.

In its ninth annual ranking of the 100 most powerful people in health care, Modern Healthcare named nine nurses to the prestigious list—seven ranked in the top 50 and one ranked in the top five.

That’s a considerable improvement over last year, when only four nurses made the list.

Readers nominated and voted for candidates. Winners were announced in the August 23rd issue of the magazine and on its website. Nominations from all industry sectors were accepted.

President Barack Obama topped this year’s list, becoming the first person ever to claim the top spot two years in a row. Following him were government leaders Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Speaker of the House of Representatives; and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

Sister Carol Keehan, D.C., R.N., M.S., a nurse who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association in Washington, D.C., rounded out the top five.

At least four of the nine nurses on this year’s list have strong ties to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

They include Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., head of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and a grantee of the Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) program; Beverly Malone, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., who is CEO of the National League for Nursing and a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Foundation’s Nurse Faculty Scholars program; Linda Aiken, Ph.D., F.A.A.N., F.R.C.N., director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania and a beneficiary of the Foundation’s Nurse Leaders in the Boardroom program; and Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., who is CEO and executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and national program director for the Foundation’s New Careers in Nursing program.

Despite their progress, nurses—the largest group of health care professionals in the country—should represent more than 9 percent of the names on the list, Malone says. “In my opinion, there aren’t enough nurses on this list,” she told “There is plenty of room for nurses to be influencers—it is never about enough space.”

What do you think? Should nurses claim more positions of power in health care and how can they do so? Share your views at!

Please note that this column is designed to feature feedback and comments from readers. Editors reserve the right to use the comments our readers submit to, but will only use a commenter’s name with express permission.