Last month, 26 nurse leaders from across Texas came together for a full day of training to get the skills and knowledge they will need to pursue positions on boards of directors of hospital, community and statewide governing bodies that address health care issues. The workshop marked the launch of Nurses On Board, a year-long training program spearheaded by the Texas Team Action Coalition to prepare nurse leaders for service on boards of directors of organizations and agencies that promote health and wellness.
The Texas Team, in partnership with Texas Healthcare Trustees (THT), created Nurses On Board to help meet a key recommendation of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health: to “produce leaders throughout the health care system, from bedside to boardroom, who can serve as full partners with other health professionals and be accountable for their own contributions to delivering high-quality care while working collaboratively with leaders from other health professions.”
At the inaugural workshop, experts in health care and leadership from across Texas discussed the kinds of skills and experience nurses must have to serve on boards and how they can hone key skills. Susan B. Hassmiller, RN, PhD, FAAN, co-director of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action and senior adviser for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, addressed the meeting via video.
“Health transformation is under way in our country, and nurses possess the skills to ensure that the perspective of people, families and communities remains front and center in any health decisions that get made,” she said. “Nurses bring unique competencies that boards need, such as community orientation, collaboration, organizational awareness, accountability, team leadership, relationship building and professionalism. We also have knowledge and skills to track measures of quality, safety and customer satisfaction in health care delivery and performance. We bring the consumer’s voice, and we are driven by a lifelong commitment to human caring—and that should be the cornerstone of all efforts to improve health and health care.”
The Texas Team and THT plan to hold Nurses on Board training workshops in each of the eight Texas regions to prepare approximately 400 nurses statewide to serve on boards of directors. Nurses who participated in the inaugural workshop will be invited to become trainers for future workshops. THT will work with other statewide organizations to identify board positions for the nurses who complete Nurses On Board.
“The feedback from our inaugural group is excellent,” said Cole Edmonson, DNP, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, co-chair of the Texas Team. “We’re very excited about this project and about the interest we’re getting from nurses who want to participate. We believe we can make an enormous difference by increasing the number of nurse leaders ready to serve on boards to ensure that nurses are part of the high-level decisions made about health and health care in Texas. This group of proven nurse leaders is now even more prepared to shape health care, health outcomes, and health systems from the board room seat. We are looking forward to seeing the impact of this group. We won’t have to wait too long, as one of the participants received her first board appointment three days after the training.”