Nursing Leadership from Bedside to Boardroom

    • January 20, 2010

This report on a survey conducted by Gallup for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released on January 20, 2010, examines in-depth the views of the nation’s opinion leaders about the role nurses are playing, and should play, as health reform advances.

Gallup surveyed 1,504 opinion leaders, including university faculty, insurance, corporate, health services, government and industry thought leaders. The objective was to examine their views of nursing and nursing leadership with an emphasis on determining the role of nursing in the future, and potential barriers to nurses taking leadership roles in our health care system today.

The survey found that opinion leaders see nurses as trusted sources of information, and say they have a great deal of influence on key elements of a quality health care system, including reducing medical errors, improving patient safety, and increasing the quality of patient care. However, opinion leaders do not think nurses have a great deal of influence on health reform—and they would like to see this change.


The interviewing period for this survey was between August 18 and October 30, 2009. The survey averaged 11 minutes in length.

The survey is based on 1,504 telephone interviews with opinion leaders throughout the nation. Opinion leaders were selected based on key criteria and included the following groups:

  • University Faculty
  • Insurance
  • Corporate
  • Health Services
  • Government
  • Thought Leaders

For a random sample of 1,504 respondents at the 95% confidence level, one can say that the margin of sampling error for a percentage should not exceed 3 percentage points in either direction. In addition to sampling error, and the specified representation of different types of opinion leaders interviewed, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.