Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Serving on Organizational Boards: What Nurses Need to Know

Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Serving on Organizational Boards: What Nurses Need to Know

Article excerpt

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Future of Nursing Campaign for Action advocates for a nurse in every board room (Campaign for Action. 2015a). The call for nurses to serve on boards is important because nurses provide a unique perspective in the healthcare arena. Serving on boards allows nurses to partner with other leaders to promote change and advance health. However, some nurses may lack the knowledge and experience for successfully serving as a board member (Grovsbero & Bell. 20131 The purpose of this article is to describe six competencies that will enhance one's ability to serve on a board. These competencies can increase one's ability to participate in and/or conducta productive meeting so as to obtain planned outcomes. An overarching aim of the article is to provide nurses with sufficient awareness of the basic board rules and standards needed in professional situations to advance a workforce of nursing leaders able to promote health across a variety of interdisciplinary settings.

This article augments several existing web-based resources created for nurses to increase their leadership savvy (RWJF. 20151. Currently, the RWJF and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) funded Future of Nursing Campaign for Action website highlights the Nurses on Boards Coalition, which promotes a national goal for 10,000 nurses in leadership positions to serve on governing boards by 2020. The campaign goal will be accomplished by partnering with over 20 national organizations (Campaign for Action, 2015a). The website offers nurses guidelines for coliaboratively leading a transformed healthcare system. On the website, nurses have access to a toolkit, as well as several videos, presentations, brochures, webinars, and articles created by national nurse leaders to enhance nurses' understanding of the skills needed to serve in board rooms. The Campaign for Action website also provides interested readers with dashboard indicators to monitor campaign progress in meeting the Institute of Medicine Report (IOM) (2010) recommendations. The Dashboard Indicator 5 addresses leadership and reports the percent of hospital boards with RN members (Campaign for Action. 2015b). Hassmiller (2012), too, has defined several leadership competencies required to competently serve in board rooms.

The intent of the IOM 2010 recommendation was to have healthcare decision makers ensure that leadership positions be filled by nurses. It is important to recognize that healthcare decisions are not bound solely to hospital board rooms; they can also involve community-based settings. The goal of this article is to enhance leadership competencies for serving in board rooms across the healthcare delivery systems, a goal that is consistent with the theme of using nurses to transform healthcare delivery and advance health.

We begin by describing six competencies nurses need to serve on boards and/or policy-forming committees. Next we discuss strategies for demonstrating these competencies and describe personal responsibilities of board members. We conclude by noting that knowledge of these rules and standards is essential for nurses to assume leadership roles that will enhance the health of today's and tomorrows'societies.

Competencies Required During Board Meetings

This section will describe key skills and abilities for nurses to develop as they prepare themselves to serve as members of a professional board. These competencies include a professional commitment to serving on a governing board; knowledge about board types, bylaws, and job descriptions; an understanding of standard business protocols, board member roles and voting processes; a willingness to use principles for managing and leading effective and efficient board meetings; an appreciation for the ethical and legal processes for conducting meetings; and the ability to employ strategies for maintaining control during intense/uncivil situations.

Competency 1: Exercise Professional Commitment to Serve on a Governing Board

Whether you have no experience serving a board, are an experienced national nurse leader, or someone in between, you must always consider your own professional nursing goals before you make a commitment to serve. …

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