Viewpoint: Why hospital boards need more nurses

In an op-ed for, Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, discusses why more hospitals and health systems should consider placing nurses on their leadership boards and commissions.

A former nurse at New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health, Ms. Williamson argues that nurses' voices are important to a hospital's decision-making process, but that they are often passed over for such roles.

To remedy the situation, a group of healthcare organizations started the Nurses on Boards Coalition in 2014 to encourage more hospitals to include nurses in the boardroom, Ms. Williamson notes.

"Let us be clear: we believe inviting more nurse leaders to the boardroom will improve the board's effectiveness and efficiency in addressing the compelling business case to improve the patient experience," wrote Laurie Benson, BSN, RN, executive director of the Nurses on Boards Coalition, and Susan Hassmiller, RN, PhD, senior adviser for nursing for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The coalition's goal is to place 10,000 nurses on boards by 2020. To date, 5,474 nurses serve on the boards of various hospitals and health systems nationwide.

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