This blog is the first in a new series, Nurses on Boards: Building a Healthier America. Wolters Kluwer is a Founding Strategic Partner of the Nurses on Boards Coalition.
Your presence on a board warrants confidence and truthfulness. In our turbulent health care environment, we are faced with old issues and new challenges that require immediate solutions and planning. In the words of Helen Keller, “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” That being said, your role on a board places you in a position of influence. Your ideas, positions, and nursing experiences, provides you with a solid foundation to influence, empowered by confidence and truthfulness.
How can you be confident?
- Learn from setbacks, failures, and success.
- Become well versed on the topic of discussion.
- Be aware of your body language.
- Assert views in non-threatening, non-judgmental ways.
- Be articulate and concise when making your points.
Your nursing perspective is valuable to inform stakeholders about the realities of the issue, evidence-based information, new research, and stories. What we communicate may have an impact on colleagues, families, communities, or society. The information and perspective you share may be the foundation for an issue that may have political, economic, and social implications both in the short term and long-term.
How can you be truthful?
- Convey authenticity through openness, humility, and transparency.
- Be diligent in exercising your fiduciary responsibility.
- Represent nursing and other disciplines at board meetings.
- Communicate in a way as to maintain credibility and build relationships.
- When you don’t completely understand an issue, ask for clarification to gain full understanding.
According to Mary Beth Kingston, Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee Wisconsin, and past AONE Board of Directors, "It is important to do 'due diligence', specific preparation prior to board service by learning about the organization, it's work or product and values.”
Call to Action
As you serve or aspire to be on a board, remember it calls for confidence and truthfulness. We hope our column serves as a reflective tool to strengthen your influence when serving on boards.
M. Lindell Joseph, PhD, RN, AONE Board of Directors and The University of Iowa College of Nursing
Laurie Benson, BSN, Executive Director, Nurses on Board Coalition
American Organization of Nurse Executives. (2015). Nurse executive competencies. Chicago, IL:
Author. Retrieved from http://www.aone.org/resources/nurse-executive-competencies.pdf