This blog is part of the series, Nurses on Boards: Building a Healthier America. Wolters Kluwer is a Founding Strategic Partner of the Nurses on Boards Coalition.
Now more than ever, the public has become increasingly aware of the importance of health and the issues surrounding healthcare based on the impact of COVID-19. Having the nursing perspective represented on all types of boards is imperative. Your current or future governance roles will require reflecting on what has transpired over the past few months, considering the impact on patients, families, businesses and communities, and reimagining health, healthcare and healthcare systems.
As nurse leaders advise and inform others about real issues related to health and health system improvements, we will have to engage in reflection. David Schon, noted philosopher, describes reflection-in-action as “reflecting on the situation while changes can still be made to affect the outcome, rather than waiting until a later time to reflect on how things could be differently in the future.”
Here are a few tips to on how to engage in reflection when serving on a board during and after COVID-19:
- Ask others why they do things.
- Pay attention to what is going on around you.
- Keep informed; with the rapid influx of new information, be sure to take time to read about COVID-19 and related topics/issues.
- Consider systems and processes before COVID-19, now, and what they might become.
- Pay attention to your emotions – what prompts them, and how you deal with negative ones.
- Ask yourself, based on your skills, talents, connections, influence, and passion, what you might do to improve or enhance health and healthcare delivery.
According to Carla D. Sanderson, PhD, RN, Chamberlain University Provost:
“Boardsmanship is a privilege that comes with significant responsibility every day to be mindful of the mission and opportunities for the institutions and organizations we serve. At this historical moment in time, we have profound responsibility as board members to the institutions we serve, to think well and lead courageously.
This is the moment of our time as nursing leaders serving on boards. The future of health and healthcare in the US is at stake. The Future of Nursing 2030 was top of mind for our profession before COVID-19. Because of the global pandemic, we have more clarity and deeper meaning to our opportunity for “building a healthier America.” How do we prioritize this moment and take hold of the opportunity?
Nursing is stepping up in this moment. Yet we will not be able to reimagine health and healthcare during short breaks in days filled with surge planning, resource allocation and a host of other problem-solving activities. The best thinking happens in deliberate reflection.
We must stand back even as we step up. We need to withdraw. Find solitude in a solitary place. Present ourselves silence. From an insular place of solitude, we are positioned to be open-minded in our reflection and consideration of important questions.
Here are a few tips on reflection:
Nursing’s future and the health of our nation will be reformed through the collective wisdom and actions of its leaders.”
- Prepare for reflection just like we prepare for action. Plan the time well. Put a pause on all distractions and embrace the opportunity to just think.
- Make a list of three questions unique to your institution or organization, such as:
- What big ideas were in a parking lot before COVID-19 that we’ve now figured out because of COVID-19?
- What is our institution’s new reality because of COVID-19?
- Despite COVID-19, what must remain true in our mission, identity, and purpose?
- Journal your reflections (at least jot them down), ponder them daily and give them expression as opportunities come along.
Schon, D.A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner, Basic Books, New York.
Nurses on Boards Coalition Resources retrieved from https://www.nursesonboardscoalition.org/resources/