Chamberlain University Board of Trustees member Rita Wray, MBA, RN, BC, FAAN, recently shared her thoughts on serving on a nurses’ board.
A board sets the mission, strategies and goals of an organization – it makes decisions, sets policies and oversees fiscal responsibility. Boards can benefit from the unique perspective of nurses to achieve the goals of improved health and efficient and effective healthcare systems at the local, state and national levels.
Why is it important for nurses to serve on boards?
As the nation’s largest healthcare occupation and America’s most trusted profession, registered nurses are uniquely qualified to help address some of healthcare’s biggest challenges – including medical errors and patient safety, improving quality of care, reducing costs and increasing access to healthcare.
Serving as a board member, particularly as a nurse leader, can be rewarding, demanding, challenging and filled with life-empowering experiences.
What are some tips for nurses interested in serving on boards?
1. Do your homework
- Identify your passion
- Know your expertise, assets, skills and resources
- Identify an organization whose mission matches your passion where you can have the most impact and receive the greatest reward
2. Shore up your board readiness
- Acquire proficiency in governance matters by staying aware of important issues in your area
- Stay technologically savvy
- Update your personal/professional appearance – the importance of updated business attire, a proper handshake and a professional business card cannot be understated
3. Update your CV, resume and biography – and know the difference between them
- Your curriculum vitae, or CV, is a comprehensive document used primarily in academics and medical fields and elaborates on education, publications and other achievements
- A resume is a short summary most often used in job applications
- A biography is a chronological, narrative highlighting basic information such as education, career and family – a one-to-two page biography is recommended
4. Develop an intentional pathway to a board seat
- Network, acquiring potential nominators
- Familiarize yourself with the application/nomination process
- Grow your leadership in the community by being responsive when others seek your assistance or an opportunity arises
- Start by volunteering to chair a committee or task force
- Demonstrate your ability to make significant contributions
- Strengthen relationships with nomination facilitators by letting them know you are willing to serve
Check out the latest issue of The Chamberlain to learn more about Answering the Call for Nurses on Boards.
If you are a nurse and already serving on a board, be sure to register on the NOBC’s site at nursesonboardscoalition.org.
By Meg Tokars
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