Answering the Call for Nurses on Boards

A Seat at the Table

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.

The importance of nurses serving on boards

As the nation’s largest healthcare occupation1 and America’s most trusted profession2, 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.

The Nurses on Boards Coalition

With around three million nurses in our country3, nurses represent the largest segment of our healthcare workforce4. It simply makes good business sense to have the nursing perspective represented in all places where decisions affecting health are made.

The Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC), represents 29 national nursing and other organizations. The Coalition is working to improve the health of communities and the nation by helping ensure that at least 10,000 nurses are on boards and other bodies by 2020.

The Coalition's guiding principle is that building healthier communities in America requires the involvement of more nurses on corporate, health-related and other boards, panels, and commissions. Boards 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.

board room

Getting started – nurses interested in serving on a board

Serving as a board member, particularly as a nurse leader, can be rewarding, demanding, challenging and filled with life-empowering experiences. If you’re interested in attaining a seat at the table:

checkmarkDo 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

checkmarkShore up your board readiness

  • Acquire proficiency in governance matters
  • Tweak your technological savvy
  • Update your personal/professional appearance – the importance of updated business attire, a proper handshake and a professional business card cannot be understated

checkmarkUpdate 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

checkmarkDevelop 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
  • If you are a nurse and already serving on a board, be sure to register on the NOBC’s site at Be sure to use your Chamberlain email address.  

A message to today’s nurses

today's nursesTo those nurses just embarking on their path – stand confident in your knowledge and skills; seek the opportunity to do great work; and above all love what you do. Nurses, regardless of which arena they chose to pursue their calling, should never settle for less than the best.

For example, as an academic, you can make the difference in a student’s life and help prepare extraordinary nurses. In your practice, you can be the difference that creates crystal-clear strategies and innovative interventions to improve health outcomes, reduce health costs and enhance patient satisfaction.

Be the difference through visionary policymaking to help create a Culture of Care and wellness in our communities. I look forward to seeing the impact that can be made as we continue to elevate the role of the nurse and the contributions made towards building a Culture of Health.

Chamberlain Supports the Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC) through Strategic Partnership

In April 2017, Chamberlain University and the NOBC announced a Founding Strategic Partnership with two goals: first, to increase awareness of the significant impact nurses can have on healthcare through service on boards at every level; and second, the co-creation of programs to help nurses develop the competencies and readiness to serve on boards.

Chamberlain has committed to supporting the work of the Coalition for a minimum of five years and will collaborate with the Coalition to accomplish the organization’s goals, positively impacting a Culture of Health through the transformation of healthcare. Chamberlain will support the Coalition’s goal of ensuring at least 10,000 nurses are on boards by 2020, and raise awareness about how boards can benefit from the unique perspective of nurses.

Nurses, including Chamberlain colleagues and alumni, will have the support needed to participate on boards where they can make significant contributions to healthcare through the development of programs that improve nurses’ leadership skills and competencies.

 The Founding Strategic Partnership with the NOBC exemplifies Chamberlain’s alignment around the vision, mission and purpose of empowering extraordinary nurses to step into leadership roles and have a significant impact on healthcare from bedside to boardroom.

Chamberlain Board of Trustees Member Spotlight
Rita Wray MBA, RN, BC, FAAN

A Successful Marriage of Healthcare and Business

by Natalie E. Sobolewski, The Chamberlain

Rita Wray is a member of the Chamberlain University Board of Trustees. She is currently the founder and chief executive officer of Wray Enterprises, Inc., a national independent healthcare consulting firm. Previously, she held a ten-year gubernatorial appointment as a Deputy Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration.

An entrepreneur, author and lecturer, her career path has led to a successful marriage of healthcare and business. Wray is a nationally recognized consultant and facilitator for public and private clients in the areas of regulatory compliance, risk management, leadership development, organizational effectiveness and strategic planning.

Wray has made significant contributions as a leader in numerous professional organizations including:

  • The American Academy of Nursing, National Advisory Council – chairperson state initiative
  • Nurses On Boards Coalition – state and national strategy group co-chairperson
  • National Black Nurses Association, Inc. – chairperson ad hoc committee of the Future of Nursing and former treasurer and historian
  • Institute for Nursing Leadership, International Women’s Forum/Mississippi – president elect
  • National Coalition of 100 Black Women – former national first vice president
  • MS Commission on the Status of Women – Commissioner
  • Mississippi Action Coalition – Future of Nursing/Campaign for Action co-lead.

Wray holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of North Alabama and a Master of Business Administration degree from Jackson State University. She is certified in nursing administration through the American Nurses Association and is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics

2 Gallup Poll, Dec. 7-11, 2016

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, on the Internet at healthcare/registered-nurses.htm (visited November 25, 2017).

4 Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics

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