Strong leadership is a critical component of a transformed healthcare system. The nursing profession must produce leaders — from the bedside to the boardroom — who can serve as partners with other health professionals and be accountable for their own contributions to delivering high-quality care.

Nurse leaders can provide a valuable perspective that balances the business of health care with clinical and patient outcomes. Their role in decision-making can have a direct impact on the quality and safety of care.

If nurses want to guide health care system change, they must be prepared to serve in leadership positions, including on governing boards. More nurses also need to prepare to manage health systems and lead health care transformation. They need to position themselves as valued partners in health care improvement.

Public and private organizations are encouraged to appoint nurses to serve on their boards to help guide management and make improvements.

"Board service can be rewarding to nurses both personally and professionally. It not only requires them to exercise leadership; it expands those skills and advances their capabilities and knowledge. It gives nurses the chance to meet people and enhance their professional networks. And it can be inspirational and empowering."

– Sue Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN

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