Serve on a Board to Make an Even Greater Impact as a Nurse

By Keith Carlson via Multibriefs

Nurses are leaders in every sense of the word. Leadership is ingrained in nurses from the moment nursing school begins, and as nurses’ careers advance, leadership and personal authority often grow apace.

Throughout their careers, nurses serve on workplace committees, lead teams of healthcare providers, and also rise into positions of power as managers, supervisors, and nurse executives.

How else can nurses choose positions that provide the opportunity for true servant leadership in the interest of community groups, foundations, associations, non-profits, and other organizations? By serving on boards of directors and advisory boards where a nursing voice can add inestimable value.

The Nurses on Boards Coalition

The Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC) is an organization with a stated goal of having at least 10,000 nurses serving on boards throughout the United States by 2020. Their website makes the case loud and clear:

“Nurses represent the largest segment of the health care workforce, are considered the most trustworthy of all professions and play a huge role on the frontlines of care in our schools, hospitals, community health centers, long-term care facilities and other places. Their perspective and influence must be felt more at decision-making tables."

“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.”

Why Nurses on Boards

According to the annual Gallup poll, nurses are the most trusted professionals in the United States year after year. In order to leverage that public trust in the form of servant leadership in communities around the country, nurses can choose to voluntarily serve on the boards of various non-profit organizations and foundations in order to bring the voice of nursing to the table.

Board membership allows individual nurses to exercise personal agency in the interest of activism, advocacy, and the advancement of the public good. Non-profit organizations, community foundations, and other groups can benefit greatly nurses’ emotional and relational intelligence, community assessment skills, and natural leadership abilities.

A seat at the proverbial table means that nurses can, individually and collectively, influence policy and provide advocacy that powerfully shapes the contours of any community.

Making a Choice to Lead

Many nurses are individuals with families, children, and a significant stake in the communities where they live and work. Like all Americans, nurses are impacted by public health issues like homelessness, domestic violence, poverty, crime, gun violence, human trafficking, and a host of societal challenges. Additionally, nurses and their fellow citizens seek funding for schools, after school programs, elder care, and other essential services.

Like other members of their communities, nurses can use the power of the ballot box to elect local, state, and federal officials who they believe can adequately represent the will of the people in terms of policy and legislation to address the most pressing issues of the day.

As members of influential boards, nurses can exercise even more power raising their voices in support of services, coalitions, and other efforts that can serve the greater good.

Apart from community organizations, nurses can also serve on regional, national, or international boards with an impact on a greater scale, including nursing and health associations. No matter the board and organization in question, influence can be measured in the power of the voices exerting influence, and nurses can have a great deal to say when it comes to policies and initiatives that improve lives and elevate praiseworthy priorities.

Nurses can choose to be movers and shakers, both locally and globally. While they work diligently in their chosen professional roles, they can give even more selflessly when positioning themselves as servant leaders and aligning with causes worthy of their attention and diligent advocacy.

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, has been a nurse since 1996. He is the blogger behind the award-winning blog, Digital Doorway and a widely read freelance nurse writer. Keith is also the co-host of RNFM Radio, a popular Internet radio station devoted to the nursing profession. Under the auspices of Nurse Keith Coaching, Keith's passion is helping nurses and healthcare professionals create ultimate satisfaction in both their personal and professional lives.

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