The Case for Nursing Leaders on Hospital Boards

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Abstract

At Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), the participation of our chief nursing officer (CNO) as a voting member on our governing board has been crucial to effective functioning in several areas, particularly those that impact the safety and quality of our patient care services, as well as our entire organization's financial and operational efficiency. As a voting member of our Board of Trustees and 2 standing committees, our CNO has a voice that carries authority and credibility, serving as a conduit between her Trustee colleagues and the nursing troops she leads, who constitute more than half of CHLA employees. Our CNO communicates to the board our nurses' concerns and perspective and in return conveys to nurses the information necessary to implement the board's policies and strategic decisions. As we consider how to ensure CHLA's future as a premier pediatric academic medical center, we understand that the results of the board's work would be impaired if it did not take into account the responsibilities and challenges faced by nurses. We would miss a vital contributor if our CNO was not involved in the hospital's governance at the highest levels.

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