Boards: A Place for Nurses

      I joined healthcare boards in 2012 on the West side of the Big Island of Hawaii to effect change. I was bored with the daily complaints healthcare workers shared with me at the workplace regarding policy that interfered with nurses patient care.
      Decisions are made in the C-suite Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chief Financial Office (CFO) Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Nurse Executive (CNE). Boards advise the C-suite. Boards do not manage they advise. Remember that because as nurses we advise our patients everyday. We are a perfect fit to sit on boards and guide healthcare into this next century.
      I was initially overwhelmed with the acronyms flying around the board table but kept my head down and listened and quickly realized the A/P was not anatomy and physiology but accounts payable. ACO meant accountable care organization. APR did not mean April it meant Adjusted payment rate. And the list goes on.
      I felt challenged but pushed through the pain.
      I want to effect change to guide our patients through a sustainable healthcare path.
      NURSES RUN HOSPITALS. Nurses need to step up onto the medical “board” positions.
      I did. I have served on four healthcare boards. I started in 2012 and continue today to serve for the State of Hawaii on the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Board or HHSC. I sit on two committees: Personal and Audit and Compliance.
      What a roller coaster of experiences. The opportunity to craft the direction of health care in the Hawaiian Islands has been challenging. I am grateful to have this experience.
      Nurses need a seat at the “board” meetings. Nurses run hospitals and our voices can no longer be silenced. When a C-suite officer suggests cutting obstetric services due to revenue loss my eyes pop open. What?
      Babies will still be born. Woman will present into your emergency rooms for childbirth. Is that what you want?
      After fifty years of nursing, I have learned that our voice matters. We as nurses can step up into the C-suite and state our opinions. Our experience matters and nurses can craft the direction of healthcare to benefit all. Provider, patient and administrator. Challenge yourself and join a healthcare board in your community. I did.