My Board Leadership Story
I was recently appointed to the board of KershawHealth, a hospital in my hometown of Camden, South Carolina. Although I worked as a nurse at KershawHealth for nearly 30 years, 18 years of which I served as the Chief Nursing Officer, I honestly had never thought about serving on the board. I left the hospital 10 years ago to retire, but realized I missed working so I went back to work at the South Carolina Hospital Association. Recently, I was contacted by a county council member who let me know about an opening on KershawHealth’s board. He asked me if I would be interested in applying, and I thought, “Yes. Yes, I am.”
As the South Carolina Action Coalition co-lead and someone who has been preaching to others about the importance of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations in the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report, I knew I needed to “walk the walk” of encouraging nurses to seek board positions. Just a few weeks ago I heard the good news that I had been appointed to the board. I am thrilled and excited to bring my perspective, passion, and nursing background to this role.
This experience has caused me to reflect more deeply about leadership in the nursing profession. As nurses, I think we often neglect the fact that we are the most trusted profession in this country. We are often so busy taking care of the next project or plan that we don’t stop to think about how we could impact an entire community through board service. But who could be better to bring the voice of patients and staff to a hospital board than a nurse, and especially a nurse with experience in hospital care? Of course, this is not to say that only hospital nurses should be on boards. Wouldn’t it be great to have a nurse educator on the school board? Or a public health nurse on the state health board? There are so many places that we, as nurses, can make a difference.
Together, let’s make a pledge to seek out more opportunities to serve on boards.
|by Susan Outen | September 30, 2013|