How nurses on boards impact health care decision making

August 12, 2019

The United States is indisputably one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Yet a 2019 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that our country continues to lag behind comparable countries in certain health outcomes, quality of health care, and access to health services.

Thanks to efforts from organizations such as the Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC), there are more nurses at the decision-making table to address the nation’s health care issues.

More nurses in boardrooms

The groundbreaking 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recommended increasing the number of nurses in decision-making roles on boards and commissions focused on improving health. In response, 21 national nursing organizations gathered to form NOBC in November of 2014.

This collective, nationwide effort to place nurses on boards was inspired by the recognition that nurses have a wealth of clinical, patient, and systems knowledge that can enable health care organizations to achieve their missions. Aligned with this understanding, NOBC’s vision is to have nurses fill at least 10,000 seats on boards and other influential decision-making bodies by 2020. Through its initiatives, the coalition is raising awareness that nurses bring a unique perspective to boards at the local, state, and national levels.

Strategic approach keeps NOBC focused

Laurie Benson, BSN, executive director of NOBC, explains that the coalition has developed five strategic imperatives to keep the group focused on achieving its vision. These goals are:

  • Facilitate board placements
    • In October of 2018, NOBC crossed the halfway mark toward the milestone of achieving 10,000 board seats by 2020. As of April of 2019, less than 100 board seats remain to be filled to reach 6,000.
    • As a result of a strategic planning session at the 2018 Fall NOBC Member Meeting, plans are underway to collaborate with United Way, various Chambers of Commerce, and recruiters to increase board opportunities.
  • Create a dynamic organization focused on transformative growth
    • NOBC achieved 501(c)(3) status with 2019 Platinum GuideStar rating.
  • Promote collaboration among states and national organizations to integrate strategies
    • The coalition sponsored a webinar for NOBC state contacts in December of 2018 to share best practices.
    • NOBC achieved 2020 goals in 8 states, and 22 additional states report that they are more than halfway to their goal.
  • Demonstrate the impact of nurses on boards
    • In 2019, the NOBC Impact of Nurses on Boards Work Group will conduct an initial qualitative study to measure the impact of nurses on boards.
  • Develop member synergy, strategy, and value
    • NOBC representatives reported at recent spring and fall member meetings about how they are assisting their members to prepare, pursue, and serve on boards. These interactive conversations enabled NOBC to identify best practices, which have been incorporated into action items to fulfill NOBC’s strategic plan.

A snapshot of statistics from April 15, 2019, tells a captivating story:

  • 13,656 individuals have registered with NOBC.
  • 6,000 board seats (more than half of the NOBC’s goal) are filled by nurses.
  • 8,801 nurses are interested in serving on a board.
  • 2,821 nurses who are already serving on boards have said they would like to serve on an additional board.
  • 26 nurses assumed new national board seats in the first quarter of 2019.

“We’ve made great progress in all areas, and word is continuing to spread about the valuable impact that nurses deliver in the boardroom,” says Benson. “We have learned much over the last year as we continue to evolve as an organization. We are committed to continuous improvement and stewardship as our reach, scale, and impact accelerate in support of our goals and our mission.”

Collaboration is key

The support of nearly 30 national nursing and advocacy association members and over 50 strategic partners and sponsors has been instrumental to NOBC’s positive momentum.

Capella University became a founding strategic partner of NOBC in 2017.

To help spread the word about NOBC and its continuing progress, Capella has enthusiastically sponsored a number of activities and initiatives to support the coalition, including:

  • Inviting NOBC leaders to present at Capella University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences in-person 2017 and 2018 advisory board meetings for greater exposure among nursing leaders
  • Hosting events such as the Fall 2017 New York City Reception, the 2018 Spring Member Meeting and 2018 Summer NOBC Boston Reception. Capella also sponsored a reception at the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) 2019 meeting and featured NOBC Board Chair Kimberly J. Harper MS, RN, FAAN, sharing NOBC news and updates.
  • Promoting annual fundraising efforts for NOBC through Capella’s Inspire Giving program and social media fundraising initiatives

In the past year, NOBC leaders have tapped into their far-reaching network of nursing industry influencers and thought leaders to recommend two outstanding candidates for Capella’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences Advisory Board. The advisory board members provide key insights into market trends and desired competencies for the schools, supporting Capella’s goal of developing leading-edge curricula to empower learners to be successful in the workforce.

In addition to benefiting their community and the lives of so many others, nurses also receive personal and professional value from board service which engages their talents, experiences, and interests. If you’re interested in joining a board but don’t know where to start – or already serve on a board and wanted to be counted – take the time today to register with NOBC. The work you do truly can be life-changing.

Find out how Capella University takes part in shaping the future of nursing.

You may also like

4 strategies to help secure nursing advancement opportunities

November 29, 2020

6 ways Capella supports nurses

May 5, 2020

Nine signs that you’re ready to take on a nursing leadership role

February 21, 2020

Start learning today

Get started on your journey now by connecting with an enrollment counselor. See how Capella may be a good fit for you, and start the application process.