Nurses Win Trust, Leadership Next?

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , December 7, 2010

The issue of revenue generation is one I addressed in a July story in HealthLeaders Magazine. In hospitals, nursing care is billed as part of room and board, so the individual contributions to patient care are not captured as nursing-related. Tracking nursing skill level, time, and costs would enable organizations to determine the impact of nurses on cost and quality.

The second issue, that nursing lacks a unified voice, has plagued the profession for years. Lobbyists from nursing organizations such as the American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the National Council for State Boards of Nursing, among many others, all are seeking access to the same spheres of influence. It's time nursing settled on some agreed principles and worked toward the same goal. The American Medical Association is a good example. Physicians may disagree on individual issues but Congress can be confident that the AMA speaks for physicians in this country.

The lack of voice can be improved at a local level as well. Highly-educated, experienced, and with a wealth of knowledge about patient needs, nurse leaders are ideal candidates to serve on boards of directors for healthcare organizations. Too few boards contain permanent nursing representation and too few nurses consider it attainable.

Nurses at the bedside can leverage their trusted positions and take responsibility for getting things done. Joining committees, becoming knowledgeable about quality improvement, communicating effectively with the healthcare team, and speaking up for their patients are ways to be accountable for nursing and its influence.

Nurses can't afford to let others make decisions about nursing and healthcare for them. The stage has been set and it's time to grab the opportunity.

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at

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1 comments on "Nurses Win Trust, Leadership Next?"

Stefani Daniels (12/7/2010 at 4:36 PM)
Not only is there a lack of a unified voice, there is no one individual who has taken the initiative to step forward and grab the mike!! There are several well published and highly visible pundits from medicine, but there is not one RN among them. When the ANA moved from being a professional organization to being a union, it diminished in its capacity to represent nurses. And while there was always tension between NLN educators and AONE leaders, it will probably intensify since the IOM has called for baccalaureate education for entry level nurses. Nothing has changed in my 40 years in nursing. Same church; different pew.




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