Category Archives: Nurse executives
For 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has been investing in people, or “human capital,” with the potential to be bold, innovative change agents, capable of improving the health and health care of all Americans.
Watch a video featuring current Scholars and alumni from RWJF programs who exemplify this commitment, as they discuss how the programs have affected their careers and lives.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program has literally changed the trajectory of my professional achievements and personal development as a leader. The ENF program aims to prepare nurse leaders to shape the U.S. health care system and requires us to be innovative, strategic visionaries, risk takers and skillful at creating the change we want to see in our health care delivery system.
As a National Advisory Committee member of Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN), I have been able to leverage my skills as a strategic thinker to help partners see the connection between their projects and the potential impact they have on their communities. As an advisor to the program, there is a great sense of responsibility because our recommendations impact funding decisions, partnership expansion, and innovative projects.
I view myself as a nurse leader who is able to listen well and be nimble during collaboration with partners and who is able to identify key points while remaining focused on the end game. The ENF program prepared me to be politically savvy and skillful at interacting with key leaders to solve problems while using “on the ground” experience to expand projects.
By Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN
RWJF Senior Adviser for Nursing and Director, Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action
Last summer, I took one of the most rewarding trips of my life: a European tour of key sites in the life of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing and one of the great leaders in improving health and health care worldwide.
So why is it that now, more than a century after Nightingale’s death, nurses are underrepresented in the rooms where we make decisions about how to improve the health care system? Very few of us hold executive-level positions in health care organizations, very few are voting members of health care boards of directors, and very few sit on the editorial boards of health care journals.
We can—and must—change this reality, and our nation’s opinion leaders agree. A 2009 survey conducted by Gallup on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) found that an overwhelming majority of opinion leaders—including insurance, corporate, health services, government and industry thought leaders as well as university faculty—want nurses to have more influence in our health care system. The survey captured the feelings of more than 1,500 opinion leaders and was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Nursing Administration.
While opinion leaders said nurses don’t have enough influence over health reform, they did say that nurses have a great deal of influence over key elements of a quality health care system, such as reducing medical errors, improving safety, and improving the quality of patient care.
We nurses also have valuable insights to share. Nurses spend more time providing direct care to patients than other providers, work closely with caregivers and family members, and see patients in their broader social environments. As such, we have a unique understanding of the complex interplay of environment and health, and we have perspectives on health from a variety of settings: the hospital, the clinic, the community and the home.
In addition, nurses are highly valued by the public; nursing is consistently ranked among the most ethical and honest professions by the nation’s adults.
So how do we ensure that nurses’ voices are heard in the rooms where key decisions are made? One key way is to change the perception of nurses. Our Gallup survey found that nurses are not perceived as important decision-makers or revenue generators. When asked how much influence certain groups will have over health reform in the next five-to-10 years, opinion leaders ranked nurses seventh out of seven choices. Dead last.
In short, opinion leaders see us in our traditional—but limited role—as bedside clinicians, but not in more expansive and influential roles as health care leaders.
The executive director of a community clinic in Indiana. The chief nursing officer at a medical center in Nebraska. The first chief nurse practitioner officer in the convenient care industry. The director of clinical informatics for a national managed care consortium.
They are among the 21 new Executive Nurse Fellows announced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) as its 2011 cohort. The highly competitive program is designed to expand nurse leadership and position nurses to lead change in the United States health care system. The new Fellows join more than 200 nurse leaders who have participated in the program since it began in 1998.
"The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program has a storied history and a bright future," said Susan Hassmiller, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., who is RWJF's senior adviser for nursing. "At the Foundation, we are all very proud of this program which has supported some of the best and brightest nurse leaders in our country. I congratulate all 21 new fellows, who are joining the program at a pivotal moment as we work to transform the nursing profession to better meet the needs of patients in a reformed and fast-changing health care system. I know they will be strong partners in the Campaign for Action as we implement the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine's landmark nursing report and help nurses take their role as partners in providing quality care."
Executive Nurse Fellows hold senior leadership positions in health services, scientific and academic organizations, public health and community-based organizations or systems, and national professional, governmental and policy organizations. They continue in their current positions during their three-year fellowships, and each develops, plans and implements a new initiative to improve health care delivery in her or his community.
Read more about the program and see a list of the 2011 RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows.
This post is part of an ongoing series of Voices from the Field by scholars, fellows and alumni of RWJF Human Capital programs. The author, Mary Hooshmand, R.N., Ph.D., is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program and a nursing director in Southeast Florida for Children’s Medical Services. Read more about this incredible story.
As a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow in 2004, I learned very quickly the ‘power’ of the RWJF network as I soon received letters, notes and calls from current fellows and alumni welcoming me to the program and offering their support. At that time, I could not have fully imagined the true meaning or the value of this immense network of colleagues.
The Executive Nurse Fellows program has been inclusive of alumni over the years through annual meetings and a website allowing us to easily make connections beyond our own cohorts to others based on areas of interest in practice, research and education.
Each individual with diverse backgrounds, talent and expertise seems always there to support each other through the challenges we face, whether at the organizational level or, as in this situation, one child and family at a time.
Congratulations to Linda Burnes Bolton, Dr. P.H., R.N., F.A.A.N., on being named among Modern Healthcare Magazine’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare for 2011. Burnes Bolton served as vice chair of the committee that drafted the Institute of Medicine study on the future of nursing last year and is a member of the strategic advisory committee of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which is working to implement the report’s recommendations.
Burnes Bolton began her career at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles as a staff nurse in 1971. She has been chief nursing officer since 1994 and today also serves as vice president for nursing and director of nursing research at the medical center. She is a past president of the American Academy of Nursing and the National Black Nurses Association.
Learn more about Burnes Bolton and her honor.
Victoria Niederhauser, Dr.P.H., A.P.R.N., P.N.P., of the 2008 cohort of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program, has been named the new dean of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Nursing.
Niederhauser comes to Knoxville after 10 years in various leadership roles at the University of Hawaii School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, serving as director of nurse practitioner programs, graduate chair and department chair. Most recently, she has served as associate dean for academic affairs.
RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow Lois Skillings, M.S., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C. (2008-2011), current executive vice president of Mid Coast Health Services, will take over for retiring president and CEO Herbert Paris on July 1.
The Times Record reports that Skillings went through an extensive interview and review process, and the transition committee and organizational board voted unanimously to install her as the next president and CEO.
Skillings has previously served as vice president of nursing and patient services at Mid Coast and president of the Organization of Maine Nursing Executives.
Look for more information on Skillings in the upcoming issue of Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge.
Learn more about the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program.
Congratulations to Jane Kirschling, D.N.S., R.N., F.A.A.N., of the 2000 class of RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows. She was recently named a co-winner of the 2010 Kentucky Nurses Association “Nurse of the Year” Award. Kirschling has been Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing since 2006 where, among other achievements, she implemented the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.
In receiving the award, Kirschling won high praise from University of Kentucky (U.K.) colleague Patricia Howard, Ph.D., R.N., C.N.A.A., F.A.A.N.: "She consistently fosters the growth of others and speaks for the discipline on matters that are visionary, often giving voice to those who otherwise would not be heard," said Howard, professor and associate dean for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and DNP programs at the U.K. College of Nursing. "She is an individual of integrity who has elevated the status of the discipline of nursing in Kentucky."