Nurses Need a Long Drive to the Boardroom

Chelsea Rice, April 15, 2013

Golf is a by-the-rules game, as anyone paying attention to Tiger Woods' controversial ball drop at the Masters tournament over the weekend can attest. The very particular rules of the Augusta National Golf Club itself are amusing. They call for no sitting in the standing areas, no standing in the sitting areas, and no fanny packs larger than 10 inches wide.

But it's the patriarchal rules of golf culture that have always baffled me. Until last year, the rules at Augusta famously and stubbornly said 'no women allowed.'

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Healthcare has some patriarchal rules of its own in effect, if you haven't noticed. Now I don't think anyone in healthcare is actually saying 'no nurses allowed,' but you wouldn't know it by peeking into the C-suite. Hospital boardrooms and CEO positions are lacking representation from the largest sector of the healthcare workforce—nurses.

With the emphasis on patient satisfaction and improving the quality of healthcare, clinical experience is becoming essential to effective leadership in the hospital C-suite. Seeing physicians in hospital CEO positions and at the boardroom table is becoming more commonplace. So why aren't there more nurses among them?


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