From handling technicians to communicating with physicians and coordinating the entire care team, good nurses are trained to be effective communicators, team members, and collaborative problem solvers, all essential skills in an effective CEO, but nurses are often looked over for these positions.
Although physicians are actively saying they think they could do a better job than most hospital CEOs, physicians rarely take a business class or learn anything about organizational behavior, versus nurses whose training relies on managing relationships to do their jobs well.
Both groups, by training, lack strategic financial management experience, but physicians are still seen as the CEO candidates and continue to represent more seats in the hospital boardrooms than nurses.
"If you interview CNOs and ask if you have to keep the CMO happy, they would say yes; if you asked a CMO if they have to keep the CNO happy they would say 'no, the CNO has to keep me happy,' if they're being honest. I do think the emerging generations will change that. But the baby boomers have been pushing against a very hard wall in their careers," says Kritek.
"Doctors are upset because CNOs look too powerful. COOs and even CEOs are saying nursing is getting too powerful. What they mean by that is nurses are starting to influence the organization at the leadership level in a way that makes the others uncomfortable because nursing is often a big 800 pound gorilla in the room that they pretend doesn't exist. And nurse executives have to make a choice, do they continue to work in the organization to make a difference, or do they speak out on the issue. It's a very subtle thing," says Kritek.