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Beyond Bedside: The Push for Nurses on Boards of Directors

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   January 06, 2015

The American Nurses Foundation is launching new efforts, and its executive director says CNOs and other nurse leaders can act now to increase board participation.

The nurse leadership world lost one of its luminaries when Connie Curran, EdD, RN, FAAN, passed away at the age of 67 in November 2014. I had the pleasure of interviewing Connie a couple of times, most recently in August, when we talked about the lack of nurses on hospital boards. She told me about the time she was dismissed as a "dumb blonde" by a hospital CFO when she was appointed to the board's finance committee.

Connie was a shining light of knowledge, compassion, and enthusiasm, the kind of person who not only strove for leadership, but inspired it in others; who always challenged herself and those around her; who always asked, "Why not?"

She was a former chairperson of the board of Silver Cross Hospital in Lenox, IL, and served on numerous other boards of directors, including for Hospira, Inc., DePaul University, and the University of Wisconsin Foundation. She was an amazing example of nurse leadership and was passionate about the critical need for more nurses on hospital boards.

"We have felt a deep loss in Connie's death and are really working very hard to continue this work in her memory," Kate Judge, executive director of the American Nurses Foundation, told me last week. "She is a stellar example of what is possible."

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Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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