Q. What advice do you have for nurses interested in becoming CEOs?
A. It shouldn't be about the title or about the money. It needs to be about the impact: What do you hope to achieve and deliver? What's the end product?
For me, the end product was having an impact on safety, quality, and service, but at a table where I could really make a difference by having the experience as well as learning the business end of it.
I would steer [prospective nurse CEOs] away from a graduate degree in nursing. I think it limits your scope. They have to look at a business or administration type master's degree.
Also, mentors are key. You have to find people who are really good at this, attach yourself to their hip, and learn everything you can from them.
Not everybody's not going to be a great leader, but you can still learn from bad leaders. You can learn what not to do, and you can develop yourself into the kind of leader you want to be, knowing the things that don't work.
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.