Nurses on Boards: Make Your Voices Heard

To encourage more nurses to join boards of directors for community and governmental organizations, foundations, corporations and other entities, Dean Linda Sarna and Dr. Karen Grimley, Chief Nursing Executive for UCLA Health, hosted a reception to introduce UCLA nurses to the Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC). NOBC is a national organization dedicated to improving the health of communities and the nation through the service of nurses on boards and other bodies.

 

“With almost four million nurses in the United States, we need to be at the table helping to make the critical decisions in healthcare and healthcare policy that impact our patients and their families, and, frankly, our professional practice,” Dean Sarna told the group of about 40 attendees.

 

Dr. Grimley noted that nurses can offer a unique perspective. “You look at people holistically. You look at their social determinants,” she said. “You look at a whole variety of things that other people don’t even consider. That awareness can make a huge difference on the boards that exist outside of nursing and outside our professional worlds.”

 

The event included a panel of three UCLA nurses discussing their experiences serving on boards.

 

Dr. Kristen Choi, a Child Adolescent Psychiatric Nurse and Assistant Professor in the School serves on the Board of Trustees for the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation, which supports nursing research and training. “As one of two nurses on a board predominantly comprised of bankers and lawyers, I learned to speak up for patients and nurses to make a real difference,” she said.

 

“Look for something you’re really interested and passionate about to start with,” advised Dr. Cecily Byron, Director of MedSurg/Tele Unit for UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, who serves on the board of the Santa Monica Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross.

 

Dr. David Bailey, Chief Nursing Officer for UCLA Health Santa Monica serves on the board of WISE & Healthy Aging, a service provider and advocate for older adults. “I’m gaining so much and it’s making me a better person, a better leader and hopefully, a better community member,” he said.

 

Visiting from Wisconsin, NOBC Executive Director Laurie Benson thanked UCLA for being a Coalition Founding Healthcare Leadership Organization Strategic Partner.

 

She asked individuals who join boards to register on the NOBC website and invited participants to take advantage of the tools and resources offered by the organization.