In response to the 2010 Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Nurses on Boards Coalition launched an initiative to increase the number of nurses in decision-making leadership capacities with a goal to place 10,000 nurses on corporate, health-related, and other panels, boards, and commissions. Yet today, we still have more work to do to advance nurses into those positions and to educate the public about nurses’ role in providing high-quality, safe patient care.

APRNs Bring Valuable Expertise to the Table

Oncology nurses’ knowledge of quality, safety, patient experience, and advocacy is an invaluable asset to any board, panel, or commission. When represented on boards, oncology advanced practice RNs (APRNs) build on their clinical or patient-focused leadership skills and to advance organizational and system-focused leadership. Review the leadership capabilities of an APRN illustrated in the sidebar.

Advanced Practice Leadership Capabilities
Advanced Practice Nurse Leadership Capabilities

Note. From Lamb et al. Used under the Creative Commons 4.0 International license.

How to Serve on a Board

If you’re new to board service, you may need to begin by expanding your circle from patient care to leadership on internal and external committees. One place to start is your local ONS chapter, which has many opportunities to serve on the board or committees. Chapters of any size need leaders like you to promote mentorship, education, and advocacy, and new voices are particularly valued because they instill energy and expertise. See the sidebar for a list of ONS resources for nurse leaders.

When you’re ready, branch out to boards outside of your immediate circle. Consider leadership roles in advisory, nonprofit, private, and corporate appointments, panels, and commissions. Your representation as a nurse in those industries allows you to advocate for patients’ needs and quality care in the community, region, or country. By being part of a board interprofessional team, oncology nurses can leverage their skills to shape policies and practice.

Participating on a board or committee expands your oncology nursing contribution, engagement, and impact. The opportunity is a privilege and a responsibility. The time is now. Where will you choose to serve?