Study Reveals Need for Nurses in Leadership Positions

Jennifer Nessel, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Tuesday, May 7th, 2019
A study through the BDO Center for Healthcare Excellence & Innovation and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has revealed that nurses have the skills necessary for leadership, but they are less likely to be given the opportunity to fill a leadership position.
According to the press release, clinical and business leaders rank certain values such as “interface of clinical innovation and technology” and “design-thinking for process change” as well as “excellent clinical acumen” as some of the most valuable skills for nurse innovators in their organizations.
However, despite the goal of both sides of the industry, business and clinical, to ensure more opportunities for nurse innovators at the leadership level by 2025, the study has revealed that there is currently a lack of nurse innovators being elevated to these positions. Approximately 31% of clinical leaders today have a designated nursing leader whose primary responsibility is innovation, and 46% of business leaders say their C-suite includes someone with a nursing background.
Nevertheless, the need is there. Approximately, 81% of clinical leaders say “investing in placing nurses as decisionmakers on all strategic planning teams” will be important for health organizations. At the same time, 57% of business leaders indicate that advanced leadership is a skill they’ll view as very important to nurse innovators within their organization.
The changing landscape of health care—caring for a growing aging population, chronic care management and addressing mental health issues like addiction—necessitates a shift from bedside to boardroom. In fact, these critical areas are where clinical and business leaders agree that nurses will have the most opportunity to transform and improve care by 2025.
Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania said that in order to truly transform care to improve patient outcomes at lower cost, health systems and businesses must acknowledge that nurse innovators can extend their skills in various environments.
“Health stakeholders’ ability to thrive amid the new consumer-driven health system depends on nurses claiming a seat at the table at the leadership level,” said Villarruel, in a prepared statement.

BDO and Penn Nursing shared the results of the study this week, during National Nurses Week. 



Health System Leaders Value Nurse Innovation Skills, Just Not at the Leadership Level [news release]. Business Wire website. Published May 06, 2019. Accessed May 07, 2019.

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