On Thursday, September 12, Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing completed the first phase of its Nurses on Boards Initiative, aimed at building a healthier community by putting more nurses on local boards. The Board Representatives Lunch attracted 16 leaders from government, social services, education, the arts, and health care.
An earlier Lunch and Learn session enlisted 30 nurses to join the roster of Nurses Available to Serve on Local Boards
The Nurses on Local Boards project is being managed by the Mennonite College of Nursing, but membership on the roster is open to any nurse interested in wider community service. Any community board may access the roster by contacting Susan Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 309/438-2174.
“When we joined the National Nurses on Boards Coalition, there really was no “tool kit” to help strategic partners put more nurses on local boards. Over the last year, MCN has built a foundation for accomplishing that ‘how,’ utilizing a mentoring system between area leaders in healthcare, and creating a roster of interested nurses,” explained MCN Dean Judy Neubrander.
Dean Neubrander enlisted the help of MCN’s “Brain Trust,” a group that includes Retired Director of the School of Nursing at Illinois Wesleyan University Donna Hartweg, Director at the Bloomington Eye Institute Karen Magers, Vice President of Patient Service at Advocate BroMenn Health Care Laurie Round, McLean County Coroner Kathleen Yoder, President of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Lynn Fulton, Chancellor at St. John’s College Charlene Aaron, and President of Advocate BroMenn Health Care Colleen Kannaday.
With the help of other area healthcare leaders, the group identified rising stars—nurses who had leadership potential, excellent communication skills, and a unique perspective that would be valuable to an organizational board.
The Board Representatives expressed enthusiasm for the project. “Getting citizen input is so important, and there are so many positions to fill,” said Chair of the McLean County Board John McIntyre. Community Outreach VP of the Illinois Symphony Board Elaine Cousins expressed support for what nurses would bring to boards, as did Dave Bentlin of the Prairie Pride Coalition and Linda Bowman, vice president of Unit 5 Promise Councils. Both Mayor Chris Koos of Normal and Alderwoman Joni Painter of Bloomington added their approval.
Looking to the future, MCN will continue to grow the roster of nurses and work to connect those nurses with board opportunities.
“It simply makes good business sense to have the nursing perspective represented in all places where decisions and policies affecting health are made, including corporate, governmental, non-profit, advisory, governance boards, commissions, panels, or task forces that have fiduciary or strategic responsibility. This initiative is just one more way that MCN is making history, improving health, and ultimately, changing the world through exceptionally well-prepared nurses,” said Neubrander.
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