Cheryl H. O’Malley, DNP, NEA-BC, serves as the Chief Transformation Officer and Vice President Population Health at Southwest General. In addition, for more than a decade, Dr. O'Malley has been active on a number of boards. She shares her thoughts on the contributions of nurses in the important role of a board member.
Over the years, many factors that have influenced the health outcomes of patients and families. Being a nurse for over 37 years and being active on multiple boards for over 12 years, I have seen remarkable changes in the way we as nurses have practiced the art and science of our profession. Many of the changes are directly related to the valuable perspectives nurses bring by being active on governing boards at the state and local levels. Nurses have the opportunity to affect the population they serve directly by allowing their voices to be heard and by sharing their expertise at the board level.
As a nursing leader, I feel it is imperative to share my knowledge and experience with others by advocating for patients and families. Serving on boards is one way that will potentially change the care delivery model. In today’s landscape, the social determinants of health are extremely important. Being active on a community board has the power to help meet the needs of the community, such as transportation, housing, food, and access to care. Consequently, this allows individuals to live healthier and happier lives, and is essential to decreasing the rising cost of healthcare and maintaining high quality care. Participating at the board level as a nurse allows me to have a voice to help evaluate and provide leadership for health care policy. This can shape the future of healthcare financing, regulation and delivery. My advice? Find something you are passionate about and volunteer to be on the board--you will be surprised at how rewarding it is to see how much your insight and expertise are valued.