By Lisa Rosenfield, M.A.

During my tenure working with CCI’s Board of Directors, I have made observations, identified benchmarks, and recognized trends regarding successful, purposeful, and effective CCI Board service. There is growing awareness surrounding the need for nurses to participate in board service, as it is vital for advancing the profession, influencing decision making, cultivating continuous professional development, and building leadership skills.

The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2010 report, Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health indicates that “strong leadership will be required to transform the U.S. health care system.” (p. 32). It also addresses the value of nurses serving “actively on advisory committees, commissions, and boards where policy decisions are made to advance health systems to improve patient care.” (p. 33). In addition, the Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC) has identified a focus to involve more nurses on boards in order to build healthier communities. (NOBC, 2019, Our Story).

The Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) mobilizes a board of directors who share our vision of being “a growing community of lifelong learners for whom CCI is a catalyst and integral partner.” (CCI, 2019, Mission, Values, Focus). The CCI Board of Directors consists of eight nurses and two public members. Each board member serves a three-year term, with the option to extend service for an additional three years.

The CCI Board of Directors has four standing committees. The Executive Committee manages the performance and compensation of the CEO. The Finance Committee monitors financial performance, approves budgets, and reviews investments. The Governance Committee prepares and presents a slate for elections, re-elections, and vacant Board positions. The TrueNorth Committee reviews and scores applications from facilities who apply to be recognized for certification excellence. The board also convenes Ad Hoc committees on an as-needed basis.

One particular focus with respect to board service is the concept of competencies. CCI’s competencies for board service are aligned with our organizational values and strategic priorities. Our application therefore establishes connections between five required competencies and the skills necessary for meaningful and successful board service. Foundational thinking includes critical thinking skills and utilization of key performance indicators. Communication involves interpersonal skills and the ability to contribute in a diverse group setting. Decision making encompasses organizational planning, policy setting, and strategic planning. Collaboration incorporates group interaction and engagement of differing viewpoints. Analytical skills require managing resources, promoting fiscal responsibility, and demonstrating financial stewardship.

In his book, Good to Great (2001), Jim Collins speaks often of the importance of having the right people in the right seats on the bus before deciding on the direction of the bus. When considering service on a board, it is important to reflect on a variety of factors in order to promote an optimal partnership:

Your knowledge of the organization and your alignment with its basic tenets

Your willingness to promote the mission, vision, and values of the organization

Your ability to make contributions which promote long-term success for the organization.

Board service provides unique and valuable opportunities to cultivate, develop, and expand personal and professional growth. CCI offers an array of volunteer opportunities on your journey to board service: Educational Products Committee, Test Development Committee, the Recertification Committee and the Certification Council. As you’re preparing to move toward the goal of joining a board, I encourage you to prepare in a variety of ways. Reflect on your expertise. Examine your priorities. Explore the possibilities. Pursue multiple opportunities for participation. It may take more than one attempt but remain persistent in your endeavors. Because, per Collins (p. 42), “great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

References

Collins, J.  (2001). Good to great. New York NY:  HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Competency & Credentialing Institute. (2019). Board of Directors. Retrieved from: https://www.cc-institute.org/more/about-us/board.

Competency & Credentialing Institute. (2019). Mission, Values, Focus. Retrieved from: https://www.cc-institute.org/more/about-us/mission.

Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Nurses on Boards Coalition (2019). Our Story. Retrieved from: https://www.nursesonboardscoalition.org/.

Lisa Rosenfield, M.A., is the Executive Assistant to the CEO and CCI Board of Directors. She can be reached at 303.368.6722 or at lrosenfield@cc-institute.org.