Amy McCarthy, MSN, RNC-MNN, NE-BC

Amy McCarthy MSN, RNC-MNN, NE-BC May 9, 2019

Place of Employment: Medical City Dallas

Which Nursing Organizations are you currently a member of: DFW Great 100 Nurses, Nurses on Boards Coalition, Texas Action Coalition, AWHONN, TONE, AONE, NLN, TNA

Board(s) currently serving on: DFW Great 100 Nurses (President-Elect), Texas Action Coalition (Communications Lead), Nurses on Boards Coalition (Board Member, representing the Texas Action Coalition)

Tell us about your journey to the boardroom. What inspired you to seek a leadership position?
I was invited to serve on my first board (The Dallas-Fort Worth Great 100 Nurses) six months into being a nurse! I was privileged to be mentored by some amazing nurse leaders who got me involved early in my career – and for this, I am so thankful. Prior to nursing, I had a career in PR and Communications and early on, I wanted to use this skill to help nursing organizations in their efforts to reach the nursing community. I was invited to join the DFW Great 100 Nurses board as the Communications Coordinator and helped to re-brand the organization and assist with the creation of a communications plan to help increase awareness of the organization’s mission and vision. This experience allowed me to understand nursing, not just at the bedside, but on a local, state and national level. This experience inspired me to be a better nurse, patient advocate, and leader. From this experience, I was invited to work with the Texas Action Coalition and then the Nurses on Boards Coalition and assist in their communications efforts as a board member.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Every day is a learning opportunity for me. As a nurse manager, I learn from my staff and peers daily. I attend conferences, read updates and engage with mentors to seek out opportunities for growth and development. I always love a good challenge and enjoy working with nursing organizations to engage the profession in new ways to ensure that ALL nurses know they have a voice and can help to move the needle forward in healthcare! I love working with nurses of all generations and listening to their stories about why they became a nurse, what they have seen in their career and what the biggest lessons are. I recently started my own business with a colleague of mine called The Nursing Pipeline to engage emerging leaders in nursing and connect them with resources and to highlight the work being done by nurses across the country! Engaging with nurses, learning from their stories and seeing all the possibilities within our profession helps keep me engaged as a leader and motivates me to keep growing!

What impact have you had serving on a board? Example?
Through the Nurses on Boards Coalition, I have had the opportunity to meet so many brilliant people and work with them in engaging with nurses across the nation on the importance of board leadership. For the last two years, I have worked to solidify the branding of the organization and create campaigns, such as Spring Into Leadership and Be Counted to help bring awareness to the NOBC mission and vision. Through these initiatives, we have introduced so many individuals and organizations to this awesome work and the importance of the nursing voice in boardrooms across the world!

What advice would you give someone going into a board leadership position for the first time?
To listen. Take the time to listen and fully become aware of the mission, what needs to be accomplished and the overall goals. We sometimes can become very eager to share our ideas and experiences, but taking the time to learn and understand what the organization needs can help make you a valuable voice at the table.

What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader and eventually obtaining a board position?
For anyone looking to develop themselves as a leader, I always recommend seeking out mentors and investigating leadership program that may be available in your state or on a national level. Throughout my career, I have found mentors who I admired for their leadership style and/or career trajectories. I have looked for opportunities to work with them, learn from them and have always asked for feedback in the process. They have helped me to prepare for the board positions I have been in and have guided mine through this journey. For those of you looking to obtain a board position – identify what you are most passionate about and seek out organizations that fall in line with this. Reach out and see opportunities to become involved and continue to build relationships as you go.

What has your experience been like as a mom in leadership?
Of all the roles I currently serve in, being a mom to my two-year-old son Michael is by far my favorite. Since the very beginning, he has been my little travel buddy, frequently accompanying me to meetings and conferences across the country. Balancing motherhood and my career has certainly been an adventure – one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passions in life and for the support of so many colleagues. Michael not only has his immediate family, but a family of nurses across the country who always check in to see how he is doing. I love taking him along on this journey and sharing these experiences with him. I hope that in sharing these moments, that one day he finds a profession that he loves and that he understands the importance of giving back to those around him. Becoming a mother has certainly made me a better leader and has provided me with a sense of balance and purpose and has made me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to!

Why do you feel it is important for nurses to serve on boards?
The nursing voice is something that is so needed on every board. Members of our profession have so much insight to provide, based on our experiences, skills and impact on our communities. We have been America’s most trusted profession for the past 17 years – we have the capability to transform healthcare in communities across the nation and the world.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to nurses serving on boards?
I think the most significant barrier to nurses serving on boards is time and also a lack of understanding that board service has a wide range attached to it. I think it is important to note that the idea of nurses serving on boards doesn’t mean that nurses have to immediately jump to a hospital or corporation boardroom – it can be something as simple as serving on the board of the PTA or a church. There is no board position too small – we have so much to give as a profession!

- MSN, RNC-MNN, NE-BC
Boards: DFW Great 100 Nurses (President-Elect), Texas Action Coalition (Communications Lead), Nurses on Boards Coalition (Board Member, representing the Texas Action Coalition)
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