Donna M. Nickitas

Donna M. Nickitas PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FNAP, FAAN October 25, 2017

Credentials: PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FNAP, FAAN

Place of Employment: The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Hunter College

Which Nursing Organizations are you currently a member of: American Academy of Nursing, American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, American Colleges of Nursing, New York Academy of Medicine, Sigma Theta Tau International Society of Nursing, Alpha Phi Chapter, Eastern Nursing Regional Society

Board(s) currently serving on: STTI, ENRS, NLN-Connecticut League for Nursing, Editor of the Nursing Economics and Board Chair, Vice Chair of the Nursing Section of the New York Academy of Medicine

Tell us about your journey to the boardroom. What inspired you to seek a leadership position?

My journey to the boardroom began locally when I was first appointed by the Greenwich Democratic Committee to serve as a Board Member for the Department of Social Services for two consecutive terms (for a total of four years). After this experience, I became involved with the YWCA of Greenwich serving as a Board Member, Secretary, Vice President and President for a total of 10 years. Due to my political expertise and policy background, I was elected to the Greenwich League of Women’s Voters Board and served has President for three years. My local experience in my home town provided ample training and development on board governance.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

I continue to grow and develop as a leader today by expanding my focus mostly towards serving the nursing profession with participation on National and Regional Boards. I stay abreast with leadership acumen and development by attending national meetings, networking, and mentoring other nurse leaders.

What impact have you had serving on a board? Example?

I served on the National Students Nurses Foundation Board and learned the details and structure of board governance, including leadership and financial acumen. I came to appreciate how a board member uses their talents, time, and treasury to impact board success and outcomes.

What advice would you give someone going into a board leadership position for the first time?

Do your homework and know what you are getting into. It is not just the appointment that counts but what comes after. Be sure your core principles align with the board you will serve on. Are you passionate about the mission and vision of the organization you will serve? These are critical questions that are essential before you sign on to work tirelessly as a board leader.

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?

Serve locally. Learn the needs of your local community where you live, work, and plan. Identify your priorities to your own personal health and well-being. Understand where you can make an impact. Do a self-assessment to ensure you are well prepared to serve. Network with other nurses have them help you gain support and appointments to boards were talents and strengths are recognized and appreciated.

Why do you feel it is important for nurses to serve on boards?

It is essential for nurses to serve on boards and bring diversity of thought, insight, and professional expertise to boards. Without nursing contributions, society will not understand and appreciate the impact nurses are making in improving the health of the nation.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to nurses serving on boards?

Lack of training and skill development. Individuals under-estimate the time and commitment of board work. You must have personal preparation and network to find the “best fit” for board service.

Boards: STTI, ENRS, NLN-Connecticut League for Nursing, Editor of the Nursing Economics and Board Chair, Vice Chair of the Nursing Section of the New York Academy of Medicine
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