The Nurses On Boards Coalition (NOBC) is deeply grateful and proud of nurses all across the country for their dedication, service and sacrifice during the COVID-19 pandemic. We honor all nurses, medical professionals, staff and volunteers serving on the frontlines and those supporting them behind the scenes in their local communities. NOBC is committed and available to support our members, partners, nurses and community members. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help you in any way. Especially now, we thank you for your interest, support and engagement in support of our mission. We hope you and those you hold close are protected, safe and healthy in the coming days.
Jeremy Gorenstein, MHSA, BSN, RN, CEN, EMT
Place of Employment: Emergency Department at The University of Utah Hospital
Which Nursing Organizations are you currently a member of: ENA
Tell us about your journey into nursing leadership. What inspired you to seek a leadership position?
My path to nursing, and thus nursing leadership, is somewhat non-traditional as I spent 20 years in healthcare administration, policy, and finance consulting before becoming an RN. After earning my nursing degree, I initially focused on becoming more comfortable and confident in the nursing role, allowing the leadership opportunities to develop when the time was right. Recently, our department sought to fill several charge nurse positions, replacing some who were moving on to new roles and easing the burden on the pool of nurses who were seeing us through the current pandemic. I saw this as an opportunity to help both department leadership and staff maintain a positive, supportive, and constructive culture during the on-going response and into the future of our department.
What do you do to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Building relationships is critical – Not only with staff in the emergency department, but leaders and staff throughout the organization whom I will likely interact with at some point. Getting to know them and understand “their world” will be helpful when we are faced with a challenge or opportunity down the road. Also, frequently engaging with others outside my organization, through organizational memberships or continuing education opportunities is important. These relationships keep my perspective fresh and bring new ideas back to our team.
Why do you feel it is important for nurses to serve as leaders and on Boards of Directors?
Boards are successful when they are rich with diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets. I cannot think of a group of professionals who represent as much diversity as nurses when it comes not only to their social or cultural backgrounds, but also the rich diversity of their professional experiences. That diversity is what boards need during strategic planning, exploring opportunities, or confronting challenges. Additionally, nursing is all about caring. What better way to care for others than to help inspire and lead organizations that improve well-being beyond the bedside.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to nurses serving on boards?
I sense that most nurses do not realize that the opportunity exists (or organizations know of nurses who are interested). Board development is done through relationships, so it is important for nurses to make it known what they are passionate about and willing to serve. (Nurses are no strangers to serving on committees, so the skills necessary to serve on boards are already there!). Organizations such as NOBC are critical to facilitating those connections.
Give an example of what nurse leadership looks during the COVID-19 crisis.
I am fortunate to be at the University of Utah during this pandemic where there have been ample examples of leadership in action. Specifically, our nursing leadership has been hands on in implementing the frequent changes and adjustments to workflows, rather than just communicating them. Our senior nurse leaders (CNO to department mangers) have been along side staff all hours of the day and night helping set up new workspaces, moving supplies, building screening tents and securing them when inclement weather hits. There has also been an increased in the frequency and detail of communication about how the crisis is impacting the organization. Leadership has been very transparent about everything from supply/staffing levels to the financial impact on the organization. They have taken the ‘we are all in this together’ very literally.
May 22, 2020
“Board service can be rewarding to nurses both personally and professionally. It not only requires them to exercise leadership; it expands those skills and advances their capabilities and knowledge. It gives nurses the chance to meet people and enhance their professional networks. And it can be inspirational and empowering.”
-Sue Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation