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The Gallup poll also identified nurses as the health professionals that should have greater influence than they currently do in the critical areas of quality of patient care and safety.
The leaders surveyed believed that major obstacles prevent nurses from being more influential in health policy decision making.
Leaders who merely give directions and expect them to be followed will not succeed in this environment.
What is needed is a style of leadership that involves working with others as full partners in a context of mutual respect and collaboration.
Yet their history as a profession dominated by females can make it easier for policy makers, other health professionals, and the public to view nurses as “functional doers”—those who carry out the instructions of others—rather than “thoughtful strategists”—those who are informed decision makers and whose independent actions are based on education, evidence, and experience.
The third section describes three avenues—leadership programs for nurses, mentorship, and involvement in the policy-making process—through which that call can be answered.
Being a full partner translates more broadly to the health policy arena.