Get on board: Why nurses are critical to healthcare governance

The late Connie Curran leaves legacy with new book

Julie Adams, Director, Marketing and Communications
Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International

INDIANAPOLIS — Today, amid a complex and fast-changing healthcare environment, just four percent of hospital board members are nurses. Yet, nurses have a better understanding of daily operations and can bring great insight to how decisions affect the work required in complex health care settings. This discrepancy prompted David L. Knowlton with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to say, “The role of nurses has changed faster than the perception of nurses held by too many people on hospital boards.”

Connie Curran, EdD, RN, FAAN, hoped to change these statistics and inspire nurses to accept responsibility for representing their peers at the board level. Before she succumbed to cancer in 2014, she completed work on her final book, Nurse on Board: Planning Your Path to the Boardroom. Published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), the book is a thorough, pragmatic guide to help nurses prepare themselves for board service and advance their careers in the process.

One of the main factors hindering nurses’ career advancement is their tendency to take for granted the skills they can bring to a leadership position. Nurses are generally the largest group of employees within health care organizations and are the biggest budget item. In Nurse on Board, Curran laid out action steps to enable nurses to learn more about the role of a board member, further their knowledge and skill set, and ultimately take charge of stepping up to board service.

Best on Board’s vice president of marketing, John Turck, told the Chicago Tribune after Dr. Curran’s death, “Connie felt so strongly that nurses bring so much to the table in hospitals because they're the people who spend so much time with the patients. She became committed to encouraging women and nurses to take positions in the C-suite and on boards of directors."

Dr. Curran’s career path and involvement with many large organizations is nothing short of inspiring and should be an example for all nurses to take on greater responsibilities in their field.

Nurse on Board is available at

Nurse on Board: Planning Your Path to the Boardroom
Author: Connie Curran, EdD, RN, FAAN
Published by STTI, September 2015
ISBN-13: 9781938835926
EPUB ISBN: 9781938835933
PDF ISBN: 9781938835940
MOBI ISBN: 9781938835957
Price: US $39.95
Page count: 200
Trim size: 6x9

About the author
Connie Curran, EdD, RN, FAAN,
was founder and chief executive officer of Best on Board, a national organization focused on educating and certifying health care trustees. The founding executive director of C-Change, she was also president and CEO of CurranCare LLC from 1995 to 2000 and later served as President of Cardinal Health Consulting Services. Most recently, Curran was chair of the board at DeVry Education Group, Chamberlain School of Nursing, and Keller Graduate School of Management.


About STTI
The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Founded in 1922, STTI has more than 135,000 active members in more than 90 countries. Members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and others. STTI’s roughly 500 chapters are located at approximately 700 institutions of higher education throughout Armenia, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the United States, and Wales. More information about STTI can be found online at