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Insight from a nurse leader on board!


Our first nurse leader is Dr. Dean Prentice, DHA, RN who earned his BSN from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, a Masters of Arts degree in Human Resource Development from Webster University in St Louis MO, and a Doctorate in Health Administration from the University of Phoenix As an officer in the United States Air Force, he is currently Air Force Central Command's Deputy Command Surgeon As the deputy medical advisor to the Commander of Air Force Central Command he is responsible for Air Force health service support in the Middle East In coordination with Air and Joint staffs, he maximizes the deployment of USAF medical services and deployed aeromedical assets.

Colonel Prentice was formerly the Commander of the 72d Medical Group at Tinker AFB, in Oklahoma City Dr Dean Prentice was asked to respond to a series of questions about leadership.

Q1: You may be in multiple leadership roles. Please choose one board position in Oklahoma that you would like to talk about. Describe how you got into that position.

"I serve as the Oklahoma Nurses Association (ONA) Consultant to the Oklahoma Nurses Student Association (ONSA). As a member of ONA, I applied, was interviewed by the ONSA Board of Directors, and accepted as their Consultant. I am serving my second term as the Consultant."

Q2: What leadership qualities do you use in that board position?

"I utilize and provide collaboration, education and training, executive experience, military perspective, and serve as a relationship builder."

Q3: What motivated you to assume this leadership?

"I wanted to make a difference in nursing in the state of Oklahoma."

Q4: Why do you think it is important that a registered nurse is serving in Oklahoma on this board?

"The focus of this position is helping the new generation of nurses to assume their role in the healthcare community."

Q5: What specific challenges or barriers do you see for nurses who want to serve as leaders on boards in Oklahoma?

"Perceptions that nurses cannot be well rounded leaders; nurses who only understand nursing and not how it fits/works/integrates in the total healthcare environment; nurses who can only see the nursing perspective; discrimination from the physician community; and lack of entry into practice education level."

Q6: How do you see the Institute of Medicine recommendations influencing the growth of nursing leadership in Oklahoma?

"Not much at all. Medical representation on boards is still a physician dominated experience Boards, medical or otherwise, seem to think having a physician on board is the only option. For some unstated reason, they do not respect nursing in the same way. From my experience and what I have observed on boards for both healthcare and non-healthcare entities, physicians are still the only option considered This is not to disrespect any physician board member If the goal of a board is to add a medical influence, then why are only physicians chosen? They represent just one section of healthcare and cannot, without proper training, speak on anything other than a medical opinion in their specialty Nurses, along with other physicians and medical team members, should be considered on their experience, education, and training for board selection to add diversity in thought and action To assume a physician has any further knowledge on healthcare, healthcare issues, or insight on medical organization programs or processes, solely on the fact they are a physician, is the epitome of false logic, ignorance, and group think."

Q7: The Institute of Medicine and Campaign for Action have focused on nurses serving on hospital boards as a priority. What challenges do you see for nurses wanting to serve on hospital boards in Oklahoma?

"The prevalent mentality that only a physician can discuss healthcare or represent healthcare issues is outdated, and to be honest very inaccurate It is a form of discipline discrimination in which one profession controls all aspects of the organization Making a change is difficult. My time in the federal healthcare system and working with healthcare organizations all over the U.S. and world show there are more progressive options They have realized the value, impact, and growth when they have separated themselves from the physician dominated thought processes on their boards and in their systems Healthcare care in the U.S. and world has drastically changed yet the idea that only a physician can answer for healthcare, specifically in Oklahoma, is archaic and represents physician parochialism.

Likewise, nurses need to take a more active role in healthcare organizations along with being nurse leaders They need to take a total view of the issues, educate themselves outside the nursing field, and start to become leaders in healthcare issues, programs, and community leadership. Nurses limit their impact when we only speak on nursing issues and not on broader issues affecting healthcare The nursing educational system has continued to be challenged when nurses broaden their education outside the nursing arena. We do not expose our young colleagues to opportunities or diversity of education on nursing or healthcare. We discriminate or devalue those who have "strayed" from nursing-centric education. Many times we are our own worst enemy Nurses are not given or take the opportunity to be more involved in healthcare operations or to be more versed in making a difference."

Q8: What specific advice do you have for nurses who want to explore a leadership position?

"Take every opportunity to professionally develop yourself; engage in more than just nursing education; continue your education; and apply for positions you are interested in doing."

The Oklahoma Campaign for Action Coalition would like to thank the nurse leaders who participated in this survey.

Authors: Lisa DeSpain, MS, RN, Helen Farrar, PhD, RN, BC, CNE Author affiliation: University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, College of Nursing, and Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare
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Title Annotation:Nurse Leaders
Author:DeSpain, Lisa; Farrar, Helen
Publication:Oklahoma Nurse
Geographic Code:1U7OK
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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