What’s keeping nurses out of the executive suite?

As health care shifts to focus more on outcomes and value, hospitals increasingly are looking to bring clinical experts onto their leadership teams to help navigate the change. And yet, relatively few registered nurses fill the title of chief executive, NewsWorks.org points out.

The online news site talked to a handful of nurse execs and experts about why so few RNs fill hospitals’ top positions. Gender may, perhaps, be one reason, with female nurses being forced to set their careers aside to care for family, one CEO tells NewsWorks.

"Women have to take a time out and raise their families," says Kelly Doyle, R.N., CEO of Rothman Orthopaedic Specialty Hospital, in Bensalem, Pa. "If I had babies in my 30s, would I be sitting here? I don't know."

Other possible reasons for the nurse-CEO discrepancy include a lack of financial and facilities management training in nursing school curricula, and a shortage of time for management training in a busy nursing student’s schedule.

Still, nurses hold a desired skill set that’s distinct from those competing for C-suite titles, and anecdotal evidence seems to show that RNs are gradually taking on larger roles in hospitals, Pamela Cipriano, president of the American Nurses Association, tells the website.

Nurses may be ill-prepared for transgender patients

It’s inevitable that a transgender patient will visit your hospital, and the first time to start thinking about how to treat them should not be at the admissions desk.

The New York Times recently took a closer look at this subject, and interviewed a handful of area hospitals and trans advocates. The newspaper points to past studies, which have shown that 70 percent of transgender patients experience serious discrimination in health care, and 19 percent have even been denied care because of their gender status.

Certain sticky situations that may arise with such patients, according to the Times, include whether the patient prefers to be placed in a double or private room, or the fact that some doctors are unaware some transgender men may still require pap smears, breast exams and mammograms, or that transgender women should still be screened for prostate issues. Many hospitals now are attempting to overhaul or implement new policies for treating transgender patients, and advocates tell the Times that it’s long overdue.

“I’ve been telling hospitals that they really need to think about this and adopt some policies proactively,” Tari Hanneman, deputy director of the Health and Aging Program at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, tells the publication. “The first time you think about where you are going to put a transgender patient should not be when they arrive.”

Digging into the numbers on nurse careers

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about how nurse titles are well-represented on U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of best jobs in the country.  If you’re still looking for more data on the field, Career Builder has your fix with its new “Explore Careers” tool launched last week.

The website allows those looking for a new job to find free data on everything from regional demand, to salary trends, and the skills required to fill a position. It allows nurses on the hunt to answer such tough questions as: Where do I stand to make the most money as a surgical unit nurse? What skills do I need to add to my toolbox to snag that nurse administrator position?

For instance, the average salary for a registered nurse is about $68,000, according to the site, and the greater Los Angeles area pays the highest for such positions, at about $80,000. California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania have the highest demand for registered nurses. And the skills that are the most likely to make you stand out include health facilities, acute care, nurse licensure, health maintenance, recording and liability insurance. Here’s a press release with a little more info on Explore Careers.

Rapid fire

A couple of more nurse items from the past few weeks, in rapid fashion:

  • A new study, published in Perspectives in Health Information Management, found that nonmedical workers — such as home health aides or social workers — could be helpful in predicting whether a patient is at risk for readmission.
  • We previously covered American Sentinel University’s blog series on nurse bullying and, now, the online university has rolled that information up into a free e-book.
  • The nursing shortage seems to be reaching a crisis point in Iowa, according to the Daily Gate City.
  • And finally, support seems to be growing in West Virginia for a bill that seeks to allow advanced practice registered nurses to perform all duties that they’re capable of, according to the West Virginia MetroNews