Wanted: More nurses in C-suite

The three are among the 14 executives with nursing experience named in Modern Healthcare’s 2022 rankings. list of the 50 most influential clinical leaders.

While some nurses advance through the ranks, obstacles remain for others. Nurses usually complain that they don’t get the same respect as doctors.

“We’re going to have to challenge senior leaders,” said Loressa Cole, CEO of ANA Enterprise, a coalition that includes the American Nurses Association, the American Nursing Assessment Center and the American Nursing Foundation. “We have to step forward and take responsibility and accountability for advancing this agenda.”

Sexism remains a barrier to women across all industries, and according to census data, 9 out of 10 nurses are women. Of the 41 health care companies on the Fortune 500 list for 2022, five were led by women.

Women leaders, like other women, are usually paid less than men in the same positions. Women in leadership positions at Standard & Poor’s 500 companies earned 75% of what their male counterparts earned in 2020, according to a Morningstar report.

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Despite the obstacles, Agee, Gapstur and Mosier said their parents, grandparents and sponsors inspired them to strive for leadership positions. Similarly, Monsieur said it was vital to impress nurses early in their careers with the idea that their voices matter.

The desire to serve patients better prompted Agee to look to top managers. “Looking back, my own experience was that I acted out of frustration, feeling that I needed to do more for patients than I could,” she said.

Agee remembered a chemo patient who got hungry after the cafeteria closed. This prompted her to make recommendations to improve the quality of patient care in her hospital. She was encouraged by her superiors to make changes herself. “That was the start,” Agee said.

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