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Making connections

As Chief Nurse Executive at Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va., Karen Drenkard, RN, MSN, CNAA, makes a commitment to her organization's shared leadership structures. "My role allows me to work within the leadership network to discover solutions for nursing issues throughout the Inova system," she says. "It's very fulfilling work."


A nurse for 22 years, Drenkard views organizations as "breathing networks of connections that change all of the time," not static, linear mechanisms. "It's our role as nursing leaders to help make these connections and work across boundaries," says Drenkard. "We must hold the vision of nursing's future and get involved in moving toward that vision."


The right combination

"When health care shifted from a cottage industry to big business, I went to business school to learn a new way to relate to the changes taking place," says Karen McArthur, RN, MS, MBA, Owner and Consultant, McArthur Consulting, LLC, Salt Lake City, Utah. "Combining the skills I learned from my hospital mentors with those from my business school professors has been invaluable."


A nurse for 30 years, McArthur enjoys consulting because it allows her to use both her clinical background and business knowledge. "I influenced patient care more directly as a staff nurse and a clinical specialist, but now I affect a larger number of patients," she says. "Regardless of the role, nursing offers an incredible opportunity to positively impact the health care experience for patients and their families."



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