Last week, Gallup released the results of the survey: Nursing Leadership from Bedside to Boardroom: Opinion Leaders' Perceptions. The results of this survey, performed on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), revealed that nurses do not have as much influence on health care decision making as perhaps we should. The experts interviewed (insurance, corporate, health services, government and industry thought leaders, and university faculty) reported viewing nurses as trusted professionals and the majority said that nurses should have more influence on health policy, planning, and management.
So what are the barriers? Here is what they found:
• Compared to doctors, nurses aren’t perceived as important decision makers or money makers.
• Nurses focus on primary rather than preventive care.
• Nurses don’t have a single voice on national issues.
On a similar note, each year, Gallup surveys Americans about the most honest and ethical professions. 2009 marked the 8th consecutive year that nurses have been voted the most trusted profession in America.
So if the both the experts and the American public feel this strongly about our trustworthiness and decision making capabilities, and if we believe that we can truly make a difference, what are our next steps as a group? How about as individuals? How can we overcome the reported barriers?