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Making a commitment to serve on a board should not be taken lightly. In “Recruiting the Right Mix,” Gauss (2013) notes some questions that candidates may want to ask themselves when considering a board opportunity:

  • What does this hospital or system's future look like?

  • Is there a desire and commitment to change?

  • Can I bring value to the organization and board? If so, why this organization in particular? Do I have the time?

  • What are meeting attendance requirements?

  • What is my donation commitment?

Finally, make sure that you are doing a critical assessment of the skills, experiences, and background that you have to bring to board service, as well as areas of opportunity for improvement. No candidate will have everything that it takes to be a success the first time on a board. In fact, even seasoned board members find that they are continually learning and growing through these experiences. This is a journey, not a destination.

You may be invited to join a board, as mentioned in Chapter 3, “What Nurses Need to Know to Get on Boards(s).” Or, you may come to board service via another, more proactive, avenue: seeking a membership.

Daniel Pesut, professor and experienced board leader, talks about the “red thread”: a theme in your life. Be “intentional in terms of particular interests, values, and beliefs..How do [you] want to serve a greater purpose in terms of the kind of organizations that you commit to?”


One way to discover your strengths, says Pesut, is through a tool like the Gallup StrengthsFinder (

“I attended a workshop a few months ago, and now what they're suggesting is that people string together those top five signature strengths into a personal mission statement. Not to look at them as separate individual strengths, but how do you link them together and what does that say about you in terms of the strengths that you would bring to an enterprise or a group process? I think knowing your strengths and talents and how to participate in a group is crucial for your own personal and professional well-being.”


“I really think that every nurse in America should know what their top five or top ten signature strengths and talents are and how those strengths and talents contribute to board leadership,” Pesut says.

That self-awareness and understanding are a great launchpad for identifying the types of boards that are most aligned with your interests and where your service might be most impactful.

Reach out to those organizations that are aligned with your interests and passions. Several websites are devoted to matching volunteers to organizations that need their skills and abilities. For example, boardnetUSA ( is a website devoted to matching potential board members with ...

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