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Nurse Leaders Make Strong Showing on 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare List


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Nurse Leaders on Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Powerful Survey

Listed in order of rank on the 100 Most Powerful survey.p>

10. Linda Aiken, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, FRCN

Aiken is the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor of Nursing, a professor of sociology, and director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania in Pittsburg. She is also a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and Research Associate in the Population Studies Center. Before joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1988, Aiken was vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Aiken is a leading researcher on health workforce and heath care outcomes issues in addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. She is the first nurse to receive enough votes to rank among the top 10 on the Modern Healthcare 100 Most Powerful survey.

25. Barbara Blakeney, RN, MS

Blakeney is president of the American Nurses Association, a professional organization representing the nation's RNs. She is currently on a leave of absence from her job as director of health services for the homeless at the Boston Public Health Commission. Her prior experience includes working as principal public health nurse for homeless services and addiction services at the Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts. Blakeney also worked as a primary care nurse practitioner at Amherst Medical Associates in Amherst, Massachusetts, and at Boston City Hospital. She also appeared on Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Powerful list in 2003 and 2002.

35. Rose Ann DeMoro

DeMoro is executive director of the California Nurses Association (CNA), a labor union representing 58,000 nurses at 165 facilities. While DeMoro is not a nurse, the organization she leads has become a powerful force in the nation's most populous state and has helped pass innovative laws such as mandatory nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. DeMoro's background is as a union organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers, the American Federation of State County and Municipal Workers and the Western Conference of Teamsters, where she helped unionize Hollywood producers. She was hired by the CNA in 1986. DeMoro was also appeared on Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Powerful list in 2003 and 2002.

37. Pamela Thompson, RN, BSN, MS, FAAN

Thompson is chief executive officer of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association. AONE is a national organization of nearly 4,000 nurses who design, facilitate and manage care. Prior to joining AONE, Thomson was vice president for the children's hospital, obstetrics, psychiatric services and strategic planning at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. She served as president of the New Hampshire Organization of Nurse Executives and was the first nurse ever elected chairman of the board of trustees of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. Thomson served as a board member of AONE and she is a board member of the National Patient Safety Foundation. Thompson appeared on last year's list.

52. Geraldine "Polly" Bednash, RN, Ph.D., FAAN

Bednash has been executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), which represents more than 570 schools of nursing nationwide, since 1989. She has been with AACN since 1986. Before joining AACN, Bednash was assistant professor at the school of nursing at George Mason University and a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Fellow in Primary Care at the University of Maryland. Her experience includes development of resource policy for the Geriatric Research, Evaluation and Clinical Centers of the Veterans Administration; serving as a nurse practitioner and consultant to the family practice residency program at DeWitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; and service with the Army Nurse Corps in Vung Tau, Vietnam.

56. Cheryl L. Johnson, RN

Johnson is in her second term as president of United American Nurses (UAN), a union that represents 100,000 RNs in 26 states. She has been a nurse for 30 years and is a veteran labor leader. Johnson is a working critical care nurse at the University of Michigan Health Systems in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Johnson played a critical role in the creation of UAN, the labor arm of the American Nurses Association, in 1999, and was elected first president and chair of the organization. In 2001, Johnson guided the UAN to its affiliation with the AFL-CIO and was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, the union's governing body. She was elected president of the Michigan Nurses Association in October 2003, and she previously served in various leadership roles in the Michigan Nurses Association.

60. Diane Mancino, Ed.D., RN, CAE

Mancino is executive director of the National Student Nurses Association. She manages and directs all of the association's operations, programs, activities and other affairs. Mancino also serves as executive director of the NSNA foundation. This is the first year that Mancino appeared on the 100 Most Powerful list.

Sources: Interviews, University of Pennsylvania, American Nurses Association, California Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, United American Nurses, National Student Nurses Association.

By Robert Scally, assistant editor

Nurses are gaining a new level of respect and attention in the world of health care in the United States, according to a recently released poll.

Six nurse leaders and one nurse labor organizer landed prominent places on Modern Healthcare magazine's 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare list for 2004.

For the first time in the three years the popular poll of Modern Healthcare readers has been conducted, a nurse, Linda Aiken, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, FRCN, ranked in the top 10. Aiken ranked at No. 10 alongside the likes of David Brailer, national health care information technology coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services-who was No. 1 on the list-Sen. Bill Frist (No. 2), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (No. 3), President George Bush (No. 4) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (No. 5).

Aiken's place in the poll is especially notable because she is an educator and researcher who does not represent a major constituency such as an association or labor union, isn't a powerful politician nor a prominent corporate or health care executive.

Instead, Aiken is, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also Claire M. Fagin Leadership professor in nursing, a professorship named for the dean emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania nursing school. She is known for her highly regarded research into the relationship of nursing care to patient safety and health care outcomes.

"It's pretty amazing because when people think of power in health care they think of money," Aiken told NurseZone.

Aiken admitted that she was shocked to have received enough votes for inclusion on the list and to rank ahead of the likes of politicos such as senator and presidential candidate John Kerry (No. 12), Tom Ridge, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (No. 16) and corporate executives such as Jay Grinney, chief executive officer of HealthSouth Corp. (No. 41) and Trevor Fetter, president and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare Corp. (No. 71).

"It's a wonderful statement about our profession to get the votes to be included and that the other nurses were included too," Aiken said.

While Aiken's place in the top 10 of the 100 Most Powerful list is impressive, so is the fact that six other nurse leaders made the list, the highest number of nurses in the list's three-year history.

"Our readers have recognized that the true patient advocate is the nurse," said David Burda, editor of Modern Healthcare. "It's also a reflection of our reader's interest in patient safety, too."

The 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare list was compiled from nominations and votes submitted by the readers of Modern Healthcare, a weekly health care industry trade publication with a circulation of 72,000, Burda said.

The magazine's readers nominated candidates for the Most Powerful list via its Web site, submitting a total of 9,611 nominations.

The Modern Healthcare staff then placed 300 people who had received the most nominations on a final ballot, which was posted on the publication's Web site. From June 28 to July 23, readers voted via the Web site for the 10 candidates who they believe should make the final list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.

According to the Modern Healthcare Web site, 17,894 ballots were submitted for a total of 178,940 votes cast. As a result of the balloting "the 100 people who received the most votes made the final list with the ranking determined by number of votes received," according to a statement on the Web site.

The final list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare for 2004 was published Aug. 23.

Besides Aiken, the other nurse leaders on the list included:


  • No. 25, Barbara Blakeney, RN, MS, president of the American Nurses Association, a professional organization representing the nation's RNs.

  • No 35, Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association (CNA), a labor union.

  • No. 37, Pamela Thompson, RN, BSN, MS, FAAN, chief executive officer of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE).

  • No. 52, Geraldine "Polly" Bednash, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

  • No. 56, Cheryl L. Johnson, RN, president of United American Nurses (UAN), a labor union.

  • No. 60, Diane Mancino, Ed.D., RN, CAE, executive director of the National Student Nurses Association.

"People are starting to realize how much power we [nurses] do have, but have not yet exercised," said Cheryl L. Johnson, RN, president of UAN.

Johnson pointed to Aiken's placement on the list as an indication that the health care industry is starting to recognize the importance of factors such as proper staffing levels and nurses' critical role in improving patient safety and achieving positive patient outcomes.

The increasing power of labor unions was also highlighted in the voting with the inclusion of both Johnson and Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the CNA, making the list.

Although DeMoro's background is not as a nurse but instead as a labor organizer, she has made the list all three years it has been in existence. DeMoro's union has grown rapidly and now represents 58,000 nurses. It has also been behind significant, yet controversial, legislation such as California's nurse-to-patient ratio law, which is having an impact on the national debate over health care costs and quality.

Nursing education and nursing students were also represented in this year's vote for the 100 Most Powerful People with the inclusion of Mancino, executive director of the NSNA and Bednash, executive director of the AACN.

"I think this [inclusion on the list] is a validation of the work our organization is doing ," Bednash said.

Bednash said that her inclusion on the list really speaks more about her organization's achievements in t addressing some of the problems with health care and focusing on changing the ways our nurses are educated.

Nurses voted onto the 100 Most Powerful list didn't just include those labor and academic backgrounds.

Nurse managers and executives made the list as well, with the inclusion of Pamela Thompson, chief executive officer of the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

"I see my being voted onto that [the 100 Most Powerful list] as a proxy for the nurse leader," Thompson said. "My role as the CEO for AONE is really representing nurses who are in leadership roles. I'm really happy to see that there's a greater recognition of the role that nurse leaders play in the health care arena right now."

All of the nurses on the 2004 100 Most Powerful list that were interviewed by NurseZone commented that they think that the number of nurse leaders on list is symbolic of a deeper shift in thinking in the health care industry.

"I think this is a recognition of the role of nurses as the representative of the patient," Aiken said.

Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.

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