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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Fulfilling destiny: Insights from executive suites

by michael j. rafferty

“Nurses should be full partners with physicians and other health professionals in redesigning health care in the United States.”

From The Future of Nursing, a report from the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, October 2010

Two years in the making, the landmark Future of Nursing report calls for fundamental changes in the role nurses play in a health care system transformed by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Among these is an urgent recommendation that the nursing profession “produce leaders throughout the system, from the bedside to the boardroom.”

That charge is hardly new to graduates of Boston College’s school of nursing, according to Suzanne Boyle ’70, vice president for patient care services at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. The faculty and administration at her alma mater “always maintained that Boston College nursing students were destined to be leaders,” she said. “That was an underlying theme to everything we learned.”

Voice spoke with Boyle and four other nursing school alumnae—Jeanette Clough ’82, Mairead Hickey ’72, Cecilia McVey ’72, and Jacqueline Somerville ’80, Ph.D. ’09, who now hold senior positions in hospital executive suites—about nurse leadership lessons they have learned.

Suzanne Boyle ’70

Jeanette Clough ’82

Mairead Hickey ’72

Cecilia McVey ’72

Jacqueline Somerville ’80, Ph.D. ’09