Honoring values that will endure
The two honorees being inducted into the Health Care Hall of Fame for 2017 dedicated their careers to promoting two key building blocks for organizational success in healthcare: leadership diversity and effective nurse leaders.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Thomas Dolan during the last year of his tenure as CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives. His commitment to expanding the ranks of minorities in hospital C-suites was palpable—I could see it among the attendees at ACHE’s annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership.
Like so many of the leaders who have been mentored by Dolan over the years, I came away from our first encounters with a broader understanding of the importance of promoting leadership diversity in my own role as editor of this magazine. He also impressed upon me the importance of interacting with and learning from healthcare leaders from around the globe, as his engagement with the International Hospital Federation attested.
As the long-time dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Colleen Conway-Welch pushed for nurses to take on greater leadership roles. She led by doing. She stepped out front, for instance, by pushing her university to conduct AIDS research at a time when many institutions shied away from dealing with the deadly disease.
She also was ahead of her time in pioneering the expansion of nurses’ scope of practice and expanding community clinics catering to the poor. “If you can stand the consequences, take the risk,” she says.
In these divisive times, the careers of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees offer assurance that within healthcare, certain values—a belief in diversity and the courage to act with empathy—will endure.