The State of Healthcare: How Leadership Impacts Patient Care

By Yasmine Nahdi

Irvine, CA - (November 09, 2022) -

The Leadership Development Institute at the Merage School recently convened a forward-looking conversation with nursing and business leaders about transformational leadership and its impact on patient care and culture. The conversation was vibrant as experts discussed and debated the the skills and tools that make a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) successful. Merage School’s Dr. Maritza Salazar Campo, UCI Health chief nursing executive Brooke Baldwin, Kaiser Permanente regional chief nurse Jerry Spicer, UCSF system chief executive Pat Patton, and founder and president of Emeritus Healthcare Ranil Herath discussed the CNO Toolkit.

Herath began by asking the speakers about the biggest challenges of their professions. “The entire landscape of our profession has changed over the last couple of years,” said Spicer. “It really is demanding that as nursing leaders we recognize the fact that this landscape has changed and then [ask] how do we best react to it?”

“The one thing that I [notice] in conversation in different forums and groups with front-line leaders, nurses, and directors throughout the organization is the word ‘reconnecting.’  How do we build that reconnection to what many of us came into healthcare to do, which is to care for people [and] to provide the best quality and patient care?” Baldwin said. “How do we reconnect to that purpose? The challenge is redefining ourselves in conversation, dialogue, and being active listeners and learners in a new environment.”

Herath then asked about engagement and retention strategies that the speakers have implemented. “If we are not listening to our frontline leaders as well as our frontline nurses, then we’re not doing our jobs as nursing leaders,” Patton stated. “It’s time to dig a little deeper to listen to them a little bit more intently, so you can figure out what’s going on so you can help and make their day a little better because they’re doing the hard work.”

Herath asked the speakers to discuss how they gather the skills needed to be effective in their professions. “Relating to others, understanding, having conversations, and learning from one another,” said Baldwin. “To me, [these are] the highest levels of skill needed. That is really our ‘leverage’ in order to be able to make that business case and be able to make those connections with people.”

In terms of educating as one goes along, Dr. Campo said, “I think there has to be this willingness to learn this humility and to update your assumptions.” Herath then asked Dr. Campo about her leadership program that is garnered towards developing the next generation of chief nursing offices. “I think it’s our obligation as a business school to not just sit back and provide insight to revenue but to really bridge what we know again to help good citizens who are doing really fantastic work in their respective health care spaces.”

“What works in a boardroom does not work in a research lab, nor does it always work at ground rounds” added Dr. Campo. “What I did was I started to ask questions. What are your challenges? What do you need? When I say we asked questions, we went to every single top ten healthcare institution in the country to understand from the CNOs what they need, what the gaps are, and what we can do.”

On choosing who to network with, Dr. Campo said, “I was very careful in selecting who [we] interacted with. I think we should be talking about the face of healthcare as the demographics are shifting. We are not only making this for one type of nurse in one type of context. If it’s a certain demographic, this should be a program that I believe creates a space for leadership to be diverse and the topics we talk about to be diverse.”

“Everybody has their own way of thinking and their own way of leading. If we don’t have a diverse panel and a diverse set of leadership, we’re getting one voice from one set of eyes to do that. We’re getting that richness to help us to think differently, to take those blinders of implicit bias off and to look into ourselves as leaders,” Patton added.

To close off the discussion, Herath reflected on key takeaways. “Leadership is needed where there are problems and challenges to be solved, and it provides a great opportunity for those who are aspiring and want to take up bigger challenges in nursing. We have a highly energetic, enthusiastic, and competent group of individuals who want to take up leadership, which is very exciting and energizing,” said Herath. “I think the work that all of you are doing on these programs can accelerate and put a structure around how those folks can be extremely competent and successful in taking up those positions.”

You can listen to the entire conversation between Herath, Campo, Spicer, Baldwin, and Patton here.

You can also view a video of the event here.


About The Paul Merage School of Business

The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine offers three dynamic MBA programs—PhD, specialty masters and undergraduate business degrees—that prepare business leaders for our digitally driven world. Through our programs, students acquire the exceptional ability to grow their organizations through strategic innovation, analytical decision-making, digital information technology, and collaborative execution. The Merage School ranks consistently among the top five percent of all business programs worldwide through exceptional student recruitment, world-class faculty, a strong alumni network, and close relationships with individual business executives and global corporations. To learn more, please visit