Ch. 8: Innovative Strategies for Women to Overcome Barriers in Pursuing Leadership Roles in Healthcare Organizations
From the Book: The Refractive Thinker® Vol XI: Women in Leadership


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is drastically changing the healthcare industry. The PPACA is expanding healthcare mandates to include the investigation into new models of care, reimbursement, patient satisfaction, and healthcare infrastructure. A higher level of resistance exists to healthcare organizational change since the PPACA is politically driven as opposed to being driven by the healthcare industry. A serious problem exists with women achieving leadership roles in the healthcare industry. Even though women hold the majority of positions in healthcare a severe shortage of women leaders exists. Women hold valuable qualities and traits that make them excellent leaders. Some of the traits that give women an advantage over men include, compassion, approachability, transparency, inclusiveness, nurturing, and good communication skills. The healthcare industry creates a unique challenge for women to become leaders. Healthcare organizations would greatly benefit from hiring more women leaders that possess crucial leadership traits. Women’s nurturing ability aids in creating a workplace environment that is fair and just. Bridging the women’s healthcare leadership gap is a dichotomy. First, women must have the internal fortitude to strive to be leaders. Second, healthcare organizations must do all they can to eliminate any obstacle to women becoming leaders. The purpose of this article was to discuss the challenges women encounter in attaining healthcare leadership roles and refractive thinking strategies on how to address these challenges.