CMO-CNO Focus Group Identifies Ways to Work Stronger Together

By AAPL Staff
October 26, 2017

Representing a variety of health systems participants came away with consensus on several topics, including keys to effective partnerships.


There was a time when physicians and nurses made decisions independent of each other — a dynamic that contributed to dysfunction and discord in the workplace.

Today, the two parties are making concerted efforts to recognize and respect each other’s contributions, and work in concert toward common health care successes.

To that end, eight chief medical officers and eight chief nursing officers convened at the American Hospital Association’s offices in Chicago, Illinois, in September for the CMO-CNO Executive Forum, which was held to identify gaps and improve strategies for effective integrated leadership between the two management groups.

Representatives from the American Association for Physician Leaders participated in the event.

Representing a variety of health systems, from corporate enterprises to rural hospitals, participants came away with consensus on several topics, including keys to effective partnerships — such as trust, an ability to offer constructive and honest feedback, good use of conflict management skills, and a willingness to share successes.

Indications that collaborative efforts are working include a sense of partnership when team members can approach either leader, and when objectives are being achieved together.

Among the best practices upon which they agreed:

  • Sharing goals with concrete measures.
  • Opening access to communicate with each other.
  • Realizing the importance of the others’ expertise.
  • Supporting each other, even in failure.


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