s we continue our series highlighting the work of the NMBI Board, in this issue, we speak with John Horan, Board Member and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee and Member of the Registration Committee and the Education, Training and Standards Committee.
Could you tell our readers a bit about your background?
I worked for more than 20 years with the Aer Lingus Group and then was Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels Federation for seven years and the CEO of Veterinary Ireland for 10 years. I was on the Board of the National Treatment Purchase Fund for 14 years and was the Chairperson for 10 of those years. Other involvements include the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the Legal Services Regulatory Authority and some work with the Public Appointments Service. On the academic front I received a Master of Science Degree in Management Practice from Trinity College Dublin.
When did you join the Board of NMBI?
Following a Public Appointments process I was appointed by the Minister for Health to serve as a Public Interest Director in April 2019.
As a lay member of the Board, how important is it to have diversity in representation and what value do non-nurses/midwives add to the decision-making process?
Legislation specifically requires that there be a majority of 'lay members' on the Board. Within that majority it is particularly valuable to have a range of expertise available to the Board. This helps the Board to achieve the overall objectives of protecting the public in its dealings with nurses and midwives and the integrity of the practice of nursing and midwifery through the promotion of high standards of professional education, training and practice and professional conduct among nurses and midwives. This couldn't be achieved of course without the other essential input of the experience and expertise of the nursing and midwifery professionals on the Board.
What have been your biggest achievements as a Board member?
As members we act very much as a 'collective' with shared responsibility for all Board decisions. I should also say straightaway that the foundations for many of the achievements in recent years were laid solidly in the work done before my arrival. Strategies and procedures which had been developed in response to various organisational reviews were the essential building blocks for what is being delivered now. I might mention just two particular aspects which I see as critically important developments in more recent times. The creation of a strong Executive with a new Chief Executive and Senior Management Team in place is very welcome. The implementation of Project Nightingale - the digital transformation and modernisation of NMBI registration and education processes - is a credit to everyone involved and will be hugely beneficial to the professions.
What challenges have you faced during your time on the Board?
Initially there was the not-unexpected steep learning curve in relation to the detail of the work of the organisation. I should acknowledge here the patience particularly of the Executive and my professional colleagues on the Board and their assistance in helping me get 'up to speed'. The next challenge was the disruption to the organisation's work from the Covid pandemic which was a major challenge to all of us but one which we all worked to overcome.
You also sit on Committees. Could you tell our eZine readers what role these Committees play?
I am a member of three Committees. The Registration Committee performs certain functions delegated to it by the Board in relation to the registration of nurses and midwives and assists and makes recommendations to the Board on these matters. The Education, Training and Standards Committee carries out similar functions on these aspects. I have recently been appointed by the Board as Chairperson of the Audit and Risk Committee. This body has a range of functions in relation to Internal and External Audits, Financial Statements, Risk Management and so on.
In previous interviews with Board members, we spoke about how they find a balance between their work on the Board and Committees, their career and their home life? How do you find a balance?
Many years ago I came across some advice which suggested that as individuals we should pay close attention to four quadrants in our lives: Family, Work, Community and Self. At various stages one or more of these will assume more importance than others but none of them should be neglected. I strive to give some time to each aspect at all times - I don't always succeed but I do try!
Finally, what advice would you give someone who is interested in joining the NMBI Board or one of the committees?
Do it. You will find it rewarding.