Originally Published: Natfluence

Dr. Bonnie Clipper Interview – natfluence.com

Career Clip

Who is Bonnie Clipper?

I am the Vice President of Innovation at the American Nurses Association (ANA), which represents the interests of the nation’s 4 million registered nurses. I have been practicing for over 30 years, spending more than 20 years in executive nursing roles transitioning over the past four years to focus on innovation. I speak internationally on topics of innovation and emerging technologies impacting nursing. I am a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow alumna and an ASU/AONE Executive Fellow in Health Innovation Leadership alumna. My research interests include building cultures of innovation and importing the voice of the nurse into the design and development of technology as well as bold challenges. I have published on the impact of robots on nursing practice, authored the book; The Nurse Managers Guide to an Intergenerational Workforce, co-authored The Innovation Roadmap: A Guide for Nurse Leaders and I am currently working with a team of authors on “The Nurses Guide to Innovation”

Personal Brand Pitch

I’ve been a nurse as well as a nurse leader for a long time. Just when I think I have seen or heard of everything -I am surprised. My energy and passion are usually what people notice about me. I consider myself a friendly introvert. My style is collaborative, creative and even very “out there” with ideas sometimes. I like pushing the envelope. I am a driver and known for getting things done. There is a quote from Mario Andretti that I like, he says “if everything is under control, you aren’t going fast enough”.

The Interview

How did you get into the industry?

I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was 6. I was a healthy kid but accompanied my mom for frequent visits with my brother. I was “wow’ed” by how smart the nurse was,and I was fascinated with her stethoscope. I have never looked back, this is an incredible profession and I am grateful for the many different ways that I have been able to practice nursing. At this point in my career I really enjoy helping aspiring leaders rise and advance their own work.

Emerging industry trends?

I am learning as fast as I can and watching the growth in telehealth nursing jobs, which is explosive right now, as is the number of nurses who are becoming entrepreneurs. With care moving outside of the traditional walls of hospitals, nurses need to be prepared to enable health as well as provide care and can lead in a variety of settings.This is our time to step up and lead. Stay abreast of trends. Read, read, read. I try to read or listen to 4 books each month, in addition to the online reading that I do.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

From a P/UX (patient/user experience) I have always believed that we should treat others the way we would treat our family members. From a technology and app perspective, I am a firm believer in “keep it simple”. If it takes me too long to figure it out or get comfortable with it, I probably wont use it.

How do you motivate others?

I try to provide the setting and resources that others need to be successful. I see my role as creating the vision and then acting as the connector and facilitator to bring all of the pieces and people together to get amazing things done. I love to connect people and help them network. I am a big believer in using your resources and tapping into experts and mentors.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Don’t box yourself in. You can do anything you want with a nursing degree and the right training. I have met nurses who are designers, architects, business owners, informaticists, inventors, clinic CEO’s, the list goes on and on. The way we are trained as nurses prepares you for being successful in any career.


What are your aspirations?

I want to leave the world better than I found it. Really. I challenge myself to try to make a difference in ways that I can. I work with two non-profit foundations; Winona State University Foundation where I influence the student experience for young people and Austin Smiles, where I am impacting the lives of children who need maxillofacial surgery in developing countries. I love being involved with both of these boards.

Biggest Success?

Personally, I am most proud of raising two amazing kids as a single parent, while I was a CNO. As well as summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, that was tough. Professionally, I am proud of the cultures that I have been able to shape where nurses thrived and did what they do best, care for patients and improve the foundation of care delivery.

Most Challenging Moment?

My most challenging moment was working for a leader who wanted to have input, even approve, every step of my work, including pre-reading emails. I found that very constrictive. I am a creative person and like to think boldly and, in this situation, it was not a good match for my expertise. I learned to conform for a while and then found another position that allowed a more creative approach to achieve our goals.


Be a good person, do what’s right, and work hard and play hard.

Favorite People/Role Models?

I am a fan of Eleanor Roosevelt as a trailblazer for women. My favorite innovation is robots. My music taste is very broad, I have lots of Tom Petty, Green Day and Gypsy Kings in my play list.

A Day in My Life

My Goal of the Day

To get more accomplished than I set out to.

My Thought of the Day

Positive thoughts and assume positive intent.

My Action of the Day

Make notes. Ironically, don’t say “yes” to everything.

My Deed of the Day

Smile more.

My Tip of the Day

Eat lunch and hydrate. I forget to do this. I wilt when I don’t eat and drink properly.


What are you doing at:

6:00 AM

Start day with short meditation, Alexa gives me the news update and then I listen to podcasts while I get ready for work.

10:00 AM

This is the middle of my morning, typically in meetings at this time.

12:00 PM

Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

When I am not eating something over my keyboard or in a meeting, I like to try to get out to grab a salad or some Thai or Vietnamese food. We have great ethnic food in our area.

7:00 PM

Stop reading emails, stop working. Usually start to power down with some reading or journaling.

11:00 PM

Reviewing next day and set goals. Pick my clothes for the next day.