AAN President's Pages
The presidential partnership: leaving a trailThe words change and transition are used frequently to describe a shift in focus or organizational necessity. However, as leaders, we know these words are not synonyms. According to the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL, 2020), “Change is defined as the situations and occurrences that impact organizations and individuals (CCL, 2020).” Change encompasses the adaptation from the previous way of doing things to the new way and should be met with flexibility. “Transition is the internal psychological process of adapting to a new situation, (CCL, 2020).
New Questions, More Questions, The Same Questions: How Covid - 19 is Impacting the ProfessionAlpha, Beta, Delta, and now the Mu variant continue to cloud how we will see past the grip the pandemic has on the public's health, safety, and economic stability. Variants create more questions. And while we are building a tool chest filled with knowledge, each time one variant spreads across a country, the path forward is never immediately clear. What remains certain for the profession— amongst this uncertainty— is that attention must be placed on investing in the nursing workforce. From supporting nurses’ physical, mental, and emotional health to considering education and training in the future, there is a need to refocus and seek more data.
Sustaining Visibility: Environment, Perception, and EquityBeing visible, or the state of being seen by another person, is dependent upon two main factors. The first is the environment through which the object or person is being viewed, and the second is the ability of the viewer to perceive and acknowledge the object or person's presence. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the visibility of nurses was perhaps never clearer. The media depicted powerful imagery of nurses on the frontlines, reinforcing the impact of the profession. The environment that nurses and other health professionals found themselves in allowed them to step into the forefront of the public eye amid mass anxiety, uncertainty, and frustration.
Trust Science and Inspire Hope: Our Duty of CareAt the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2020, we ushered in 2021. While the celebratory nature of the calendar change is nothing new, this year, it seems to offer more hope. As scientists, researchers, and leaders in practice and academia, we know that nothing miraculous happened overnight. Yet, the start of a new year brings an opportunity for a new perspective, a new approach, and a renewed effort.
Aging in America: How COVID-19 Will Change Care, Coverage, and CompassionWhile it is a smaller population that has survived the Great Depression (1929-1939), the Great Recession (2007-2009), and now the devastating financial impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this group of older Americans has experienced tremendous stress and, at the same time, shown incredible resilience. I reflect on these monumental economic downturns as a concrete social determinant of health—directly impacting access to quality health care. As if the vulnerability for contracting the virus and suffering serious illness associated with SARS-CoV-2 was not enough, older adults are also having to navigate a world of considerable uncertainty in most aspects of life.
Public health nursing: Leading in communities to uphold dignity and further progressPublic health. We have heard this repeated over and over again by politicians, health experts, and media commentators. Over the past few months, the combined negative impact the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism has had on the public's health has reached a more acute level of global concern. Health inequity has been repeatedly highlighted by researchers and the body of evidence continues to grow. This time it seems different, or at least it must be different. This time, more people are listening, more people want to understand, and the calls for action grow louder by the day.
Leadership Evolution: The Academy's Sustained and Growing ContributionLeadership is a fascinating concept. Some will say that you are born with it, while others will say it has to be developed. And there are still others who will say it is both. From my experience, and what the American Academy of Nursing (Academy) believes, all great leaders need development. In preparing for this column, I reflected on the Academy's leadership focus. As I mentioned in my last Nursing Outlook message, it is important that our Academy Fellows and colleagues who read this journal understand our signature initiatives.
Risk and Reward: The Innovation Behind Academy's Edge RunnersFor nearly five decades, the American Academy of Nursing (Academy) has looked to the horizon in our efforts to advance health equity and champion wellness. At its core, the organization has invested in nursing knowledge by inducting thought leaders and change agents as Fellows. Over the years, the organization's vision to be a leading voice for change has been bolstered by the advent of initiatives that elevate the best work within the profession and maximize its public reach. These initiatives have become inseparable from the work of the Academy and serve as critical platforms for dissemination, impact, and influence.
Fluidity: Creating seamless leadership transitionsThere are many ways to describe leadership transitions—passing the baton, handing over the gavel, or a changing of the guard. At the Academy's Transforming Health, Driving Policy conference, our roles shifted from President and President-Elect to President and Immediate Past President. Over the past year, we have worked closely together to prepare for this moment. The Academy has been in what we like to describe as a positive state of flux. Positive from the perspective that we have been able to grow as an organization in our approaches, evaluation methods, and strategies.