AAN President's Pages
Not at all Contrary: How does our Garden Grow?As I write my last message as President of the AAN, I want to thank you as fellows for the honor of serving you and thank my Board Director colleagues for their support and dedication as we have put this organization through a type of metamorphosis over the last year or two. For the future, I can see at least 2 dynamics, fertilizer if you will, for enhancing how our AAN garden grows. One being sustained “organizational mentorship” from you as fellows and another by “founding and aligning groups and resources.”
Making a difference and what a difference communications can make!I write this message near the end of my Presidency and will reflect on the “dynamism” of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN). Our mission is to serve the public and nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. But we can only make a difference in shaping policy and practice if we are facile at communicating such knowledge, for ourselves and others. Communication is a “rate limiting” factor in how we view our organization and how others view us.
Rebalancing our health care systems paradigmIn presenting a paper recently, I once again reviewed some of the issues related to the relentless nursing workforce shortage. As well, at a recent invitational meeting, I had the privilege of debating the models, standardization, and fundamental quality issues related to instigating a clinical practice doctorate. These events rekindled some thinking about 3 elements related to our care systems paradigm and nursing issues. First, the nursing shortage related to acute care dominates the workforce dialogue but remains skewed and not fully comprehensive.
The Social Security debate: Considering aging, health disparities, and AAN stanceAs part of our American Academy of Nursing (AAN) strategic agenda, we have pledged to focus our attention along with 4 other topics on Promoting Healthy Aging and Reducing Health Disparities. Without careful consideration of who benefits from the current Social Security system and planning accordingly, both healthy aging and disparities affecting women and the disabled stand to be negatively impacted by recently proposed changes to the Social Security system. Fellow Shirley Chater, at one time Social Security Commissioner, contacted me to urge that we direct our attention to this matter as AAN fellows.
Interdisciplinary education and practice: Moving from reformation to transformationIn April, at a highly regarded academic health center, I am honored to be delivering a lecture, newly endowed in medicine, on the topic of interdisciplinary health education. Although I have not yet completed my thoughts as I write this, I comment now and urge us as nursing leaders to consider our focus on interdisciplinary education and practice, perhaps as a heuristic for going beyond reforming to transforming of nursing and health sciences education and practice. Stemming from recommendations of the “Crossing the Quality Chasm” Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, I was part of the IOM planning group for the summit on interdisciplinary education where it was advocated that, at minimum, all health professionals be educated to deliver patient-centered care as members of interdisciplinary teams emphasizing evidence-based practice, quality-improvement approaches, and informatics.
Leadership for health: Building on the past, creating the futureBetween November 11th and 13th, 2004, we held our annual conference and business meeting in Washington, DC (see title as theme). After expert paneling on Thursday, our Friday morning plenary was extraordinarily energizing. Representing the Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation as unprecedented premier sponsor of our meeting, Erik Joh, in greeting remarks, urged us to “think beyond,” using a resonating 33rd domino metaphor. An incredibly entertaining initial keynote speaker, Lowell Catlett, PhD economist, futurist, and Regents Professor at New Mexico State University, outlined trends shaping the future, from “progressive affluence,” pet density eclipsing children density, and self-determined health behaviors to “just in time” health care expectations.