As I traveled back home to Kansas from New Orleans, I reflected on how wonderful it was to see so many OADN members in person with the record-breaking attendance at this year’s OADN Convention! I was reminded of the importance of connecting in person and being in community with one another. Being together affords us all those meaningful opportunities for impromptu conversations as we looked at the posters, or as we emerged from a workshop, keynote address, or breakout session. I can’t even count how many members approached me to let me know this was their first OADN Convention, and how much they loved being there and how the spirit of our theme this year, “Owning Your Influence,” resonated with them. As Associate Degree Nurse educators, we possess the ability to influence so many lives. For any of us who have had the privilege of working with these amazing students, we can attest to how the ADN pathway truly transforms lives, often for generations to come! As we heard from our keynote speaker, Dr. Scharmaine Lawson, our dreams can truly be realized if we only dare to act on them.
This year’s convention was also bittersweet as we all listened intently to Donna Meyer’s farewell message as she retires from the position of OADN’s CEO. While this is a time for celebration for Donna and her family, it reveals an undeniable time of change for our association. We look forward to announcing our next CEO after the first of the year, but for now, we reflect on what Donna has done for this organization and the immeasurable impact she has made on Associate Degree Nursing. With her exit, the Board of Directors had some fun wordplay, identifying words that reflect Donna’s character and influence. While words such as transformational, dedicated, inspiring and authentic emerged, one board member, Dr. Jayson Valerio, noticed an amazing anagram. With the former name of OADN being the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (NOADN), Jayson realized that those letters rearranged spell DONNA! With that, we know that Donna will forever be the “face of OADN,” and her legacy as a passionate advocate for the ADN pathway will help guide our work in the future. We will miss her so much.
And so, as we usher out 2022, we commence with a new year. With change comes apprehension, but also hope and opportunity. The word “commencement” is often used to mean a beginning and an end. We see the end of an era with Donna’s retirement, but we also see a beginning of a new era with our next CEO and with the start of my presidency. Thank you all for your commitment to OADN. Thank you for your commitment to the ADN pathway and, most of all, thank you for your commitment to our amazing students all over this country. Because of you, the nursing workforce of tomorrow will be sustained with highly effective, highly professional providers of care.
I wish you all a very blessed holiday season!
Karen LaMartina, PhD, MSN, RN