- Maya Angelou
Dear OADN Members:
I am hoping by now you have wrapped up your semester with graduation and all the related activities. It is always a busy time and yet such a memorable time as we watch the graduates move on to their next steps in their nursing future. The future was definitely on my mind this past week, especially as it relates to the Future of Nursing report. As you know, the Committee for the Evaluation of the Impact of the Institute Report; The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health has begun. The purpose of the committee is "to assess the changes in the field of nursing and peripheral areas over the last five years as a result of the IOM report on the Future of Nursing." This was a public session, although the public was only invited at the end to address the committee. I was fortunate enough to represent OADN as a panel member and address the evaluation committee in Washington, DC. OADN was invited to be a part of the panel that included other health profession education and training holders. Other members of the panel included: Marsha Howell Adams, Ph.D., R.N., CNE, FAAN, ANEF, President, National League for Nursing, Mary Beth Bigley, Dr.P.H., Director, Division of Nursing and Public Health, Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Services and Resources Administration, Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, President, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Jennifer Butlin, Ed.D., Executive Director, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Mary Lou Rusin, Ed.D., R.N., ANEF, Chair, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, and Thomas J. Snyder, M.B.A., President, Ivy Tech Community College, representing the American Association of Community Colleges. Each of us was given five minutes to address the committee and briefly explain how our organization has been involved in the follow-up to the Future of Nursing, impressions about the actions that stemmed from the report, general impressions of the study's impact both positive and negative, and advice for the next five years. Obviously, an extremely large task for five short minutes! In fact, draft one of my comments was eleven minutes, so there was much editing that needed to be done.
So how did I share our story? I again emphasized the importance of community colleges in this country explaining the fact that without community colleges educating the next generation of nurses, many communities may not have access to health care. Nurses are frequently the backbone to these communities when it comes to providing quality care. I shared with the committee all the work OADN has participated in related to the Future of Nursing recommendations and the organization's support of academic progression, although this is nothing new. We have always supported academic progression, and I quote, "Faculty are continually emphasizing the need for academic progression, and students understand the need for continuing their education." I discussed all the work we have completed with the state action coalitions, unique academic progression models, and various types of articulation agreements. I spoke of the challenges we face as we try to move forward, such as: duplication of course work for our graduates and community colleges not being allowed to offer the RN to BSN due to legislative barriers. The committee asked probing questions and listened.
Although this account may not be the most exciting message to each of you, it is an important milestone for OADN. We were asked to be present and to provide our insight into the Future of Nursing's impact. We were recognized as one of the leading national nursing education organizations to share our perspective.
Personally, I was proud to represent each of you and our students. The reality is we are involved in associate degree nursing education because we believe in it, the impact this education will have on our students, and ultimately the healthcare of the country. But the best part of the day was meeting two Northern Virginia Community College faculty members who were in attendance as public members. After my presentation, they came up and introduced themselves and said thank you for representing us. But the real thank you is to them and all of you for giving me this opportunity for effective today I am your full-time CEO.
It is bittersweet leaving Lewis and Clark Community College after 33 years in nursing education beginning as a faculty member, to Director of Nursing Education, and finally the Dean of Health Sciences. The support I have had at the College is phenomenal and they have helped prepare me for this adventure in my professional career. I look forward to this next chapter and will advocate for associate degree nursing, each of you, and our students as we travel this journey together. Some days it will be smooth sailing, and other times rocky with maybe a few potholes, but working together we can accomplish greatness. This is our time, let's not lose the momentum!
Donna Meyer MSN RN