Dear OADN Members,
A very happy Nurses Week to you all! As we celebrate Nurses Week this year, we are challenged to inspire, innovate, and influence. Certainly, the OADN members are no strangers to this call. Having spent 32 years in associate degree nursing academia myself, I understand what nursing faculty and nursing administrators face on the front lines of preparing the future health care workforce of our nation. I reflect on how you all carry out your important duties all the while inspiring our future nurse leaders and instilling your own passion for nursing in your students. We all know too well countless stories of the hardship from our students. Whether it be the student living out of his car, to the student struggling to feed her family, to the single parent student: you have inspired them all. As their mentors and role models, you motivate students daily to push forward during a very difficult course of didactic and clinical studies. Think of the many tears that have been shed by those students from being overwhelmed to the tears of joy for the passing grade. Who is there every step of the way to INSPIRE them in their success? You!
Nurses Week 2018 is also calling on all nurses to innovate. Innovation is a core value of OADN and associate degree nurse (ADN) educators are continuing to innovate in communities across the country. We are all well-acquainted with the resource constrained environments ADN programs operate in, and yet faculty and administrators continually develop ways to provide superior and creative teaching and learning methods. I am continually impressed at this innovation when I read the OADN journal, Teaching and Learning in Nursing, where faculty and administrators demonstrate the originality and innovation they employ to enhance student achievement. Innovation is evident the many unique academic progression models that ADN programs have implemented. I applaud all of you who have accepted the challenge of the Future of Nursing report for a more highly educated nursing workforce. As a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Academic Progression in Nursing National Advisory Committee, I have experienced first-hand the creativity and bold thinking ADN programs ADN program have employed in developing academic progression pathways. ADN programs INNOVATE new pathways to provide students and graduates the best opportunities to continue their education, and also ensure the future viability of the ADN pathway.
The final part of this year’s Nurses Week theme is perhaps what resonates the most strongly with me personally as I reflect on the important work that OADN does. The advocacy that OADN does on your behalf is designed and targeted to influence decision makers to act in the best interest of patients and communities by supporting ADN education. OADN’s daily advocacy efforts are essential to building influence and steering the national conversation to the priorities identified by our profession. We work to ensure that policy makers, the public, and others understand that associate degree nursing programs offer high quality education with the interest of patient safety and quality care as the priority. OADN’s responsibility is to clearly assert the basic truth that without this pathway healthcare access in our country would be compromised. At the same time, OADN must be responsible for explaining and continually emphasizing the vital importance of academic progression in the workforce. Together, OADN and our members will continue to INFLUENCE to ensure the associate degree pathway remains a choice and valued entry point into the profession of registered nursing.
This Nurses Week I reflect on the countless patients, families, students, and fellow nurse educators who have influenced me throughout my career and helped to build my own professional identity. When representing OADN, I proudly share that I am OADN’s Chief Executive Officer, and quickly add, “I AM A NURSE.” I hope you all do the same, as it is critical that our fellow citizens understand our perspective and unique lived experience in the most trusted profession in our nation.
Wishing you all the very best as we celebrate this remarkable and valued profession.
Happy Nurses Week!
Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN