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Message from the President of OADN, November 2018

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Dear OADN Members,

I am writing to you for the last time as the President of OADN; a very bittersweet moment for me. While it has been a time-consuming and often demanding role, it has also been challenging, fun, interesting and one of the highlights of my professional career.

I thought I would share some lessons learned over the past few years, for this has been a significant learning opportunity for me! I touched on some of this in my last column for Teaching and Learning in Nursing, but I thought I would take the opportunity to reflect more personally on a few lessons learned that were particularly applicable.

Say ‘yes’. Say yes to opportunities; yes to speaking up to answer a question; and yes to trying something new. If I had not said ‘yes’ I would never have had the wonderful journey in OADN that I have been privileged to have. It can be intimidating and difficult to say ‘yes’, but it is often worth the risk. I encourage you to say ‘yes’ to becoming or staying involved with OADN-we have made great strides related to associate degree nursing education, because many individuals have said ‘yes’ and made our voice stronger.

You know more than you think you do. Many ‘experts’ who speak about nursing, health care and education, do not have the knowledge that you all possess. So, be brave and speak up. Answer questions. Share your experiences. The discussion will be richer and more worthwhile with your input than without it. I will confess, this is often difficult for me, but so often when I have contributed, the rewards have far outweighed the discomfort and risk. Because many of us have spoken up and continue to speak up, associate degree nursing education remains a strong force in nursing, education and health care. Join the movement and continue to speak up on behalf of the great work you do.

Take care of yourself and those around you. Such a simple sentence and often so hard to do. While many nurses find it easy to care for others and do so successfully, many do not take care of themselves. The old saying ‘Physician heal thyself’, should be adapted to ‘Nurse heal thyself’. The origin of the statement indicates that individuals should attend to one's own faults, in preference to pointing out the faults of others. So when we tend to other’s health issues, we should also be sure to attend to our own health and well-being! Our physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological health are vital to not only our personal well-being but also the health and well-being of our students, patients, family and friends.

I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to advocate for my associate degree colleagues and I thank you all for your contributions and support. My passion, dedication, and advocacy for associate degree education will not end with the expiration of my term as President. I will remain vigilant, active and committed to telling the story of the amazing work that we do. Thank you all, and see you at our convention!

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Christy Dryer, DNP, RN, CNE

President, Organization for Associate Degree Nursing