CONVENTION 2015: The Bridge to Nursing’s Future proved to be an exhilarating, engaging, and exciting time for OADN. For those of you present, I hope you enjoyed the convention and felt rejuvenated as you returned to your respective programs. One of the highlights for me is seeing all of you at the convention. For some, our paths have crossed many times and for others it was a new introduction. But whatever the case it was so wonderful to connect. I know for some attending the convention was not an option for a variety of reasons. During this time of financial uncertainty and the lack of available professional development funds, it is truly understandable that some could not attend. I hope you can plan for 2016 Convention in Dallas, Texas November 4 -6.
I thought I would take this opportunity to recap some of the highlights of the convention. First, OADN has a new logo which was unveiled at the opening ceremony. The OADN Board of Directors believed a new and refreshed look was essential as we move forward in our strategic direction. Related to the new logo is also the website that has been launched and hopefully you are reading this message from that new site. We welcome comments and feedback as this is your organization’s website and the OADN Board wants it to be useful to you.
The moving keynote address by Carolyn Jones from the American Nurse Project left all in attendance with a feeling of admiration for Carolyn and proud to hear our story told. I would encourage all of you to purchase the DVD and use it in your classes or share it with your family so others can understand our life’s work. Carolyn’s presentation was both humorous and heart-felt, and I think everyone in the room could not help but feel proud to have chosen our profession. If you need more information, please refer to the website, www.AmericanNurseProject.org.
The plenary session on academic progression provided an introductory overview of the work of the Center to Champion Nursing on the Future of Nursing. Dr. Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN,FAAN Senior Nursing Advisor Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She provided an update on the Campaign, but specifically focused on academic progression and the value of associate degree nursing programs. Dr. Hassmiller’s presentation was followed by a distinguished panel representing models of academic progression across the country that stimulated discussion on innovative ways to assist associate degree graduates as they pursue further education.
A new exciting announcement initiative of OADN was announced at the convention, the Academy of Associate Degree Nursing (AADN). AADN was formed to recognize associate degree nursing educators, and others committed to associate degree nursing education, who model exemplary dedication nursing education and practice. Associate degree nursing educators are historically responsible for the first nursing education experience of half of the nursing workforce, and set the example for compassionate and exemplary nursing practice, while establishing the expectation that associate degree nursing graduates continue their education, often becoming the nursing leaders of tomorrow.
The AADN program has been established to recognize the work of outstanding associate degree nursing educators or supporters, and their remarkable contributions as role models for students and other faculty colleagues. There are two categories of members: academy member and honorary academy member. The inaugural honorary inductee was Dr. Susan Hassmiller. Dr. Hassmiller is an associate degree graduate of Broward College in Florida and has been a strong supporter of associate degree nursing, while stressing the importance of associate degree graduates having the opportunity to continue their education in a seamless progression. More information on the AADN is on the OADN website.
The plenary session presented by Tina Rayfield, “A Call to Arms: Why Aren’t We Passing NCLEX?” was an excellent example of an educational session that provided extremely enlightening information on a topic that is always of interest. This session was like all of the concurrent sessions, providing up to date information on a variety of topics.
I also want to thank Dr. Nancy Spector, Director of Innovation and Regulation from the National Council of State Board of Nursing (NCSBN,) who provided an update to all attendees at the Town Hall Meeting. This information is so important for everyone to hear and we appreciate Dr. Spector giving of her time to attend the OADN conference and sharing this information.
The posters presented were exceptional and I encourage the presenters to consider writing an article for OADN’s official journal, Teaching and Learning in Nursing. I would like to extend a very special thank you and recognition to the exhibitors and sponsors for their support of OADN, who assisted in making our convention a huge success. President Pat Smart challenged our host state of Texas next year to have the most attendees ever at an OADN convention. This will be the 30th Anniversary of OADN and we plan a major celebration because after all everything “is big in Texas!”
On a personal note, I took pleasure in meeting and interacting with so many of you. On a daily basis I am reminded how honored and privileged I am to represent OADN and all of you. I realize the end of the semester can be very stressful, so take some time and remember the impact you are making on the next generation of nurses and our profession.