Dear OADN Members:
First let me be one of the first to wish you a Happy Nurses Week and applaud you for all you do for the nursing profession, especially when educating the future nursing workforce. This year’s tagline, 4 Million Reasons to Celebrate emphasizes the magnitude of nursing and its impact on individual’s lives. Each of you demonstrates daily the importance of caring and compassion for others and influence the life of a future nurse. Never forget that one simple word of encouragement to a student can be forever life-changing.
As I write the words “future nurse,” it provides me the opportunity to think about the launch of the new report, “The Future of Nursing 2020 -2030.” When we hear about another report, I think for some it brings up a feeling of uncertainty. In 2011, when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, many associate degree nursing (ADN) programs felt threatened by some of the recommendations. This time is different because as ADN programs we were present at the beginning of this new report. I had the honor to represent OADN and provide testimony to the Future of Nursing 2020-30 Committee on March 20 emphasizing the important role of ADN programs. This new consensus study will focus on charting a path for the nursing profession to help our nation create a culture of health. Some of the key points that directly relate to OADN are:
- The role of nurses in improving health by addressing social determinants of health of communities
- The importance of all levels of nurses across the care continuum to address the challenges of building a culture of health
- The importance of a nursing workforce that is diverse, including gender, race, and ethnicity
- The education and training to prepare nurses to work outside of the acute care setting
In many ways, ADN programs are prime exemplars of addressing the social determinants of health in a community and development of health competencies. ADN programs exist in a wide variety of geographic areas across the United States and provide an important portal for diverse students. As the committee begins to chart a path for this work, it is imperative to collaborate with and leverage the role of our nation’s ADN programs in addressing the social determinants of health and healthcare access.
This new report is an exciting opportunity for all of us. Historically, I think we often used defensive measures as we believed our programs were endangered, but why? Our programs are quality and we must share this message in a positive approach demonstrating the value of our programs. Providing clear examples of how our communities would not have access to health care, we understand the social determinants of our communities, and are preparing the next generation workforce for the non-acute care setting. ADN programs continue to prepare over 50% of the nursing workforce. Where would that 4 million number be without ADN programs as a pathway? But more importantly, where would the healthcare access be for the communities across our country? I urge everyone to be bold, proud, and emphasize the ADN significance in a confident approach with exemplars that demonstrate our unparalleled excellence.
Finally, I encourage everyone to review the OADN Foundation information pertaining to the 2019 scholarships and awards https://www.oadn.org/about-us/oadn-foundation. This support provides wonderful opportunities for our members and students that are pursuing their education. It is important to honor those who are doing such great work. I encourage each of you to review the awards that are available. Additionally, it is my extreme pleasure that I announce the Foundation research grant award has been increased from $1000.00 to $5000.00. The Foundation supports the endeavors of those of you pursuing advanced degrees as well as completing research. This is an exceptional opportunity and I hope to hear that there are many applicants for this prestigious research grant.
Thank you again for all you do for the nursing profession and the next generation of nurses!
Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN