Dear OADN Members:
Thank you to everyone who attended the highly successful OADN 2019 convention! A special note of gratitude to those of you who added your expertise and innovation through podium and poster presentations. If you were not able to join this year’s convention, I hope that you will reach out to a colleague who was there to hear firsthand about the rich learnings, new opportunities, and fun that was had. As we often say in collective voice, “We Are OADN.” This sentiment was palpable during the entire event where over 500 change agents joined to demonstrate how they are each advancing our shared vision and mission in their communities.
The main convention kicked off with a keynote by Dr. Tony Breitbach and Dr. Kathy Eliot emphasizing the importance of interprofessional (IP) collaboration. Through video, they shared the importance of healthcare teams working together and emphasized IP by sharing the story of a young boy who at the age of 15 was injured in an accident and as a result was paralyzed. The story visibly touched the hearts of the audience, and the audience was by taken by surprise as the remarkable Cougar Clifford, now 23, appeared in his wheelchair accompanied by his remarkable mother. All 500 individuals in the room rose to their feet with applause and tears. It was an incredible moment! Cougar and his mom, Colleen shared their powerful story about his journey. It truly touched our hearts, reminding us again of the fragility of life and the important role nurses play with their patients. Cougar and Colleen have had many struggles and traveling to the OADN convention was no different. While driving from Atlanta, their wheelchair accessible van broke down in Tennessee, and they journeyed the rest of the way to Louisville on a public bus lacking wheelchair access. It was suggested that we “pass the hat” to assist them in repairing the van. I am pleased to say that the OADN attendees raised over $3500.00 in three short hours. For all who donated, thank you for your generosity and for helping this remarkable young man. Thank you, Cougar for being our hero and starting the convention with such an inspirational story.
Although this was a remarkable and emotional start, the other general sessions did not disappoint! Dr. Gerry Altmiller once again provided her QSEN expertise focusing on the integration of QSEN competencies in clinical education and evaluation, adding her characteristic humor to the presentation. Internationally recognized simulation expert, Dr. KT Waxman delivered updates on simulation and useful examples on the integration of low fidelity simulation. On Sunday morning, there was a full ballroom to hear Dr. Phil Dickison on the Next Generation NCLEX. Phil is always energetic in his delivery to provide valuable and up to date information. He emphasized again that the Next Gen will not happen until 2023 and approximately 20% of the test will have the newly developed items. He also shared that over 307,000 new graduates have taken the new items during the research testing phase. Dr. Tim Bristol and Dr. Karrin Sherill followed with practical application for the Next Gen, highlighting that the clinical judgment model that supports the Next Gen must begin in programs today.
Every aspect of the convention delivered creative solutions as we move forward and continue to innovate in nursing education. The event concluded with Dr. Kenya Beard, Dean of Nassau Community College, who provided us with poignant stories of patients and how important the role of the nurse is in our healthcare system. She stressed each of us must lead to make the largest and most trusted profession the most united and powerful.
Personally, it was exhilarating to talk with so many of you as you shared your stories about your remarkable programs. This is the part of the convention that I enjoy most as each of you provides me with the affirmation on the importance and value of ADN education. This pathway is imperative for the healthcare system and together, as OADN, we will continue to advocate for these essential programs. I am hoping to see many of you next year for the OADN 2020 convention with the theme of Vision 2020: ADN Educators Leading the Way when we meet in Indianapolis on November 6 – 8 at the JW Marriott.
I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. May we all be grateful for our many blessings and I encourage you to give an extra hug or smile to those we cherish. Finally, be thankful for being a nurse as we provide compassion and healing in a time when family and patients are most vulnerable. Thank you, Cougar, for reminding us of the importance of a nurse in a patient’s life.
Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN