Dear OADN Members:
As I write this message to you, I am hoping I will be seeing many of you very soon at the national convention. I am looking forward to seeing the convention attendees as this is a highlight of my year in the role of CEO. It is exhilarating for me to see new faces and be able to share OADN’s national and international work, as well as seeing long-time supporters. This will be another exciting conference with new features and information to continue in supporting all of the amazing work you do as nurse educators. The networking that occurs is another major benefit of the convention. I am quite sure you will not be disappointed as we celebrate our 30th anniversary! Please come up and introduce yourself as it is a great privilege to meet each of you.
I want to take this opportunity to share about my recent travel to Geneva, Switzerland with 22 other healthcare professionals from the United States. Meetings occurred at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN), International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Council of Nurses (ICN). This is an experience I will never forget and still today I need to pinch myself to think about the places I traveled to and the individuals I met. I can only provide a brief synopsis but I hope it may be a small glimpse into this amazing experience. At the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, we had the distinct honor to meet with Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, discussing the role of the organization. It was a presentation that left one speechless as you heard about the work of this global organization in destitute and war torn areas. Shortly after the meeting, we traveled to the UN. For me there was something that brought chills as I stood looking at the flags of the 193 nations represented in the UN. It caused me to reflect on the many societies that encapsulate our world and how we are very much interconnected.
The next day brought us to the International Committee of the Red Cross. I think the most significant discussion of the entire day was the danger to the health care workers around the world. There is a major initiative to bring attention to this crisis, “Violence Against Health Care Must End, It’s a Matter of Life and Death.” The World Health Organization was the next site and again was one of those experiences that brought the reality of the enormity of their work into a distinct focus. Two remarkable discussions included their grave concern about the shortage of the global healthcare workforce. This shortage is having a profound impact on the healthcare of so many in remote as well urban areas of the world. The second discussion was about emerging infectious diseases and how it is decided when a disease is a public health emergency was fascinating. Our time in Geneva concluded with a meeting to the International Council of Nurses, which was a visit I had anticipated for a long time. For me, visiting the International Council of Nurses was a highlight for my professional career as a nurse. The visit did not disappoint! We had a dialogue with CEO Dr. Francis Hughes who was very welcoming. She discussed the ICN’s strategic intent to enhance the health of individuals, populations, and societies by: championing the contribution and image of nurses worldwide, advocating for nurses at all levels, advancing the nursing profession, and influencing health, social, economic, and education policy. Visiting ICN was an extraordinary way to bring the trip to closure. I think the entire experience impressed upon me again the impact the nursing profession can have on healthcare not only in the United States, but in the entire global world. Our influence has the potential to be powerful but our voice must be heard by being strategic leaders, innovative, and having the passion to champion nursing here and abroad for an improved healthcare system. It truly was an honor to represent OADN and the United States on a remarkable journey.
Unfortunately, the trip began on a very sad note. Dr. Sue Hassmiller, Senior Adviser for Nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation whose passion made the trip possible was confronted with an extremely tragic situation. Sue along with her husband, Bob had planned to make this the “trip of a life time” as Sue described it. Two days prior to our departure, Bob was in a cycling accident and within a week passed away from his injuries. Many of you will remember Sue from last year’s convention when she was inducted as the first honorary inductee to the Academy for Associate Degree Nursing. Sue is a visionary thought leader and it has been an honor to work with her. As an associate degree graduate, she has continued to support OADN ensuring we are included in many national activities, including being the associate degree representative on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Academic Progression in Nursing Advisory Committee. Please keep Sue and her family in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. Sue had requested we make the trip, have fun, and make it memorable. Thank you, Sue for this experience and memory that I will always cherish knowing your passion made this trip happen! As nurses we have often been involved in the type of situation described above. I think this again reminds us of the fragility of life, the importance of living each day, having a passion and living it!
Thank you for being a nurse with a passion,
Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF