OADN Voices: November Leadership Message from Public Board Member Matthew Morris

November 8, 2023

Entering A Season of Fellowship and Gratitude

Dear OADN Members,

As we enter November, our thoughts naturally turn to the upcoming winter holiday season. It is a time when we gather together with our families, friends and colleagues to share gifts, meals, fellowship, and to express our appreciation for our good fortune. As nurses, educators and leaders, we also embrace the opportunity to provide service to others during this time. We lead our families, educate students, mentor faculty, offer guidance during challenging moments, and provide safe havens for those in need.  We do all of this because of our unwavering commitment to nursing and our caring nature.

At OADN, we remain dedicated to our mission, serving as the national voice and a pivotal resource for community college nursing education programs and especially supporting you, the educators and leaders in academia.

In celebration of you, we will gather in San Diego this month to kick off a season of fellowship. We look forward to connecting with you, collectively exchanging the gifts of education, breaking bread, and embracing the convention theme, “Turning the Tide of Nursing Education,” together.

In a quintessentially American tradition, we will return home to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I am curious how many of us will be thankful for academic challenges, curriculum development, test question validation, an ever-changing academic culture, and a new, complex tech landscape in healthcare and education. I hope that many of you will be thankful, and that you gain new insights at the convention to help tackle these ongoing challenges.

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, allow me to take a moment to express my own story of gratitude. I am thankful that a young man from a poor, inner-city upbringing was accepted into an Associate Degree Nursing program. I am thankful that he was educated, coached and mentored by a collective of astute, caring and committed educators who generously gave their time and effort to support his dreams. I am thankful that whenever that young man had questions, there was always a faculty member ready to provide guidance and support. I am thankful that the team of educators witnessed that young man’s graduation, successful completion of board exams, and the beginning of his nursing career. They changed his life, and for that, I am profoundly thankful.

I am also grateful for the stories that have yet to be written of future caregivers searching for you, our trusted educators. Today, they may be frustrated employees wondering why they didn’t follow their dream of caring for others, single moms struggling to make ends meet, or high school students feeling lost in this world. They are looking for their story. They are searching for their own unique path. Their future will involve preserving the trust of the public, providing care in customary and novel settings, and improving the health of the current and next generation. They are hopeful to find you, to help change their lives, and they will be thankful for your guidance too. They will be thankful for how you’ve improved their families’ lives.

During this season of fellowship and gratitude, in the midst of the difficult and challenging work of another semester, please remember the extraordinary impact you have on me, your colleagues, your students, and those lives you will touch in the future. We are all thankful for you!

With appreciation for the educators that changed my life,

Matthew Morris, DNP, MS, RN, NEA-BC, CENP
Public Director, OADN Board