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President's Message: "I Am A Nurse"

By Mary Rita Hurley, RN, MPA, FNGNA

I am hopeful this month that our East coast members and colleagues have survived the Polar Vortex. I was receiving text messages at the height of the blizzards letting me know that once again the bag was packed and they were sleeping in their respective institutions. My initial reaction was, “I remember those times I spent all night, as well.” But, those experiences brought back that sense of pride and camaraderie for our profession. We consistently stay calm, assess the immediate situation, assist in the creation of the plan, implement it, and then evaluate the outcomes with our peers. Sounds like the nursing process! This skill set should not be taken lightly. Our education and clinical practice has honed these skills. We need to own who we are and what we bring to every environment we inhabit. Our skills can be transferred to any setting, especially in everyday life.
 
We need to identify ourselves as nurses within our communities, churches, professional organizations, and yes, even on a plane! We consistently have unique opportunities to communicate to the public that we serve, what it is we actually do.
 
There is no better time for us to identify ourselves than right now.   The Affordable Care Act (ACA) deadline for choosing a plan is March 2014.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, and HRSA Administrator, Dr. Mary Wakefield, participated in a call in January. One topic of discussion was the important work that nurses are doing in order to help their communities better understand the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace outreach and enrollment. Secretary Sebelius and Dr. Wakefield both began their presentations by thanking nurses all across the country for the work they extend to their patients and families. They recognize the high value ofnurses and have experienced the important work that nurses do in their communities through education about healthcare. Nurses are demonstrating their impact by developing Outreach programs in Philadelphia and having members of their communities show their ‘new’ insurance cards. Psych/Mental Health nurses are assisting uninsured individuals to obtain the insurance they need. This promotes a decrease in long deferred medical attention. Another nurse works with the Health Department in her state as a Certified Marketplace Navigator. She works closely with her state’s nursing association presenting webinars to nurses – giving them the information they need to educate their communities. A nurse in the southwest is helping people in her state with the bilingual education information.
 
My dear colleagues, we are helping to shape the IOM’s new model of care. We know our patients, residents, clients, and families better than anyone. We are the 24/7 healthcare professionals.  The time is now - to inform the country that we are researchers, educators and highly trained clinicians. Yes, we are compassionate and caring but it is the science of what we do that makes us who we are. No matter where you are, please be proud when you say, “ I am a Nurse.”
 
All the best,
 
Mary Rita Hurley, RN, MPA, FNGNA
President

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President's Message

By Mary Rita Hurley, RN, MPA, FNGNA

Hello NGNA Members,

I am Mary Rita Hurley, your new NGNA Board President for 2013-2015. It is an honor to be leading our esteemed Board of Directors as we represent you on behalf of NGNA. Serving and giving back to the profession that has given so much to me over these past 34 years is one way I can use my voice. How are you using yours? It is so important for us to identify ourselves as nurses in every setting we practice because we are the patient, resident, and client advocates. We walk the talk every day in our role(s) in our practice settings. We are an amazing force of three million strong in the country. Can you even imagine what we could do if we harnessed our energy into one collective voice? I can. We would see older adults treated with consistent dignity and respect. Quality of life discussions would be the norm. Care providers would be acknowledged and applauded for the care and compassion they demonstrate day in and day out. This is not a dream but a reality in many places. We at NGNA are striving to make this the default all over the country. We do this by being involved locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Check out our website and the resources offered there, attend Gero specific conferences, write a letter to Congress addressing your concerns and offer a solution, and volunteer with us or other professional organizations that speak to your heart. We know you are all busy and have trouble finding a spare minute, however, if you stop for just a second and listen you will find you have more to say than you know.

I have been a member of NGNA for many years for one simple reason: I belong here. Why? Because this organization is the only Gero nursing practice organization in the country. We are the only ones that have our LPN and CNA colleagues included in the ranks. We are inclusive. Given the state of our healthcare system and the ever changing landscape, it is important to “rally the troops” and keep our focus steady: quality care of older adults. It’s what you and I do every day. Our 28th annual conference in Clearwater, Florida last month really brought this to light. An energetic gathering of 200 + likeminded Gero nurses came together to share their stories, best practices and collaborative spirits. It was wonderful to reconnect with dear friends and colleagues but I especially loved the students that attended. We had more this year than in our history! Their optimism, positive energy, and natural curiosity got me all excited about being a nurse again. These are very bright and talented young people. I am so glad they chose to affiliate with NGNA. We were inspired by our keynote speakers, shed a few tears, and laughed so hard – we had to catch our breath. That is what I love about NGNA, you can be you and be renewed and refreshed in 2 short days. Priceless!

Enjoy the upcoming holiday season and feel free to contact me or any of the Board with your ideas and suggestions. And, remember your voice is powerful. Use it!

All the best,

Mary Rita Hurley, RN, MPA, FNGNA
President

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President's Message: A Leader Says Thank You

By Amy Cotton MSN, GNP-BC, FNP-BC, FNGNA, FAAN

NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (Sept-Oct 2013)

Amy Cotton I am grateful.  How quickly the last two years have flown by.  As I think about the highlights of my NGNA Presidency, I am struck how much you, NGNA members, have influenced, encouraged and inspired me and I want to say “Thank You.” 
 
We have accomplished so much.  Strengthening partnerships, developing new collaborations and creating new member resources as a result of these relationships just to name a few.  Your Board leaders have boldly forged ahead with implementing strategies to support our mission, to improve nursing care for older adults.
 
I am excited as Mary Rita Hurley assumes NGNA’s presidency in October at our 2013 Annual Convention.  As the Executive Director for the Oregon Center for Nursing, she brings to NGNA  leadership expertise, expert knowledge of gerontological nursing and older adult health issues, strong skills in partnership cultivation as well as a genuine passion to improve nursing care for older adults.  With her leadership, and our outstanding Board of Directors and national office team, we are in good hands. 
 
It has been a privilege and honor to serve you.  I encourage each of you to continue to influence and improve older adult nursing care in whatever roles you have the opportunity to do so.  I shared with you my credo in an early President's message:  To value aging is to improve lives, not just the lives of older adults but their loved ones and those who work passionately to care for them.  
 
You have all improved my life and I thank you for the phenomenal work you do in gerontological nursing. I'll miss talking to you every few months.  Be good to yourselves and your nursing colleagues.  See you at convention!
 
Warmest regards and blessings to you,
Amy
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President's Message: A Clear Picture Ahead Matters

By Amy Cotton MSN, GNP-BC, FNP-BC, FNGNA, FAAN

NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (July-August 2013)

Amy Cotton I recently had an opportunity to learn that replacing the wiper blades on my car certainly makes it easier to see the road ahead. I’m sure some of you can relate. You switch on the windshield wipers only to find that they don’t seem to be clearing the water like they used to, the road is a blur and your heart is racing because you truly can’t see where you are going.

Advances in science, rapidly shifting regulations and reimbursement and changing expectations of gerontological nurses in all settings are appearing at every turn. Having a clear view ahead adds to peace of mind. NGNA members can take advantage of many resources to keep a clear view of the road ahead.

Our growing e-Learning Library now includes options for the NGNA/Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing monthly webinars. These are a great way to get discounted continuing education credits and hear from national experts on evidence-based practice in gerontological nursing. If you miss the live, interactive webinar programs, no worries. The programs are archived for on-demand access. There are also no cost e-Learning courses on our website. Our journal, Geriatric Nursing continues to be packed with quality evidence to guide nursing practice.

And of course, our 2013 Annual Convention is quickly approaching, October 3-5, 2013 at the Hilton Clearwater Beach in Florida. This year’s theme A Clear Vision of Care for the Older Adult is guiding an exciting and dynamic program to equip nurse educators, researchers, administrators and clinicians with the latest knowledge to be more effective in our roles.

It takes time to fill up the passion meter and stay on top of the latest best practices in gerontological nursing care. I encourage you to give your view of gerontological nursing a tune-up. Take advantage of opportunities to access resources and network with your peers at NGNA!

Warm regards,

Amy