President's Message; Volume 19, Issue 1

A New Year – What Will Your Fingerprint Be?


NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (Jan-Feb 2012)

Amy Cotton It is hard to believe that a new year is upon us. In 2012, NGNA is committed to supporting your success in improving nursing care to older adults.  I am pleased to highlight a few resources for you.  NGNA has reinstated our listserv to assist your professional networking and communication needs.  

We will also be adding to our online CE education library the educational sessions from the 2011 convention that received high evaluations from attendees.  We continue to strengthen collaborations with many nursing and health organizations to bring current and relevant news to your practice and employment settings.  Our continued participation in the Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations gives gerontological nurses a strong voice in advocacy and health policy decision making on a national level.   

As I get ready for a new year, I reflect on my resolution from 2011 and ask myself what was my fingerprint on others’ lives in the past year? Like many of you, my resolution path was filled with detours and barriers.The crisis of the day at work, curve balls in fiscal cutbacks, health policy changes and disappointments in my personal and professional life. To top it all off, life had a general disregard for what was convenient for my schedule.  Can you relate?

A few things have helped me navigate during the last year.  I want to share the following tips in an effort to encourage you to make and keep your resolutions for 2012 and be more effective gerontological nurses.  

1.  You are in charge of your attitude: You can’t change other’s attitudes or responses but you have complete control of your thoughts, feelings and actions.  The next time negativism is creeping into your life, take control and choose an attitude that promotes wellness.     

2.  Take time to stop and smell the roses: Value what is good and right in your life.   It is so easy to take advantage of those “givens” in our lives - health, companionship, family, friends, meaningful work.  I literally have to stop and remind myself what is important on some of what I refer to as “days filled with opportunities to learn.”  I have never cared for a dying patient yet who has told me they wished they had worked more or been busier in their lives.  

3.  Take action: Changing the world starts one person at a time.  It takes knowledge and courage to act.  Seek wise counsel from trusted friends and colleagues.  Do your homework, develop a plan and, most of all, do something! Leave fingerprints that are larger than your life.  Don’t be discouraged if circumstances change and things don’t go exactly as planned.  Be bold and brave, evaluate, re-shape your plans and move on.

4.  Stick to the facts: Many times people will make up stories about what they have heard. While perception is one’s reality, I have learned that sometimes the stories I made up were not accurate at all!  Get clarity on the facts as soon as possible.   It helps one stay grounded in reality and not waste time or energy on things that are not real.

5.  Forgive Freely: One thing in life that is for sure, people will hurt us.  Don’t be held hostage to bitterness and hatred.  It will suck any energy, wellness and peace from your life.  If there is any one of these tips that I urge you to consider practicing in 2012, this is the one.  It is life changing!

I am privileged and honored to represent the finest nurses in the nation.  As you go about your daily lives in 2012, as gerontological nurse educators, practitioners, researchers, and community health advocates,  I thank you in advance for the tremendous impact you have on improving the lives of  our aging community members and their family caregivers.  Happy New Year!


President's Message; Volume 18, Issue 5

Reflections on Gerontological Nursing Passion and Purpose – Be Good To Yourself


NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (Nov-Dec 2011)

Amy Cotton It is quite fitting to be starting my term as President immediately following the 26th annual NGNA convention in Louisville. Unbridled Nursing Innovation and Care for Older Adults was our convention theme. A career filled with unbridled passion and a desire to change the world for older adults has surely paved the way for my service to NGNA. Over the years, I have met many of you who also questioned the status quo and forged ahead to improve nursing care for older adults across the country. I am delighted to be on this journey with you.

I want to thank the NGNA Convention Planning Committee for their work in planning such an outstanding national education event in Louisville. For those of you who missed convention, highlights include the first ever student poster session, facilitated by our NGNA Fellows. The energy these students brought to convention was palpable. Attendees were nourished with education and networking. Our kick-off session by gerontologist, Marilyn Gugliucci, Ph.D., challenged us all to re-think how “old” is defined. We were honored to have the President-elect of Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing, Suzanne Prevost RN, Ph.D., share best practices in improving end of life care. Other session highlights included evidence-based best practices in sexual health of the older woman, caregiver issues, injury prevention, improving transitions of care, cultural considerations and post-operative delirium, to name just a few.

Outstanding research was presented to bring practical application to the care of older adults. Health policy engagement and exploration of the impact on care of the older adult in light of the Institute of Medicine Report on the Future of Nursing report called us to action.

Dr. Meridean L. Mass, Ph.D., RN, recipient of the 2011 NGNA Lifetime Achievement Award, graced us with a wonderful fireside chat, sharing her experiences as a gerontological nurse, entrepreneur and nurse leader.

A special thank you to the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Home Campaign for providing information on the campaign tools and resources to improve nursing home quality performance, and NICHE, who provided education on implementing innovation in nursing care for the older adult, as well as a reception to honor Deirdre Doerflinger.

Regardless of your interest in practice, research, education or policy, there was something for everyone at this year’s national meeting. For those of you who couldn’t join us this year, mark your calendars for next year’s NGNA Annual Convention, October 4 – 7, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

I am pleased to report that November 7th and 8th brought national attention to NGNA, as a strategic partner for the World Leadership Congress Summit on Innovative Care Models for the Aging Population in Vienna, Virginia. Leaders from across the country convened to share innovative care models to improve transitions of care, strategies to improve health care outcomes for older adults and aging health policy issues to care for the nation’s increasing older population. NGNA was proud to be a partner in this event.

My first message is being delivered during the wonderful time of celebrations and holidays. I wish you peace, hope, health and happiness during this special time of year. Don’t forget to re-charge your batteries. Passion can be both exhausting and exhilarating. Take a breath as this year draws to a close and consider how you can be good to yourself while doing the important work of improving nursing care for older adults.

In closing, I am truly humbled to represent you, the nation’s experts in gerontological nursing. Over the next two years, you will hear me reference my professional credo “To Value Aging is to Improve Lives.” I thank each of you for the positive impact you are having every day on the lives of many, not just older adults, but family caregivers, your colleagues, future nurses and your community. It is an honor to serve you.



President's Podcast

President's Message; Volume 18, Issue 4

What’s New at NGNA, c. 2011

By: Susan Carlson, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, GNP-BC, FNGNA

NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (July-August 2011)

Susan Carlson As seasons go, summer flies by faster than most. Midyear often arrives with the disbelief that it is already time to think ahead toward the coming year. Graduations and other spring celebrations are over and there is barely time to catch a breath before the next set of deadlines is upon us. This is an excellent time to update NGNA members on our extraordinarily productive first half of 2011. Here is a summary of major accomplishments since January. Have a pen ready to jot down a few notes to read during your re-entry into professional life. I hope you are reading this message while sitting on a beach.

NGNA Marketing Plan: A considerable amount of time and resources have been invested in a comprehensive 1-2 year Marketing Plan that includes market research, relationship development, product development, and membership recruitment, retention, and reclamation. Already completed is the demographic survey sent to members in April, which will provide a picture of who we are, where we work, and what positions we hold. How many of our members are certified and in what specialty? What is our educational preparation? Soon to follow is the 2011 NGNA Membership Needs Assessment, designed by NGNA Staff, Board and the Evidence Based Education Committee. The survey has been reviewed by our Research Committee for format and design purposes and the needs assessment will be released later this summer. Members will have an opportunity to provide feedback on what type of products, education, and services are most valued and desired. Information from the needs assessment will help drive the organization’s priorities, so please complete and return the electronic survey when it arrives in your inbox.

We are also conducting market research on possible Annual Planned Giving options, to provide an ongoing philanthropic entity for NGNA. Individuals, groups, NGNA members and all who share our commitment to improving the nursing care provided to older adults will have an avenue to support our mission with a monetary gift. Contributions will support the highest quality experiences for NGNA members and fund programs for scholarships, research, committee activities, leadership development and education. Participation is what matters most – giving is an act of commitment to our future and all contributions count.

Relationship Development: Since January, NGNA has strengthened our communication and alliances with several organizations that share complimentary goals and objectives. NGNA and Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) continue to collaborate on education efforts that increase the number of nurses successfully achieving ANCC certification in gerontological nursing. Both organizations endorse, support, and promote professional certification as an evidence-based strategy linked to improved clinical outcomes.

In April, NGNA entered into a Collaborative Agreement with the Alliance for Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Nursing to further strengthen the value of membership in our respective organizations. Together, NGNA and Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing collaborated on a matching research grant for gerontological nursing research. The agreement includes an annual award of $5,000 for the next four years with the first funding starting on November 1, 2011. Thanks to the tremendous vision and leadership from the Minnesota Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, nursing students interested in pursuing geriatric nursing are now members in NGNA. Read the complete story in this issue of SIGN.

Another very exciting development comes from the Midwest where over a hundred RNs working in long term care, all of whom have participated in the two year program called the Geriatric Nurse Leadership Academy, are actively working with the NGNA Board of Directors to create an ongoing relationship that includes membership, mentoring, and the development of a Long Term Care Special Interest Group. Stay tuned for many more good things ahead.

Product Development: In June, the inaugural Podcast of the President’s Message was completed and launched on our NGNA website, providing another method of communicating to any visitor or member. We also taped our online version of the one-hour continuing education program, “Advancing NGNA Committee Leadership: Tools for Achieving Outcomes,” soon available on our website at no charge for NGNA members. Over 40 participants attended our live webinar on the same topic in December and January. Our Facebook account has been created and we look forward to discussing events and updates with students, faculty, clinicians, educators, researchers and the like. A Media Kit is currently under development for our website for all potential vendors, members, institutions, and corporations to learn about our story, mission, and activities. We continue to critically analyze our website and look for additional enhancements of value to our members and website visitors.

And finally, a dynamic 2011 NGNA Annual Convention, appropriately titled “Unbridled Nursing Innovation and Care for Older Adults” is just around the corner! Make plans to join us in Louisville, October 13-16 and you will see that we have something for everyone. This convention has even more diverse preconference sessions sponsored by the NGNA Fellows (student – faculty focused); the Gerontological Advance Practice Special Interest Group (medication management); the Chapter Resource Committee (structure and governance); and the annual two-day Certification Preparation Course taught by faculty Deborah M. Conley. NGNA is pleased to announce that this year’s convention will include a presentation and reception hosted by NICHE on Saturday afternoon for all to attend following our committee meetings. We look forward to hearing speaker and last year’s recipient of the 2010 NGNA APN Excellence in Gerontological Nursing award, Deirdre Carolan Doerflinger.

I could go on and on because, as the saying goes, “Don’t get me started!” However, realizing that there’s a good chance that many of you might actually be lying on a beach somewhere enjoying your summer vacation, I will stop. For your reading pleasure, pick up a copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book, Gift from the Sea, and enjoy her message of patience, patience, patience.

With Gratitude,