President's Message; Volume 19, Issue 2

Partnerships Help Achieve Purpose


NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (March-April 2012)

Amy Cotton Spring has arrived.  For those of us in the northern latitudes, it comes not a moment too soon!  It seems a good time of year to share a few thoughts with you about partnerships and renewal.  NGNA has an overarching purpose to improve nursing care for older adults.  How does our organization strive to do this, and equally important, how do you strive to do this?   
One key strategy NGNA has to achieve our purpose is partnership.  Our partnership with the Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations (CGNO), which includes the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, The American Assisted Living Nurses Association, The American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panel on Aging,  the National Association of Directors of Nursing in Long  Term Care, Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association and American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination, is a good example.   As part of the CGNO, the voices of more than 28,000 nurses are leveraged to promote a health care environment for older adults that reflects accessibility, evidence-based practice and high quality, person centered care. 

Who do you partner with to improve nursing care for older adults?  Notice I asked about your partnerships to improve nursing care for older adults.   I recently did an inventory of all the groups I was involved with, listing their mission, the time commitment and the organization’s impact on improving nursing care for older adults.  It was an eye opener for me.  While all were very worthwhile and focused on older adults in some way, only a few directly linked to my purpose to serve gerontological nurses and improve nursing care for older adults.  Guess what I did?  I stepped away from some of these groups.  It was difficult to do but freeing at the same time.  I was able to recommit to partnerships that provide strong networking and peer support as well as resources to renew my purpose and inform my practice.

I encourage you to re-evaluate your partnerships this Spring.  It is my wish that NGNA is a strong partner for you as you achieve your goals, supporting you with education, peer networking and resources. 

I wish you peace, health and best wishes for a wonderful Spring!


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