President's Message: Volume 19, Issue 5

Baltimore-Bound for a National Gerontological Nursing Week Celebration


NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (September-October 2012)

Amy Cotton It is an honor to recognize and celebrate the nation’s gerontological nurses during National Gerontological Nursing Week October 1 – 8, 2012. On behalf of NGNA’s Board of Directors and national office staff, I heartily express appreciation for your passion and commitment to excellence, and the difference you make in the lives of older adults and their family caregivers. I do hope you can join me at NGNA’s celebration during our 27th Annual Convention in Baltimore October 4 – 6, 2012.

I encourage all of you to remember your story of becoming a gerontological nurse. Early in my career on a med-surg hospital unit, I accidentally discovered my passion for older adults. I vividly recall scanning a shift patient assignment and having my heart light up when I saw their dates of birth were over 70. I had an innate burning desire to deliver excellent care to older patients and their family caregivers. Too many times to count I had patients, family members or others on the health care team tell me how different my nursing care delivery was from other nursing colleagues on my unit. This was what prompted me to obtain specialty certification as a gerontological nurse.

How do others recognize you as a gerontological nurse? Is it your passion, expert knowledge, or dogged determination to make things better for the elders to whom you provide care? The nation’s gerontological nurses are positioned to influence current and future health care delivery to older adults across this country. NGNA’s voice is strengthened as we join with the 7 gerontological-focused organizations in the Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations to influence policy and practice. With the Affordable Care Act transforming health care delivery, gerontological nurses are an integral part of the solution to re-invent a system of care that needs to change.

Thank you for all you do to improve the quality of nursing care delivered to older adults. Don’t ever stop….we need you now more than ever. Happy Gerontological Nursing Week!

Best Regards,


President's Message: Volume 19, Issue 4

The Power of Perspective


NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (July-August 2012)

Amy Cotton Summer is finally here, and many of us will be taking a break over the next few months to recharge and gain new perspective. Changing perspective is a vital tool for each of us to be effective in improving and ensuring quality of nursing care for today and tomorrow’s aging population.

Gaining fresh perspective requires listening and hearing others’ voices. This can be a tough one, especially if the voices are loud, diverse and unfamiliar. This skill requires putting self aside to view an issue from another’s lens. I am encouraged as I read your NGNA list serve posts. I hear tough realities and issues discussed with passion, pride, empathy, networking, encouragement, and perhaps most importantly, civil communication. Civility in how we connect with each other is a foundation for NGNA’s continued impact and strength moving forward.

Gaining new perspective requires letting go of the safety and familiarity of what we know and considering a new path. There is no doubt that change is easier for some than others. I firmly believe the reason for this is one’s perspective. As NGNA President, I frequently participate in robust discussions with various nursing and health care stakeholders about the serious issues today facing our nation’s gerontological nurses and older adults. I recently heard a simple tip that has given me inspiration and energy for these difficult conversations. Instead of saying HOW BIG THAT MOUNTAIN IS you face , how about telling that mountain HOW BIG YOU ARE? What a great tool to empower each of us as we navigate the changing health care delivery system and continue to strategize to meet the health care needs of an aging population.

Think about gaining both fresh and new perspective in your daily lives. Taking a break is a great way to start down this path. I wish you all a relaxing and rejuvenating summer. I also hope to see you all at NGNA’s Annual Convention in Baltimore, October 4 – 6, as the nation’s gerontological nurses continue to change the world for older adult health care!

Warm Regards,


President's Message; Volume 19, Issue 3

Celebrating Older Americans


Amy Cotton Each year, the month of May is designated as Older Americans Month, a perfect time to celebrate the lives of our eldest community members. It provides a great opportunity for gerontological nurses to recognize the contributions and influence that this growing population has had on our country.

The heart of NGNA’s purpose is to improve nursing care given to older adults. Gerontological nurses stand apart from other nursing specialties, because we value aging and recognize the importance of the individual as we care for aging community members.

I am excited to share the news that NGNA has joined with 3.1 million other nursing professionals to support Joining Forces, which is a comprehensive initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama. Joining Forces is a nationwide effort to mobilize all sectors of the community for service members and their families, specifically supporting their employment, education and wellness opportunities. We have committed to increasing the body of knowledge leading to improved health care and wellness for service members, veterans and their families. As Americans continue to live longer, we know the numbers of aging veterans will grow. Nurses need state-of–the-art education to understand the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for current service members, veterans and their families.

To that end, NGNA continues our commitment to grow our online member education resources with the addition of The Advancing Excellence Campaign Webinar, which is hosted by national leaders, showcasing the resources and tools gerontological nurses have available in long term care to improve quality and clinical outcomes.

NGNA’s board of directors, committee leaders and members, special interest groups and Fellows are working diligently to take action to improve the health care older adults are receiving. On behalf of your Board of Directors, I thank each of you for the work you do to honor the lives of older Americans and to ensure that quality nursing is delivered to those who need it.

I wish you peace, health and happiness.

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!