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President's Message; Volume 18, Issue 5

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

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

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.