“Nurses are doing such interesting and important work.”
A big part of what we do at AJN is seek out the latest information and compelling stories to bring to readers each month. That often means a lot of traveling. While sometimes it does get a bit much (conferences are mostly clustered in the spring and the fall), I’ve come to enjoy traveling—nurses are doing such interesting and important work!
Here’s a recap of some recent travels:
- At the October biennial meeting of the Council for the Advancement of Nursing
Science (CANS), researchers also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). There’s a full report in the upcoming December issue of AJN, but among the highlights was Thomas LaVeist’s keynote on examining disparities in research. An engaging speaker, he brought his points home with vivid examples of how social status can determine health and well-being—for example, Titanic passengers in third class were 16 times more likely to die than those in first class because of life boat availability. There was also a well-attended session on funding opportunities (both of these presentations are available on the CANS Web site). Of note among the awards given: Barbara Given received the Outstanding Nurse Scientist award for her body of research spanning 30 years. And of course there were poster sessions from new researchers.
At the NINR special symposium just prior to the CANS meeting, Patricia Grady, director of the NINR, pointed to the many successes and contributions of NINR-funded researchers over the years. She also announced the agency’s new strategic plan, which focuses on “symptom science, wellness, self-management, and end-of-life and palliative care.”
At the CDC: Locus of Multiple Public Health Efforts
- I also visited with nurses at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) in Atlanta to talk about disseminating the good work they do. Approximately 200 nurses work there in the various agencies and are involved in everything from driving safety to cardiac disease and STD prevention to setting up Zika virus surveillance and responding to disasters. CDR Shauna Mettee Zarecki, of the Division of Emergency Operations, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, took me on a tour of the response center—the control room equipped with rows of personnel and computers to track outbreaks and response efforts and provide instant access to information to those in the field. Impressive!
The Economics of Health Care
- The annual meeting of the American Academy of Nursing was focused on the economics of health care as it relates to policy, practice, and leadership. Over 1,000 attended the policy dialogue sessions. The one on Registered Nurses: Partners in Transforming Primary Care was standing room only. This session showcased the Academy’s work with the Macy Foundation to highlight the value that nurses bring to primary care teams. You can read more on this in a Macy Foundation report. The Academy also celebrated five nursing notables named as Living Legends: Linda Burnes Bolton (a member of AJN’s editorial board), Ann Wolbert Burgess, Colleen Conway-Welch, Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, and Martha N. Hill. Three outstanding nurse innovators were named as “edge-runners”—they join an impressive list of nurses who have created new models and methods to improve care. (We’ve told many of their stories in our monthly Profiles column in AJN.)
Why Go to Meetings and Conferences?
Many nurses say they don’t have the time to go to meetings. I get that—but if at all possible, I urge all nurses to try to get to an occasional national or state meeting. Aside from learning new information for practice or professional development, it’s a great way to connect with colleagues and reinvigorate a sense of professional identity.
And at AJN, we welcome news and information. We can’t be at every meeting, so send along news about innovative practice and information about colleagues who are doing creative programs. You can contact me most easily via this blog’s contact page. I’d love to hear from you!