Rounds With Leadership: With Appreciation

Published February 28, 2018

Welcome to Rounds with Leadership, a new forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.

February 28, 2018 - 

With Appreciation
By AACN Board Chair Juliann Sebastian

This common ending to a letter expresses my thoughts as I prepare to hand over the gavel at the conclusion of the Deans Annual Meeting to Dr. Ann Cary, University of Missouri Kansas City, who will begin her term as Chair of the AACN Board of Directors on March 26. I appreciate each of you – deans, directors, faculty, students, staff, clinical partners, and interprofessional colleagues – for the talent and vision you bring to academic nursing and all that means for the growth and improvement of nursing and its impact on the health of people worldwide. Whether it is through innovative academic-clinical partnerships, education at the baccalaureate and higher degree levels, lifelong learning, clinical and systems research, full scope clinical practice, policy work, or any of the innumerable ways nurses make a difference, I thank you.

Though I plan to share more formal thoughts during the upcoming March meeting, for now, I would like to thank the chairs and members of our five task forces for their stellar work. These groups were charged with addressing a number of high priority issues in academic nursing, including defining scholarship for the discipline, clarifying educational pathways, academic progression, the preferred vision for the professoriate, and AACN governance. Some of that work has been completed regarding membership votes, and other work is near completion. What that really means, of course, is that the real work is yet to begin with the implementation of the thoughts and recommendations of these groups. We are up to the task, you and I, and the future is bright!

I also want to thank so many of you who serve on committees, advisory councils, and in smallworkgroups. This organization currently engages over 500 deans, directors, faculty, clinicians, students, and interprofessional partners in various groups. Thank you for your service and most importantly for your leadership and vision! And a special thanks always to the AACN staff who work tirelessly and effectively to advance our mission and vision, within the framework of our values.

So what does all of this talent mean for the future? We will continue to work together to address today’s pressing health issues, as our population ages and the incidence of chronic disease continues to rise. As nursing care moves into the community and outside the walls of hospitals, we will work with our clinical partners as we re-envision how we prepare graduates to care for an increasingly diverse population, including addressing social determinants of health, and ensuring health equity. As nurse educators, scientists, and clinicians, we will maintain the highest quality standards in our programs, and expand our definitions of competence at various levels. Much more dialogue and strategic action are needed to begin “unfreezing” the issues that hold the profession back (e.g., barriers to scope of practice, need for greater diversity and inclusion, and the need for deeper interprofessional education and practice) and to remove obstacles that constantly plague academic nursing, such as the faculty shortage, insufficient clinical sites, and budget cuts. I know AACN is the right organization to lead these complicated conversations, which will take our collective wisdom to fully address as we forge ahead and appreciate all you are doing as we continue this wonderful work!