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Rounds with Leadership: Wishing You Good Health and Well-Being

Published December 22, 2021

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

December 22, 2021 - Wishing You Good Health and Well-Being

For nearly two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has put academic nursing leaders in crisis mode, requiring us to quickly respond to real and evolving challenges to the sustainability of our programs, to the health and well-being of our faculty and students, and to our own capacity to navigate this storm.  At times it may have felt overwhelming, yet we have not wavered from our responsibility to educate, mentor, inspire, and lead.

Oftentimes in moments of chaos and change, we do not take the time to care for ourselves. We focus on addressing today’s emergency and helping others through it.  We get lost in the mix. The fatigue, anxiety, and stress that many of us are feeling are real, and we truly must follow our own advice to be kind to ourselves.

Focusing on our own health and well-being is important to remaining effective and resilient. As leaders, we must model wellness behaviors if we are to effectively support and mentor others while focusing on the important work ahead.

In the midst of the pandemic, AACN’s members passed a resolution focused on promoting sound mental health, physical health, healthy lifestyle behaviors, and well-being for students, faculty, and staff. This call to action was designed to move schools of nursing from the mode of crisis intervention to prevention. 

AACN is answering this call by making well-being and resilience a top priority. An important initial step includes building competency in nurses in the areas of self-care and well-being. In the new Essentials, Domain 10 (which addresses Personal, Professional, and Leadership Development) calls for new ways of preparing nursing graduates through activities and self-reflection that foster personal health, resilience, and well-being. This new emphasis in our programs will help to produce nurses able to:

  • Demonstrate healthy, self-care behaviors that promote wellness and resiliency
  • Contribute to an environment that promotes self-care, personal health, and well-being
  • Evaluate the workplace environment to determine level of health and well-being
  • Engage in guided and spontaneous reflection of one’s practice

In addition, AACN is engaging with the larger healthcare community to promote and ensure support for resilience and well-being in the healthcare workforce. Earlier this year, AACN was invited to serve as a top-tier collaborator with the ALL-IN campaign, an initiative focused on identifying and promoting strategies, resources, and policies that champion mental health and resilience. Partnering organizations include the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Foundation, American Organization for Nursing Leadership, and the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. These organizations will work toward creating a future state where work environments support wellness, and the healthcare workforce feels valued while maintaining a sense of purpose, joy, and meaning. We encourage you to learn more about the ALL-IN campaign, including how to engage with the newly launched community of practice.

AACN is committed to sustaining the health and well-being of our members and the larger academic nursing community. To learn more about our programming and resources related to mental health, well-being, and resilience, visit our new online resource.  Check back frequently to explore the latest news and research in this topic area, upcoming webinars and conference sessions, funding opportunities, school-based initiatives, and related content for nursing school deans, faculty, and students.

We wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!

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