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Rounds With Leadership: Engagement, Advocacy, and Impact

Published January 26, 2022

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.

January 26, 2022 - Engagement, Advocacy, and Impact

As we look ahead to the promise of a new year – one that will most certainly bring new challenges and opportunities – we find inspiration in the words of poet and activist Amanda Gorman. Her latest poem, titled New Day’s Lyric, explores the themes of hope and change, which sets the perfect tone for our work ahead in academic nursing. We encourage everyone to read this truly inspirational piece, which concludes with the words: “For wherever we come together, we will forever overcome.”

As a community of engaged leaders, we know our impact is magnified when we work together to advance shared priorities and the greater good. AACN’s effectiveness is driven by our highly engaged membership, which includes nursing deans, faculty, and students. We thrive because so many contribute their time and expertise to shape and advance AACN’s strategic priorities.

Here are a few statistics that tell our story:

  • 130 deans serve on the Board of Directors; on Task Forces, Committees, Subcommittees, and Advisory Groups; and as State Grassroots Liaisons.
  • 290 faculty and nursing school staff are engaged on Leadership Network Committees as well as regular Committees, Subcommittees, Task Forces, and Advisory Groups.
  • 149 graduate students serve on the Graduate Nursing Student Academy Leadership Council and as School Liaisons.  

In all, volunteers from nearly 300 AACN member schools - representing all 50 states - are working together to help us collectively achieve our vision and mission. The impact of collaborating to advance our shared goals is clear across AACN programming areas.

One arena where member engagement is truly making a difference is in our government affairs and policy work. Each year, the Government Affairs Committee develops a Federal Policy Agenda, which upholds four federal priorities that are essential to improving health and health care in our nation. These priorities include Advancing Higher Education; Pursuing Transformative Research; Developing a Robust Workforce; and Redefining Models of Care. Our ability to advance this ambitious agenda rests with our members.

Last year, deans, faculty, and students completed more than 380 virtual Hill visits and sent more than 3,800 messages to members of Congress to support and advance our legislative agenda. Through these efforts, we were pleased to see that the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing Act was reintroduced last year and the Student Assisted Vaccination Efforts (SAVE) Act was introduced. Your engagement is having an impact! 

As you consider your priorities for the new year, we hope you will connect more closely with AACN.  Here are a few suggestions to make this happen:

  • Complete AACN’s online questionnaire and let us know your areas of expertise and what your specific interests are in terms of volunteer engagement.
  • Inspire your colleagues to join one of AACN’s eight Leadership Networks, which focus on faculty; directors of research; faculty practice leaders; nursing advancement staff; graduate program recruiters; diversity, equity, and inclusion professionals; business officers; and organizational leaders.
  • Join AACN’s Grassroots Network and help us advance key policy initiatives at the federal level.
  • Encourage your master’s and doctoral students to become members of the Graduate Nursing Student Academy. Registration is free.
  • Participate in AACN Connect, our online discussion community, with colleagues nationwide. This interactive platform features a new home for conversations about the AACN Essentials called the Essentials Discussion Corner.
  • Interested in becoming a webinar speaker? Submit your topic and related content experience through our online submission form here.

We encourage you to share these details about AACN’s many opportunities and resources for engagement to help amplify our impact and to more closely connect all stakeholders in the work of advancing academic nursing. Together, we are one profession and one community of leaders who are poised to lead transformation in nursing education, research, and practice.

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