Dear OADN Members,
The winter months are coming to a close and the time of rebirth with spring is approaching quickly. I would imagine everyone is looking forward to a few additional rays of sunshine and the resurgence of the beautiful tree and flower life that comes with spring. For me, when I think of spring I think of new emergence with change. Nowhere is the right of passage to spring and the potential for change more evident than in our nation'’'s capital. The OADN Board traveled to Washington, DC; March 17 - 19 for our annual Board meeting and trip to the Hill. This is one of the most exciting and important times of the year for the OADN Board as we advocate for community college nursing education. This year we were privileged to have four of the Chapter Presidents share in the experience with us. It was so wonderful to have the following Presidents with us:
Their input during the Board meeting and advocacy on the Hill was greatly appreciated, and contributed to the energized and collaborative atmosphere.
I want to share with you about our advocacy work while in DC. We are continually moving forward to assure that community college nursing education stays at the forefront. The focus of the congressional visits was to request continued funding for the Nursing Workforce Development programs, Public Service Act, Title VIII funding, and stress the importance of community college nursing education. For over 50 years, Nursing Workforce Development programs, authorized under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act, have helped to build the supply and distribution of qualified nurses to meet our nation's healthcare needs. Title VIII programs bolster nursing education at all levels, from entry-level preparation through graduate study, and provide support for institutions that educate nurses for practice in rural and medically underserved settings. Additionally, our advocacy work included communicating the vital role community colleges play in educating the future nursing workforce. Discussions included: community colleges providing valuable opportunities for individuals with diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses; the continuing and growing need for qualified nursing faculty, and the opportunity for community colleges to offer the RN to BSN. Congressional representatives are truly interested in nursing education, practice, and healthcare issues.
Every time I visit Washington, DC, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride as I walk through Capitol Hill, enter the Senate and House of Representatives, view the Washington Mall, the White House, and the Washington Monument standing so stately. There is a feeling of awe as I think about all that has occurred here in the history of this great country. Yes, there have been some unsettled times through our country's history, and yet the United States continues to prevail as a strong and well-respected world leader. In many ways, associate degree nursing education could be compared to this same history. Since its inception there have been many struggles and as associate degree educators we are often feel we are explaining our existence. Community college nursing programs are known for their innovation and flexibility to adapt to workforce needs. We are willing to partner with our university colleagues for new strategies to assist our graduates to advance their education; and collaborate with our practice partners to improve the healthcare of our communities. As nursing educators we are unified demonstrating the vital role community college nursing play in our healthcare system. As John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, RWJF's Senior Vice-President stated:
"Community colleges are a vital part of the nursing workforce, and have the ability to provide individuals the ability to launch careers, setting them on a path to achieve goals, and helping our nation meet access needs for an aging and chronically ill population. Community colleges have a role to play a role in preserving nursing as a profession. … In partnership with community colleges, we can influence social change."
Donna Meyer MSN RN