Guest Columns

Talking about and speaking up for nurses

Deborah White
Deborah White

“Let's make the veiller!” This popular Cajun phrase means, “Let's spend the evening talking with friends.” And that's exactly what more than 700 long-term care nurses and professionals did at the 2015 American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination Annual Conference in New Orleans earlier this month.

Each day, following certification workshops and educational breakout sessions on topics such as QAPI, resident-centered care, and nurse leadership, conference attendees could be found sharing new knowledge, exchanging best practices, and making plans for more conversation later over beignets at the famous Café Du Monde.

A popular gathering spot for the veiller was in front of the “AANAC Dare to” music note wall. Following the “Dare to…” theme of the conference, attendees clipped notes to a music staff with what they challenged themselves to do in the following months. From running a 5K to earning an MSN, conference attendees proved that no challenge was too daunting.

AANAC president and CEO, Diane Carter, RN, MSN, FAAN had a special dare for all nurses in long-term care. “We want long-term care nurses to challenge misperceptions, to speak up for the profession, and to envision themselves as leaders,” she said.

“Often nurses are known for our compassion and not as skilled clinicians who use evidence-based practice to save lives,” explained Carter. “We have embraced the compassionate side of nursing but are unable to articulate why our knowledge and skills are so critical to the excellent outcomes we work to achieve for residents every day.”

“If we don't think of and present ourselves as skilled clinicians who save lives, then how can we expect others to think of us that way?” she said.

That's a question that AANAC hopes nurses will continue to talk about now and in the future, including at its conference next year in in Atlantic City. Mark your calendars for April 13-15, 2016.

Deborah White, MBA is Vice President Membership and Marketing at AANAC.

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