Summer greetings to all!
I am so honored to become NAPNAP’s 40th president. Thank you all for your confidence and trust. My sincere gratitude to Cathy Haut and Mary Chesney, our prior two presidents, for their mentorship and support. I also value the encouragement and support of so many NAPNAP members and leaders over the course of my career.
You have my pledge that I will represent our association to the best of my ability. Having just finished celebrating our country’s Independence Day, I am reminded how blessed we are to live and work in the United States of America. Although we face many challenges and complex issues that affect our profession and the health and well-being of children, we live in a nation where we can raise our collective voices, debate difficult issues and work together for needed change.
To this end, I will be focusing on three areas in the coming year: leadership, mentorship and collaboration.
My vision for the coming year includes assisting our members in not only developing their clinical skills, but also their leadership skills. It is a well debunked myth that leaders are born. Leaders are made, and leadership skills can be acquired, developed and honed over time.
According to Stewart D. Friedman, professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the founding director of the Wharton Leadership Program and Wharton's Work/Life Integration Project, those who become leaders possess the persistence, discipline, passion and courage to pursue that which is most important to them and to the people around them. He states that the components of total leadership are: "Being real, acting with authenticity, and knowing your values and vision; being whole, respecting the whole person, and knowing there are different parts of your work, community, and personal lives that affect each other; and being innovative, constantly learning, and experimenting in new ways to get things done." I would be hard pressed to identify any NAPNAP member who did not possess these characteristics.
Those building their leadership skills need encouragement, support, advice, and in many cases need to have it pointed out that they actually are leaders with great potential. That is why mentoring is so crucial to every aspect of our work from teaching students and supporting new faculty to assisting newer colleagues in clinical settings and in leadership roles in every area of health care. We must be much more mindful and purposeful in encouraging effective mentoring.
“You will get further faster if people are helpful with all of those things that are not necessarily part of didactic learning, you need formal education to read the lines, and you need socialization experiences to read between the lines,…mentoring is one of those socialization experiences” says Angela McBride, PhD, RN, FAAN, chair of the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program, a mentoring program to help develop the next generation of leaders in academic nursing, and the author of the book The Growth and Development of Nurse Leaders.
I encourage all of our members to consciously seek to be part of a mentor-mentee relationship. The very survival of pediatric-focused advanced practice nursing depends on the development of the next generation of leaders and professionals.
Finally, in this complex world, no one person, profession, organization or institution can go it alone. During this year I will be looking for opportunities to increase collaboration both within our organization and interprofessionally. We must expand opportunities for our leaders and experts to participate in important discussions side by side with professionals from other specialties and disciplines on how best to meet the needs of kids in our rapidly changing healthcare delivery system. To accomplish this, NAPNAP needs your help. One of our newer initiatives is TeamPeds: Volunteers, an opportunity to volunteer for shorter-term projects when you want, how you want. I encourage all NAPNAP members to take the very few minutes of time needed to share your experience and expertise using our simple online system. TeamPeds:Volunteers is becoming an indispensable tool in being able to match our members with opportunities to share their knowledge and skills for provider or patient projects or to represent NAPNAP at interprofessional meetings of special taskforces or commissions. Because NAPNAP is more frequently being invited to participate in high-level collaborations across disciplines, we need to identify our advanced practice nurse experts in a variety of policy and practice areas to be sure our unique and valuable perspective on health care and children’s health is heard.
Our recent SIG Summit, which brought together leaders from 14 of our special interest groups (SIGs), was a great example of increased collaboration. SIG officers shared programs and projects that worked within their SIGs to bolster creative ideas for other SIGs. They also shared challenges and brainstormed possible solutions to help each SIG grow.
I believe the solution to many of the challenges of delivering optimal health care to children lies in the creativity and expertise of our members and their front-line experience in caring for children in all manner of circumstances. We must continue to work to address statutory, regulatory, institutional and financial barriers that prevent children and their families from accessing the excellent care we are so qualified to provide.
Let me close this message by stating that each and every member of NAPNAP is valued. Please never hesitate to reach out to me with comments or suggestions on how NAPNAP can better engage and serve our members. My virtual door is always open. I look forward to a wonderful year working on your behalf and thank you again for your support.
All my best,