It is bittersweet for me as I collect my thoughts for my last president’s column in The American Nurse. Serving as ANA president has been the greatest privilege of my professional career. I can think of no higher honor and opportunity for me as a nurse, particularly during this historic time in health care.
These past four years have gone by incredibly fast. My time has been spent traveling the country and beyond, speaking on your behalf, meeting with members, and having countless conversations with other nurse leaders and health care stakeholders. As ANA president, I have had the opportunity to participate in dialogues that helped advance clarity and purpose for issues impacting the profession, patients and health care reform.
As I conclude my presidency, I am even more certain of this: What nurses do for patients and our health care system matters. The value nursing brings to improving patient outcomes and reducing costs has never been clearer. Nurses’ skills, knowledge and clinical judgment matter. Our humanity and ability to form trusting relationships and care for the whole person matter. Regardless of what the future holds, we must never lose sight of our profession’s potential to help health care become a more effective, less costly, patient-centered and health-oriented system.
During my tenure, I have also had the opportunity to help lead an organizational transformation. As an association, we are trying new things to work better, smarter and faster, while bringing more value to and engaging with more members. I believe ANA is headed in a positive direction with clearer intent, focus and purpose. We are growing and are more member- and mission-focused. We are at a critical juncture in our history — one that has been enriched by the commitment of nurse leaders across our association and beyond.
ANA’s work to support, partner and engage with our constituent and state nurses associations has grown and evolved. We are implementing evidence-based membership strategies that are teaching us invaluable lessons and resulting in positive growth beyond what we have previously experienced. Partnerships within the ANA Enterprise — that include the American Academy of Nursing, American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Nurses Foundation — are also growing, as demonstrated by historic levels of collaboration to advance common strategic priorities. Deeply valued partnerships with our organizational affiliates continue to develop, enriched by a shared vision for the profession.
My gratitude extends not only to our members and organizational partners, but also to the many colleagues who have supported our efforts to move in new directions. That includes the ANA Board of Directors and an exemplary and dedicated ANA staff. All have been willing to lean in and tackle difficult challenges during this pivotal time in our association’s history. We are already beginning to see the results and outcomes from that organizational vision and investment. I believe ANA and nursing will be stronger for it. Finally, I would like to acknowledge a visionary leader, ANA’s CEO Marla Weston, PhD, RN, FAAN. It has been my good fortune and pleasure to serve and partner with her during my time as your president.
I transition from ANA with a huge sense of pride in what our association brings to the profession. This life experience has made me a better nurse leader, and it has also instilled in me confidence that the power of ANA’s voice will be present long into the future as we continue to advocate for what’s best for nurses, the profession and the individuals for whom we care. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
— Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN