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A look back—and ahead

By: Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN President, American Nurses Association

Making progress on key priorities.

TIME FLIES—especially when you’re engaged in efforts you feel passionate about, working with people who are committed to making a difference, and enjoying yourself along the way. For the past 11-plus months, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. In January, I began my role as president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the first man to do so, and I’m so thankful for all the kindness, openness, and support I’ve received from nurses everywhere. It’s really an honor.

I also want to thank all nurses for the care you provide to patients in every setting and for those extra things you take on because you’re a nurse: checking in on neighbors, volunteering in your communities, or helping vulnerable populations, such as migrant families and those affected by natural disasters.

As my second year as president approaches, I’d like to look back at the priorities I initially set and share just some of the progress we’ve made together.

One priority is to increase diversity within our profession. To that end, ANA has worked to gain support for legislation focused on Title VIII workforce development programs, which include grants to build greater diversity. The bill has passed the U.S. House and is pending in the Senate. I’ve continued to speak at nursing and healthcare conferences and in the media on the importance of encouraging people from underrepresented backgrounds to become nurses, and how having an RN workforce that better reflects the patient population enhances patient care, nursing practice, and the nation’s health. And I continue to reach out to professional associations representing minority nurses so we can work together to achieve this goal. I realize much more needs to be done, but I assure you, we will persevere.

Two interrelated priorities involve enhancing nurses’ engagement with ANA and amplifying the association’s advocacy on behalf of nurses and the public. To help meet these priorities, ANA stepped up its efforts on two issues vital to patients and nurses: appropriate staffing and workplace violence prevention. ANA has been promoting a multipronged approach to ensure safe staffing to federal officials, and we’ve updated and developed additional staffing resources for nurses. ANA also has succeeded in gaining bipartisan support for federal legislation on workplace violence prevention, as well as nurse and public support for our #EndNurseAbuse initiative.

And there’s more. At our Membership Assembly in June, nurse leaders from around the country addressed issues that resonate with RNs and consumers, from stopping outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases to taking on the public health crisis of human trafficking. We’ve also engaged tens of thousands of nurses in political advocacy during Hill Day, in health promotion through Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™, and through several innovation efforts.

Over the course of the year, I’ve spoken to thousands of nursing students. I always encourage them to be part of ANA, where they will get the educational and networking support they need and have countless opportunities to help shape healthcare policy and nursing practice.

Another priority is strengthening nurses’ engagement with consumers and improving their understanding of nursing’s value. ANA currently is acting on some of the key recommendations that came out of Membership Assembly to increase the visibility of nurses in the media. And looking ahead to 2020, in collaboration with the Nursing Now USA campaign, ANA will be celebrating 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse” with a range of activities. It’s part of a global effort to highlight the impact that nurses have on patients, families, and communities.

Also in 2020, ANA will continue to promote nurse engagement and keep you up-to-date on information vital to the November elections through a new online resource.

Finally, I want to share this quote that captures my thoughts about the past year and what lies ahead: “Time is precious. Make sure you spend it with the right people.”I look forward to spending more time with you as we take our profession into 2020!




– Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN President, American Nurses Association

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Priscilla Huggins
    January 22, 2020 8:34 pm

    Hello Dr. Grant,
    Congratulation on your role as the first male President of ANA and your work towards diversity in the nursing profession. I am one of your former student’s at NCCU back in the 1980’s. I am currently working as a Nurse Educator with a new start up BSN program in a rural county. I look foreword to working with you in 2020.


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