While it may be true that less than half of Americans now make formal New Year’s resolutions, most people still view an approaching year as one that holds the promise of positive life changes. At the American Nurses Association (ANA) and our charitable and philanthropic arm, the American Nurses Foundation (ANF), we are no different.
This past year, ANA made several changes with an eye toward better serving our members and nurses across the nation. At ANF, we also went through a transformation, including developing a new mission statement that more accurately reflects the breadth and depth of our efforts. That statement happens to be quite apt for this time of reflection and hope: Transforming the nation’s health through the power
We at ANA and ANF believe nurses already possess that power, because we’ve seen our colleagues in action as they help individual patients and entire populations make positive changes in their lives and their communities. That power, however, can be amplified when we also take the time to invest in ourselves and in our own greater nursing community. At 3.1 – 3.6 million strong, we can have a huge impact.
One way to have a positive influence is by donating to ANF, which helps support several key ANA programs, other nursing projects, and individual nurses’ research. So let us tell you briefly about some of those programs and projects that can make a real difference in the lives of nurses and patients.
Particularly pertinent this time of year is ANA’s Healthy Nurse program. It is focused on urging nurses to realize that their own health and well-being are just as important as that of their families, their friends, and their patients. This past June, ANF sponsored ANA’s Healthy Nurse Conference, which provided nurses with detailed information and concrete strategies to improve their nutrition, exercise, stress levels, sleep, and work environment. ANA asked participants to commit to personal health goals and behavior changes, and our goal is to continue to assist those nurses and others on their journey to better health. We will continue to expand our offerings in this important area, not only for nurses’ own personal and professional sake but also to help them become true role models for others.
Another health-related ANF project affects a large percentage of nurses: shift work. Specifically, ANF received a grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals to work with ANA to develop educational materials on the negative health effects of fatigue and work-related sleep loss caused or exacerbated by shift work, such as stroke, miscarriage, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, GI disorders, and depression. You can access this program at http://eo2.commpartners.com/users/swsd. Part of this effort will be a special section in this publication in early 2013.
You also can support a program directed toward a very specific patient population—our veterans and their families. Through a coordinated effort called Nurses Joining Forces, ANA, nursing organizations, and federal stakeholders have committed to educate current and future RNs to better meet the needs of those who served and their families; disseminate up-to-date information about posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other psychological health conditions; and work toward improving the overall health of this population. This nursing-led effort is a part of a broader White House initiative.
ANF also continues to fund nurses who are embarking on their research careers. This year, ANF awarded Nursing Research Grants to 18 RNs studying many diverse projects, including medication reminder technology for persons living alone with heart failure; the association between Magnet® hospitals and patient satisfaction; and an innovative intervention to improve sleep and decrease anxiety in incarcerated women.
We know that many of you decided to become nurses to be able to change lives for the better. Help us help you transform the nation’s health through your donation to ANF. And we hope that the promise of 2013 holds nothing but the best.
To learn more about ANF and to make a difference, go to www.givetonursing.org.
Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN
President, American Nurses Association
Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, FNAP
Chair, American Nurses Foundation Board of Trustees