From your ANA President

Reflecting, anticipating

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

Nursing’s bright future beckons

In this, my last column as American Nurses Association (ANA) president, my thoughts, though reflecting about the past, rest firmly on the future of the profession and association, about which I care so deeply. In my view, the outlook for both is bright and promising.

My optimism stems first from the formidable and ingenious ways nurses have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and all that has flowed from it. Despite tremendous stresses from dealing with a novel pathogen and facing challenge upon challenge, nurses nationwide have served throughout with perseverance and a commitment to excellence. They also have proven remarkably adept—innovating their clinical practices and tackling complex problems with creativity and intention. I’m pleased as well to hear nurses’ voices louder than ever, and in new arenas, speaking forcefully and eloquently about staffing and other workplace issues; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and more. Nurses were doing this already, but the pandemic has elevated our ideas and influence.

Nursing, named the most trusted profession for 20 years running, also keeps drawing newcomers, notably more people of color and men, with applicants exceeding admission capacities at schools of nursing. The ANA Enterprise keeps adapting as well, raising its voice and using its insights and influence on behalf of all RNs, our patients, and the nation’s health and well-being.

All these efforts, by nurses, the nursing profession, and ANA, reflect a model of reclaiming, restoring, and transforming organizations proposed by theologian Brian McLaren and presented recently by Reverend Elder Cecilia Eggleston, moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches.

ANA is reclaiming its history by acknowledging past actions that have negatively impacted nurses of color and perpetuated systemic racism. Our own reckoning journey and efforts, along with co-lead and member organizations in the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing, are working toward healing and restoring the profession, which promises to transform the country’s health.

In the quest for better universal health outcomes, nurses are looking at pre-pandemic con­ditions that need to be restored or reformed. They’re doing so with a whole-of-community view that might involve updating nursing practices or work­ing in new ways within and outside of traditional healthcare teams.

In this time of transition, we’re also passing the baton to a new generation. The pandemic has been especially hard on the newest nurses—tomorrow’s leaders. In the words of theologian Howard Thurman, we must embrace and support them to find the sound of genuine in themselves. They, like all nurses, have been called to a magnificent profession. Their ideas and actions will build on the legacy of current and past leaders, transforming nursing. But they need our encouragement and championing. ANA and its constituent and state nurses associations offer many opportunities to connect, learn, and grow—mentorships, online communities, advocacy and practice initiatives, timely education­al content, and much more (

Serving as ANA President has been the honor of my life. The past 4 years have afforded me so many invaluable and memorable opportunities. I offer my heartfelt thanks to each and every ANA member. I especially recognize and thank the knowledgeable, talented, and dedicated ANA Enterprise staff, who work so hard to support me, all nurses, and the nursing profession.

As my presidency ends, I look forward to seeing you in new and some old venues as my work to develop the next generation of leaders continues. As I enter this new phase, the question I have asked myself daily as president of ANA and throughout my career will remain the same: Did you make a difference today?


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

American Nurse Journal. 2022; 17(12). Doi: 10.51256/ANJ122215

14 Comments. Leave new

  • Kathleen Rogers, DNP, RN, CNE
    January 27, 2023 7:33 am

    Thank you Dr. Grant for your leadership during the pandemic in which nurses needed a strong advocate. I applaud your courage and commitment by “rolling up your sleeve” in receiving the COVID vaccine!!

  • Kathleen Bartholomew
    January 19, 2023 8:48 pm

    I am deeply grateful for your leadership, especially for the fact that you consistently made time to connect with those who reached out to you for guidance, mentorship and wisdom. I will miss your leadership and wish you the very best.

  • Carole Treston
    January 7, 2023 10:11 am

    Thank you for your steady leadership , integrity and insights into the inclusive way forward to fully be the profession we strive to be. You made & continue to make a difference. With gratitude, Carole Treston, RN MPH ACRN FAAN

  • Dr Grant, thank you for your service. ANA is better for your work as president.

  • I’m one of those RNs that questioned, “What does ANA have to offer? Why should I become a member.” The chaos created by the pandemic made it clear that nurses needed a strong voice within the healthcare system. After reading several ANA position statements, I was inspired to become a member, after many years of non-involvement. I’m impressed with ANA’s visionary positioning and advocacy for nurses, including doing the challenging work of addressing long overdue racial reckoning within the nursing profession. Now, I encourage other nurses to join ANA to have their voices heard and create a better nursing future that represents all populations. Thank you, Dr. Grant, for your inspiring and visionary leadership, during a truly challenging time in healthcare. You’ve helped to elevate nursing in healthcare discussions and members are grateful.

  • I met you in Nashville at a TNA conve convention. You were so approachable and your message was uplifting and hopeful.

    THEN COVID-19 came and you presented those same traits over the pandemic–Thank You

    You are an inspiration and a true role model.


  • Nancy Eisenson
    December 22, 2022 3:55 pm

    Dr. Grant,

    I have fond memories of going to the Burn Center with a student group to meet with the nursing expert. I was impressed then and have continued to be proud of the vision you set for our profession. Your leadership has been instrumental during this unprecedented time in our nations history. I am hopeful for a future where equity, inclusion, and diversity are the reality in all health professions. I hope you enjoy some time for rest.


  • Your leadership has been remarkable! So important to have your inspiration during the past few years when the profession and our practice have been tested in unprecedented ways. I admire your efforts to help us address racism, to acknowledge past harms done, and to help the profession and practitioners imagine and live into a future that recognizes the past as prelude to a future in which we all can embrace the value of a diverse profession, work to promote equity, and include all in the important contributions we make to human health!

  • Liz Dietz, EdD, RN, CS-NP, CSN, FAAN
    December 21, 2022 7:19 pm

    You are a great person and have led us well. Hope to see you out in the consulting gigs or come on down to American Red Cross we would love to have you in Disaster Health Services or Disability Integration – working in the community for all of the disaster issues we have.

  • Lauretta Joseph
    December 15, 2022 11:07 am

    Thank You.
    We have always had good leaders, but your leadership was severely tested. The unprecedented Pandemic, financial fears, and last but not least, the reckoning of Racism.
    What a journey. I believe that our association has emerged stronger and better. We press forward, energized to welcome the new generation of nurses. Our future standard bearers.
    Where ever your path may lead”May the road ride up to meet you.” Irish poem.
    In your future endeavors, “may the road rise up to meet you. may the wind be ever at your back.” Irish Poem

  • Annette Wysocki, Dean and Professor
    December 14, 2022 9:33 pm

    Thank you – the nursing community could never have had a better leader during one of the most eventful times of our century. We have been blessed to have your strong and unwavering voice. We are indebted to your leadership that has made us stronger, resilient, and persistent. With applause and admiration.

  • Cynthia Bracey
    December 14, 2022 7:01 pm

    Dr.Grant you have made some many communities so proud of your excellent service and dedication. To so many black nurses your presence, knowledge, expertise and leadership was so appreciated with love and admiration. You are awesome and so easy to talk with. No matter what you do we are all blessed and your are blessed. Thank you. Cynthia Bracey, PhD, MPH, MSN, BSN

    • Dr. Grant,
      I do not have many words but it was a pleasure meeting you at Magnet Conference 2022 in Philadelphia, PA. With that, I am grateful and hope to see you again.

      Joana Riggins from UF health , Jacksonville, Fl


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