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True leadership: You know it when you see it

By: Lillee Gelinas, DNP, RN, CPPS, FAAN

Recognizing American Nurse Journal editorial board member Frank A. Shaffer, EdD, RN, FAAN, FFNMRSCI

Countless references over the years describe leadership and the many ways it can be demonstrated, viewed, and improved. Daily, nursing leadership manifests in various forms and settings: on a nursing unit, in the emergency department, in the clinic or doctor’s office. Over time, leadership becomes evident through project and department management. But we don’t frequently witness nursing leadership on a broader scale that stretches across an entire career. These nurses make a significant impact on the entire nursing profession across the globe. How do we recognize these talented nursing leaders for their lifelong achievements?

One way is through the efforts of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) (www.aannet.org), an organization dedicated to improving health and achieving health equity by impacting policy through nursing leadership, innovation, and science. AAN members include nurses who’ve dedicated their lives to making a difference via practice, academia, and business.

Each year, AAN distinguishes a group of nurses in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession, sustained over the course of their careers, by naming them Living Legends. For 2022, AAN identified six outstanding nursing leaders for this distinction. One of them, Franklin A. Shaffer, EdD, RN, FAAN, FFNMRSCI, served for years as the president and chief executive officer of CGFNS International, Inc., an internationally recognized authority on credentials evaluation and verification of the education, registration, and licensure of nurses and healthcare professionals around the world. He’s a long-time friend and colleague and an active member of this journal’s editorial board. I’m grateful that he was my sponsor for AAN Fellowship, along with Leah Curtin, DSc(h), RN, FAAN, another journal editorial board member for many years.

Dr. Shaffer exemplifies true leadership. His tireless efforts to advance the profession, willingness to devote time and expertise to support various organizations worldwide, and a relentless desire to see others succeed clearly differentiates him. You might not recognize the amount of hard work he contributes every day, because he has a knack for making it all look easy, while wearing a charming smile. His vision, patience, and consistent leadership have influenced the nursing profession over time and helped transform many nurses into the extraordinary professionals they are today. Thank you, Frank, for all you’ve done and will continue to do, for me, for the journal, and for nursing. You’re truly remarkable.

Note: The other 2022 Living Legends are Jane Barnsteiner, PhD, RN, FAAN; Jeanette Ives Erickson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN; Joyce Newman Giger, EdD, APRN-BC, FAAN; William L. Holzemer, PhD, RN, FAAN; and Norma Martinez Rogers, PhD, RN, FAAN.



Lillee Gelinas, DNP, RN, CPPS, FAAN


American Nurse Journal. 2023; 18(4). Doi: 10.51256/ANJ0423101

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