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Lights, Camera, Action

Vol. 3 •Issue 6 • Page 32
Conference Connection

Lights, Camera, Action

Nurse leaders gather to discuss their profession's future

The stars were out in Los Angeles on Feb. 5-8, but the names and faces weren't the ones you normally see on Entertainment Tonight.

Instead, nursing leaders from across the state walked the red carpet at the 2006 annual program of the Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The conference, "Directing the Future of Health Care," brought together more than 520 CNOs, CNEs, nursing supervisors and managers. In addition to keynote and general sessions, the 3-day conference included the group's annual business meeting and an awards ceremony.

President's Address

Outgoing ACNL president, Mary Lopez, MSN, RN, director of critical care, telemetry and dialysis corporate services at Community Medical Centers, Fresno, gave a brief overview of the past year.

"Positioning nurse leaders is key," Lopez said. "In addition, we are positioning ACNL for statewide nursing leadership needs."

Toward that end and to accommodate additional responsibilities, the group has reorganized its internal structure. Pat McFarland, MSN, RN, who had been ACNL executive director, was named as CEO, to help expand the group's visibility both within the state and nationally. A plan for staff expansion has been put into place to ensure professionalism, integrity and follow through of ACNL programs and initiatives.

Lopez pointed to successes ACNL has achieved.

"The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation approached ACNL to perform a study on nursing contributions to patient safety," she said. "And Foundations in Leadership Excellence is now seen as the most valuable course for preparation of frontline managers. We expect to have 200 graduates annually; 600 have completed the course to date."

The week-long leadership course is offered 4 times a year in various locations across the state. Thanks to new ACNL board member Judy Papenhausen, PhD, RN, director and founding faculty for the School of Nursing at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), ACNL now offers academic credit for the course through CSUSM.

Leading the Leaders

A panel made up of distinguished nurse leaders shared their vision for the future of nursing. Panelists included Geraldine Bednash, PhD, RN, FAAN, executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing; Linda Burnes-Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, vice president and CNO at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and current president of the American Academy of Nursing; Marilyn Chow, DNSc, RN, FAAN, vice president of patient care services, California Division, Kaiser Permanente and JCAHO At-Large Nursing Commissioner, Oakland; and Pam Thompson, MSN, RN, FAAN, CEO for the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

Saying the future is what nurse leaders create now, Burnes-Bolton noted the nation's ability to compete on a global stage is directly connected to nurses.

"It's no longer just about the shortage of nurses, but that nurses are central to the healthcare system, and that's central to the productivity of the country," she said. "It's not just nursing's problem anymore."

Association Awards

ACNL annually recognizes individuals for their contributions to nursing, to the organization and for excellence and best practice in clinical practice, education and leadership.

Deloras Jones, MS, RN, executive director of the California Institute for Nursing and Health Care was honored for contributions to ACNL.

The award for excellence in advancement of clinical practice was given to Donna McNeese-Smith, EdD, RN, CNAA, associate professor and coordinator of the nursing administration program at the UCLA School of Nursing.

Excellence in Leadership awards are given to one member in each of ACNL's four regions – Beverly A. Jones, MPS, RN, CNAA, senior vice president of patient care services at John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek (North Region); Sandra K. Davis, PhD, RN, CNO, San Joaquin General Hospital, French Camp (Central Region); Nancy Blake, MN, RN, CCRN, CNAA, director of critical care services, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (South Region); and Joan Burritt, DNSc, RN, CNE/associate administrator, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla (San Diego Region).

Best Practice awards are given annually for education, clinical nursing and administration. This year's honorees include V. Katherine Townsend, EdD, RN, associate dean and director of nursing at El Camino College, Torrance (Education); Lisa Hone, BSN, RN, department administrator, Kaiser Permanente, San Diego (Clinical Nursing); and Maria Jean Caterinicchio, MS, RN, program director of education, Anaheim Memorial Medical Center (Administration).

The award for Best Practice in Recruitment, Retention and Outreach was given to Kristine Yahn, MBA, RN, for Flo's Cookie Jar, a program to develop emergency funds for nursing students.

Candy Goulette is regional editor at ADVANCE.


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