“Transforming Nursing for Healthcares New Age” was the theme of the 2012 New Jersey League for Nursing convention March 28-30 at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.
“Our theme underscores the vital role that nurses and nursing will have in shaping our professions future and the future of our nations nursing and healthcare,” said NJLN President Eileen P. Williamson, RN, MS, senior vice president and CNE of Nurse.com.
Recognizing the nursing students in attendance, Williamson said: “It is you we look to as the thinkers, contributors and leaders of each of our tomorrows. And the very fact that you have joined us indicates that is how you see yourselves, as well.”
After serving two years as NJLN president, Williamson passed the presidents gavel to president-elect Carol Patterson, RN, MSN, CNE, associate professor of health sciences education/nursing at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, N.J.
“Eileen has served us ably as a member of the board of directors, president-elect and president, providing leadership for many years,” said Patterson, who gave Williamson a plaque for her service, vision and commitment as the 2010-2012 president of the NJLN. “As part of her outreach efforts, Eileen worked with Gannett in procuring the Florence Nightingale original letters for our 2010 NJLN gala, at which the league celebrated its 95th anniversary, and she also met with Beverly Malone [RN, FAAN]. CEO of the NLN, to discuss the future goals of the league and its constituents.”
With a focus on the future of nursing, leading change and advancing health, keynote speaker M. Elaine Tagliareni, RN, EdD, CNE, FAAN, chief program officer for the National League for Nursing, challenged nurses and students to authorize themselves to lead in their work environments; to further their education to bring more opportunities; and to look at patients health as more than the absence of illness.
Tagliareni asked participants to embrace the complex and multiple perspectives in healthcare and to think more broadly in practice and education. “Lets try to avoid dualistic thinking, that is the ‘yes/no, ‘either/or, ‘good/bad thinking,” she said. “For example, we need to look at education as a matter of academic progression, rather than one degree being better than another.”
In nondualistic thinking, nurses will continue to develop new models of chronic care in the community, allow patients to be in control of their health and improve collaborative opportunities with other healthcare professionals, Tagliareni said.
The second days keynote speaker, Janet Tompkins McMahon, RN, MSN, clinical associate professor at Towson (Md.) University, presented “Answering the Call for Sustainability — Bullying and Incivility in Academia.” Other conference presentations by the states nursing leaders in practice and education focused on New Jerseys current issues and trends, such as legislation and organ and issue donation; legal and medical perspectives on medical marijuana; holistic health through energy nursing; trends in nursing malpractice; nursing job market in the present economy; creation of alternate format exam questions; and NCLEX test tips.
With more than 1,000 registered attendees and seminar participants, the three-day convention also included the NJLN annual business meeting and a preconvention program for nurse educators entitled “Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors: Innovations in Teaching.” The program was developed through a partnership between the NLN and the Community College of Philadelphia and funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation, Hearst Foundation, Independence Foundation and Laerdel Medical.
During the convention, the Institute for Nursings Sylvia C. Edge Memorial Endowment Fund awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Shavon Lashley, a student at Essex County School of Nursing. Sixteen poster presentations highlighted nursing initiatives and evidence-based practice projects from Atlanticare Regional Medical Center, Atlantic City; Capital Health, Trenton; College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown; Englewood (N.J.) Hospital and Medical Center; Hunterdon Medical Center, Flemington; Monmouth (N.J.) Medical Center; Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center; Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy; Trinitas School of Nursing, Elizabeth; University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing, Newark; Union County College, Elizabeth; and Valley Hospital, Ridgewood.
The NJLN awards nursing scholarships to enhance academic and professional development; offers continuing education programs, seminars and events; and advocates for the profession through education, healthcare coalitions and public recognition of nursing excellence.
Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN, is a regional reporter.