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​​​​President's Message​

​​Maureen F. Cooney, DNP, FNP-BC, PMGT-BC, AP-PMN, ACHPN
ASPMN® President 2020-2021

Hi everyone,‎

I'm happy to have the opportunity to update you on some of the activities ASPMN® has been involved ‎in over the last few weeks. Your Board of Directors as well as colleagues on the various committees ‎are moving forward and working hard to continue the volunteer work that is so essential to the growth ‎and impact of ASPMN®. ‎

 

A meeting of the Board was held last month, and I'd like to bring you up-to-date on a couple of the ‎items we addressed at the meeting and actions we are undertaking. ASPMN® is reaching out to other ‎nursing organizations to network, increase our visibility among nurses in other associations to ‎promote collaboration and increase membership, advertise our National Conference, and seek ‎opportunities to share our products such as our Regional Conferences (Fundamentals of Pain Management, ‎Certification Review, Pain management of the Older Adult, and Advanced Pharmacology). We have ‎begun fruitful dialogue as of now with the National Association of Orthopedic Nurses and the Hospice ‎and Palliative Nurses Association. We look forward to mutually beneficial collaboration with these ‎associations and others in the future. ‎

 

During the Board meeting we reviewed our financial status, and discussed ways to continue to ‎strengthen our financial reserves. One area that has been hard-hit by the pandemic is the income we ‎previously received from our regional conferences. If new to ASPMN®, it's important to know what the regional conferences involve. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, ASPMN® has several regional conferences which are ‎educational offerings (usually full-day) involving different content areas that have been developed by ‎our Master Faculty. Usually two faculty members travel to the organization's location to present ‎the program. Material is prepared to enable application for continuing education credits. ‎Organizations that purchase a regional conference are able to invite as many participants to the conference as ‎they would like. Now that we are starting to see opportunities for travel and in-person events, we ask ‎you to let your nursing leadership and leadership of other organizations of which you are a part, know ‎that we have expert faculty and great programs to educate nurses at a hospital or other site. Although ‎we market our programs through social media and other ways, we rely on our membership to provide ‎the strongest recommendations. ‎

 

The Conference Planning Committee is working diligently to finalize the planning for our National ‎Conference. At the Board meeting we had the opportunity to have a sneak preview of the preliminary ‎conference agenda, and it looks fantastic. For our in-person conference, the committee has put ‎together a great line-up of general session topics and expert speakers to address a variety of topics ‎relevant to all. Opportunities have been built in for networking as well as fun and relaxation – ‎something we all need after the past 15 months! In addition, the committee is preparing virtual on-‎demand sessions rich with educational content and continuing educational credits. More details about ‎how the conference will take place will be provided in the coming month, but for now, we are hoping ‎National efforts for COVID-19 vaccination continue to be effective and the positivity rates stay low so ‎that we can have a great in-person turn out in San Antonio on Sept 20 – Oct 2, 2021. The Board, the ‎conference planning committee and our Executive Office Staff, are committed to doing all we can to ‎assure the safety of our conference attendees, so please keep the dates in mind, and watch for ‎updates in the coming weeks! ‎

 

At the Board meeting, I summarized my experience from April when I had the honor of representing ‎ASPMN® week at the Nurses in Washington Internship (NIWI) program which is offered through the ‎Nursing Organizations Alliance (NOA). ASPMN® is a member of NOA, an organization comprised of ‎other 50 nursing associations, whose mission is to "connect elected and staff leaders of professional ‎nursing organizations to inspire, collaborate, and provide a forum for information exchange and the ‎sharing of resources and best practices." In furthering its mission, NOA sponsors NIWI annually to ‎provides nurses with the opportunity to learn how to influence health care through the legislative and ‎regulatory processes. Many of our Past-Presidents attended NIWI and had opportunities to visit with ‎members of Congress "on the Hill."‎

 

This year, NIWI was a two-day long virtual program which enabled me to attend lectures provided by ‎health policy experts and government officials. I was inspired by the lectures but disappointed by the ‎loss of opportunities to network with nurses from other organizations and visit, in-person, with ‎members of Congress. Unfortunately, there were no "photo ops," but we have all gotten better with ‎virtual meetings this year. ‎

 

As an alternative to in-person meetings, I had a telephone meeting with staff who work with Senator ‎Chuck Schumer, the Senator Majority Leader. Wade Delk, ASPMN®'s Government Affairs Director and I ‎also had a virtual meeting with a staff member of Representative Mondaire Jones. During these ‎meetings, Wade and I requested support for increased funding for Title VIII to support nursing ‎education at all levels, as well funding for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). We urged ‎support for adoption of the National Pain Strategy to further efforts to provide appropriate, effective, ‎and safe pain management for all. We emphasized the importance of funding for multimodal pain ‎management interventions, and the essential role of nurses, as the most trusted health care ‎professionals, in efforts to bring health care, especially pain care, to all in this country. The staff were ‎engaged and acknowledged the key role nurses play in health care, and recognized the great efforts ‎and sacrifices nurses have made throughout this pandemic. The feedback from the officials was ‎encouraging, and the door was left open for further conversations, hopefully in person, in the future. ‎

 

On a personal level, the lectures and meetings gave me a greater appreciation of our democracy and ‎my responsibility to advocate for our patients with pain, and for nurses who care for them. Living in ‎NY, I am within 5 miles of Senator Schumer's local office. Washington, D.C. is a return trip I can make ‎in a day. As the COVID-19 vaccination process expands, it is expected that Congress will be back in full-‎swing in D.C. in the near future, and it will offer me opportunities to visit our representatives in ‎person. The meeting also allowed me to see Wade Delk in action. As a result, I have a much greater ‎appreciation of his knowledge, skill, and commitment to ASPMN®, as well as the important role he and ‎the other members of our Communication Committee have in supporting the mission of ASPMN®. I ‎am proud of their work and am impressed by how well a small nursing organization can be made ‎known at a national level by the work of Wade and the committee. Think of the possibilities if more ‎nurses were empowered to use their voices on a national policy level!‎

 

I would not have had the opportunity to attend NIWI, and the voice of nurses would not be well ‎received in Washington if it were not for the impact nurses like you have on all those you encounter at ‎work and in your personal lives. The past six months as ASPMN® President have given me a glimpse ‎into the work that you do and the commitment you have to helping people with pain. I am grateful for ‎this opportunity and wish you the beginning of a healthy, restorative, and fun summer season.‎

 

Sincerely, ‎

Maureen ‎