Greetings to all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) of Georgia!
Happy Spring Everyone!
Yes, the pollen has arrived and I am sure we are increasing our prescribing of antihistamines for our patients. For those members who were on our first state -wide conference call a few weeks ago, I want to extend my sincere appreciation and thanks. It was an all-time record breaking attendance with 10 of our 12 chapters having representation on the call.
As I stated before all of you, my 2014 agenda has focused priorities of membership, seeking answers to the dearth of preceptors around the state, validating our student APRN members. In addition, I gave you a "snap shot" of what will be taking place in the fall with our appreciation gala event. Yet, I will ask you all to be patient, be encouraged, and be optimistic about our organization and where I want to lead us in the 2014. Throughout 2013, I often felt that I was in mending broken relationships and taking an insurmountable amount of the responsibility of poor decisions made my former UAPRN leaders. However, as I believe we should never forget our past mistakes, I believe that an effective leader is one who can successfully move his/her organization past those hurdles to a healthier, smarter place. Hence, 2014 has already brought many new and exciting challenges to us, most notable the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA).
I extended a challenge on the conference call but I will also extend it to every UAPRN member throughout our organization. I want every member to invite just one new person to our dinner lecture and meetings and encourage that person into becoming an UAPRN member by the end of 2014. Just one member!!
With our new software that ENP has equipped us with, there are rich data that exist that makes this nursing researcher's "mouth water." However, despite our over 80% membership growth while I have been your state president, only 4.7% of those individuals who access our websites are actual members! Several of our chapters have undertaken some very creative membership endeavors already for 2014. However, as I always do, I want to request that you send me your ideas on expanding our membership. No idea is to big or to small as I always am amazed at the degree of creativity and imagination that runs so deeply throughout our organization. As your state president, I have set an organizational membership goal for our organization. That goal is for us to reach 575 members by the end of this year. Tonight, our membership range is between 410 to 440. Thus, we are well on our way to reaching that goal in just the first quarter of the year.
As I have always been brutally honest with you all since assuming this state leadership position, I will simply say it upfront. The numbers do matter to me as it affords UAPRN to be placed into a unique position that we have never been in since we began this group. It allows us to be an organization that is now included on the healthcare advisory committees and working councils that focus on healthcare. Just last week, I had a telephone interview from a professional healthcare journal out of Washington, DC to ask about ACA and its impact on APRNs in Georgia. An invitation was extended to us the end of 2013 to be part of the Georgia Healthcare Foundation and still, 3 weeks ago, we were invited to be part of a council that is investigating the healthcare worker shortage in our state. I am constantly amazed with the emails, cards, and telephone calls from around the nation that knows of our reputation in Georgia as well as our significant growth in 15 months. Thus, numbers really do matter as they provide validation, credibility, and merit to what we are striving to achieve as an organization.
To the many, many, many graduate nursing students who email and telephone me weekly in their quest to find clinical preceptors, do not be discouraged. Please go to the link "Guidelines to Seeking a Clinical Preceptor" and follow my clear and very practical recommendations.
In closing, I would also like to encourage everyone to please get the word out about our 2014 scholarship that was renamed recently to honor a true nursing leader, role model, mentor, and colleague, Ms. Penny Maynard. She was a first-class visionary and lady who believed in hard work, effective communication, and collaboration among all APRNs.
I would also request that as you read this President's message, you also go to our state webpage of UAPRN Georgia. I am constantly adding new links, relevant articles, and other important information. However, I am but one person and would love for you to give me further ideas of important items that you believe are important and need to be included on our state webpage. So let me hear from you!!
James F. Lawrence, Ph.D. APRN BC CHPN FAANP CPS
State President of UAPRN Georgia