Nexus Stories from the Road: Nursing Organizations Alliance, Palm Springs, California

By: Barbara F. Brandt, Director


Dear friends,

For me, the concept of the “Nexus” is growing deeper every day. While we coined the term in the National Center to mean partnerships between interprofessional education and transforming U.S. healthcare, it is not lost on me that we are becoming the nexus in connecting many people and organizations -- with thousands of individuals from more than 1,300 organizations contacting us in the last two years.

I’m reflecting on this as I write this blog, returning from a powerful experience at the Nursing Organizations Alliance in Palm Spring, California. I was honored to share “What You Should Know about Interprofessional Practice and Education Today” and to show Promising Interprofessional Collaboration Practice, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This video is more powerful than any lecture I can give.  Serendipitously, I was introduced by Cheryl Hoying of the Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center who is featured in the video. I was honored to meet Cheryl, who didn’t know I was showing the video, for the first time.  

Not only did I meet Cheryl, but there were so many other nurse leaders who took the time after my presentation to share their work and thoughts with me about interprofessional teams in their own specialties.

For example, Kevin Lyons of the Rheumatology Nurses Society, a relatively new specialty and organization, thoughtfully told me that nurses – or any professionals – cannot be exemplar interprofessional team members unless they are experts in their own areas. He is encouraged about the array of professional expertise coming together as rheumatology interprofessional team members are increasingly gaining respect for each other’s contributions.

I also appreciated speaking with Kay Campbell of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses about the rapidly changing role of nurses in the workplace with employers investing in new health care systems in their organizations and emphasizing health and wellness for employees.  She slipped me her card and wrote on the back:

“Challenge: Get teams to reach out to occupational health nurses for working patients as part of ‘The Team.’”  And, I assume this message is to me!

There were so many more. . . .

The group that truly inspired me was the panel of Millennial nurse leaders who told their stories and shared their advice with the executive directors and presidents (mostly Baby Boomers) of the 60+ nursing organizations at the meeting.  “Keep communications short; use social media.”  “Think about answering the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ when you reach out to us”;   “Millennials want to serve; applications for the Peace Corps are the highest in forty years.” 

They lifted my spirits by asking me what I thought of their joint Congressional advocacy efforts for healthcare teams across student health professions associations. It made me smile.  I think it is extraordinary, and it assured me that our future is in good hands. As they ran off to catch their plane, they told me they would be in touch, and Ryan Bannon, the 2015-2016 National Student Nurses Association President, emailed me today “Can we schedule a time to chat on the phone??   You bet we can --  

You all inspired me so much, I recommitted to blogging and Twitter: @BarbaraFBrandt