President's Message: Joanne Alderman; February 2016

By Joanne Alderman, MSN,RN,BC,APRN, FNGNA

NGNA Members…

How do we, as members, renew, change direction a bit and recommit to the care and safety of our older adults, their caregivers and families through the National Gerontological Nursing Association and our membership? How do we see ourselves in 2016, 2017, 2018 and beyond? What is different in our practices than 5 and 10 years ago and what is the same?

Let’s take a look at an older adult: 
  • in a hospital bed (perhaps alone)
  • alone in their home
  • in a LTC residence
  • having to leave their home
  • having an unrecognized dementia or delirium
  • falling, fracturing a hip & being aware of probable consequences
  • polypharmacy and adverse drug events
  • being in pain, unable to swallow, and having forgotten who they are
These are but just a very few scenarios all of us can relate to as geriatric nurses.
It is so important to know the Why we exist and for whom. It is so important for us to have “an undying belief in a purpose or cause bigger than ourselves."(2009, Sinek, S) Why do we do what we do? We do this for our patients, nurses, nurses’ aides, families and our communities. How? We speak to all age groups and all cultures. We care for the nurses who care for the older adult.
We support health care professionals within the interprofessional team through education, empowerment (knowledge & skills sets), communication skills, and most importantly – listening skills. “Communication is not about speaking, it’s about listening” (2009, Sinek, S).
I invite you to look at two YouTube programs called “Barbara’s Story” and the complete one “Barbara…the whole story.

These stories were so very well done and the actress absolutely captured the essence of growing older and tugging at the heartstrings of a very seasoned geriatric nurse.
In closing, I want to ask all of you to please send me your comments, suggestions, and ideas to lend your Leaders a hand in our determination to bring new vigor and direction to NGNA. Some of the new directions include:
  1. Changing our Annual Convention to NGNA Conference on Gerontology
  2. Of the topics that are being considered, a few include: Transitions in Care, Innovations and Strategies in Gerontological Education, Chronic Disease Management and the Older Adult,  Technological Advances in the Care of Older Adults, and Pharmacological Advances and Challenges. 
Tell me what is important to each of you. I want to hear from you!
Joanne Alderman, MS-N, APRN-CNS, RN-BC, FNGNA
President, National Gerontological Nursing Association