Voices from the Field

Jun 1, 2011, 12:00 PM, Posted by

This post is part of an ongoing series of Voices from the Field by scholars, fellows and alumni of RWJF Human Capital programs. The author, Mary Hooshmand, R.N., Ph.D., is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program and a nursing director in Southeast Florida for Children’s Medical Services. Read more about this incredible story.

As a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow in 2004, I learned very quickly the ‘power’ of the RWJF network as I soon received letters, notes and calls from current fellows and alumni welcoming me to the program and offering their support. At that time, I could not have fully imagined the true meaning or the value of this immense network of colleagues.

The Executive Nurse Fellows program has been inclusive of alumni over the years through annual meetings and a website allowing us to easily make connections beyond our own cohorts to others based on areas of interest in practice, research and education.

Each individual with diverse backgrounds, talent and expertise seems always there to support each other through the challenges we face, whether at the organizational level or, as in this situation, one child and family at a time.

While our Florida team was working closely across agencies to move this adoption process forward, it became increasingly apparent that the potential adoptive family in Pennsylvania was facing hurdles of their own and much in need of support through the process. I was able to simply reach out to Cheri Rinehart, a colleague in my Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow 2004 cohort, to ask if she could be a resource to the family in Pennsylvania. I knew that Cheri had been active statewide with transplant issues and was also very active on a statewide level as the CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers. Our team was able to provide Cheri’s number to the potential adoptive family – and the rest is history.

Effecting positive change with one medically fragile child and one family, imagine the potential of networking on a health systems and organization level!

Whether we are new Fellows or alumni, we are now able to reach out to each other through the Human Capital blog and truly network and collaborate across professions as we strive to transform our health care system and assure the best in health care to all Americans.

While I must confess to primarily tapping into the Executive Nurse Fellows network, I am looking forward to accessing the wealth of the Human Capital portfolio moving forward. We now have this incredible tool added to our RWJF toolkit providing us a key to networking, connecting and collaborating across our professions. Imagine the synergy!

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.