Living Legends, Edge Runners, Former Surgeon General Featured at American Academy of Nurses Annual Conference

    • December 20, 2009

Ninety-seven nurses were recognized for their important contributions to the nursing profession and their influence on health policies that benefit all Americans at an induction ceremony at the 36th Annual Meeting and Conference of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) in Atlanta last month.

The Fellows join more than 1,500 nurses nationwide—many of them scholars, fellows and project directors of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)—who have been recognized for their leadership in advancing nursing and the public health.

The ceremony was the culmination of the three-day meeting, which also featured an address by former United States Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., a former RWJF Clinical Scholar (1975-1976) who now directs the Satcher Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Satcher discussed the importance of leadership development and his focus when he served as Surgeon General: “All of our reports focused on vulnerable populations. But we didn’t want the reports to site on a shelf and gather dust. We wanted them to have an impact. The purpose of the Surgeon General’s report should be to improve the health of people in this country, especially vulnerable populations.”

A highlight of the conference was recognition of the 2009 Living Legends—four nurses who epitomize nursing’s proud history and serve as role models for the profession. This year’s Legends are leaders in education, history, ethics, diagnostic reasoning and public policy. They are:

  • Barbara M. Brodie, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., an educator and nurse historian who was instrumental in creating the field of nursing historical scholarship and helped found the American Association of the History of Nursing. Brodie also helped create the University of Virginia School of Nursing Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry and served as the director from 1991 to 2002.
  • Leah Curtin, M.S., M.A., R.N., a philosopher, teacher, author and international leader in ethics, who conducted seminal research into the impact of war on children. Curtin is best known as the “mother of nursing ethics” and today is executive editor of American Nurse Today, the official journal of the American Nursing Association.
  • Marjory Gordon, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., who was instrumental in establishing standardized nursing languages for diagnostics, to articulate clinical decisions and to document the links between nursing intervention and improved health outcomes. Gordon recently published a book on Functional Health Pattern Assessment.
  • Ruby Leila Wilson, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., who directed the first primary nursing program and initiated the first-ever master’s degree program in clinical nursing. As a member of the Institute of Medicine, Wilson served on the 1983 National Nursing Study, which resulted in the formation of the National Institute of Nursing Research.

The conference also featured a discussion of the lessons learned through AAN’s Raise the Voice Campaign—an initiative funded by RWJF and directed by AAN to recognize practical innovators leading the way in bringing new thinking and new methods to a wide range of health care challenges.

The panel included four Raise the Voice Edge Runners—nurses who have developed and are leading innovative health care models that show promise for replication. The models discussed were: Diabetes Coping Skills Training, a program to help teenagers with diabetes cope with and manage their condition; MinuteClinic, a system of walk-up health care clinics staffed by nurse family practitioners; Nurse-Family Partnership, an evidence-based nurse home visitation program for first-time mothers in low-income communities; and Evercare, a care model that brings together nurse practitioners and case managers to coordinate services for seniors and people with long-term or advanced illness.