As we celebrate National Nurses Week – May 6th through May 12th (Florence Nightingale’s birthday) – it’s the perfect time to shine a spotlight on the nation’s almost four million registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. These men and women step up to the plate every day and do the hard work that needs to be done and they do it with compassion, intelligence, great skill, and finesse. Here are six individuals that are changing the face of health and healthcare through nursing.
- Susan B. Hassmiller, Ph.D., RN, FAAN works to ensure that America’s nursing workforce is strong and empowered so that we can all live healthier lives. She does this, in part, by directing the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a 50-state initiative that supports a system in which nurses are essential partners in providing care and promoting health. She is also co-director of the Future of Nursing Scholars program, which provides scholarships, mentoring and leadership development for new nurses as well as nurse educators and researchers. Dr. Hassmiller served with the Health Resources and Services Administration as executive director of the U.S. Public Health Service Primary Care Policy Fellowship. In this role, she addressed national and international healthcare initiatives. She is the recipient of many awards including the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international honor given to a nurse by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
- Robert G. Hess, Jr, Ph.D., RN, FAAN is empowering nurses to be strong and effective advocates for their patients through what is known as shared governance. Patients often assume nurses are empowered to make decisions in their best interest. However, sometimes nurses’ decisions are superseded by managers, administrators, and others far from the point of care who don’t have the expertise or information to coordinate patients’ total care. Shared governance ensures that bedside nurses are true stakeholders and collaborators of care. Dr. Hess is Founder and CEO of the Forum for Shared Governance www.sharedgovernance.org, coauthor of the sole book on implementing shared governance, and the world’s leading researcher on the subject. He is also Executive Vice President, Chief Clinical Executive, for OnCourse Learning www.oncourselearning.com, Healthcare, the largest provider of continuing education in the world for nurses as well as 23 additional health professions. They publish Nurse.com (formerly Nursing Spectrum and Nurseweek) and Continuingeducation.com.
- Diana J. Mason, Ph.D., RN, FAAN has been a vocal and high-profile advocate for improving health and healthcare by bridging nursing with public policy, politics, and the media – a powerful combination. Dr. Mason is the immediate past president of the American Academy of Nursing – an organization of nurse leaders, is former editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing, and was co-producer and moderator for many years of Healthstyles, a weekly radio show on health issues. She is now the producer and moderator of HealthCetera in the Catskills, WIOX Radio. Dr. Mason is the lead editor of the award-winning book, Policy and Politics in Nursing and Health Care, now in its seventh edition. Her academic work focuses on health policy and what can be learned from nurse-designed models of care. She is Professor Emerita at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is the Senior Service Policy Professor, Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement, George Washington University School of Nursing.
- Barbara Glickstein, MPH, MS, RN combines roles as a public health nurse, health policy expert, and broadcast journalist to expand, elevate, and honor the role and image of nurses and advance their vital work to improve health and health care for the public. She is Director of Communications, Media Projects at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University School of Nursing. Ms. Glickstein co-produces and hosts the podcast HealthCetera. As a nursing consultant and advisor for Carolyn Jones Productions, she worked on the documentaries The American Nurse, Defining Hope and the multimedia project Dying in America: Nurses Leading the Conversation. Ms. Glickstein has trained national leaders in healthcare on how to be a media maker to advance the health of the public and public policy. She has produced programming for Martha Stewart Radio and completed a Progressive Women’s Voices fellowship with the Women’s Media Center in 2009.
- Betty Smith Williams, PH, MN, MSN, RN, FAAN has been a leader, mentor, role model, change agent and activist, empowering black and ethnic minority nurses to be leaders in health policy, practice, education, and research. She has also advocated for more accessible and culturally appropriate care for ethnic minorities. Dr. Williams has done this in part by co-founding and serving as president of both the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations, Inc. (NCEMNA). She became the first black graduate of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. She also went on to become the first black person to teach at either a college or university in the entire state of California. Dr. Williams has been listed among the 100+ Influential Organization Leaders by Ebony magazine. In 1989, the UCLA School of Public Health established the Betty Smith Williams Scholarship for the graduate education of African American students.
- Michelle Podlesni, RN is devoted to the empowerment of nurses through entrepreneurship. She is an accomplished businesswoman, U.S. Navy veteran, and nurse with over 30 years’ experience. She is president of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) www.NNBANow.com which is dedicated to advancing and expanding nurse’s role in business. NNBA provides nurses with business education, strategies, and best practices along with an extensive network of colleagues and resources helping nurses navigate the journey to entrepreneurial success. NNBA’s Annual Educational Conference on Nurse Entrepreneurship and Career Alternatives is held each autumn and attended by nurses, business owners, authors, inventors, consultants, educators and those who wish to expand their horizons and opportunities within nursing. Ms. Podlesni and NNBA have assisted thousands of nurses to launch, build, and manage their own businesses. She is the author of Unconventional Nurse®: Going from Burnout to Bliss!