| Dear Colleague,With acknowledgment in advance to our many talented and dedicated male faculty, I’d like to talk today about some of our female forebears in nursing who continue to inspire us today. The reason? Well, March is Women’s History Month, and it is impossible to think about women’s history without reflecting on the remarkable women who founded our profession. There is Florence Nightingale, of course, and Mary Seacole of Jamaica, whom I mentioned four weeks ago in the context of Black History Month. Then there are the 18 superintendents of training schools for nurses who met at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1983 to establish and maintain a universal standard of training for nurses. The organization they founded, the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses, eventually became the National League for Nursing, and our history is legendary. |
Living in the age of Google, it’s easy and fun to research Women’s History Month. During an exploratory search, I found myself at http://womenshistorymonth.gov where I was introduced to the Clara Barton Collection and learned much more about the founder of the American Red Cross than I ever knew. Having worked as a teacher in New Jersey and in the US Patent Office in Washington, DC, Clara found her calling during the Civil War. From her boarding house on 7th Street NW, she collected and stored food and medical supplies that could be distributed to the troops, and in 1862, was permitted to travel to places where the fighting was taking place. Following the war, she began the project of locating missing soldiers, and with President Lincoln's approval, set up the Bureau of Records in Washington and traced 20,000 men. She was truly a warrior nurse.
In 1997, the discovery of a letter by a carpenter inspecting an old building slated for demolition on 7th Street led to the discovery of Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office in her boardinghouse home. The site has since been turned into the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, which should be at the top of your list of sites to visit when you come to nation’s capital for a visit to the NLN. Several fascinating videos are on the museum’s website, along with a list of special events for Women’s History Month. Explore and enjoy.
It is not a stretch to link Women's History Month to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Nurses are making history every day, in developing countries as well as developed countries throughout the world. The work nurses do to advance the health of the global community is often unheralded but it is so, so very vital. And then there are today’s warrior nurses. The work that Dr. Stephanie Ferguson does as director of the ICN-Burdett Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI) and director of the ICN Leadership for Change Programme in Geneva, Switzerland, easily places her in that category.
I am so proud of the NLN's active participation in the ICN, especially our leadership in the ICN Education Network. Now nurse educators participate, at no charge, in a global forum to address the role of nurse educators worldwide, the quality of nursing education, opportunities and challenges, and international nursing and nursing faculty shortages. You should join the network today. Dr. Virginia Adams, director of the NLN Center for Diversity and Global Initiatives, is founding chair of the ICN Education Network and will chair its meeting during the 2015 ICN Conference in Seoul. She is frequently the face of the NLN internationally.
Several of us will be attending the ICN Conference in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in June. We will be everywhere. Virginia, NLN president Dr. Marsha Adams, chief program officer Dr. Janice Brewington, and I have an abstract accepted for publication on the ICN website on transforming leaders for nursing education. Dr. Judith Halstead, executive director of the NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA), will present on developing a global culture of quality assurance in nursing education. As alumnae of the GNLI in Geneva, NLN president-elect Dr. Anne Bavier will join Virginia in the Global Nursing Leadership Institute Colloquium.
We will be represented in a session on simulation by NLN scholar-in-residence Dr. Susan Forneris, Accelerating to Practice (A2P) manager Dr. Mary Fey, and chief program officer Dr. Elaine Tagliareni. We will be attending presentations by three of our members and volunteers extraordinaire: Drs. Gail Baumlein and G. Elaine Patterson, members of the NLN Board of Governors, and NLN Academy of Nursing Education fellow Dr. JoAnn Mulready-Shick. And, with the kind support of Laerdal Medical, the NLN will host a welcome reception for all our colleagues. Once again we will have the opportunity to live our mission statement: "to advance the health of the nation and the global community." I am always very pleased when we are able to walk the talk.
I daresay that when Women's History Month is celebrated in March 2115, 100 years from now, some of these names will be remembered among the nurse leaders of the 21st century. Let's keep doing what we do best and who knows what we will accomplish. We have inherited a great legacy from our founding mothers, and today, side by side with our male colleagues, we continue the work they started in establishing our great profession.
All best wishes,
Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN
Chief Executive Officer