28 October 2013

Looking back on the American Academy

HULL, United Kingdom—Ten days and 11 flights after leaving the U.K., I returned, accompanied by a virus that floored me for four days. I hope I contracted it in the United States and not China, where airport posters warn of the dangers of some local strains of Avian flu.

The first sign I was ill showed up in Boston; I nearly fainted during a five-mile run along the Charles River. Previous runs in Washington, D.C., had gone well; this was a struggle. But for a welcome lamppost, I would have hit the ground. My flight home from Boston’s Logan Airport is a blur, and I hope that what I attributed at the time to jet lag and exhaustion has not infected too many other passengers. That was the low point of my recent round-the-world trip.

The high point was attending the 40th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Nursing and seeing colleagues being inducted into the academy. The following pictures, all featuring Yours Truly, celebrate the event.

Joyce Pulcini, PhD, RN, FAAN, of George Washington University (left)
and Yours Truly with Sally Wai-Chi Chan, PhD, RN, director of Alice Lee Centre
for Nursing Studies in Singapore, who was recently inducted into the American
Academy of Nursing. Chan was sponsored for membership in the academy by Pulcini 
and Elaine Amella, PhD, RN, FAAN, of Medical University of South Carolina. Amella, one of my own sponsors in 2007, was unable to attend.
Chan (center) and Yours Truly (far right) with Courtney Lyder, ND, FAAN, dean, UCLA School of Nursing, Los Angeles (second from right); Rob Fast, director of operations at UCLA School of Nursing and Lyder's personal assistant (far left); and Mark Hayter, PhD, RN, also newly inducted into the American Academy of Nursing. Hayter is a colleague of mine at the University of Hull and one of the editor's of Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Rita Pickler, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN, also an editor of Journal of
Advanced Nursing
, with Hayter and Yours Truly.
I always consider my fellowship in the American Academy of Nursing as one my greatest honours. I was among the first three non-U.S. citizens to be inducted in 2007, the first from the U.K. and Europe. While international fellows have been unable—until now—to sponsor our own fellows, I have been instrumental, most years, in successfully organising sponsors for colleagues, including David Thompson of the Australian Catholic University and Seamus Cowman of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Recently, however, the academy has decided to make its growing band of international fellows full members, charging us appropriately, but also affording us the right to sponsor our own fellows. There was some resistance to our initial entry, thus the two-tier membership for the past five years. Likewise, there was some resistance to this latest move. While lamenting the full fee—I’m Scottish—I publicly welcomed the move to full membership. I think it will increase the number and importance of the academy’s non-U.S. fellows. My previous hope—and efforts—to establish a forum for international fellows in the American Academy of Nursing may now be realized.

I see that dates for next year’s academy meeting clash with an invitation to Australia I have already accepted. I love Washington, D.C., now the permanent home of the academy’s annual meetings, and I will miss my 2014 visit. Anyone who doubts what America has achieved since independence only need visit Washington. The view of the capitol building from the National Mall—and vice versa—is one of the most impressive in the free world. I usually take in the White House and nod to the occupants, walk round the National World War II Memorial with gratitude for our allegiance, hold back tears at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and “have a dream” as I ascend the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. I guess all this will still be there the year after next.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.

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