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Developing leadership and understanding Georgia's nursing workforce: GNLC's contribution to how nurses can impact patient care.

We all know that direct patient care is the heart of what nurses do, but nurses can play a large part in impacting patient care beyond the bedside. The IOM's Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (2010) is all about the broader role nurses have in influencing patient care and the Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition (GNLC), which is Georgia's Action Coalition, has provided nurses with many opportunities in 2016 to learn how they can do so. On October 5, 2015, 45 nurse leaders from across the state gathered at the Georgia Hospital Association to attend the 2nd annual GNLC leadership conference: Nursing's Role: Advocacy & Action. Two national speakers addressed Georgia nurses about their own paths to leadership and work on boards: Terrie P. Sterling, MSN, MBA, RN, Chief Operating Officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional

Medical Center (New Orleans, LA) and Kimberly McNally, MN, RN, BCC, President of McNally & Associates (Seattle, WA). They gave inspiring presentations as well as practical suggestions to help participants pursue similar trajectories to influence patient care in Georgia. Georgia's own leaders Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN, Dean, College of Nursing, Emory University, and Lisa Eichelberger, PhD, MSN, BSN, Dean, College of Nursing, Clayton State University, informed participants on Georgia's progress regarding the state-wide Campaign for the Future of Nursing and shared a summary on the Progress Report of the evaluation of the first five years of the IOM Report goals. One of the key take-home messages from all the speakers was the importance of seeking leadership positions and interacting with people across all industries and professions to play an active role in improving patient care.

On November 12, the GNLC hosted its 3rd annual Doctoral Symposium: Nursing Leadership through Policy Development and Educational Advancement at Georgia State University. Every year this event brings together more than 100 students, faculty, and other individuals interested in doctoral education in nursing from all across the state. This year's keynote speaker was Joan Stanley, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, Senior Director of Education Policy at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She spoke about the evolving roles of nurses with doctorates and held discussion workshops for students and faculty. The day closed with a panel of policy experts: Marcus Downs, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Nurses Association, Glenn Landers, ScD, MBA, MHA, Director of the Georgia Health Policy Center, and Dell Schilling, DNP, FNP-BC, Registered Nursing Education Member of the Georgia Board of Nursing. Other sessions during the day allowed students and faculty to learn about each other's programs and work and enrich their knowledge through focused skill-building sessions. Students also had the opportunity to practice presentation skills at the podium or with their posters. Awards were given to students for excellence in research and practice doctorate programs and scholarships were given to three students to attend AANP's spring health policy conference. Helping our doctoral students and their faculty to network and develop their skills, and encouraging more nurses to pursue doctoral education, will help nursing provide leadership to guide policies that improve the health of the citizens of Georgia.

Also in 2016, the GNLC produced its first report using the data from the survey nurses complete when they renew their licenses to practice. Our Report on the Registered Nursing Workforce in Georgia 2014-2015 includes findings about both RNs and APRNs and shows where Georgia stands related to national averages. (To download the complete report, go to For example,

* Georgia has fewer white RNs and more black RNs than the national average, but has fewer Hispanic and Asian RNs. The same is true of our APRNs.

* More RNs in Georgia work in acute care settings and specialties than the national average, and fewer RNs in GA work in gerontology and assisted living/nursing homes/extended care facilities.

* More Georgia NPs specialize in adult/family health, acute/critical care, and pediatrics and fewer specialize in psychiatric/mental health/substance abuse and women's health when compared to national findings.

* 13.8% of Georgia counties have no practicing APRNs.

Soon we will have more data and we will begin to examine patterns and trends of the nursing workforce. This kind of information is integral to helping us identify care gaps so we can work with others to develop strategies to improve access to quality nursing care across the state and reduce health disparities among our citizens.

The GNLC plans to continue to analyze data and offer opportunities for nurses to develop skills that will help us step up to the plate and impact legislation and policies that has a broad effect on the health of the citizens of Georgia. If you are interested in these activities and want to be informed, you can go to our website at and fill out an interest form to be on our mailing list. We are an organization that relies on the volunteered time of more than 50 nurses throughout the state, so if you are looking for opportunities to be involved, we have plenty of ways you can be a part of our work!

Rebecca Wheeler, PhD, RN Coordinator, Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition
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Title Annotation:Your Voice
Author:Wheeler, Rebecca
Publication:Georgia Nursing
Date:Feb 1, 2017
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