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Nurses Week: a culture of safety.

The history of Nurses Week is interesting and one I would like to share with my readers. According to the American Nurses Association (ANA, 2016), Nurses Week has only been an annually recognized observance since 1993. However, as early as 1954, National Nurses Week was designated as a onetime observance in October to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's mission to the Crimea. In 1974, President Richard Nixon declared a "National Nurses Week," again, as a onetime designation. However, I believe the groundwork for the present National Nurses Week was given a huge boost in 1982, when New Mexico Congressman Manuel Lujan, with the support of a number of nursing organizations, including the American Nurses Association, introduced a resolution in the US Congress establishing May 6th as "National Recognition Day for Nurses." In 1993 the ANA Board of Directors designated May 6th-12th for the annual observance of "National Nurses Week," a designation that continues today, while May 6th remains National Nurses Day (ANA, 2016).

This year, Nurses Week 2016 was celebrated with events at the local, state and national levels recognizing nurses' unique contributions to their communities and reflecting ANA's campaign for 2016: A Culture of Safety--It Starts with You. According to ANA, "a culture of safety is one in which core values and behaviors-resulting from a collective and sustained commitment by organizational leadership, managers and workers --emphasize safety over competing goals" (ANA, 2016). The New Mexico Nurses Association (NMNA) chose to promote the Culture of Safety theme, as well as the concept of Healthy Nurses[TM], that appeared in the previous issue of The New Mexico Nurse, with a workshop titled "Healthy Nurse--Healthy New Mexico" on May 6, 2016 in Santa Fe.

The morning started with Caroline B. Trapp, DNP, ANP-BC, CDE, FAANP, a nationally recognized expert on plant-based diet and nutritional interventions for diabetes care. Currently the Director of Diabetes Education and Care for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, DC, Dr. Trapp educated and updated us with her presentation: "It Takes a Village: Interventional Nutrition Across Disciplines," complemented by "The Power to Heal Diabetes: Food for Life in Indian Country," a documentary with actual patients expressing how plant-based interventional nutrition strategies improved their lives. This was a presentation on some research findings of an ongoing, eight-year partnership (currently in its sixth year) between the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The presentation provided the participants with research-based interventions that reflect the importance of treating diabetes with a plant-based diet that will strongly impact diabetes treatment, and some believe will lead to a cure. Dr. Trapp's passionate and knowledgeable presentation on plant-based nutritional interventions for diabetic patients was inspiring and readers interested in receiving information should contact the NMNA office.

Our keynote speaker was Barbara Dossey, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, HWNC-BC, an internationally known integrative, holistic nursing pioneer, a nurse theorist and a Florence Nightingale Scholar. Dr. Dossey's topic was "Healthy Nurses, Resiliency, and Self Care." In her presentation, Dr. Dossey discussed several concepts related to her topic. She noted that there are four processes important in self-development of the healthy nurses: self-reflection, self-assessment, self-evaluation, and self-care. Self-care is of particular importance since the focus is on nurses engaging in healthy lifestyles which, in turn, result in our becoming positive role models for our patients. These four processes are dynamic and fluid processes that occur throughout the life-span. Resiliency, a positive trait, is necessary to cope with the stresses and adversities of life. There is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual resilience, each with its own particular mindset. As nurses, we are very aware of the stresses related to our profession. Intelligences, moral, spiritual, physical, and emotional, were seen as very important to healthy nurses' development. Emotional intelligence was also an interactive topic in the afternoon workshop. It is seen as a very important part of a nurses' ability to function at an optimal level, both personally and professionally. This dynamic and gifted speaker provided further impetus for us all to engage with the NMNA and ANA Healthy Nurse Initiative.

To promote the notion of "built environment" participants had an opportunity to Walk for Health around beautiful Santa Fe for about 40 minutes. During lunch, both NM Secretary of Health designee Lynn Gallagher and Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales spoke with the Mayor proclaiming May 6th-12th as Nurses Week in Santa Fe. After lunch, nurses representing the New Mexico Native American Nurses Association participated in giving the nurses a blessing. Words cannot give this opportunity full meaning and provide only a snap shot of the experience. The nurses were asked to stand in a circle called the Blessing Circle, in which they were asked to use one word to describe, in that moment, what this day meant to them. Participants words included "peace, love, inspiration, balance, hope, and faith." Ursula Knoki-Wilson, renouned for her spiritual and healing gifts then blessed participants.

The final event of the day allowed participants to engage in four interactive breakout sessions of their choice, selected from the following topics: Burnout, Bullying, Emotional Intelligence, Exercise as Medicine, Health Equity for NM, Healthy Eating, Healthy Environment, Safe Patient Handling, Substance Use Prevention, the Use of Essential Oils, Incivility, and Yoga for Health. The dynamic presenters included: Camille Adair, RN, Heather Black, BSN, RN DOH/PHD, Jason Bloomer, RN, Ruth Burkhart, MSN, MA, RN, BC, LPCC, Kathy Lopez-Bushnell, APRN, EdD, MPH, MSN, CTSC, Siri GuruNam Khalsa, MSN RN, Katie Louise Tomarelli, MPH, RN, Dominic Rodriguez, MSN, RN, Amy Wilson, MPH, BSN, RN, APHN-BC and Victoria Zermeno, RN. Such nursing content experts and leaders helped make the day exhilarating to the final minute.

Evaluations were overwhelmingly positive and some participants described this as the best conference they had ever attended; that they could not wait to see what was offered next year for Nurses Week in NM!

At a local level, in Las Cruces, Mayor Kenneth Miyagishima issued a Mayoral Proclamation which designated May 6th-12th as Nurses Week 2016. It was attended by over 50 nurses representing home care, hospice, hospitals, nursing homes, public health and school settings. This is the third year we have had a Mayoral Proclamation recognizing Nurses Week in Las Cruces and each year its scope encompasses more nurses. Led by the citizens of Las Cruces, the nurses were given a standing ovation after the proclamation was read by Councilman Greg Smith. Mayor Miyagishima of Las Cruces publicly thanked the nurses for the care they provide his elderly parents, stating, "I have no idea what we would have done without nurses.... You do such a fantastic job with your patients."

Finally, on May 10th, ANA offered a free webinar on Cultural Congruent Care: Why Diversity Makes a Difference. This was the fifth webinar offered this year for nurses that has focused on the theme of the Culture of Safety. This offering framed how we could provide culturally congruent care; reflected on understanding the values and beliefs we could bring to the patient-nurse relationship; and identified knowledge, skills and research-based tools we would need to support culturally congruent care in our nursing practice (ANA, 2016). In keeping with ANA's theme for 2016, ANA will be offering monthly webinars with complementary written information throughout the remainder of 2016 under the umbrella of The Culture of Safety. Webinars that have already been offered are, "What is the Culture of Safety," "Healthy Nurse," "Fatigue and Shift Work," and "Mental Health." Monthly webinars in the future will include, "Emerging Infections," "Leadership: Leading from the Middle," and, "Hospice and Palliative Care." Access to these seminars and others can be found at

As I have seen our membership increase and members become increasingly involved in their communities and addressing topics that impact our citizens, I am honored to be your voice and to network with involved, knowledgeable and professional nurses. NMNA continues to expand our influence in New Mexico and we have developed a number of Interest Groups that impact nurses in our state and truly give a voice to nursing: Healthy Nurses, Welcome to the Profession, New Grad Advisory Committee, Mentoring Project, NM Nurse, and the Institute for Nursing Diversity, which focuses on issues of health equity. For nurses who want to have a voice in the future of nursing in our state, your participation in any of these Interest Groups is a pathway and we welcome your participation. If you wish to be part of this dynamic model of nursing in New Mexico please contact NMNA's office at (505) 471-3324 or

Leigh DeRoos MSN, RN

President New Mexico Nurses Association
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Title Annotation:President's Message
Author:DeRoos, Leigh
Publication:New Mexico Nurse
Geographic Code:1U8NM
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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