RWJF Nursing Leader at Georgetown Lecture: ‘Let Your Voice Be Heard’

FEBRUARY 23, 2017 – Aspiring professional and advanced nurses must see themselves as leaders, find what they are passionate about, and be vocal, according to the senior advisor for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, a prominent nurse leader, came to Georgetown’s campus yesterday to deliver the keynote address for the School of Nursing & Health Studies’ McAuley Lecture Series.

“Pursue leadership opportunities,” she advised the students gathered in Copley Formal Lounge. “Let your voice be heard. . . . When you develop your passions, then speak about them.”

Nursing’s Future

Patricia Cloonan, PhD, RN, the school’s dean, welcomed the audience, and Edilma Yearwood, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, chair of the school’s Department of Professional Nursing Practice – which co-hosted the event – introduced Hassmiller.

Among her many accomplishments, Hassmiller leads – through an RWJF partnership with the AARP Foundation – the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which, according to the Web site, “strives to implement the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s report on the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”

Hassmiller, who was the study director of this major report that was released in October 2010, walked the audience through updates in the pubication’s five domains. She addressed supporting educational opportunity for nurses, “removing barriers” for nursing practice, cultivating leaders, collaboration among health care professionals, and promoting a diverse workforce.

Social Determinants of Health

As the nation continues its conversation about health care, Hassmiller underlined the visible role that nurses must play. “It’s so important that nurses are also at that table,” she said. “This is really, really important. . . . We are so often not at the table. We must be.”

Creating a “culture of health,” a strategic priority for the foundation, requires a renewed focus on addressing the social determinants of health, Hassmiller said.

Such non-clinical determinants that impact a person’s health, according to a County Health Rankings chart that Hassmiller cited, include factors like the quality of air and the water supply, access to housing and transportation, pay level and education attainment, and neighborhood safety.

Tackling these complexities requires involvement from all “sectors,” she said. “It’s my job to ensure that nurses are very invested and involved.”

‘Reimagine the Possibilities’

Hassmiller said that Georgetown students and faculty, because of the university’s Jesuit tradition, are already oriented to this type of community engagement.

“You have really helped us reimagine the possibilities that exist,” Yearwood said after Hassmiller’s address.

Cloonan thanked the event planners, including nursing major Ani Bilazarian (NHS’17), Yearwood, Margaret Nolan, PhD, RN, assistant professor of professional nursing practice, and Melat Dereje, program coordinator.

“We are so grateful for Dr. Hassmiller’s insights on the crucial role of nursing and her focus on the social determinants of health,” said Cloonan. “Across the academic departments of our school, we see a deep commitment to promoting health equity and shining a bright spotlight on the negative influences that social determinants have on the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities.”

Related Content

Campaign for Action

The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health

AARP Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation