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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Empowering Nurses to WIN




On May 21, 2016, I had the honor to be part of a unique event titled; The Nurse Empowerment Summit. The program was the brainchild of Eva Francis, a nursing leader from South Florida who saw a need, put a plan together and with the help of a dynamic team produced a successful Summit, which came to fruition on May 21, 2016.

What was most exciting for me was that this conference was the result of discussions on Facebook. The planning committee did not know each other but formed a common bond to develop a program that would empower nurses, encourage those struggling to overcome obstacles in their careers and assist them in realizing the value of being a nurse in today’s challenging healthcare environment.  

As a team, we worked for months to plan the event, under the leadership of Eva Francis and her staff who did a great deal of the background work. Each member of the committee took on various roles such as assisting with marketing, contacting sponsors and organizations who had an interest in supporting nursing as vendors, sponsors or through donations of books and other resources that could be used as give a-ways. We also put an all-out effort to advertise the event in various ways to ensure we would have a good turnout. It worked as the event drew nurses from all over South Florida as well as from New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and far away as Jamaica.  

What impressed me the most in working with this group was that there were no egos involved. Everyone kept the end goal in mind and did what they could to support the project. We all used our skills and passion for nursing to come up with ideas, topics, and speakers that made the Summit a success.

It was refreshing to work on a project that had such a positive goal: Empowering Nurses to Win. Today with the disruption in our healthcare system, so many professionals are experiencing dissatisfaction and pressure to achieve outcomes that there is negativity in the workforce. It was refreshing to work on this project that focused around the positive message about empowering nurses. 

As a team, we agreed early on; we did not want a ‘traditional clinical event’, but one that was more focused on providing information, tools and examples to reinforce the important role each nurse plays in the large healthcare system.

Today it is recognized that the health of our nation is a significant tool in creating economic growth and development. The other undeniable fact is that knowledge of good healthcare is paramount to all of us, and we take pride in embracing the fact that patients are the most important part of the equation. Today's nurses are positioned to lead teams so that healthcare does not lose the focus on caring. Nurses have an opportunity to use their expertise, their passion, and their skills to serve others especially when they are most vulnerable.

If you have been involved in planning a conference yourself, you know that having a planning committee that can work together is critical. The Nurse Empowerment planning committee was made up of an amazing group of women. Here are some insights into this dynamic group;   

Eva Francis: RN, MSN, CRRN, President & CEO of Brilliant Healthcare Training and Consulting. Over the months we prepared for the event, Eva was confident, calm and encouraging. She kept us all going when we were nervous about attendance. She remained vigilant with the vision when we started to stray and remained confident that the event would be successful. Once the agenda was developed, we turned to the recruitment of attendees. As with any new endeavor, the message had to be repeated and tweaked. As a result, the message was reinforced, and the momentum grew.  

Elisha Lowe, RN, MBA, is a nurse consultant, entrepreneur, and inspirational speaker. Elisha and I were the first to arrive at the hotel on Friday and took the time to get to know each other. We learned that we were both from Philadelphia and learned we had a lot in common. Over drinks, we shared experiences that made us both laugh and developed a bond that I hope will continue to grow.

Dr. Shushanne Wynter-Minott, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, is an advanced practice nurse and Adjunct Professor at Barry University. Dr. Wynter-Minot volunteered to pick up the summit keynote speaker, Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado from the airport and bring her to the hotel.  Shushanne called us when she arrived so Elisha, and I moved to the hotel lobby to greet our guest. It was a great moment for me to meet Kelley as I had been the person who recommended her for the keynote speaker. I felt her story fit perfectly with the theme of the Summit, so we were honored that she was open and able to attend.

As we all talked, I learned about Shushanne. She is a lovely young woman who has had an incredible career. I loved hearing about her beginnings as a nurse and the funny stories she shared about her active life and her family. She is balancing many things; as an Advanced Practice Nurse, a wife, and mother. I was impressed with her vision, her ability to have a balanced life and her strong faith.

Other members of the planning committee joined us on Saturday as attendees started to arrive for the Summit. They were; Jennie Aumoithe, MSM, RN, CHM, Owner of Right at Home Care Agency. Gloria Francis, M. Ed, Lurline Francis, RN, MSN, Nursing Instructor and Chrysteannah William, a nursing student. Each person has a task to do, and we all went to work. 

As a member of the Planning Committee I found working with these women an eye-opening experience. Although I have produced numerous conference during my career, I found that working with this team was empowering for me personally and professionally. 

As I take the time to reflect on the Summit, I realized that what we did as a team met our goal and produced an event that would encourage nurses from all sectors of the healthcare system to recognize their potential and the important work they are called to do.

Nursing is the recognized as the backbone of the healthcare industry. As we move forward to find ways to improve quality and control costs, having a stable nursing workforce is an essential component to ensure we don’t compromise care in the process.

The Summit faculty were selected for the work they are doing in the South Florida community and as well as for being leaders in the healthcare field. Each speaker was inspiring in their presentations, but more importantly, took the time to share their personal experiences, ideas, and resources that attendees could use long after the Summit was over. If you would like to review the agenda and the speakers, click here to visit the website.

The keynote speaker, Kelley Johnson, also known as Miss Colorado, was excellent. She shared her personal story of how she got into the Miss America pageant and how she felt about the controversy that followed the event that thrust her into the spotlight. If you don't know Kelly, click here to watch her monologue at the Miss America Pageant. You can also click here to see the segment from the View TV show that ignited a fire storm from nurses across the country due to the comments made of Kelley's performance in the Miss America Pageant by the women of the View. 

Kelley said she was proud of how her story united nurses across the country and provided nurses with a teachable moment they could use to explain to the public the important work they do throughout the healthcare industry.

In addition to the great line-up of speakers, we had a unique collection of exhibitors who brought products and services that were appealing to the audience from a personal as well as a professional standpoint.  Click here to view the websites of the various exhibitors.

We had two outstanding MCs for the event who were excellent in keeping the event on schedule and engaging the audience in discussion following each presentation. What was interesting to me was how they pulled key nuggets from each presentation and engaged the audience in discussion about the presentation. The comments from the audience were on target and thoughtful, showing that what they heard was pertinent to them and touched them personally.

My role at the Summit was to moderate the Empowerment Panel. The Empowerment Panel was made up of nurse leaders who found their niche and have used their expertise to develop businesses and practices that have allowed them to WIN. Each provided a short overview of their backgrounds and how they were winning through various means in their careers such as through perseverance, education, fitness and wellness, social media and finance. The information provided was thoughtful and on target for the audience and empowered them to win in their careers. This distinguished panel was made up of the following professionals: 

Dr. Shushanne Whynter-Minot, DNP, ARNP, FNP, BC shared how she is winning in her career.

Ayesha Mujtaba, MBA-HCA, MSN-ED, RN shared how she was winning through education.

Caroline Porter-Thomas, RN, BSN shared how she was winning through social media.

Delayna Wakins, RN, BSN, CWS shared how she is winning through fitness and wellness.

Carron Bramwell, RN, MSN, ARNP-BC shared how nurses can win through successful financial management.

The audience was made up of nurses from across the care continuum. There were student nurses, new nurses and seasoned nurses. It was fun to talk to the attendees and learn what they were doing in their daily lives as nurses. I was impressed with the caliber of nurses in attendance and the diverse work they are doing. 

At the close of the Summit, we met as a team to celebrate our success and savor the moment. We all agreed the event was a success and a model we could build on going forward.

It was an exciting day and met the goal that was set out from the start; to deliver information and empower nurses to be winners in their profession as well as their personal lives. 

If you are on Facebook, take time to visit and 'like' the Nurse Empowerment Summit Page. There you can see photos from the event and keep up to date on future events.  

I am looking forward to being part of this group going forward!


Thanks for reading Nurse Advocate. See you next week!