“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
And then things start to happen,
Don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!”

I received a copy of this wonderfully wise book by Dr. Seuss from a friend upon completion of my BSN in nursing. It is a perfect send off to graduates from nursery school, high school, college and beyond. Most recently, I shared this book with some of my friends at retirement. “Soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a lurch on a prickly perch”, Dr. Seuss addresses the ups and downs, always looking for the success that lies within. I think it is a great book to read when you are entering a new chapter in your life.

I believe that this book relates well to the Health Ministries Association position today. It has only been eight years, 2009, since the journey began to “climb the mountain”. That was the year the organization decided to focus on increasing the professional role(s) of the organization. Fast forward to June 2017, HMA has developed many “bright places”.

This has never been more profound to me than at the recent representation HMA had in Washington, DC. Felicia Stewart, Alyson Breisch and myself attended the first American Nurses Association (ANA) Organizational Affiliate Meeting for our organization. Being one of 39 Organizational Affiliates, we were introduced and welcomed by ANA President, Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. HMA was given the opportunity to present an overview of the organization, our mission and our strong stance as health consumer advocates in both faith communities and communities-at-large nationwide. It gave us a chance to listen to the work of other nursing specialties, and interact with their representatives.

I was also on the meeting agenda to address the ethics topic of Moral Resilience. The Health Ministries Association was given positive feedback for the Scope and Standards Workgroup on many topics; this was one of them. I shared time with Liz Stokes, JD, RN, Senior Policy Advisor for Ethics and Human Rights. It was a great opportunity to share our Faith Community Nursing practice with this group and to focus on the spiritual care intrinsic to our practice. There were several questions at the end of the presentation and many more that were shared with all of us about spirituality in nursing care.

We also had the opportunity to meet Carol Bickford, PhD, RN-BC, CPHIMA, FAAN, Senior Policy Advisor for the Department of Nursing Practice and Work Environment. HMA has worked closely with Carol on the last two revisions, as she directs ANA’s scope and standards of practice program.

On Friday and Saturday, Felicia was the HMA Representative to the 2017 Membership Assembly with voting rights. Aly and I attended as “observers”. This is the annual gathering where the business of ANA takes place. As you can imagine, there is a lot of business that occurs when you are representing a membership of 3.6 million registered nurses! We listened to presentations and discussions on Bylaws, policies, government and nursing initiatives. It was an amazing experience to be able to participate in your nursing organization at this level. All of us were so proud to be able to represent you, the HMA membership, at this meeting.

Flying home on Saturday evening, I could not stop thinking of all “the places” HMA has been in the past eight years. Let me highlight a few of our initiatives: HMA became an American Nurses Association Organizational Affiliate (2017); Faith Community Nursing Certification (2014); Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards revisions (2012, 2017); Faith Community Nursing Mentor Program (2012); quarterly conference calls with ANCC (2014); Health Minister Guidelines revisions (2012, 2017); organization restructure; bylaws revision (2016); ongoing communication development; ongoing policy and procedure development; development committee enhancement; eight successful national conferences and continued growth in membership. Additionally, we have continued to build partnerships nationally with organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Health and Human Services on the topics of faith and health.

Anticipation is growing for the Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice release. We have received notice from ANA that the books will be available late August, in time for the conference. That is perfect timing, giving us the opportunity to share them “hot off the press” with you in Kentucky. There will also be representatives available from the Scope and Standards Workgroup to answer all of your questions about the extensive document. To date, we have received orders for more than 600 copies. If you are going to be placing a large order or want to pick up your order at the conference, I would suggest you contact the HMA office. The revised Health Minister Guidelines will also be available for purchase at the conference too. Look for more details on this new document on the HMA website by August 1st.

I look forward to seeing each of you in Kentucky this September. This year’s conference is blessed by stimulating keynote speakers, workshops, and poster presentations. There are many new ideas being implemented, with time built in for those important informal conversations. The conference committee has been very intentional to bring you experts on topics that are applicable to your practices. We want each attendee to take away new and reformulated ideas. We want you to have many “takeaways” from people you encounter for the first time and those dear friends with whom you reconnect. Our hope for this conference is that you return to your homes and work not only with new insights into faith and health, but with bold new questions to ponder for ourselves and to pose to colleagues. This is how each of us will carry the momentum of all that is happening in the faith and health movement forward.

“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
Who soar to high heights.
OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!”

Source: OH, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss