|Nursing dean earns coveted AACN Grassroots award|
The dean of the College of Nursing, Chandice Covington, has been awarded its 2007 Grassroots Stars Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s government affairs committee. The group created this program to recognize AACN members who have made significant contributions to the organization’s advocacy of nursing education and research.
“Dr. Convington's award from the AACN not only recognizes her passion for her profession,” says Phil Harmeson, vice president for general administration.
By recognizing member deans, the GAC hopes to interest others in the policy process and ultimately increase AACN’s legislative and regulatory effectiveness on Capitol Hill, says AACN government affairs assistant Gene Throwe. Covington heads to Washington later this month to collect her award on behalf of the College of Nursing.
AACN says Covington has notably helped to advance nursing education and research both at the state and federal levels. In part, Covington’s public awareness push aims to get ahead of the accelerating national nursing shortage. AACN warns that unless the effects of rising retirement rates of nurses and nursing availability are addressed, North Dakota, among other states, will lose more than half of its nurses in the next decade; North Dakota will be short 5,000 nurses by 2020.
“The best way to highlight the nursing shortage is to get it in front of people,” says Covington, who says the aim of the UND College of Nursing is to not only worry about nursing education for UND, but also for the state of North Dakota. “Scores of nursing programs operate without adequate resources. Using the principles we learned as children, sharing of our resources can showcase North Dakota as an example of how to address the nursing shortage.”
“The AACN award also indicates that Dr. Covington is making a difference by convincing policymakers of the importance of working together to address the nursing shortage in rural areas,” notes Harmeson, whose portfolio as vice president for general administration also includes legislative and governmental affairs in my portfolio.
Covington’s nursing education advocacy efforts were most recently noticed when the North Dakota legislature passed a bill creating a consortium led by the UND College of Nursing. The bill provides a mechanism for nursing educational program directors at the associate, baccalaureate, and graduate levels and stakeholders, including legislative and workforce leaders, to share resources. This includes planning for a shared mobile clinical simulation lab to address the critical nursing shortage in rural areas.
Also this year, the College of Nursing and Dakota Medical Foundation of Fargo were selected as one of 11 foundations nationwide to receive funding in the second year of Partners Investing in Nursings Future, a national initiative to develop and test solutions to the country’s nursing shortage. Led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Health Foundation, the program encourages local foundations to act as catalysts in developing grassroots strategies to establish a stable, adequate nursing workforce.