President's Column: Continuing the Journey

Jun 04, 2024

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In the final column of her term, AACN President Terry Davis encourages nurses to be open to change and collaboration, and to bridge generational gaps on our continuing journey. "To mentor the next generation of nurses is a fundamental role we must play … Our profession depends on it."
Rising Together theme artwork

Last year, I spoke about the sea change in nursing we had just experienced. That change is not just a moment in history; it’s a continual movement.

This year, we celebrate 50 years of NTI, and look forward to the next 50 years with a shared commitment to shaping the future of healthcare.

To begin our next 50 years, we have updated our mission statement: It now declares that “AACN drives excellence in acute and critical care for nurses, patients and families.”

This mission guides our work, goals and future. AARP, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, the National Academy of Medicine and the FDA have invited AACN and our community of exceptional nurses to partner as thought leaders and innovators – to create and sustain healthy and equitable work environments.

Recently, I was part of an accelerator program where novice-to-expert interdisciplinary teams participated in projects to create innovative ideas to lift the burden of work for direct care nurses – ideas such as the virtual nurse model and a project to streamline documentation.

Using our bold voices, talents and confidence, we can each be part of teams that discover new solutions and accelerate excellence for the next 50 years.

For decades, AACN has advocated for safe staffing. Now, we have developed and declared definitive standards!

This spring, we published “AACN Standards for Appropriate Staffing in Adult Critical Care.” We have boldly defined what is essential to delivering optimal patient outcomes while also supporting the well-being of nurses.

Staffing is more than numbers. We must have the resources we need, and we must staff in a way that matches nurses' skills to their patients’ needs.

Hospital leaders must value nurse staffing as an investment, not an expense – an investment in patient safety and better outcomes, as well as an investment in nurse retention, nurse safety and nurse well-being.

Rising Together, we can also bridge generational gaps, and create dynamic, inclusive nursing communities.

Our opportunity to mentor the next generation of nurses is a fundamental role we must play. We have a duty to share our knowledge and expertise.

I see so many young nurses answering the call, stepping up and ready to rise in this profession – ready to learn and innovate.

We must also be open to learning from them, to build the circle of shared knowledge. Our profession depends on it.

The landscape of healthcare is ever-changing. As nurses, we are uniquely positioned to not only navigate these changes but also to be the architects of the future we envision.

Let’s connect with families and patients in ways that leave a memorable imprint on their lives.

One day at a time, Rising Together, let’s continue this journey with collective momentum, bringing positive change to all we touch.

We are the future of nursing.

Here’s to the next 50 years!

We’ve got this!

Terry loves accelerator programs and has met many nurses eager to hear more. If you want to learn how to start an accelerator program at your hospital, email her at