Letter from the President
I am excited and honored to serve as the President of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nursing Association (PCNA). This past year we have all encountered unprecedented challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, remoteness, and feelings of loss and grief as dear colleagues and family members succumbed to the ravages of the disease. The illumination of racial disparities and injustices has harkened a resounding call for a new culture that promotes respect for all, inclusion, and health equity. Coupled with a tense and contentious political scene, we have definitely experienced an extraordinary year.
While we are transitioning to a new normal, it is exciting and heartwarming to see the many positive things that have occurred, and PCNA has also had some important silver linings. As PCNA has shifted to virtual events, we have grown stronger in our reach to cardiovascular nurses and providers across the nation and globe. Record attendance occurred at our Annual Symposium in 2020, the Global Cardiovascular Nursing Leadership Forum (GCNLF), and at special programs like the Heart Failure Summit. While we all miss the excellent networking and meeting of new colleagues at the in-person Annual Symposium and programs, we are anticipating another great virtual Cardiovascular Nursing Symposium April 8-9, 2021. The Skill Building Workshop, a popular aspect of the Annual Symposium will be on May 6-7, 2021. I hope you will plan to attend, participate, and learn from the outstanding experts who are giving their time and talent to these programs. Another important accomplishment was the launch of PCNA’s Cardiovascular Nursing Certificate. If you have not seen it, I invite you to take a look and share with your colleagues. These activities are key to one of the new strategic goals to increase the visibility and reach of PCNA so that a wider and more diverse range of people have access to the unique and high-quality programs of the organization. Such accomplishments could not have happened without committed members, PCNA leaders, and exceptional staff.
Nurses were and are in the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic – leading in the care of the critically ill and participating now in the vaccine roll-out. Nurses have been positively show-cased in the media resulting in an incredible surge in applications to Schools of Nursing across the United States. We will welcome these new nurse recruits as the needs of our workforce, and specifically the cardiovascular workforce, have never been greater. While cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in the United States and in many countries, our organization’s focus on prevention brings a unique perspective to interdisciplinary collaborations and care provided by members and affiliates. Members have developed new leadership skills and approaches to care as they arose to the COVID-19 challenge, and nurses embraced technology to reduce isolation of patients, participate in webinairs, and to develop effective telehealth approaches to promote prevention, patient assessment and education, counseling, and cardiovascular care. Greater understanding of the cardiovascular specific complications in COVID-19 and the lingering symptoms in some individuals, such as arrhythmias, provides a challenge to researchers in that we still have much to learn to subsequently incorporate that evidence into our patient education and practice.
It would be remiss to not acknowledge the incredible stress borne by nurses during this past year from being engaged in so much intense care, isolation, and loss. The psychological needs of the nursing and healthcare workforce have escalated. We must stay attuned to individual self-care and develop effective organizational strategies to address professional burn-out and PTSD. These concerns provide important areas for PCNA to address in promoting better working environments, resources, and support for cardiovascular nurses through education and advocacy.
Another new strategic goal is to build a diverse, knowledgeable pool of cardiovascular nursing leaders and influencers such that nurse’s voice is heard in strategic settings. We aim to develop programming and resources to develop leaders for organizational as well as PCNA involvement. Through executing our mission with equity and inclusivity at the forefront, the PCNA Board of Directors, staff, and CEO are committed to being a force in eliminating disparities in cardiovascular health, addressing social determinants of health, and removing structural barriers. We aim to engage nurses from diverse backgrounds as we build new programs, patient education materials, and advocate for health equity for all. We welcome your engagement in the many varied aspects of PCNA!
Sandra B. Dunbar
RN, PhD, FAAN, FAHA, FPCNA
Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing