December 2023 President's Letter

Greetings SPN Members!


Last month, President-Elect Jenni Baird and I represented SPN at the National Student Nurses Association Mid-Year Conference in San Diego, CA. Jenni served as the moderator for a nursing specialty showcase session, and I served as one of the panelists. I enjoyed sharing why I became a pediatric nurse and my love for this specialty. We both had a great afternoon meeting future pediatric nurses and sharing the benefits of SPN membership. I encourage all of you to discuss investing in a professional membership with students you may teach or precept, as well as your colleagues!


In November, Kim Eskew, MBA, CAE, SPN’s Executive Director, and I represented SPN at the Nursing Organizations Alliance (NOA) Fall Summit in Providence, Rhode Island. The summit brought together executive directors, presidents, and senior-level staff from 40 nursing organizations to network and build relationships while participating in sessions to advance the nursing profession. American Nurses Association (ANA) President, Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, was our keynote presenter and shared ANA’s workforce initiatives and priorities. Leaders from the represented organizations were able to network and discuss priority topics impacting nursing, our specialties, and our professional organizations. There was great discussion around the topics of nurse staffing, creating a culture of belonging, advocacy, leadership agility, member engagement, and how the power of purpose in our work can help to build momentum to advance healthcare.


As a child, I remember attending large holiday celebrations with family and friends. The adults would sit together at the dining table, and the children sat at a kids table, often away from the group of adults. I can’t say that I really minded that at the time because I had so much fun with cousins and friends that I really didn’t think anything of it. As a professional, I have found that the opportunity to have a seat at the table means so much more. It means having the opportunity to add value to strategic decision making, find solutions to problems, network, and influence others. It is the opportunity to be heard and to have influence.

For those who may be contemplating a new year’s resolution, I challenge you to consider a professional resolution for the coming year to find opportunities to have a seat at the table. If you are already at the table, consider how you might provide opportunities for others to join you at the table to have their voice represented.

I challenge you to look for opportunities to make sure your voice is heard. You are part of the solution as patient care, unit-based practices, and other important decisions in your department or organization are being discussed. Active participation in committees, task forces, board service, and in advocacy efforts enables you to listen, share, define, and influence decision making on the topics impacting your work and profession. In a recent article by Eileen Fry-Bowers, PhD, RN, FAAN and Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, titled, "Re-imagining Nursing's Social Contract with the Public," the authors called on nurses to help to “rebrand our profession and move beyond identifying as the ‘most trusted’ profession to honoring the unique contributions nurses make to health, healing, and societal well-being.”

I hope you commit to seeking a seat at the table and engaging others to be seated with you so nursing’s perspective is shared, and others can learn more about the unique contributions of our profession.


On behalf or the SPN Board of Directors, I would like to wish you health, happiness, and peace during the holiday season and throughout the coming year.

Kathy Van Allen, MSN, RN, CPN
SPN President
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