Arkansas Times
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AHA, ACN organizations serve, develop Arkansas

Arkansas Center for Nursing, Inc. Board of Directors. Front row (left to right): Kristie Lowry, Treasurer; Veronica Clark; Patricia Cowan, Secretary; Clinta Ché Reed, President-elect; Sue Tedford, President. Back row (left to right): Ambré Pownall, Susan Erickson, Keneshia Bryant-Moore, Valerie Hart, Crystal Gillihan.

Arkansas’ nursing community faces many challenges outside of the examination room, clinic or surgical unit emanating from the college campus and the halls of the legislature. Helping to keep student and active nurses informed and the industry moving forward is the job of various state associations. Two in particular, the Arkansas Hospital Association and the Arkansas Center for Nursing, are leading the way for the nurses of the Natural State.

Arkansas Center for Nursing is a relatively new organization that seeks to promote and provide for the welfare of nurses and the nursing profession according to four pillars, Leadership, Practice, Education and Workforce Data Collecting, all which combine to help ensure schools are producing the right specialties for the right areas of Arkansas at the right educational level to meet the state’s health care needs. 

“There’s always a demand for better-educated nurses,” said Clinta Che Reed PhD, RN, CNL of the University of Central Arkansas and president-elect of the ACN. “One of the things that we’re hoping to do through data resources is really look at what the demand is. Instead of just assuming well, we’re just going to need more nurses, let’s look at what we’ve got here and get specific about what we need and where we need them to go.”

“We would like to bring groups together that already exist for this purpose, that could then form actions groups around a problem. We don’t want to take over their jobs, we want to bring those groups together to try to make nursing better.”

Arkansas Hospital Association provides a number of services including legislative advocacy, education through seminars on a range of health care and health facilities operations topics and statistics on the health of the industry. The AHA recently launched its Quality Improvement standards, a program created in large part by RNs Pam Brown and Nancy Godsey who together make up the association’s Quality and Patient Safety Team.

“Now more than ever, health care is based upon teamwork and in the day-to-day care of patients, nurses often serve as the hub of the wheel for the care team,” said Bo Ryall, AHA president and CEO. “Keeping up with the latest in clinical practice breakthroughs, nurses put new theories into practice, often refining systems as they go, to create efficiencies others could not see but can certainly appreciate.

“When (AHA was) considering expanding our role to include Quality Improvement, we knew we had to have clinical direction not previously available on our staff. It became apparent very quickly that the most experienced and best were already working within our hospitals. Pam Brown and Nancy Godsey bring so much to our AHA team and are our own nurse experts.”

Nursing Notes

“There are all different levels of experience. There is also a separation of culture. Many older nurses are afraid of change. New nurses are often very willing and eager, but lack the clinical experience. There is a great opportunity for exchange of information and ideas however, nursing has largely been a culture of ‘nurses eat their young.’ It is a job trying to instill a different culture and ideology. The best managers are not managers at all. They are leaders.” 


Jessica Rouse, RN, Chief nursing officer, Rivendell
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