Magazine article American Nurse Today

Transitions and Transformation: A Thank-You to Marla Weston

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Transitions and Transformation: A Thank-You to Marla Weston

Article excerpt

THE INDELIBLE MARK left behind by a transformational leader is as unique as a fingerprint. Marla J. West-on, PhD, RN, FAAN, who stepped down as chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Nurses Association (ANA) Enterprise on January 1, has indeed been a visionary, transformational leader. Over the past 8-plus years, she helped ANA weather turbulent times and courageously pursued our journey to become a contemporary organization dedicated to advancing nursing and improving health for all.

An association accomplishes its work through many individuals, not just one person. The CEO, however, is the one who guides the staff to implement the actions of the board, strive for excellence, be creative, and lead with new ideas. The strong collaboration and shared vision between the president, board, and CEO--coupled with the engagement of our members nationwide--is paramount to success. We've enjoyed that success as ANA continues to increase its influence and stature and enlarge its footprint shaping the future of nursing.

We look back to recognize just a few of the advances ANA achieved during Weston's tenure.

Advocacy and health

Political advocacy is a critical component of ANA, and with Weston's leadership our influence remained strong. For example, ANA was a key player in helping craft provisions in the landmark Affordable Care Act, and more recently, we ramped up our advocacy around continued access to affordable, quality health care for all.

ANA also raised its national profile by addressing quality measurement and reporting, advancing evidence linking nurse staffing and positive patient outcomes, protecting nurses' ethical practice, and supporting a culture of safety. The Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation[tm] Grand Challenge, launched with Weston's leadership, has successfully engaged individual nurses and organizations to take positive actions to improve nurses' health and wellness, and ultimately, the health of the nation. Answering The Future of Nursing report's call to increase the number of influential nurse leaders, she was instrumental in founding the Nurses on Boards Coalition initiative to expand RNs' presence on corporate, health-related, and other boards and panels. …

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