ACHNE: Looking Back on 2020, Looking Ahead to 2021

Established in 1978, the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (ACHNE) aims to advance population health through quality community/public health nursing education, research, and practice. As educators of community and public health nursing, our members know very well how to adapt to the ever changing needs of communities and populations, and bring those lessons home to the very students that they teach and mentor.

As a visionary association aiming to meet the needs of its members, we were able to pivot from planning the annual institute in-person to a virtual format in June 2020. Members benefited from a session dedicated to innovative teaching related to COVID-19, as well as multiple research presentations, available in pre-recorded format and live via Zoom. A total of over 200 members participated in this first-time interactive and engaging virtual conference.

In September 2020, the ACHNE Education Committee sponsored a member support meeting (with guests welcome), focused on six key topics: (1) Clinical partnerships; (2) PHN Clinical-Campus Health collaboration to offer campus-wide COVID testing; (3) Policy, advocacy, and op eds; (4) Racial equity and structural racism; (5) PHN-focused simulation; and (6) Disaster preparedness teaching strategies. A total of 40 members/guests participated in this Zoom meeting.

Presently, an ACHNE task force is in the process of responding to the Draft AACN Essentials, drawing from the expertise of members to outline key strengths of the most recent draft Essentials while also highlighting areas for improvement. Again, we complete this effort through the dedication of several leaders, chairs of committees, and members-at-large, all committed to advancing the importance of teaching this specialty that directly addresses such issues as pandemics, on the front-lines of prevention.

Next year, ACHNE has exciting plans for member engagement. In early January, ACHNE will be hosting another all-members-invited support meeting, where we will focus on lessons learned from Fall 2020 and how to anticipate ongoing demands in teaching in this new way, applying the public health nursing skills of flexibility as we move into Spring 2021 and beyond.

In late January, ACHNE members will be participating in a book club discussion of How to be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram Kendi. As a leading educational association, we have committed to advancing racial equity, particularly as educators. Our book club begins with this imperative and inspires critical discussion through this convening. Additional meetings are planned for the spring, and the 2021 Annual Institute theme is Advocacy in Community/Public Health Nursing Policy, Education, and Research. Once again, we will host a virtual conference in June, where our members convene, strategize, and envision anew the delivery of community and public health nursing, believing it is the most essential education for all nurses.

We welcome new members, so please visit our website to learn more about ACHNE: www.achne.org  

Lori Edwards, DrPH, MPH, BSN, RN, APHN-BC
ACHNE President

Krista Jones, DNP, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC
ACHNE President-Elect

Gina Alexander, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN
ACHNE Appointed Representative to the CPHNO

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