Oregon Nurses Foundation: A New Direction
As part of the Oregon Nurses Association’s ongoing Strategic Planning process, staff and board members of the Oregon Nurses Foundation (ONF) are making big changes to the goals, mission and programs of the foundation. 2013 will see the start of a new direction for ONF, including an expansion of staff, the addition of new programs, more scholarships and a greater focus on active fundraising.
Scott Palmer, who served as ONA’s Communications Director for the past five years, has transitioned to the role of director for the ONF and is working alongside staff and the ONF Board of Directors to create a new plan for the foundation’s work.
ONF was established in 1982 as a way to help nurses in the state advance the profession of nursing through charitable activities. ONA members may remember a number of ONF’s previous programs, including childhood immunization clinics, Work Drug Free and others. Over the past few months, Palmer and the ONF Board have created an exciting, streamlined focus for the Foundation and are already developing new ways of raising funds to support the Foundation’s important work.
“This is an exciting time for the foundation,” said Palmer, who became director of the foundation in January. “The board has been very thoughtful about rethinking the Foundation’s focus and making the goals of the foundation more connected to nurses and the nursing profession.”
ONF’s new priorities include scholarships, workforce assistance programs and nurse retention.
“By refocusing the mission of the Foundation on these three key areas, we hope that we can do more to directly assist future nurses, current nurses who need new training to respond to changes in the nursing workforce and help nurses struggling with personal or professional issues stay in nursing,” said Susan King, ONA’s Executive Director.
The foundation currently has a number of scholarships available for nursing students and students pursuing an advanced practice degree. The hope is that new scholarships will be developed to expand the number, type and amount of scholarship funds that are available.
“For example,” said Palmer, “we are planning to develop scholarships that help address diversity in the nursing student population, that recognize future leaders in the nursing profession, that target specific geographic areas of the state, and that assist associate degree nurses return for their BSNs.”
Workforce Assistance programs are also being developed. These programs will provide training and education for current RNs who are facing dramatic changes in the nursing workforce. “Health care is changing,” said King, “and nurses are going to be faced with a number of challenges, including changes in the setting of their practice, case management and delegation.” The foundation hopes to develop programs that will enable existing nurses to get the skills and training they need to be successful in the face of the ever-changing health care environment.
“Our third area of focus is something that is already a part of ONF’s mission,” said Palmer. Nurse retention programs have always been a part of the work of ONF, including the hugely successful WorkHealthy Oregon and the volunteer-driven Nurses Assistance Network that provides peer-to-peer advice for nurses struggling with issues that impair safe practice.
“We all know that we are facing a nursing shortage, so it is crucial that experienced nurses stay in the profession,” said Palmer. “When nurses experience professional or personal crises, we want the Foundation to be a resource for them to heal, adapt and stay in the profession.”
More information about the new direction for the Oregon Nurses Foundation can be found online at www.OregonRN.org. If you are interested in making a donation to any of the programs described in this article, please visit our secure online donation system at www.rally.org/ONFLaunch. If you are interested in learning more about creating a named or endowed scholarship, or to make a major gift in memory of a family member or colleague, please contact Scott Palmer, Director of the Oregon Nurses Foundation, at (503) 293-0011 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.