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"Pathways to Excellence" is the name of the new 3-year strategic plan launched at the Dermatology Nurses' Association (DNA) 27th Annual Convention held in March 2009. During the convention, attendees were provided a video presentation of the plan and heard from various leaders throughout the conference about the many ways members can be involved in the execution of the plan's five strategic imperatives.

Victoria E. Elliott... - Click to enlarge in new windowVictoria E. Elliott

Planning is a core activity of most organizations. Most professionals have listened to presentations that extol the benefits of a new planning initiative, often focusing on how the plan will positively affect the health and longevity of an organization. Although most organizations plan, not all organizations plan well. Being aware of this, DNA embarked on a careful and meticulous planning process, which culminated in the adoption of our forward-thinking strategic plan, "Forging Pathways to Excellence."


The Dermatology Nurses' Association is confident that the association will successfully meet the expectations outlined in the plan because its goals were identified in conjunction with key stakeholders in an inclusive planning process that elicited feedback from past presidents, committee chairs, chapter presidents, and stakeholders. Results from the DNA member survey conducted last spring (which were reported in a recent issue of the DNA Focus) and a comprehensive literature search also figured prominently in the plan's development.


Pathways to Excellence underscores five strategic imperatives on which we will focus over the next 3 years:


1. development and funding,


2. governance and organizational effectiveness,


3. education,


4. membership growth, and


5. advocacy.



Why these goals? Our analysis revealed that these areas must be strengthened for DNA adequately to meet the needs of current and prospective members, respond to imminent changes and developments in the field of dermatology, and become the recognized source for dermatology nurse professionals. This is an ambitious plan for challenging times.


Goal 1: development and funding: The purpose is to formalize and expand the ongoing development (fund-raising) program to increase funding and support opportunities.


The Dermatology Nurses' Association's economic well-being is affected by the economic climate. The country's economic downturn has prompted DNA to consider novel approaches for increasing funding and development opportunities.


Relying on a two-pronged strategy, DNA will cultivate relationships with nontraditional and creative funding sources. To assist in developing the mechanisms that will ensure success in this process, a new committee will be charged with outlining the strategies and policies that will add structure to the development process.


The specific development and funding objectives include the following:


1. Increase overall funding by 5% in 2009, 10% in 2010, and 12% in 2011 by identifying and securing new industry and allied association partners, new exhibitors, and new revenue opportunities to include educational or other member benefits or services.


2. Establish a standing development committee to create and oversee development policies and establish a work plan for coordinated solicitation of funds. The committee will


a. consider the input of industry personnel representing DNA exhibitors, advertisers, and annual convention and summer meeting supporters and scholarship and award sponsors;


b. establish development policies and procedures that indicate who solicits on behalf of DNA, what types of gifts are solicited, how funders and supporters are acknowledged, what projects/education are funded, and a timeline for solicitation;


c. establish funding opportunities for 2010, with accompanying needs assessment statements and budgets; and


d. identify and secure nonpharmaceutical funders with whom DNA can partner to raise awareness on a critical skin care issue that results in additional funding to DNA while increasing public awareness of the DNA.



Goal 2: governance and organizational effectiveness: The purpose is to ensure that DNA is structured effectively to meet the needs of the association and its members, and to achieve its mission.


The Dermatology Nurses' Association is a complex organization composed of many different parts. To ensure that all parts are operating efficiently and are compatible, DNA must become introspective and examine existing committees, evaluate chapter success, and outline strategies to strengthen the connection and performance of all components within the DNA. To accomplish this goal, DNA will


1. assess committee descriptions to determine current relevance to the strategic plan,


2. develop and implement a volunteer management program,


3. assess chapter success and value to members, and


4. develop criteria for continued chapter affiliation with the DNA.



Goal 3: education: The purpose is to increase the competency of nurses caring for dermatology patients.


Within this field, it cannot be overstated the value of offering continuous, quality, and relevant education to our members. To meet member needs and respond to developments in the field, DNA will conduct an education needs assessment and work to increase the number of members who are certified. Educational planning will be assisted greatly by the recently formalized education committee. Marketing efforts will publicize the availability and value of DNA resources.


To advance its educational agenda, the DNA education committee will be responsible to


1. oversee the provider and approver units;


2. conduct an educational needs assessment to determine the short- and long-term education goals;


3. explore new venues for education including tool kits, learner-paced activities, and online technology; and


4. create a communication plan to promote the availability of DNA's new educational resources.



Working with the Dermatology Nurse Certification Board, DNA will seek to increase the number of certified dermatology nurses and nurse practitioners in each year of the strategic plan. Important to this objective will be the evaluation of other successful certification models, seeking opportunities for new certifications within dermatology and the development of resources for those seeking to become certified in dermatology nursing.


Goal 4: membership: The purpose is to attract and recruit new members and retain current members to achieve 18% net growth in membership by 2011.


To date, through actions initiated to achieve our membership goal, the quality of membership information have improved. A DNA branding campaign was launched recently. "Many Faces[horizontal ellipsis]One Association" showcases DNA's assets to prospective members. DNA will also implement novel outreach programs to extend DNA to new markets and to enhance the image of the DNA professional.


Efforts to increase the number and breadth of membership include the following:


1. Improve the member retention rate from 76% to 85% by the end of 2009 through outreach to current members seeking additional data and their preferred methods of communication and conducting exit interviews with members who choose to not rejoin to better understand their reasons for this decision.


2. Add at least 650 new members over the next 3 years by targeting desired prospects and launching a coordinated recruitment program in 2009. Specific tactics to increase membership include


a. having a campaign targeted to former members called "Rediscover DNA";


b. offering a temporary, free, electronic-only membership to students;


c. conducting an outreach effort to offices of members of the American Academy of Dermatology to encourage them to hire a dermatology nurse and support membership in the DNA;


d. gathering data regarding professional nurse member organizations that will allow DNA to identify its unique niche and position itself for membership growth.



In addition to these specific goals, DNA has already embarked on an effort to establish collaborative marketing agreements with allied organizations that will allow us to inform nurses in other dermatology-related specialties of the products and services offered by DNA that may be useful in their own practices including the journal and conferences.


Goal 5. advocacy and influence: The purpose is to determine the most effective method to advocate for members and their patients that is in line with DNA resources and mission.


The Dermatology Nurses' Association recognizes the importance of working on behalf of our members and their patients to improve healthcare. By defining issues and positions in the legislative arena, DNA will move the association closer to becoming a voice for dermatology issues in Washington, DC. In 2009, DNA will strive to


1. educate the board and others invested in dermatology nursing legislative and regulatory efforts on the value and scope of a government relations program to determine a feasible option for DNA,


2. identify legislative and regulatory issues most relevant to the DNA and its members, and


3. prioritize the relevant issues and develop key position statements on those issues.



Victoria E. Elliott, RPh, MBA, CAE


Executive Director Dermatology Nurses' Association


The Dermatology Nurses' Association is excited about what the future holds for the association and its members. Our journey along this pathway will be enhanced by your support. Please join DNA as it "forges pathways to excellence."


Victoria E. Elliott, RPh, MBA, CAE


Executive Director


Dermatology Nurses' Association