1. Daley, Karen A. PhD, RN, FAAN

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I recently read an editorial written by a person with lung cancer who described the strength and comfort he gained from his caregivers-not just from the confidence and technical expertise of his oncologist, but also from the caring encounters that inspired and guided his path toward recovery as he underwent and overcame weeks of grueling chemotherapy. I understood the power of the caring he described, not only because I have witnessed it in my own practice, but also because I experienced it in my own life.

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Throughout my own career, including my years as ANA president, my professional grounding has come from the difference I know caring can make in the life of a patient or even another nurse. As a person who suddenly faced an unknown and uncertain future after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C from a needlestick, I experienced for myself the comfort and caring of another provider who took the time to reassure me that I would be okay, despite odds and experience that argued against it at the time. I can recall his words and the relief I felt as he took the time to sit with me, answer my questions, and allay my fears during our first face-to-face encounter. That moment took place more than 13 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.


I also came to understand that the power of lifelong learning is that it enriches and informs the caring aspect of what we do every day for patients. I understand that an important obligation and aspect of caring for nurses is to provide care that is guided by best practices and up-to-date knowledge and by patients themselves. No longer can we as providers make unilateral determinations of what is in a particular patient's best interest. Rather, caring is about relationship and mutual understanding of what has meaning in a person's life with respect to health, illness, and quality of life.


Like the Infusion Nurses Society, ANA has many initiatives under way to help nurses seize upon learning opportunities and fulfill the goals of the Institute of Medicine's The Future of Nursing report.1 We provide continuing education (CE) for nurses in a variety of new and innovative ways. We just hosted our inaugural Staffing Conference, where more than 700 attendees came together and used a variety of interactive learning modalities, including a graphic artist who captured the sessions, to reset the dialogue and spur innovative thinking about this critical issue.


ANA also hosts monthly webinars on a wide range of topics and has a robust online CE library to allow nurses to earn contact hours. Another initiative, the ANA Leadership Institute, is aimed at helping nurses develop their natural leadership abilities. Underlying the Leadership Institute is the belief that, regardless of whether a nurse is an emerging, developing, or advanced leader, there is always more to learn about leadership. Nurses are being summoned to assume more leadership roles as the health care system changes; the institute is helping nurses answer the call.


Just as the health care system is transforming, so are society's expectations of nurses. As part of being caring clinicians, we must be committed lifelong learners to keep our practice current. It does not matter whether this is achieved as part of the pursuit of formal learning within academic settings, through a process of online learning, at a conference, or within care settings as part of patient care rounds or on unit discussions. The important thing is that, in order to never stop caring for our patients and their families, we must never stop learning. ANA and our organizational affiliate, the Infusion Nurses Society, are committed to supporting you in the interwoven processes of caring and learning as you contribute to the future of health care delivery.




1. Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Published October 5, 2010. Accessed December 11, 2013. [Context Link]