1. Lonadier, Robert MSN, RN, ONC
  2. NAON President 2015-2016

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In the distance you hear the jingle of that familiar bell being rung by a volunteer, an opportunity for someone to lend a helping hand or make a contribution. This time of year is filled with news of sales, shoppers scrambling for the latest craze, and the impact of sales on the growth and profit of a company or on the national economy. Growth for any business or organization is life. At our house, growth can be measured by the marks on the bedroom wall where children's heights were measured, hoping for the magic 54 in., so they could ride the go-carts at the amusement park. In professional associations, such as NAON, growth can be measured in several ways, such as monetary, number of products and services offered, or number of members or volunteers. Basically, when looking at growth, we as an association can see that NAON is increasing in its size, value, and strength. To continue this trend, a growing number of volunteers and leaders are essential to our organization's future success and longevity.

Robert Lonadier, MSN... - Click to enlarge in new window NAON President 2015-2016

NAON's growth, like other professional associations, is largely dependent on our members who volunteer their time and talents to help us grow and prosper. Members may volunteer for a variety of reasons such as commitment to profession, networking, to increase their leadership skills, or even to build up their resume. Whatever the reason, volunteering with NAON is the perfect vehicle to use or build upon skills or discover a skill you did not know you possessed. Through your activities and commitments, our communities and NAON benefit when we use our time and talents to impact healthcare issues both locally and nationally.


Last year as part of the response to the Institute of Medicine's 2011 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Nurses on Boards Coalition was formed with a goal of helping to put 10,000 nurses on both corporate and nonprofit health-related board of directors by the year 2020 (Campaign for Action, 2015). Nurses have a unique perspective to share with organizations in the ongoing process of improving healthcare in America and should be playing a more pivotal role in decisions. Volunteering with NAON can be a great way to hone and enhance skills needed to serve at all levels.


At the close of the 35th Annual Congress in Nashville, this past May, I spoke of how we can find fulfillment and reward outside of work through volunteering. At that time, I encouraged you, the member, to help continue part of Past President's Julie Twist (JT) theme, Care to Be, Care to Do, Care a Calling, and continue to Care to Do. The time and commitment you give, whether small or large, is impacting others, be it at your work, your local community, or at a national level. Are you hearing the ringing of the volunteer bell and wondered how you could become involved in NAON and help contribute to its mission of "Advancing the Art and Science of Orthopaedic Care"?


NAON is made up of more than 6,000 members who work in a variety of settings and work areas such as education, research, and leadership/management or in some area of clinical practice. As you can see, NAON is made up of a diverse group that may have differing levels of experience in serving on task forces, committees, or at a leadership level. In fact, about 44% of our members are practicing nursing at the bedside giving direct patient care and may not have a chance to serve on a committee or lead a task force outside of their unit or place of employment. Nurses need to take the experiences they gain giving exceptional bedside care to the policy-making body of the boardrooms. So how can you gain experience or enhance those skills you may already possess?


Volunteering your time and talents with NAON can help you develop new skills and build experience in leadership. Getting started is as simple as filling out Willingness to Serve (WTS) form, which can be found on the NAON website. Once your form is completed, you will more than likely be contacted by a member of our newest committee appropriately named Acquiring Interested Members (AIM). The AIM committee was formed to promote more directed personal contact with members who are interested in becoming more involved in their professional association. AIM committee membership is made up of current Executive Board members and a member from the Leadership Search Committee (LSC) and is led by former NAON President Pam Cupec. Interested members are contacted by e-mail or phone, and because AIM committee members are familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the various positions and committees in NAON, they are able to discuss with you your choices or even recommend one that you would be good at based on your skills and interests. Next, those names along with any gathered information are forwarded to various Committee Chairs who can then fill positions as they become available. Succession planning is really the focus of AIM, not only in working to bring in volunteers at the committee level but also in finding those who wish to run for the Executive Board, and those members names are forwarded to the LSC for further contact.

NAON board members a... - Click to enlarge in new windowNAON board members and Education Director at the Inspiration Cafe in Chicago.

If you are hearing the ringing of the volunteerism bell, I encourage you to log onto the NAON website now and fill out our WTS form. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the nonelected volunteer opportunities and some realities of those positions all of which may include conference calls and maybe writing an article for NAON News.

NAON President Rober... - Click to enlarge in new windowNAON President Robert Lonadier taking orders at the Inspiration Cafe in Chicago.

* Chapter Advisory Team: Advise chapters, help promote chapter growth/viability, help new chapters form, contact/collect chapter reports three to four times a year, and help identify members with leadership potential.


* Approver Unit: Review, critique, and approve continuing education activities developed by members, chapters, or others offering orthopaedic nursing contact hours for their programs.


* NAON Education Committee: Review podium proposals, assist with any presenter issues not only for our annual Congress but also for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Nursing and Allied Health program held during its annual academy.


* Research Committee: Assess and encourage the development of research proposals dealing with orthopaedic nursing practice.


* Leadership Search Committee: Members actively seek, recruit, and interview appropriate candidates seeking open positions on the ballot for positions on the NAON Executive Board.


Although not a committee, this next group serves as our ambassadors to the host city for NAON's Annual Congress, which this year will be at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL, May 21-24. Task force members find and coordinate a local charity that Congress attendees can donate to and also staff the local affairs booth answering questions about the host city, possibly handing out a goodie bag with local items or holding some type of drawing.


Nurses make great volunteers, not only because of the roots of our profession, service to others, but also because of the unique skill sets that they bring. Nurses are trained in critical thinking skills, as well as in assessments, planning, implementation, evaluations, and looking for solutions to problems, which is really the nursing process. Although I have been blessed to be a volunteer on many levels, at work, church, sport teams, and with NAON, one recently stood out when I Cared to Be with Past President JT and members of the NAON Executive Board taking orders and serving meals at the Inspiration Cafe in Chicago. The cafe serves around 25,000 meals annually in a restaurant-style setting to those who were affected by homelessness or poverty and are now in their job training and counseling programs.


Whatever your volunteer goals and commitment level, whether small or large, locally or nationally, NAON has a place for you. Are you hearing the bells of volunteerism ringing? I would encourage you to visit the NAON website and complete the WTS form. You, the volunteers, are truly our most important asset. If you are currently volunteering in some area, be it with your chapter, nationally, or on your own, doing things such as medical missions, working in a local shelter, or participating in a local charity run, for example, we would love to hear your stories and see pictures of what you are accomplishing by answering the bell.




Campaign for Action. (2015). Join the effort to get 10,000 nurses onto boards by 2020. Retrieved from[Context Link]