1. Ferrell, Betty PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN

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The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) has identified Leadership Development as one of the highest priorities for the organization. Now more than ever, nurses need to step up to the challenge of providing leadership to the field of palliative care. Over the course of my career, I first heard the call that nurses should "have a place at the table." As nursing advanced, there was a new sentiment that nurses should be "at the head of the table." In 2016 and beyond, nurses will need to build the table, hopefully a round table where interdisciplinary colleagues collaborate to live in to the promise of palliative care.


Michael J. Cook, in "Improving care requires leadership in nursing," Nurse Education Today (1999) 19, 306-312, makes the point that "Preparation of future leaders[horizontal ellipsis]must include equipping leaders in nursing to assess evidence, formulate solutions and evaluate their effectiveness[horizontal ellipsis]If existing practice is to be challenged and improved, nurses need to have a firm grasp of strategies to implement change." The HPNA has taken many steps to implement strategies for change to develop nursing leaders for today and for the future. They have done so by providing scholarships, hosting a Leadership Weekend, offering mentorship, and supplying abundant resources to support nurses, as they develop the knowledge and skills to change complex organizations that serve diverse communities. And in doing so, the nurses take great risks to be the voice for patients and families.


In addition, HPNA has recently announced a new commitment by establishing the Nessa Coyle Palliative Nursing Leadership Fund. This fund will support education to enhance nursing leadership through an annual lectureship and other activities to benefit members. There is no one more deserving of this honor of a named fund than Nessa. Albert Schweitzer said it so aptly, "Example is leadership." Nessa's long career exemplifies nursing leadership at its finest. Nessa was delivering palliative care before the field existed. She was a model of interdisciplinary practice before others had heard the term. But most importantly, Nessa led by example from the bedside, teaching us the art of palliative nursing, speaking of suffering, silently listening, and leading nurses by her daily practice. Nessa continues to lead as she mentors the next generation, which is ultimately what leadership really means.


Contributions to the Nessa Coyle Leadership Fund can be made at You may also donate by mail: Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation, One Penn Center West, Suite 425, Pittsburgh PA 15276. I hope you will join me in contributing to this fund. It will be your first step toward the journey of cultivating leaders who will continue this work of palliative nursing.