1. Mead, Diane BSN, RN, ACC, LNC
  2. Smith, Stacy MA, MLS, BSN, RN, CHPPN
  3. Wiegand, Debra PhD, RN, CHPN, CCRN, FAHA, FPCN, FAAN

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Sally Welsh, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, announced her retirement, effective March 31, 2019. As the board leaders of HPNA, HPCC, and HPNF, we are unanimous in our appreciation of Sally's unique ability to bring balance to the complex operations and relationships involved in managing 3 organizations.


Sally came to the enterprise an accomplished leader in administration and patient care, as VP of patient care services and chief nursing officer, responsible for home care and hospice services. She began her career as an oncology nurse and became the administrator for oncology and medicine at Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah, where she played a major role in the development of the cancer institute.


Sally succeeded Judy Lentz as CEO in 2012. Judy had expanded our scope of work by developing a credentialing organization and a foundation that would support nurses in hospice and palliative care. Sally built on these accomplishments by working with the boards to create the enterprise structure and facilitate a shared mission, vision, and strategic planning process.


Sally established an executive leadership structure and introduced new technology, including a membership portal, certification platform, and learning management system. In 2017, under Sally's leadership, HPNA convened the Palliative Nursing Summit launching new initiatives in advance care planning, pain and symptom management, and coordination of care. She is credited with significant growth in brand, image, recognition, strategic relationships, and advocacy, as well as a successful turnaround of the foundation. She implemented a solid, data-driven evaluation process for certification programs and negotiated contracts that resulted in significant cost savings. Sally has established programs of sustainable growth, including the Employer Partner Program and a comprehensive design structure for educational products and services.


Work is not the only thing that keeps Sally going. She loves spending time with her family and her sweet dog, Yogi. She is an amateur photographer and enjoys finding the unique beauty we sometime miss in nature that is all around us. Sally volunteers for Honor Flight Savannah, an organization dedicated to transporting America's veterans to visit war memorials, an experience she calls "amazing."


Born in Savannah, the oldest of 6, Sally grew up with a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility. On leadership profiles, she is tagged as a "connector." This is an important skill for her work at HPNA, HPCC, and HPNF.


Sally has said that each of us has a contribution to make to something larger than ourselves. A favorite quote is from Mother Teresa: "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."


Sally was asked to reflect on her career. "I have always loved being a nurse," she said. "I learned about the strength of the human spirit from my patients and their families. The essence of nursing for me is those one-on-one relationships-how nurses connect with their patients and help their voices and wishes be honored. In leadership roles, it has always been important to see how I could still impact the care that patients and families received."


The Zulu concept of Ubuntu means "I am because you are." It is the essence of community, that all people are connected. We are indebted to Sally for her stellar leadership, helping all 3 organizations gain the leadership role in palliative nursing through connections: partnership with aligned organizations and engagement of our members, certificants, and palliative care professionals across disciplines.


Diane Mead is the 2018 Chair of HPNF; Stacy Smith is the 2018 President of HPCC; and Debra Wiegand, deceased, was President of HPNA in 2018.