epilepsy, evidence-based practice, leadership, nursing, professionalism, stroke, vision



  1. Lane, Patricia C.

Article Content

As I reflect on the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses' (AANN) 2022 Neuroscience Nursing Annual Conference theme "Rising Together" and look forward to 2023 as we celebrate our 55th year as an organization, I am humbled and proud to serve as your 54th president. We are a phenomenal organization with a diverse board of directors, exceptional committee members and volunteers, and resilient and talented staff. The time has come to illustrate our joy for neuroscience nursing and AANN turning 55. This year, we pause and acknowledge our accomplishments and buckle up to prepare for our future opportunities!


At the core of AANN is the unwavering enthusiasm and promise of our mission to provide engagement, education, and advocacy. We are strong as an organization because of our partnerships with the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing and the Agnes Marshall Walker Foundation. The American Board of Neuroscience Nursing, incorporated in 1978, designs, implements, and evaluates certification programs for professional nurses involved in the specialty practice of neuroscience nursing and its subspecialties. The Agnes Marshall Walker Foundation, founded in 2013, supports nurses by providing education, certification, membership, and research grants. Together, we are the 3 pillars driving neuroscience excellence.


The passion, love, and call to serve for the advancement and sustainability of AANN is deeply rooted. Our forever call to action was simply stated by AANN's first president and cofounder, Barbara Therrien, in 19691 in the first edition of the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing (JNN): "Neurosurgical Nursing: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." For those who are relatively new to AANN, the descriptor "Neurosurgical" is not a typo. The American Association of Neuroscience Nurses started out as an organization for neurosurgical nurses. To be a member, you were required to have at least 2 years of neurosurgical nursing experience before joining. In 1978, membership broadened to include neuroscience nursing. The groundwork of diversity and inclusivity for organizational membership was recognized, which led to enhancing the value and impact of AANN. Today, the revised title of that first article would read "Neuroscience Nursing: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," a title that is prevalent today and relevant for years to come.


In its first 10 years, AANN was known as the smallest specialized organization in nursing with less than 1000 members; however, AANN had successfully published the JNN, developed standards of care for neuroscience nurses, and published the Core Curriculum for Neurosurgical Nursing. The foundation was set for excellence. Neuroscience nurses would be the ones to define neuroscience practice and lead the charge. On October 18, 1978, 102 nurses became certified in the neurosurgical specialty, establishing the baseline for the value and impact of neuroscience certification.


Did you know that our affiliation with the American Nurses Association and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses began as early as the 1970s? It started with discussions around the exploration of nurse practitioners. Today, our affiliation and partnership with both organizations are even stronger in supporting the significance of neuroscience nursing practice and leveraging our organizations' visions across numerous nursing communities.


The second decade of AANN began with sharing our neuroscience expertise in policy. A focus on advocacy as an ad hoc legislative committee was created, empowering AANN members to write position statements representing neuroscience nursing. These initiatives were implemented under Kathy Hausman, the 10th president, and the AANN Board of Directors. The spirit of advocacy and diversity still burns brightly through our Advocacy, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and its work supporting AANN's values and mission in collaboration with the American Nurses Association and nursing community. Major transformations during the 1980s leadership incorporated AANN's name change from neurosurgical to neuroscience, a JNN redesign, and increasing journal publication from quarterly to 6 times per year.


Heading into the 21st century, AANN generated new opportunities and expansion of values, which required extraordinary skill sets supporting clinical judgment, agility, innovation, new models of care and technology, and leadership to assist in the complex care of the neuroscience patient by the neuroscience nurse.


A new vision for AANN was approved in 2016: "to be indispensable to nurses and neuroscience health care." This resonates back to the first call to action and the years of neuroscience service from all who have led before me. With our multitude of specialties, knowledge, and innovation, there is no doubt that AANN must be the first organization to come to mind if there is any mention of neuroscience nursing. What makes us essential is the continuous dedication to neuroscience research, evidence-based practice, mentorship, and leadership, and our willingness to help other neuroscience nurses across the globe.


I would be remiss if I did not focus on how we have risen together in the last year. We embraced the significance of the neurological assessment. I extend my gratitude to the team for its development of the basic neuroassessment and Neuro 101 resources. In times when nurses are overworked and short-staffed, we rose to the occasion to ensure patient safety and quality are at the forefront and nurses are supported. "The nurse must demonstrate a good understanding of assessment before she can plan the care needed by her patient and before she can evaluate the patient's progress," said Constance Walleck,2 AANN's 1982-1983 president, in the March 1978 JNN article celebrating AANN's 10-year anniversary.


I hope you are enjoying the tremendous benefits of being a member of AANN. The journal provides numerous educational treasures based on evidence and the spirit of inquiry at your fingertips. The conferences provide a wide variety of interaction and networking with colleagues from across the country. Our volunteer opportunities include mentorship, leadership, and so much more for all neuroscience nurses. The certifications are a springboard for specialty excellence and are a source of distinguished pride. We have many members serving on local, state, regional, and national boards of nursing organizations who are influencers for the betterment of neuroscience. As we safely come together for our emerald conference in Orlando, FL, on March 18 to 21, 2023, we celebrate 55 years of greatness and the significant value and impact of neuroscience nursing. Neuroscience nurses are indispensable and extraordinary nurses!




1. Therrien B. Neurosurgical nursing: yesterday, today and tomorrow. J Neurosurg Nurs. 1969;1:15-21. doi: [Context Link]


2. Walleck C. Neurological assessment for nurses-a part of the nursing process. J Neurosurg Nurs. 1978;10(1):13-16. [Context Link]