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HPNA Strategic Plan 2009-2012

The HPNA Board met in October 2008 to conduct strategic thinking with facilitator Michela Perrone. The board included the newly elected board members who participated, along with key staff members. The group was energized, and the day was very productive, resulting in a 4-year plan that includes the following major strategies.




1. Increase retention (continuous membership).


2. Increase new members by 8% of total membership per year.


3. Evaluate chapters as a viable strategy for member growth and involvement.


4. Increase survey response rate to 35%.


5. Increase respondents' satisfaction rate to initial survey by 5% in the "satisfied" and "very satisfied" category.


Recognized and Respected as Leaders in Palliative Nursing Across Healthcare Settings and the Public Eye


1. Establish a liaison with critical care, geriatrics, AACN, and long-term care nursing associations.


2. Establish two key partnerships with other associations (present papers with them and/or work on products, conferences).


3. Have a seat on the Supportive Care Coalition of the Catholic Health Initiative.


4. Advance the inclusiveness of the organization.


5. Increase Web-based education.


6. Charge the Public Policy Committee to develop strategies.


7. Develop ways to increase our visibility and involvement in the public arena.




1. Position the HPNA as authority of palliative care nursing research.


2. Establish a professional recognition of our journals.


3. Ensure that all HPNA products and services reflect state of the science and are peer reviewed.


4. Identify the impact of Journal of Palliative Medicine as a member benefit.


Board Outcomes


1. Have an intentional composition.


a) Hospice and palliative care


b) Expertise


c) Diversity (sex, ethnicity)


2. Promote leadership growth of board members.


3. Membership surveys shows increased connectivity with the board of directors.


4. Cultivate volunteer leadership.


2009 HPNA Awards

The following is a summarization of the HPNA Awards presented at the 2009 AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly. More details and photos can be found at the HPNA Web site.


The HPNA Leading the Way Award is HPNA's top award and is intended to recognize a person who has or persons who have "led the way" in some aspect of hospice and palliative nursing. This year, the HPNA Leading the Way Award has cowinners for their dedicated leadership in establishing and directing hospice and palliative advanced practice nursing programs. The 2009 HPNA Leading the Way awardees are Denice Sheehan, PhD, RN, and Deborah Sherman, PhD, APRN, ANP, ACHPN, FAAN.


Dr Sheehan served as coordinator with the Palliative Care program at the Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing in Pepper Pike, OH. Ursuline College offered the first clinical nurse specialist hospice and palliative care curriculum in the country, having initiated their program in 1997. Currently an assistant professor at Kent State University College of Nursing in Kent, OH, Dr Sheehan has extensive experience in investigating the interactive patterns between parents with advanced cancer in hospice and their adolescent children.


Dr Deborah Sherman, an accomplished practitioner, researcher, and professor, initiated the advanced practice palliative care nurse practitioner course at New York University in 1998 and remained the director of that program for nearly a decade. This was the first palliative care NP program in the nation and graduated many outstanding practitioners. Dr Sherman is currently a professor and assistant dean of research at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, where she also serves on the faculty for the Developing Center of Excellence in Palliative Care Research.


In addition, the HPNA annually honors an individual with distinguished nursing achievement. The HPNA recognized Barbara Daly, PhD, RN, FAAN, for this prestigious award entitled the HPNA Distinguished Career Achievement Award. Dr Daly is a Gertrude Perkins Oliva Professor in Oncology Nursing at Case Western Reserve University and holds the position of Clinical Ethics Director with University Hospitals of Cleveland. Her work and research for which she has gained international recognition have focused on numerous end-of-life (EOL) issues, including long-term ventilation, caregiving in chronic illness, healthcare outcomes and costs, and disease management for the chronically ill. Dr Daly is also a frequent guest speaker for EOL presentations, particularly as it applies to ethics and EOL decision making.


The HPNA Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a nurse who has demonstrated longevity and consistency in hospice and palliative nursing research. The 2009 recipient of this award is Mary Ersek, PhD, RN, FAAN, of Philadelphia, PA. Dr Ersek is an associate professor, associate director of the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.


Over the last several years, Dr Ersek has developed and led a program of research focused on pain and palliative care in older adults, with an emphasis on residents of nursing homes. These studies include one investigating the efficacy of a pain self-management group for residents of retirement communities and a current project that examines the effectiveness of a pain management algorithm coupled with intensive support and consultation in enhancing the health status of nursing home residents. Two other projects evaluate the impact of comprehensive palliative care curricula on nursing home staff and nursing assistants' knowledge and skills. Another ongoing study, funded by the New York Department of Health, is testing the effectiveness of Web-based informatics reports and education in changing clinical practice patterns and enhancing resident outcomes in nursing homes.


The HPNA New Investigator Award recognizes a nurse in the beginning of his/her research career. The recipient of this award is Anne M. Hughes, RN, PhD, FAAN, of San Francisco, CA. Dr Hughes' research focus is on dignity in the urban poor with advanced disease.


The HPNA Outstanding Research Abstract at the 2009 Annual Assembly awardee is Terrah Foster, PhD, RN, CPNP, of Nashville, TN. Dr Foster's paper on "Bereaved Parents and Siblings Continue Bonds With Children Who Died of Cancer" was presented during the Annual Assembly. Her findings suggest that continuing bonds may be a helpful coping strategy for bereaved family members.


The HPNA Marion Ryan Artistry in End of Life Nursing Care was awarded to Ellen Metzger, RN, CHPN. Ms Metzger is being recognized for her artistic work as a soprano soloist and lyricist in the development of Palliative Care Productions Presents singing "The Symptom Management Blues." Songs included "I'm a Palliator" to the tune of "I'm a Woman" and "PAIN" to the tune of "Summertime" from Grease. These were sung for a nursing grand rounds venue during National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and the creative teaching method had a positive impact on practice patterns.


Another very special award presented was the Ruby Jones Nursing Hero Award. This award is a board-designated award given to someone who has gone "above and beyond" to improve care of those facing terminal situations. Our 2009 Ruby Jones Nursing Hero is Sandra Clarke, RN, of Eugene, OR. Ms Clarke is the founder of the "No One Dies Alone" (NODA) program, which provides a reassuring presence of a volunteer companion to dying patients who would otherwise be alone. Established in November 2001, NODA encourages hospital employees to participate as "compassionate companions" for "elder orphans." These companions read, provide a quiet vigil, or hold a patient's hand when family members cannot be present. The NODA manual has been distributed to more than 400 hospitals, hospices, and AIDS care facilities worldwide. Ms Clarke works at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, OR. Her Final Farewell program was featured in the May 2008 issues of O magazine with an article entitled "The Kindness of Strangers."


The HPNA also shared a very special acknowledgement during the Annual Membership Meeting. Lee Hancock, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, completed a project focusing on palliative care in 2008 entitled "At the Edge of Life," and the HPNA wanted to publicly thank her for this wonderful work. Lee spent more than a year interviewing experts that included all of our organizations, attending our conference and other educational training, and embedding herself in the palliative care team at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and then she wrote a series of articles followed by creation of a Web site entitled "Edge of Life" ( that provides extensive information for the public in support of quality palliative care. The HPNA also submitted a Pulitizer Prize application on behalf of Lee's work and hopes she will be successful in being recognized through that effort.


HPNA Welcomes Six Newly Chartered Chapters

On March 27, the HPNA formally recognized six new chapters during the HPNA Annual Membership Meeting at the 2009 AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly, conducted in Austin, TX. The six newly chartered chapters include South Florida Tri-County, "Esprit du Coeur" (Lafayette, LA), Inland Northwest, Oregon and SW Washington, Piedmont, NC, and South Carolina Coastal. There are now more than 30 HPNA chapters across the United States!


Congratulations to each new chapter of HPNA on this wonderful achievement. For a full listing of HPNA chapters and additional information regarding the HPNA Chapters Program, please visit


Online Voting on the Way

The HPNA continues striving to "go green" in 2009 with a new online election process for its upcoming Board of Directors election in June. This new voting process will provide the HPNA with higher rates of voter participation and greater overall accessibility. Please watch for election announcements and further instructions to be delivered through upcoming HPNA e-newsletter articles, HPNA Web site updates, and your personal e-mail notifications.


HPNF Announces New Administrator Certification Examination Scholarship

The recent creation of the administrator examination is the catalyst for this new scholarship. The deadline for application is June 1 for March examinations and December 1 for examinations taken in June, September, and November. Please visit for complete details.


HPNF Recognizes Three Members for Leading Through Giving

Three HPNA members (who also serve on the HPNF and HPNA boards of directors) are charter members of the HPNF Donor Circles! As members of the Builder's Circle, they have pledged $1000 over 3 years to the HPNF. Another donor category, Sustainer's Circle, is available for a pledge of $5000 over a 3-year term.


Contact the HPNF Director of Development at 412-787-9301 or to receive information on how to join a Donor Circle. Circle donors clearly demonstrate "Leading Through Giving!" Although the Donor Circle program is ongoing, Charter Member Designation is limited to those who join by June 30, 2009.

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2009 Grants From the HPNF

Certification research grant-evaluate the impact of certification within any research topic that pertains to palliative care. $15,000. Applications are due on June 1. STTI/HPNF End-of-Life Nursing Care Research Grant. $10,000. Applications are due on April 1. Chapter grants-six awards of $500 for education within local chapters. Deadline is on June 1.


Eighth Annual Certification Recognition Event

The National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses held its Eighth Annual Certification Recognition Event on March 26, 2009, in Austin, TX, during the AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly.


The recognition event was very well received and provided a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge certified nurses, nursing assistants, and employers who support certification. Many interested noncertified individuals attended to familiarize themselves with hospice and palliative specialty certification and the value that it holds.


More than 200 individuals attended the recognition luncheon event this year. The recognition event agenda included the introduction of the NBCHPN(R) Board of Directors, a presentation by Leslie Ann Patry from the Canadian Nurses Association on the Success of Certification Study Groups, the announcement of the 2009 NBCHPN(R) Certificant of the Year Award recipients and 2008 Employer of the Year Award recipient, and a prize drawing in which certification scholarships were given to five lucky individuals attending the luncheon.


For more information regarding the awards, the award recipients, and how you can get involved with NBCHPN(R), please visit our Web site,, or e-mail us at