Dear AALNC Members,
Next month, in April, legal nurse consultants will gather at the AALNC Annual Forum in Denver, Colorado, to meet with colleagues, mentors, and friends and create new professional relationships in this exciting industry. The 2020 Forum includes programming and sessions showcasing our members' expertise, including expert witness testimony, life care planning, risk management, occupational health, forensics, worker's compensation, school nursing, corrections, civil rights, and long-term care litigation. I always learn something new and I hope you can all join us to celebrate the nursing skills and expertise that are the bedrock of a successful legal nurse consulting career.
AALNC leaders were fortunate to attend a summit at the end of 2019 sponsored by GWU School of Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) concerning the under-representation of nurses' voices in health media. The authors Diana Mason, Laura Nixon, Barbara Glickstein, Sarah Han, Kristi Westphaln, and Laura Carter revisited their 1998 study, "The Woodhull Study on Nursing and the Media: Health Care's Invisible Partner" in a new publication revealing that nurses identified as authors and sources in only 4% of quotations and other sourcing, and nurses were invisible in public news media. It struck me that AALNC members are expert nurses who could have a major effect on this vital issue. Nurses have a unique and intimate relationship with the health stories that grace the covers of newspapers, magazines, and our local and national broadcast news. Legal nurse consultants' combination of knowledge and skill in communication puts them at the forefront of the candidates that should be involved in the movement to raise nursing voices to educate and inform health stories. I encourage all of you to speak out on local or national news stores involving health and about the lack of nursing representation; write Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed articles on health stories; ask that journalists cite you as a nurse or nurse expert; highlight your professional credentials when giving background on stores in health and see that journalists use them.
As my year volunteering as AALNC President draws to a close, I must say, while it has been challenging, it has also been one of the great joys of my life. I worked with new legal nurse consultants brimming with hope and excitement for our profession, and also with experienced colleagues interested in continuing and upholding the gold-standard reputation of our organization. I can also say with all honestly: we have the absolute best volunteers of any nursing organization. Our volunteers are all busy and successful legal nurses with businesses and careers of their own who energize one another and make time to elevate our profession with their contributions. I am so happy to have a professional home in AALNC, and I am genuinely confident that there are future successes in store for our members and this organization. I encourage each of you to consider how you can contribute to our success and our profession through AALNC.
Elizabeth Murray, BSN RN LNCC