My Journey to Empower Nurses: Connecting, Innovating, and Serving at AONL 2024

Apr 9 / Teresa Sanderson, RN, CCM
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I am so excited to share that this week is the AONL (American Organization for Nursing Leadership) conference for 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Nurses Feed Their Young (NFTY) will be there! This is a really special event, as it's the very first national exhibit for NFTY as an organization. I can't even tell you how thrilled we are to meet and connect with the roughly 4,000 nursing leaders expected to attend.
Being among the exhibitors and vendors is exciting in itself, as there will be some major players in the healthcare field present. I'm looking forward to all the positive connections that will come out of this. As a big networker myself, I love meeting new people, learning about them and what they do. So much of this is about serving others and making meaningful alignments between businesses. That's a core reason NFTY decided to invest in participating in the AONL conference this year.

The mission to support nurses has been in my heart for many years, taking various forms throughout my career - from serving as a nursing leader, to starting a hospice, to helping nurses add CE credit to their courses. Everything I do revolves around uplifting the nursing profession, even if in non-traditional ways.

To be vulnerable for a moment - in 2010, I crashed and burned from severe clinical depression. I couldn't work for 3 years and even began a disability application, unsure if I would ever return to nursing. I intimately understand the toll that mental health struggles and chronic stress can take. Thankfully, self-reporting to the nursing board connected me with the help I needed to recover.

That experience informs why I now serve nurses as an entrepreneur. The autonomy allows me to prioritize self-care, like taking an hour or a day when needed. Nursing will always be a core part of who I am after 30 years in the field.

Attending AONL is so valuable - for learning, connecting and sharing. It also allows me to demonstrate NFTY's full mission, which rests on three pillars:

Cultivate nursing leaders - We want every nurse leader trained in emotional intelligence and personality science to lead with greater influence and skill.

Innovate nursing continuing education - It's time to move beyond clicking through slides to check a box. We envision CE that is engaging, high-quality and allows nurses to meaningfully grow in their careers. This is an untapped opportunity for healthcare organizations.

Develop nurse entrepreneurs - Some nurses, like myself, may serve the profession best in non-traditional roles over time. We support nurse entrepreneurs in finding innovative ways to uplift nursing.

If any of this resonates, please visit us at Booth 1411 at AONL! We'll also be making an exciting announcement there about something big planned for Nurses Month 2024 before sharing more broadly the following week. Be sure to follow our page, YouTube and podcast so you don't miss a beat.

I hope to connect more soon!