Be Bold and Ken Dion

Each biennium, Sigma installs a new president at the international level. At the 46th Biennial Convention, we proudly installed Ken Dion, PhD, MSN, MBA, RN, FAAN, and introduced him as the 34th president of Sigma. Each president presents a call to action to help guide members and chapters as we strive to fulfill our mission. Going forward, this will be an organizational call to action with influence from the Board of Directors.

The organizational call to action asks us to be bold. As a profession we have a habit of talking among ourselves. We attend nursing conferences, we publish in nursing journals, and we often remain in siloes within the organizations where we are employed. This status quo cannot remain! If nothing else, the past two years have shown us how events outside of nursing force change within it. Case in point: The COVID-19 pandemic exposed global inequities in our societies, our healthcare delivery systems, and within the nursing profession. Consider COVID-19 a wake-up call. The future is coming, and it will profoundly affect nursing education, research, healthcare systems, and—ultimately—models of care.

Our profession must step outside its insular circle. We must actively collaborate with disciplines outside nursing and healthcare to influence decisions about our profession, populations, and the planet in three critical domains: economics, technology, and conservation. As we move forward in a post-pandemic world, it remains our duty as a profession to advocate to abolish inequities within societies, healthcare systems, and even within our profession. Advocacy has always been central to nursing. But how do we focus our advocacy for the future? Taking stock of our past, the present, and potential futures can help us determine how to do that.  

About the three domains: Economics, Technology, Conservation

Economics is the science of decision making, and it’s all about power. Economics is often confused with finance, which is a component of economics but not what it’s all about. I think we have all heard the Golden Rule, “They who have the gold, make the rules.” Money, the vehicle of finance, gives those with it the power to influence decisions. But money is just one of many forms of power. 

What about the power of trust? In many countries around the world nurses are seen as the most trusted profession; however, we have been hesitant to leverage that trust. We must be bold and use the power of trust placed in us to influence decisions being made about our profession. 

Value is another source of power in the economics of decision making. While functioning as the backbone of healthcare delivery, nurses still struggle or hesitate to articulate our value as a profession. If we are willing to raise our voices, we can leverage the trust placed in our profession and begin to influence decisions.

Fluency in the language of economics and power can better influence decision makers to recognize—and utilize—the value of the nursing profession.

We interact with technology daily in our personal and professional lives. Therefore, we must be able converse in a strategic manner with the stakeholders developing the technologies as well as those involved in purchasing and implementing them within our organizations. To do so, we must be fluent in the language of technology.

Some see technology as the silver bullet that will solve all our problems. It is up to us to save ourselves. Over the previous three industrial revolutions we have seen technological unemployment: People, humans, being put out of work by the latest technology. But in those previous revolutions, people were able to move to other fields of endeavor. This will not be the case in the fourth industrial revolution that is underway. If we do not act with care, if we do not press our leaders to make important decisions about the regulation of the businesses impacting our planet and the technologies impacting our populations, the gap between the haves and the have nots will only continue to widen. 

We need to be boldly present in the conversations about the development, adoption, and implications of technology so we are not enslaved by it, but rather empowered users of it.

Conservation is not just about the planet, although that is part of it. It is an economic way of thinking. Many economies around the globe are based on consumption. If their populations are not consuming more, their economies will not grow. And if their economies do not grow, they will suffer economic collapse. Sadly, these models are not sustainable.

The evidence is clear: Take a look around! Parts of the planet are on fire while others are being submerged by rising seas. And who is most affected by this? Populations that can least afford these impacts. The resultant global migrations are not only impacting nursing practice but leading to social unrest. If we do not address technological unemployment, this too will further compound disparities and social unrest.

If we raise the collective voice of nursing to influence and inspire the populations who trust us, our leaders will be challenged to embrace a future different from the one we are headed toward. Nurses can lead the way in three areas: Education, research, and models of care.  

Ken CTA diagram_web version

With all this in mind, the Sigma board and President Dion are calling on you, the membership of this organization, to BE BOLD.

BE BOLD just as our founders were during the turbulent times in which they founded this now global organization.

BE BOLD and raise our voices together as the largest constituency of healthcare providers around the globe to influence decisions and create a better world for all, which we strive to serve.

What does it mean to be bold?
Being bold does not mean being brash. It does not have to be inflammatory. Being bold does not have to be confrontational. It does not require you to be the loudest voice in the room. It does require you to step outside your silo and engage with others for the sake of our populations, our profession, and our planet. 

What does it take to be bold?
It takes being informed with facts. It takes knowledge. It takes leadership. It takes fluency in economics, technology, and conservation. It takes love, courage, and honor.

We, the Sigma board, charge you with this organizational call to action: BE BOLD.