Dean McHenry re-elected into the AACN

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor  (Courtesy Photo/OBU Public Relations)

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) elected OBU Dean of the College of Nursing Dr. Lepaine McHenry as the Director at Large.

McHenry finished the extensive application process in August of 2017.

Throughout the application process, McHenry had to be nominated, complete a short description as to why she believes she is qualified for the job and answer a variety of questions regarding her experiences as a nurse educator, her area of expertise and how she would enhance the organization.

“They’re looking for someone to not just fill a space, but someone that can come equipped with the knowledge and experience to advance the overall organizational goals and objectives,” McHenry said.

AACN is the national voice for educational nursing programs at universities and four-year colleges. The mission statement of the AACN is:

“As the collective voice for academic nursing, AACN serves as the catalyst for excellence and innovation in nursing education, research, and practice.”

There are over 810-member schools within the AACN and they all received a vote. Although there was such a large number of voters, McHenry was not allowed to self-pro-mote herself.

“Our organization has a rule, you can’t promote yourself and you can’t advertise,” McHenry said. “So, you can’t go out and recruit, that is a part of the process. Clearly all that people will know is the information provided in my resume and the questions that I answered.”

Member schools took to the polls on January 12th and McHenry received the results at the beginning of February.

“When you think of an organization that has over 810 members, you know these are members from John Hopkins University, from Purdue, from Penn State, from Duke, from all these large institutions, and when your colleagues determine that they have confidence in you to lead them in the premiere nursing organization in the U.S., it’s humbling,” McHenry said.

McHenry has already received letters from John Hopkins University, the University of Maryland and several others expressing their excitement and gratitude to have her on the board.

“When I get that kind of feedback, from my peers around the country, it’s very humbling,” McHenry said. “It also gives me a great sense of responsibility and accountability to those who have supported me to serve in this capacity, and I don’t see that as a little thing. It causes me to really pause and think about how I can best represent the organization and membership at this level. It’s exciting.”

As a board member, McHenry has three major responsibilities: a financial, strategic and generative. However, the overall goal is to advance the objectives of the AACN.

“We’re looking at what’s happening in nursing education now, what has already happened in nursing education in the past, and what needs to happen in nursing education in the future,” McHenry said. “We’re looking at all these variables and all the things that are happening around us in healthcare, in government, in the workforce and patient outcomes. We are looking at all these factors and thinking about how it is going to affect and shape the future of nursing education. We need to be thinking differently today so we can be prepared to educate nurses to meet the future needs of healthcare.”

Oklahoma Baptist University became a member of the AACN in 2008 and was reaccredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2015.

“We have a ten-year accreditation,” McHenry said. “We had our last visit in 2015 and we received a full ten-year accreditation and we are accredited until 2025.”

As a board member, McHenry has the responsibility to weigh in on many issues and make decisions on behalf of the whole membership that will shape the future of nursing education.

“Our society and our world is in turmoil right now and there’s such a need for Christian leaders and I really believe that timing is everything,” McHenry said. “It’s really no coincidence that the Lord has given me the opportunity to serve in this capacity at this time. And so it really puts a weight on me to be cognitive of the fact that God has given me a platform of influence and I have a responsibility to do exactly what we are teaching our students to do and that is to integrate their faith in their work and in their profession,” she said. “The Lord has given me an opportunity to do just that at a national level. And I think that is significant.”

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