Talking Magnet with ANA Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Hatmaker

Talking Magnet with ANA Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Hatmaker

The American Nurses Credentialing Center National Magnet and Pathway to Excellence Conference is taking place October 12-14 in Chicago, marking the largest and most influential gathering of nurses and healthcare stakeholders in the country.

If you can’t attend, we’ve got you covered in advance as we sat down with Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Chief Nursing Officer at the American Nurses Association (ANA) Enterpriseto discuss the ANA’s role in addressing the nurse staffing crisis and how nurses can use the Magnet model to better their careers.

What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.


American Nurses Association (ANA) Chief Nursing Officer, Debbie Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN

-Earlier this year, the ANA urged Congress to address the nurse staffing crisis and the work environment issues. Can you discuss the need for a national dialogue and ongoing collaboration between nurses, Congressional leaders, and other key stakeholders to support our nursing workforce, patients, and our nation’s health and well-being?  

The nurse staffing crisis continues to demand a national dialogue with nurse-led approaches to help ease the enduring work environment challenges that nurses face across numerous specialties and healthcare settings. We support enforceable minimum nurse-to-patient ratios that reflect key factors such as patient acuity, intensity of the unit practice setting, and nurses’ competency, among other variables. And this is just one part of a larger solution to solve this. 

We continue to work on addressing other challenges that have significantly made the nurse staffing issue worse, such as burnout, workplace violence, mandatory overtime, and barriers to full practice authority. 

Nearly 400 ANA members convened at the U.S. Capitol, representing the nation’s more than 4 million registered nurses, to petition Congress to address the national nurse staffing crisis this summer. In addition to advocating, ANA is also advancing solutions from the 2022 Nurse Staffing Think Tank 2022 in partnership with other leading organizations, which produced a series of actionable strategies that healthcare organizations could implement within 12 – 18 months.

We continue to advocate on behalf of nurses and remain a collaborative partner. Our goal is to empower nurses and position them for success. We continue calling on Congress to enact meaningful legislation and policies that improve nurse staffing and work environments. 

How can nurses use the Magnet Model to better their nursing leadership and shared decision-making?

The Magnet process fosters a collaborative culture that spurs shared decision-making. Magnet organizations are even provided with a multiyear framework for quality improvement and a structured way to engage staff in decision-making. This tool can help energize and motivate teams. In fact, team building, collaborating across disciplines, regular open community, and building staff engagement, while difficult to quantify, are often what happens during the Magnet process.

-What are some questions to ask before accepting a job at a Magnet hospital? Can you offer some tips for helping nurses choose which Magnet hospital to work in?

Each Magnet-recognized organization will have its own hiring standards, so each nurse should review those as they apply for or accept a position. But they should know that whatever role they fill, a Magnet organization will invest in them and their potential. At ANCC, we’ve created a free resource for nurses looking for select practice environments and interview questions to ask. 

Magnet Recognition means education and development through every career stage, which leads to greater autonomy at the bedside. A Magnet organization supports opportunities for nurses to pursue new skills and professional development, champions them in those pursuits, and rewards them for advancing in their profession. 

We’ll be at the 2023 ANCC National Magnet Conference® October 12-14 at the at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois. Stop by booth #918. We look forward to seeing you there!

NurseCon at Sea: Making Lasting Memories While Earning CNEs

NurseCon at Sea: Making Lasting Memories While Earning CNEs

Whether you know Nurse Blake (Blake Lynch) from his Facebook videos, podcasts, live comedy shows, or cruises, hes proven that hes a nursing force to be reckoned with using his humor to bring nurses together.nursecon-at-sea-making-lasting-memories-while-earning-cnes

After graduating with a BSN from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, and working in trauma centers around the country, Nurse Blake started posting original comedy videos to cope with the stress of his nursing job. His lighthearted videos connect with nurses, nursing students, and healthcare workers worldwide, and he entertains almost four million followers on social media while lifting healthcare workers across the globe.

But Nurse Blake is more than comedy.

Hes the creative force behind NurseCon at Sea, one of the largest and most popular nursing conferences, and the NurseCon app, which provides free continuing nursing education courses.

Meet Nurse Blake, a nurse, creator, internationally touring comedian, healthcare advocate, keynote speaker, and creator of NurseCon at Sea.

Minority Nurse talked with Nurse Blake about running one of the most popular nursing conferences and his plans for NurseCon at Sea 2024 in Mexico.

Where did you go to nursing school, and what was the experience like for you?

I graduated from Seminole State College and the University of Central Florida in 2014. I was in a concurrent program. So, I got my ADN through Seminole State and my bachelors through the University of Central Florida.

Nursing school was hard, challenging, and not easy, and I had a lot of meltdowns, but I did it. And when I was about halfway through my program in 2013, I became president of the Florida Nursing Student Association. And that sheds light on gaps in education for nurses. I attended many nursing conferences; they were all so boring in these hideous corporate centers. So, I knew back in nursing school that I wanted to shake up the nursing conference world, but I didnt know what that would look like. I thought about taking over one of the state nursing conferences, but zooming ahead to 2019, I decided to create my conference, NurseCon.

What was your inspiration to create one of the largest and most popular nursing conferences, and what goes into planning such a big event?

When people ask if Im still a nurse at the bedside or in a hospital, Im not anymore because Im not only busy with my comedy tour, which takes me away multiple months out of the year, but I also manage and run NurseCon with a team of 90 people, including full-time and part-time employees and contractors. NurseCon is a massive team effort; I couldnt do it alone. I have an office in Orlando, Florida, which is convenient because our cruises sail from Miami. So, in addition to the 1,000 staff members, we have a team of almost 100 NurseCon at Sea people trying to make this conference the best experience for our guests. So, we have educators and customer service, and we bring in our dancers, DJs, and production. So, if you look at our pictures from NurseCon at Sea and say, Wow, that pool is so lit,” its because we bring our fog machines, lasers, and lighting. We have a huge production team and staff that helps elevate the regular cruise ship experience, which is already so amazing and epic, but we want to put the NurseCon at Sea touch to it.

Education is the most important. NurseCon at Sea isnt a nursing conference without education. So, we are accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the California Board of Nursing. I have three DNPs that run and manage nurse candidacy education full time. We are super committed to it, and well probably bring on 30 educators on our next sailing to deliver over 70 hours of CNEs. That number has gone up every year. Our first year, it was 20 hours of CNEs. Then it was 36. And now were jumping to almost 80, which is pretty impressive. And its all included in the price of the conference. We also specialize in continuing nursing education for nurse practitioners and the pharmacology track. CNEs are expensive, hard to find, and nurses need many hours. So, thats also something we provide, and thats included. Well probably have about 150 nurse practitioners in our pharmacology track on the cruise ship, which is incredible.

Do NurseCon participants request course offerings that you incorporate into the nursing conference?

Yes, we have education committees made up of some of our educators and also participants of NurseCon at Sea. This is their experience. We provide the venue, the CNEs, and the entertainment, but the guests make it an experience. So, we also always value our feedback and survey our guests after our cruise sails and even on the ship to make it the experience that nurses deserve and the experience they want. Its such an inclusive, happy conference. And its all because of our guests. They make it such a safe space for everyone to be themselves and talk about the issues theyre facing, and to me, thats the most extraordinary thing about NurseCon at Sea. We have nursing students that come on. We have retired nurses and nurses from around the world attending many specialties. Everyone in the nursing world can learn from each other even though youre not from a specific specialty. And no matter your age or status. Were all here to learn from each other. No matter how many degrees you have or certifications, no ones better than anyone else.

Everyone attending NurseCon looks like theyre having a great time. Talk about what a nurse attending NurseCon can expect.

Its epic. Vacations sometimes are once in a lifetime for people, and for them to connect with friends and family or coworkers is super special. Weve done three cruises since we launched and had groups of nursing students who graduated together 20 years ago. Now its their annual trip, and theyve been on all three. So, now its becoming a tradition for some people, and thats special.

People make T-shirts, go all out on our theme nights, and are already getting their outfits ready. So, its a community within a community. And not even I am in all these special groups where they talk about what theyre going to do for next year. So, its so cool that it even lives outside of me, and NurseCon at Sea has become its own culture created by the guests. 

Next years NurseCon event is in Mexico. Can you talk more about the courses and features?

Mexicos going to be great. We always want to provide a new incredible location or port. So, people can get off the ship and choose whatever activities they want to participate in. We also have two full days at sea, so itll be our longest one yet. And thats because people wanted it to be longer. And our theme nights are sports night and fairy tales. So, everyone will be super busy, and I cant wait to see everyones outfits. I know the dancers are so excited and already rehearsing and working on the production. We meet every day about NurseCon at Sea, so as soon as the last one is over, were already preparing for the next one. I will be working on booking our 2025 cruise later this month.

The NurseCon at Sea app provides users with their continuing education for free. But its more than education. Please talk about your inspiration to create the app and its impact on nurses.

We have the NurseCon app; you can also access it on If you cant attend the conference or need CNEs, we have a library where nurses can get them for free. I know a lot of other websites out there that say its free, but then you take the course, and then you have to pay for this certificate, or only one course is free. Ours is free, which is cool. I decided to launch this during the pandemic. I knew nurses were working so hard going through that, and I wanted to provide them with an education platform so they can get their courses for free. So, that stayed consistent. Once nurses attend our cruise, they can get their CNEs through that platform. And we will also be putting our courses from the cruise on that platform. If you cant attend the event for whatever reason but are interested in those courses, you will take them and get the CNEs for free after the ship has sailed.

We like to talk about topics that many other conferences dont necessarily talk about, and thats so special. The coolest part is that you dont have to be a nurse to attend. You have to be a guest of a nurse. And we were doing a course on pediatric trans health, and a nurse attended with her husband, who was just on as her guest. And hes not in healthcare at all, but he sat through the course and came up to the educator afterward and cried. And they thanked the educator because their child is trans, and they learned so much from a non-healthcare perspective just from being on the ship and attending a CNE that the nurse didnt have to attend. Knowing that its going to have a positive impact on their childs life and their life as a family unit is what makes continuing education for nurses the most special.

What makes NurseCon at Sea different from other nursing conferences?

Its the diversity on the ship. Its incredible. Ill look around a room, and this is what nursing is supposed to look like. This is what nursing is supposed to be, just like this in this positive environment with nurses of all ages and backgrounds coming together and learning from each other. Thats all the community. It gets back to all our guests, making it a safe space for everyone.

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How Nurses Can Spot and Support Patients Suffering from Lipedema

How Nurses Can Spot and Support Patients Suffering from Lipedema

Despite being first identified in medical literature in the 1940s and impacting 5-12% of women annually, medical professionals rarely diagnose Lipedema due to the lack of training and awareness to recognize the disease.

Nurses have the most face time with patients, so nurses must understand what Lipedema is and how to recognize the signs.

We spoke with Ana Pozzoli, PT, CLT, National Lymphedema Network expert clinician, about how nurses can play a pivotal role in helping women receive care and treatment for Lipedema. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.


Ana Pozzoli is a licensed physical therapist and certified lymphedema therapist with over thirty years of experience in orthopedics and lymphatic disorders. The focus of her work is a mix of orthopedics and mostly lymphatic disorders. She and her husband own Omnitherapy Center, LLC.

What is Lipedema?

Lipedema is a chronic medical condition involving loose connective tissue. Lipedema is characterized by symmetric enlargement of the legs due to deposits of fat beneath the skin. It is predominantly diagnosed in women. The cause of Lipedema is unknown; however, there is evidence of hormonal and hereditary influences. It is identified by increased nodular and fibrotic adipose tissue in the gynoid areas, the buttocks, hips, thighs, lower abdomen, and limbs. Many believe these changes start at different hormonal stages in a female’s life, such as puberty, pregnancy, pre-menopause, and menopause. It is a common condition but underrecognized. The hallmark of Lipedema is tissue inflammation. This often painful medical condition usually worsens gradually. Few physicians recognize the constellation of signs and symptoms to diagnose it properly.

How many people suffer from this condition? Are they generally women?

Though comprehensive epidemiology data is lacking, Lipedema impacts 5-12% of women.

What is the prognosis for women with lipedema?

With a Lipedema diagnosis, it is believed the different hormonal stages of a female’s life can worsen the condition. It is a gradual worsening of the adiposity in the legs, though some individuals develop Lipedema that stabilizes. In the early stages of Lipedema, most females have a normal appearance above their waist. The upper extremities, chest, torso, and abdomen can also enlarge. Physicians underrecognize it; if left untreated, it can progress, causing mobility and disability issues.

Why is it rarely diagnosed or misdiagnosed? 

Lipedema was first diagnosed in the 1940s at the Mayo Clinic by Allen and Hines. The pathophysiology of Lipedema needs to be better understood and routinely included in medical school curricula. There is currently no specific test to identify Lipedema. Imaging studies like ultrasound, MRI, lymphoscintigraphy, and lymphangiogram may be helpful, although test results may appear normal in the earlier stages.

The medical community often confuses lipedema with obesity and lymphedema. Other similar disorders are Lipohypertrophy (no pain and edema), Chronic venous insufficiency, and other idiopathic edemas. Misdiagnosis in patients with Lipedema is concerning, as it can delay appropriate management of the condition and allow the progression of the condition.

What are the physical signs and symptoms and genetic markers for diagnosing Lipedema? 

Lipedema signs and symptoms vary from person to person, including abnormal adiposity in both legs, extending from buttocks to ankles. These may include the tendency to bruise easily, pain sensation in the legs, having knee (Genu) valgus, smaller waist in relation to the hips, hypermobility of the joints, pes planus, cuff sign at the ankles, and is generally resistant to dietary and exercise interventions. General fatigue and physical impairment are often observed. There is swelling with symmetrical enlargement of the lower limbs due to abnormal adiposity. Some manifestations to watch for may indicate weight loss has been non-respondent to exercise; elevation does not tend to help; absent or minor pitting edema; vascular fragility; tenderness in the affected areas; and negative stemmer signs. 

Many clinicians and patients reference Stages of Lipedema. You can read more about staging here. For more comprehensive guidelines on diagnosis, you can reference the Standard of Care.

What are the treatment options available for Lipedema?

There is no one effective treatment approach for treating Lipedema. Management to prevent progression and alleviate symptoms is the therapy goal. Current guidelines recommend conservative therapies such as specialized compression garments and manual lymphatic drainage (MLD).

  • Manual lymphatic drainage targets the extra fluid retention of the extremities in the later stages. It also helps with reducing pain sensation.
  • Compression therapy helps support the tissue and prevent increased fluid retention. The compression is selected according to the lipedema type and location in the body. It can be in leggings, Bolero for arms, Knee Highs, capri, and shorts. Flat knit or micro-massage materials tend to support the tender tissue where the adiposity is present. Circular knit garments tend to bind on the tissue and create more discomfort. In the later stages, bandaging may be applicable in their treatments. Each patient needs to be assessed individually for garment selection. A pneumatic compression device(pump) can be beneficial in self-management.
  • Exercises should also be individual to the patient’s needs. The focus should be on posture, strength, mobility, balance, joint hypermobility, and gait. Some tools that are implemented are aqua therapy, vibration plates, and exercise equipment. Some of the techniques used as exercise can range from yoga, tai chi, swimming, and Pilates. Exercise should not be aggressive because it may cause the body to produce inflammatory hormones during performance of, such as cortisol.
  • Skin care is critical at all stages of lipedema. Many patients consider dry brushing and moisturizing the skin as essential. The best way to care for the skin is to hydrate from within. Drinking water is vital.
  • Nutrition suggestions vary but can play a significant role in the inflammatory condition of Lipedema. Understanding the anti-inflammatory way of eating can be a part of self-management. Remember that the FDA does not test supplements, so there is no way to know possible side effects. Most diuretics do not help alleviate the swelling of Lipedema. Liposuction can be valuable for some people to manage pain and improve mobility. However, research is still evolving on the effectiveness of surgery. Surgeons have different approaches; there must be clear research to recommend one approach over another. We encourage you to research, and your decision should be made in partnership with a qualified medical professional.

How can Nurses communicate information about the disease with patients? 

Nurses can be a liaison in the care of a Lipedema patient. Many times, nurses are the first practitioner to see the patient. By recognizing the signs and symptoms, a differential diagnosis may be made instead of labeling the patient as obese. Since nurses are in direct communication with the physicians or the specialist in the medical team, noticing and documenting the criteria that classify the patient as Lipedema will initiate a dialogue about the patient’s condition.

What general facts and advice should nurses know about lipedema to help their patients?

The fact is that Lipedema is an actual chronic condition of loose connective tissue. If the patient fits the criteria profile, the patient should not be diagnosed as obese based solely on BMI.

Another fact is that Lipedema predominantly affects women.

There is an actual asymmetrical body composition, a smaller trunk compared to the lower portion of the body. The feet and hands are usually spared.

Lipedema is progressive if left untreated, and is common but misdiagnosed and underrecognized. This condition carries psychological morbidity.

Look for signs and symptoms if you think the patient may display Lipedema. Be compassionate with the patient, and do not judge. Guide the patient to the proper resources, such as the Lipedema Foundation.

What role do nurses play in helping patients (women) receive care and treatment for this ailment?

Nurses play a critical role in showing an understanding of the signs and symptoms that are involved in the diagnosis of Lipedema.

Discuss with your patients that there is help for them to manage the condition’s progression.

Show compassion when the patient tells you they have tried many things and that nothing works for them.

In addition, nurses are also health care providers who can become certified lymphedema therapists by the many certification institutions.

What can nurses do to help patients with this condition? 

Once Lipedema has been identified, reassure your patient that it’s not their fault that their body looks different.

Early recognition and functional limitations can enhance the ability of the patient to make lifestyle changes to improve the quality of life.

Guide the patients in the right direction with proper recommendations to the health care practitioners equipped to treat them.

Where can nurses go to become educated about lipedema?


  1. Amanda Oakley. Lipedema. DermNet NZ. 2008;
  2. Herbst KL, Kahn LA, Iker E, Ehrlich C, Wright T, McHutchison L, Schwartz J, Sleigh M, Donahue PM, Lisson KH, Faris T, Miller J, Lontok E, Schwartz MS, Dean SM, Bartholomew JR, Armour P, Correa-Perez M, Pennings N, Wallace EL, Larson E. Standard of care for lipedema in the United States. Phlebology. 2021 Dec;36(10):779-796. doi: 10.1177/02683555211015887. Epub 2021 May 28. PMID: 34049453; PMCID: PMC8652358.
  3. Bonetti G, Herbst KL, Dhuli K, Kiani AK, Michelini S, Michelini S, Ceccarini MR, Michelini S, Ricci M, Cestari M, Codini M, Beccari T, Bellinato F, Gisondi P, Bertelli M. Dietary supplements for lipedema. J Prev Med Hyg. 2022 Oct 17;63(2 Suppl 3):E169-E173. doi: 10.15167/2421-4248/jpmh2022.63.2S3.2758. PMID: 36479502; PMCID: PMC9710418.
  4. Okhovat JP, Alavi A. Lipedema: A Review of the Literature. Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2015 Sep;14(3):262-7. doi: 10.1177/1534734614554284. Epub 2014 Oct 17. PMID: 25326446.
  5. Warren Peled A, Kappos EA. Lipedema: diagnostic and management challenges. Int J Womens Health. 2016 Aug 11;8:389-95. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S106227. PMID: 27570465; PMCID: PMC4986968.
Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Crystal Beckford

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Crystal Beckford

Crystal Beckford is an accomplished healthcare executive with extensive experience in health systems in Maryland and Florida. She has a proven track record in hospital, health plan, long-term care, and health insurance leadership.

In her current role as chief nursing officer (CNO) and vice president of patient care services at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center (LHDCMC), Beckford collaborates with the clinical team, medical staff, and executive team to develop nursing and clinical strategies that promote quality and operational excellence in clinical operations.

Crystal Beckford is an important nursing leader, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.


Meet Crystal Beckford, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care for Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center.

Talk about your role in nursing.

As the CNO and Vice President of Patient Care for Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center, I provide leadership to our nursing and patient care support team members. I provide coaching, direction, support, and leadership to grow current and future leaders. To be an effective CNO, one of my main objectives is to ensure clear and concise communication with team members to remain focused on our goals and outcomes. Most important, I always remind our teams why we’re here—to provide high-quality, safe patient care.

How long have you worked in the nursing field?

I have worked in the nursing field for 32 years. I started my career as a licensed practice nurse for two years and then earned my BSN, RN. To expand my knowledge in health care, I received my master’s in healthcare administration.

Why did you become a nurse?

Since I was about seven years old, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. There were many influential people in my life growing up, and three of them were nurses, whom I admired for their character and work ethic.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders?

Flexibility, balance, resilience, humor, humility, passion, and understanding.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Inspiring and influencing others to achieve their greatest potential is truly an honor.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

My first year of nursing was in the medical surgical unit. While at Catholic University, the nuns told us we must complete at least one year of Med/Surg. I quickly learned it wasn’t for me. Critical care was my life’s calling. I was captivated by the equipment, the technology, and the nurses’ knowledge. I practiced in just about every space in critical care, including the intensive care unit, cardiac care unit, open heart surgery, emergency department, and respiratory care unit. I quickly developed strong acumen, knowledge, and skills in critical care. My colleagues saw my potential as a great leader and encouraged me to apply for a managerial role. Once I landed the position, I kept pushing myself to grow in leadership roles because of my passion for the business and the clinical side of healthcare.

I chose Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center to make a difference in my home community. Healthcare equity is a major passion and concern of mine. The hospital has embarked on a $300 million campaign to renovate and expand the nearly 50-year-old campus, including building a women’s health center for inpatient obstetrics services, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Right now, eight out of ten women have to deliver their baby outside of Prince George’s County, and the area’s maternal mortality rate for Black women is 50 percent higher than the national average. As a nursing leader, my mission is to collectively address health inequities, improve health outcomes, and make meaningful changes within our organization and the community.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

The most significant challenge facing nursing today is getting more young people interested in this career. In my role at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center, I’ve made it my mission to speak, teach, coach, and mentor at area nursing schools, historically black colleges and universities, community colleges, and high schools. We offer internship opportunities for students that may lead to future employment. Since approximately 70 percent of our employees (including myself) live within Prince George’s County, we are focused on growing and maintaining our own diverse workforce. One of the reasons I enjoy working here is I’ve felt welcomed the moment I walked through these doors. It has a small southern town feel in a larger community, even though we’re outside Washington, D.C.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

See above. My greatest support is not my words but my actions. I fully support a work-life balance by encouraging my team to take paid time off and offering various types of shifts that fit any lifestyle.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

My former CNO has been my mentor and a source of inspiration for more than 20 years. She is now a COO for a start-up corporation but remains inspirational by being herself. She is smart, wise, humble, and demonstrates humility. She has always been a wonderful person and leader.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

Nothing worth doing is easy. Don’t make five minutes of a bad situation your narrative for the day or your entire career. Instead, focus on the positive and good experiences we have as healthcare workers.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

Nursing will always give you more than what you bargained for. Regardless of my title, I am and always will be a nurse.

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Dr. Robin Geiger

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Dr. Robin Geiger

Robin Geiger, DNP, MSN, APRN, NP-C, FNP-BC, NEA-BC, is an accomplished, results-driven, board-certified nurse executive with over 20 years of hands-on clinical leadership experience. Dr. Geiger’s professional focus is on health equity and clinician advocacy, aiming to increase resilience for healthcare providers, improve quality care and create solid support systems through the ACT (Advocacy. Career. Tools) program for all clinicians within the Ingenovis Health brands.

With a long-standing history of assembling impactful and forward-thinking teams emphasizing improving healthcare quality and increasing patient safety, Dr. Geiger’s vast experience includes accreditation and developing policies to support foundational programs through assessment and data analysis.

She previously served as associate dean of academic affairs for the National University School of Health Professions and focused on strategic planning, clinical program development, and academic operations.

Dr. Geiger is an important nursing leader, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

Meet Dr. Robin Geiger, Senior Vice President of Clinician Advocacy of Ingenovis Health.

Talk about your role in nursing. 

As senior vice president of clinician advocacy for Ingenovis Health, I’m pleased to lead our ACT program focused on clinician well-being, resilience, and support. I hold board certification as a nurse executive advanced (NEA-BC) and chair our Chief Nurse Advisory Board, an interdisciplinary advisory group focused on creating solutions for current frontline clinician challenges.

I support the nursing community as much as possible. I serve as an editor-in-chief for a medical publishing company, focusing on nurse practitioner certification and nursing ethics. I also remain current in clinical experience as a board-certified family nurse practitioner (FNP) and co-founder of an NP-owned concierge practice in North Florida.

How long have you worked in the nursing field?

I’m surprised to say that I have been working in this field for more than 23 years!

Why did you become a nurse? 

My interest in nursing peaked at an early age. I would hear stories about my grandmother, who was a nurse midwife; stories of how she helped others heal; and the need that would always exist for people to receive healthcare. I would stare at her nursing picture in which she wore a white dress and cap. She was my earliest influence in nursing, someone who looked like me and that I could relate to.

I started with an initial goal of becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA). I wanted to handle the most humble and respectful connection of bedside care. I immediately loved it! Being there for some nursing home patients with little-to-no family and supporting them to accomplish daily tasks was important to me. I knew I could grow in nursing and pushed myself to do more.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders? 

Today’s key attributes for nurse leaders should incorporate an empathetic, resourceful, and advocacy approach. Considering the social climate when engaging new and existing nurses is important. External factors to keep in the forefront include mental health and bandwidth, which stem from work-life balance, something I like to refer to as a “work-life blend” when assigning and delivering care. Being supportive means including flexible options for staffing that align with a nurse’s history, respect for years of service, and include physical, social, and emotional support.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Being a nurse leader means factoring in previous personal experiences of my own and those around me. An excellent example would be the formation of Ingenovis Health’s interdisciplinary Chief Nurse Advisory Board (CNAB). Solid decisions involve a multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare strategy and design. Multi-disciplinary teams provide a more global lens of how decisions impact all, from the social worker to the clinician and all the people that serve the patient.

I am proud to give back to the community by co-founding a concierge health clinic for the under-served population, creating MSN and DNP programs that consider the working nurse, and developing a clinician well-being program to encourage improved work-life blend and foster resilience – the ACT program.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

I’ve touched almost every area of nursing through lived experience, either as faculty, clinician, or leader. My life in nursing began first as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, followed by staffing various ICUs, ER, and OR at a level-one trauma hospital. I became a family nurse practitioner in multiple areas, including as an RN first assist in plastics, orthopedics, and general surgery. I have always mentored nurses along the way, and opportunities to serve as lead faculty, director, and associate dean in academia provided me ample opportunity to do so. I received my most impactful leadership training at the Veterans Health Administration. My career has included national leadership roles as VP of clinical care at a non-profit organization and later as Co-Owner/ CEO of a concierge clinic. My current role as senior vice president of clinician advocacy for Ingenovis Health allows me to combine my previous experience to support all clinicians – I enjoy what I do!

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

Recognizing the importance of self-care is always challenging for nurses. I’m also guilty of this from time to time. Nurses are natural givers, and we often neglect the importance of reflecting on challenges, trauma, and the losses we experience. We provide our best care when we reflect on our experiences and learn from them. Covid was challenging, but we didn’t experience initial trauma and burnout with the pandemic. Nurses are strong – we have constantly been challenged. I’m glad we are now focusing on better health for the nurse, something we have needed for quite some time.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

I’m working daily to be an example of incorporating self-care and eliminating stress. Ingenovis Health supports the ability to grow support and enhance the lives of frontline clinicians through the ACT program. I’m proud to lead this program, focused on providing a voice of advocacy, career pathing/ support, and tools to foster better mental and physical health. I think of the program as ongoing conditioning and strengthening to ensure our clinicians are prepared to lend their best selves to caring in various areas within healthcare.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

Dr. Hollier is one of the many nursing leaders that inspires me. I found her certification guidelines and manuals amazingly insightful and well-written from a practical point of view. She inspires my entrepreneurial spirit to create better ways of accomplishing milestones and mentoring others to greatness.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

We are all capable of more. You’ll receive a new challenge when you think you’re comfortable and have it figured out. Grow from each challenge by adding it to your toolbox. You’ll soon have a nice box of tools/ experiences to reach for and share with other nurses.

Allowing yourself to grow through mentorship will open ideas and create life-long connections you didn’t know you needed. Participate in shared governance and nursing associations to strengthen the profession and lend your voice and support.

Finally, consider that one day we will all become patients. You are influencing the future care for your family and yourself. Thinking this way is powerful; this forward-thinking always leads to positive and motivating actions.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

There’s a personal quote I often use, “Everything revolves around the need to receive and deliver education.” This doesn’t apply to academia as it might seem but to life in general. Nurses are life-long learners. We don’t teach emotional and social learning in every education program, but to continue shaping this profession, we must learn how and when to share our stories to inspire others.