Creating a Better Tomorrow

Creating a Better Tomorrow

Posted on September 27, 2018 by Deborah Gauvreau, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

My first meeting with Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) was in September 2013. It was just a few months from its inception.

This all-volunteer team of healthcare employers, academic institutions, and community members was constituted to fulfill lofty aspirations to strengthen our access to a high-quality healthcare system.

Back in 2013, we wondered: Would those invited to join SNAC show up month after month?

Here were just some of the challenges facing SNAC:

  • No funding
  • No backbone organization
  • All members were busy executives
  • The participating entities were competitors
  • The entire subject is complex from top to bottom
  • The importance of increasing the bedside nurse education to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) level had been discussed for decades

Over time, SNAC leaders consistently addressed: What do we want? What resources do we collectively have? What are the most important steps we can take together to advance this work to achieve our goals?

Paving the way to their deeply held aspirations, SNAC members diligently researched challenges and developed ways to achieve new outcomes. Throughout its five years, SNAC’s momentum has increased, and expectations are consistently exceeded. One member recently said, “It’s exciting… it’s almost daunting.”

To SNAC’s credit is a long list of accomplishments of systematic changes to move the needle by strengthening resources and working together across organizational lines for the good of our community.

Some of SNAC’s successes:

  • SNAC’s Nurse Education Navigator – counseling and connecting students with resources for decision making to advance their nursing education
  • Awarding $214,000 in scholarships to BSN and doctoral students
  • Increasing the capacity of schools to accept BSN candidates at Florida Southwestern State College; Keiser University; State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota; and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
  • Building a flexible local infrastructure and network supporting SNAC’s thrivability
    – Local foundations
    Florida Action Coalition
    Campaign for Action
    – Fiscal sponsorship from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County
    – Strategic and tactical support via The Patterson Foundation

As I look back over the five years, I see three elements fundamental to SNAC’s success:

  1. The positive, passionate, and persistent leadership of SNAC’s co-founders, Jan Mauck, now retired chief nursing officer at Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System, and Charles Baumann, retired CPA with Kerkering CPA, have set the tone and continually inspire others to participate in achieving the goals of the initiative.

  2. The team of nurse leaders representing all of the major healthcare employers and academic institutions offering nursing programs who generously contribute their time and expertise.

  3. The devoted community of individuals and organizations engaging in and contributing to SNAC’s efforts as it works for a better healthcare system.
SNAC’s journey, as with most ventures realizing aspirations and achieving a sustainable impact, is a result of people and organizations with mutually held aspirations coming together, asking the right questions, and working persistently and consistently to create a better tomorrow for all of us.

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