Dr. Tim Porter-O’Grady, DM, EdD, ScD(h), APRN, FAAN, FACCWS, is the senior partner, health systems at TPOG Associates LLC, an Atlanta-based international health consulting practice.  Dr. Porter-O’Grady is the Chair of the Board of the American Nurses Foundation, a Clinical Professor at Emory University, School of Nursing and Board member of St. Joseph’s Mercy Care of Atlanta, a community health system for the underserved and homeless. Dr. Porter- O’Grady is an advanced practice nurse in geriatrics/wound specialties and his clinical work is wound care management of the homeless through Mercy Care, a program he founded. Dr. Porter-O’Grady is nationally/internationally recognized as an expert/futurist in clinical health systems, leadership, professional governance, and health systems innovation. Dr. Porter-O’Grady has consulted with over 600 clinical systems world-wide and has lectured at well over 1000 settings globally. He has authored/co-authored 26 books and over 200 publications and is a 9-time winner of the AJN “Book of the Year Award”. Dr. Porter-O’Grady is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a clinical fellow in the American College of Clinical Wound Specialists. Dr. Porter-O’Grady serves on the editorial boards of five proctored healthcare journals. Dr. Porter-O’Grady has received numerous awards including the AONL Lifetime Achievement Award, ANA Luther Chrisman Health Leadership Award, and the AACN Healthcare Pioneer Award and will be inducted into the Nursing Hall of Fame in 2020 on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday and the WHO “Year of the Nurse”.

“Leadership is a journey. All leaders are at various stages of development and if they remain vulnerable and responsive while on the journey, they will continue to develop their leadership potential. I have arrived at a point where I have developed a stronger appreciation for the importance of reflection and the benefits of collegial relationships in leadership. Reflection is critical in crisis leadership. Difficult decision making during critical events requires thoughtful reflection,” said Dr. Porter-O’Grady.  Dr. Porter O’Grady has been consulting with nurse leaders at various healthcare systems providing a vehicle for reflection. A time for leaders to unbundle, explore, and gain collegial insight from outside their systems while making difficult decisions during the COVID-19 crisis. He has also created space for reflection in his work with graduate students at Emory University who are eager for this opportunity. “Reflection and mindfulness should be embedded into nursing curriculums beginning at the baccalaureate level for nurses to develop the tools and incorporate reflection into their decision making earlier. Reflection can also be viewed as a form of mindfulness and therapeutic in allowing one the time to reconnect and rebalance especially in times of crisis,” said Dr. Porter- O’Grady.

There will be much to reflect upon and lessons to be learned from this crisis that will help prepare for what will inevitably happen again. “Nursing presence at key decision-making tables is critical because nursing is critical to the coordination of patient care. There are missing pieces in the distribution and supply chain that were highlighted during this current crisis. The role of a nurse leader is to identify gaps, find the resources, connect all the players and make linkages in broken systems. Nurse leaders are doing that work at all the intersections along the healthcare continuum supporting those doing the work and caring for patients. Nurse leaders are responsible for the delivery of safe, cost efficient, and patient centric care,” said Dr. Porter O’Grady.  Dr. Porter O’Grady recommends that nurse leaders be at several important decision-making tables including:

  1. Clinical evaluation tables in every setting critically evaluating what worked and did not during the crisis and design future disaster preparedness plans.
  2. Regional tables to evaluate the disconnection in the clinical, distribution and supply chains.
  3. Governor council tables for intrastate and interstate crisis debriefings.
  4. Federal tables including international health bodies and the World Trade Organization to impact clinical preparedness and supply chains. “This is a human crisis not a business crisis”, said Dr. Porter-O’Grady.

Dr. Porter-O’Grady as the Chair of the American Nurse Foundation (ANF)- the national voice for nursing philanthropy has also been working to help support nurses during and after the COVID-19 crisis. ANF has established the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses to support and protect nurses and their patients and families. The fund will support nurses by:

  • Providing direct assistance to nurse;
  • Supporting mental health of nurse today an in the future;
  • Ensuring nurse have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection and care for those in need;
  • Driving national advocacy focused on nurses and patients.

            The ANF will also support nurse leadership throughout the year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared 2020 as The Year of the Nurse in honor of the 200th   anniversary of the birth date of nursing founder-Florence Nightingale. Nightingale was also the first epidemiologist and introduced the infection control measures currently in use today -handwashing, distancing, and other hygienic practices. Nightingale wrote the first books on hospital administration, military organization and used scientific data to influence policy makers to assume responsibility for the health of its people- public health. Yet, not unlike current nurse leaders, Nightingale is widely recognized as the ‘Lady of the Lamp’ and revered for her work at the bedside and not fully recognized for all her leadership contributions. “Nurses are valued for being kind and caring but not embraced as leaders/partners and recognized for their full contributions to the delivery of care. This current crisis is an opportunity to recognize nurses for the full range of their contributions. Together with other professional organizations, ANF will use the Year of the Nurse to elevate the nursing leadership and raise public awareness”, said Dr. Porter-O’Grady.

Call to Action

Do one thing that shows your appreciation for a nurse. For example, write an OP ED or reach out to the media identifying a nurse leader to highlight. Each nurse has the capability to do one thing that will have the potential to feature and elevate our profession.

To donate to the Coronavirus Fund for Nurses, click here: Thanks or Text to Thanks 20222

A $10 donation will go a long way to support nurse and advance the nursing profession impactfully.