Janet Mentes, PhD, APRN, FGSA, FAAN assumed the presidency of the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) at their November 2018 Leadership Conference. The organization is dedicated to optimal health and quality of life for older adults. They are a collaboration of national and international nursing schools and institutions that have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to the field of gerontological nursing.
In the December 2017 NHCGNE News Digest, Mentes discussed her involvement with NHCGNE and the importance of gerontological nursing:
What do you think the most valuable thing is about our organization? There are several aspects of the NCHGNE that are valuable but the most important is that NHCGNE provides a vehicle to bring together international scholars, educators and clinicians who are devoted to improving the care of older adults.
Why did you go into Geriatric nursing? I was very close to my maternal Swiss grandmother and that peaked my interest in older persons. I remember writing an essay about her and including a picture of her for a class I had in the 7th grade! My teacher was impressed that I chose to write about her. So it felt natural for me to enter geriatric/gerontological nursing, therefore when I was completing my master’s degree in psychiatric nursing, I decided to take all of the newly developed courses in geriatric nursing. My career trajectory in geriatrics was cemented at that point.
What career advice do you have for young NHCGNE members? Career advice for members of NHCGNE beginning his/her careers, would be don’t lose sight of your passion for gerontological nursing, look for opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in and outside of nursing in your research and teaching. Especially consider colleagues outside of health care, like engineers or in the arts, I think this helps us to think “outside of the box” and come up with innovative ideas. Last, consider the influence of culture on aging as we as a nation are becoming much more ethnically diverse and we as nursing leaders need to take the lead in educating the next generation of nurses to care for an increasingly diverse older population—we can’t rely on what we have always done.