Group names Rhoads as ambassador; FSCC nursing director adds to responsibilities with National League for Nursing post.

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Bill Rhoads

Fort Scott Community College Director of Nursing and Allied Health Bill Rhoads can add a new set of responsibilities to his workload.

Rhoads has been appointed by the National League for Nursing to serve as an NLN Ambassador. As part of this elite corps, Rhoads will help keep faculty and administration informed about the NLN's initiatives, grant opportunities, conferences, publications, workshops and other benefits available to NLN members, a news release said.

The purpose of the NLN Ambassador Program is to facilitate communication between the NLN and nurse educators nationwide.

"We created this selective program to make it as easy as possible for nurse faculty and nursing programs at all levels of academia to understand what the NLN has to offer to enhance professional development and status," NLN CEO Beverly Malone said in the release. "At the same time, we expect the Ambassadors to communicate to NLN professional staff and the board (about) what issues and challenges are of greatest concern to nurse educators in the field so that we can maximize the effectiveness of our programming and services. The Ambassadors are, in effect, the NLN's 'eyes and ears' on campus."

Rhoads said while he is pleased to receive the recognition, it will ultimately amount to "a lot more work" for him.

"They want a contact person in each school of nursing," he said. "Our program at FSCC has a departmental membership with the NLN. Because of that, all nursing faculty are also members. We have not had a representative to link between NLN and our program."

Rhoads said his primary job in the role will be to "enhance communication" between the NLN and the FSCC nursing and allied health programs.

"I'll be a contact person," he said. "It's more of a liaison position between the NLN and our local program."

It is anticipated that, as do all NLN ambassadors, Rhoads will encourage his colleagues in the FSCC programs to participate in NLN professional development programs; apply for research grants; submit abstracts for the annual Education Summit and manuscripts to the NLN's peer-reviewed journal, Nursing Education Perspectives; volunteer for task groups and special committees; run for elective office; nominate colleagues for awards; and complete research surveys.

Rhoads will be prepared to answer any questions other faculty or administrators have about the NLN and, when necessary, refer them to the appropriate NLN staff.

The Ambassador program should also have a positive impact on students, Rhoads said.

"The ultimate goal is always to improve student outcomes," he said.

The NLN Ambassador Program was established in the fall of 2006 with an initial cadre of 126 members who teach in all types of nursing programs -- practical nurse, associate degree, diploma, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral. Today, there are more than 700 ambassadors representing schools of nursing in 49 states plus Canada, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

New ambassadors are appointed twice a year to meet the goal of having one NLN ambassador in every school of nursing, the release said.

"We are confident that the insights gained through this valuable relationship will help make the NLN more responsive to the needs of our dedicated nurse educators," Malone said.

Rhoads, a registered nurse, is a graduate of Pittsburg State University with a bachelor's degree in nursing, the University of Phoenix with a master's in organizational management, and Fort Hays State University with a master's in nursing administration.

He has served as director of the nursing and allied health programs at FSCC since 2007.

NLN is an organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education offering faculty development, networking opportunities, testing and assessment, nursing research grants and public policy initiatives to its 28,000 individual and more than 1,100 institutional members.