Candidate for Director-at-Large

Ann Michelle Coughlin, MSN, MBA, RN
Vice Chairperson, Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing

Director-at-Large Responsibilities:

  • Serves as a representative of all member boards
  • Transacts the business and affairs, and acts on behalf of NCSBN 

Describe all relevant professional, regulatory and community experience. 

I have over 24 years’ experience in the health care industry; including a clinical nurse in an acute care hospital, case management supervisor in the insurance industry, triage nurse for a disease management company, clinical nursing supervisor for a large university hospital and a nurse regulator. My previous position as a Regulatory Affairs and Compliance Auditor for a large Mail Order Pharmacy, Specialty Pharmacy and Infusion Company demanded a focus on regulations. My Supervisory position in Regulatory Affairs has enhanced my knowledge and experience with regulations for the past 8 years. My role as an Internal Auditor required review of regulations for individual states as well as review of federal regulations. My current role as Manager for the department of Patient and Family Experience at an academic medical center has broadened my knowledge in patient safety, satisfaction, quality of care and risk management.

I was honored to be appointed to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing in 2010 and to be named Vice-Chair 2012 and Chair for 2013 & 2014 term. In addition, I served on the following committees: IT, Finance, Probable Cause and Application Review. For three years I served on the Leadership Succession Committee (LSC) for NCSBN. I also have served on the NCLEX Item Sub-Review Committee. I am dedicated to continuing my commitment and passion for regulation in order to enhance and support the development of regulation and the role of nursing in the health care environment. I look to support NCSBN and will lend my diverse experience and knowledge to support the mission and vision. It would be an honor to continue to serve with the talented group of professionals to identify and nurture leadership in nursing that is pivotal to the advancement of nursing regulation and safety of the public.

What is your perspective regarding the following issues affecting nursing regulation?

  1. Borderless health care delivery
    Border Technology and innovation is driving treatment options in the health care market. Virtual tools to monitor and maintain health are popular items utilized across the world. Also tele health and tele rounding are utilized in many venues and impact borderless delivery. We will continue to see tremendous growth with technology and borderless delivery. We need to work together to maintain high standards and regulations. Borderless health care will assist with the collaboration the ability to share resources, information and knowledge. Borderless healthcare will need to be monitored and closely regulated in order to maintain patient safety. In the current health care market I think borderless health care delivery is vital, important and will continue to expand across the globe. Policymakers, stakeholders and practitioners need to work together to implement creative solutions when crossing borders. The need for expanding health care access continues to grow so we need to think on a national and global level to stay progressive in the efforts to address borderless healthcare delivery
  2. Regulation of nursing education 
    I think we need to regulate nursing education. We need to maintain quality, evidence based practice, high standards of education and ongoing nursing research. Nurses need to hold one another accountable for safe patient care and to high standards of practice. Nurses need the ability to practice to their full scope of authority. Boards of Nursing, nursing schools, nursing programs, regulators and accreditors all need to work together to maintain the highest standards of nursing education. We need to be collaborative, creative and innovative to protect the safety of the public and maintain the highest standard with nursing education.
  3. The role of regulation in evolving scopes of practice
    I have had exposure to the issues related to education and nursing regulation with the Pennsylvania Board and NCSBN. NCSBN is very involved and leading the required collaborative efforts that are necessary between regulators and accreditors. The RN Model rules are an excellent example of representation of this endeavor. The current work involving distance education should be embraced by regulators to meet the IOM initiative for nurses to advance their education. We need to continue to work together to develop the best practice standards and to assist all states with implementation of them. A key part is education and communication; we all need to be respectful to concerns of the individual states as well as support initiatives, goals and national standards to promote evolving scopes of practice.

Please describe a strategy or activity to increase participation in the leadership of the organization.

The members of the NCSBN are de facto people interested in nursing and the promotion of the highest standards of our profession. Therefore, it seems evident that they possess the qualities necessary for a leader. They are committed to the profession, they are interested in shaping the direction and values of our organization and they are bright, caring and dedicated individuals. Many of us certainly qualifies for a leadership post. So why are so few of us running? I think each of us may have our own reasons and perhaps going forward we would like to conduct a survey, as we have done in the past, to assess those reasons, but in the meantime, we may want to implement a few novel strategies to improve participation in our electoral process. I suggest we engage each state board to identify members who may be interested in pursuing a leadership position at the national level. We should then work with the state board to nurture and prepare new leaders, providing education, mentorship and support to promote their involvement in elections and leadership roles. Creating a leadership institute comparable to our research institute to engage ‘fellows’ who would be interested in developing leadership skills by participating in an ongoing mentorship program would also be an initiative to encourage participation in leadership roles. Finally, I think that we need to empower LSC to assist members interested in running in preparing and organizing their campaigns. Standardizing the process would also create a more equal playing field for candidates. Members could then delineate the information they want to make a decision and determine the process for disseminating that information. Our goals should be to create as non-political a process as possible for our elections. I thank you for your attention and look forward to working together.