Candidate for Director-at-Large

Ellen Watson, MS, APRN, FNP-BC
Chair, Vermont 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. 

Regulatory Experience I was appointed to the Vermont Board of Nursing in 2011 and reappointed in 2017 Chair of the Alternative to Public Discipline Committee since 2013 Vice Chair of the Vermont Board from September 2014 until September 2017 I am now Board Chair, elected September 2017 Serving on the Vermont BON Education Committee I served on the NCSBN APRN Committee that looked into grandfathering of APRNs I served on the Leadership Academy Committee I served as Area IV Director from 8/2015 to 8/2017. In that role, I attended many conferences and other events focused on Regulation. For example, I attended two Tri-Regulator Symposium meetings, Regulation 2030, many NCSBN events and traveled with CEO David Benton to visit our Associate Member in Manitoba last May. I was liaison for the APRN Education Committee that was charged with looking Member Board regulation of APRN programs. (NOTE: I loved this work and would have happily run for a second term, but my real job had a dramatic, but temporary increase in responsibility that made it impossible to adequately fulfill the duties of an NCSBN Board member. Those extra duties are ending and I will be able to do this once again. I feel that one term allowed me to learn all that I need to so that I can be of even greater service.) I love this work. I am in the second year of the IRE Fellowship Program Other Relevant Experience I am a Family Nurse Practitioner. I see patients in a Primary Care Clinic for half of my work week and teach at the University of Vermont during the other half. I serve on the Graduate Education Committee and participated in the preparation for accreditation visits for our new DNP Program, as well as re-accreditation of our undergraduate program, ADN to BSN Program and Clinical Nurse Leader Program. I serve on the Green Mountain Care Board Primary Care Advisory Committee Have been a member and chaired many other organizations over the years, in jobs, membership organizations and in the general community Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Thomas Edison

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

  1. Borderless health care delivery
    The goal of borderless health care delivery has become more and more important, as developments in technology and changes in the workforce mandate the need for greater flexibility and dynamic problem solving to meet the needs of an aging population with complex chronic illnesses that demand new models of care delivery. Team-based care is required to meet the needs of so many and to achieve the best outcomes. And team members can be in the office, or the city or the state next door.
  2. Regulation of nursing education
    Nurse regulators have a unique perspective and a singular primary purpose. We work to protect the public and ensure that nurses, from their initial education and licensure, to their continuing education and renewals are safe and professional. Nursing education programs are evaluated and re-evaluated periodically, in the hope of ensuring high standards in nursing education. This accreditation work may well lead to enhanced public protection, but without the eyes of the regulator also looking into programs, the foundation of any nurse could be deficient. This is a key component of nursing regulation, in my opinion.
  3. The role of regulation in evolving scopes of practice
    It is essential that regulators stay current with the evolution of all aspects of practice. The IOM Report on the Future of Nursing, the IHI Chronic Care Model and Initiatives along with other robust and forward thinking organizations have promoted the idea that everyone in health care needs to rise to the challenge of working at the top level that their licensure allows. This will provide for improved access to care as well as some degree of cost containment by using teams of caregivers with differing skill sets to provide comprehensive health care. Regulators need to be able to reframe Statute and Rules to allow this to happen and to appreciate the questions and issues that are sure to arise. We need fresh perspective and new eyes to assure that scopes of practice and regulations truly offer the opportunity for right touch regulation that protects the public and allows for growth.

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

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other said John F. Kennedy, in Dallas, on the day he died. We need to provide more opportunities for the membership to learn about leadership and to practice being a leader. I believe that people will never gravitate toward leadership positions unless they feel qualified and competent to take on the task. Many people are gifted with natural leadership abilities, but they often need to learn how to harness them and use them in various situations. Sometimes, they just need to be made aware of the talents they have. I served on Leadership Academy Committee. And while I don’t feel committed to the plan or curriculum that was put forth from that group, I like the idea of a leadership academy for the NCSBN membership. This sort of program would need to be self-paced, on-line, not duplicative of existing leadership training and promoted to both Board Executive Officers and staff and to Board members. I think an important task of any activity to increase participation in NCSBN leadership is to make it more accessible. The idea of taking on a leadership position in this organization can be challenging and even frightening. Perhaps mentors could be offered. A leadership online journal might be a way to make stories of NCSBN leadership journies available and the process less daunting. I would love to work on this type of a project.