I spent the first 25 years of my career as an advanced practice nurse in oncology and pain management nursing, primarily at academic medical centers. This work involved caring for complex patients and their families as well as ensuring that nursing staff had the latest evidence and learned new skills as clinical care changed—which it did pretty quickly. My work in academic medical centers invariably involved involvement in developing and implementing research protocols. My first taste of academia was at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, where I had the academic responsibilities and practiced one day a week in an outpatient pain clinic—the best of both worlds for my clinical soul! While working on my PhD, I worked as a research associate and, then senior scientist, at Education Development Center, Inc. (www.edc.org) in the Center for Applied Ethics and Professional Practice—developing and implementing externally funded health services research projects in oncology, pain management and organ donation. Since coming to USM, in addition to being a faculty member, I chaired USM’s first Research Council for 3 years and served as interim dean of the former College of Nursing and Health Professions for a year. As an oncology nurse, I have had a longstanding interest in spirituality and health and, in 2012, became an ordained interfaith minister.
Across my career and in my scholarship, a few things have always been most satisfying.
- One is working with a group to accomplish a goal—whether to help a patient have a good quality of life while dealing with cancer, getting a proposal out the door, or bringing the right people together to figure out a way to transform an idea into something real.
- Another activity I enjoy is participating in the development of others—whether nursing staff, students or colleagues.
- Finally, I have always been interested in leadership and organizational change. Working with you to create the USM Faculty Commons is an opportunity to bring all of these interests together.
When I co-edited the first edition of Advanced practice nursing: An integrative approach (Hamric, Spross, & Hanson, 1996), with a colleague I wrote the chapter on collaboration (Hanson & Spross, 1996). When I tried to find a good definition of the term, there were none—simply referring to working together as in wartime or on a project—none that captured our experience of working with team members to deliver the best care possible. So we developed one that has remained in each edition of the text.
I aspire to live this definition in our work on the Faculty Commons:
“Collaboration is a dynamic, interpersonal process in which two or more individuals make a commitment to interact authentically and constructively to solve problems and learn from each other to accomplish identified goals, purposes or outcomes. The individuals recognize and articulate the values that make this commitment possible.” (Hanson & Spross, 2005, p. 285).