by Ginger Breedlove,
CNM, PhD, ARNP, FACNM, ACNM President
As the year ends, we often reflect on the highlights as well
as the challenges we’ve faced, while looking forward to the new opportunities. In my first 6 months as President of ACNM, I quickly
learned that I had not fully realized the extent of my role until the day I
took office, when questions, requests, and travel obligations began to emerge
in rapid-fire succession. I’m not sure anyone can fully prepare for this whirlwind
pace. However, the work of our
tremendously talented ACNM staff and volunteer leaders demonstrated, time and
time again, their effectiveness in responding to our members, affiliate leaders,
and other organizations at the national level.
Thank you to our amazing ACNM team!
My travels took me to several affiliate events, ACOG and ANA
meetings, Midwifery Works!, Canadian Association of Midwives meeting, and several
times to the national office. I heard common challenges emerge in caring
for women as I listened to midwives, physicians, and other interested parties –
topics like the approaching workforce shortage, significant professional
burnout, seamless transfer of care, scope of practice and autonomy of the
midwifery profession, and finding consensus in defining midwifery as described
by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in 2011.
How will we meet these challenges and turn them into opportunities
for ACNM in 2014?
I believe an important step is to become the highest-functioning organization we
can possibly be to meet our ambitious goals.
I have been reviewing various approaches to becoming a great organization
and the Carver
Policy Governance® model is a standout.
After 6 months of discussion, the ACNM Board of Directors agreed to move
toward a new method of leadership using this model. This method offers an empowering approach
with specific ways to be forward-thinking, value-oriented, and member-driven. Although
full implementation will take time, the board is moving into “study mode” to
learn these new governing leadership strategies. We believe that shifting to
this method of governance will allow us to work more effectively on behalf of
members than ever before. We also
encourage ACNM affiliate organizations to also think about their own quality
improvement and how they can better connect with and provide value to their members.
ACNM is also launching diversification and inclusion initiatives
across all sectors of our association. We will continue to collaborate on strategy
and capacity-building with ACOG, US Midwifery Education, Regulation and
Association (US MERA), ICM, the US Home Birth Summit initiative, and
other national organizations.
Major change takes time. Organizations must thoroughly
think through the “story” that makes the change worthwhile. Once the story becomes clear, it’s important
to share that story with all members involved in making change happen. Change at ACNM cannot occur without your
understanding, support, and involvement. My
hope is that we focus our attention on new practices,
rather than holding fast to old models that do not work. We may also find a “third way” to move
forward collaboratively and guide comprehensive care for all women – not their
way or our way, but a NEW way!
If you are considering New Year resolutions,
I would encourage all midwives to listen and become involved in a variety of
purposeful conversations to help create that new way. I am looking forward to hearing and learning
more in the year ahead!