The theme of the 29th Annual Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) Convention, held in South Padre Island, Texas, July 16 to July 20, was more than a coincidence.
“Power the Passion for Nursing: Clinical Excellence, Technology, Commitment, Professional Dedication, and Community Involvement” reflects the spirit of the PNAA and matches the role of newly elected president, Leo-Felix Jurado, RN, MA, CAN, APN, C, PhD(c). Jurado is a professor at the Department of Nursing, County College of Morris, Randolph, New Jersey, where he has recently been promoted to chairperson. Ten years ago, Jurado completed his term as the 15th president of the PNA of N.J., and is the current president of the New Jersey Board of Nursing, where he has served as a member since 2000.
“Twenty-nine years after its founding, the PNAA is alive and well,” said Rosario-May Mayor, RN, MA, immediate past president, as she handed the responsibilities to Jurado. Mayor described her two-year term as a travelogue that promoted a culture of excellence, dedication, commitment to community, involvement, and passion. She encouraged Jurado and the 300 members present to ignite the passion for their nursing careers and for the PNAA.
Jurado takes up PNAA’s mission to uphold and foster the positive image and welfare of its nurse members, promote professional excellence, and contribute significant outcomes to health care and society. He brings a wealth of administrative and service experience to his new role.Leo-Felix Jurado, RN
A person of many talents
In addition to acting as mentor for the Minority Nurse Leadership Institute at Rutgers University, Newark, Jurado is a mentor for the School of Nursing Committee at Thomas Edison State College, and a member of the Forum of Advanced Practice Nurses. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in the Urban Systems program, offered jointly by Rutgers University and UMDNJ, Newark.
The New Jersey Institute of Nursing awarded Jurado the “DON” in Nursing, a title of respect for RNs who’ve shown extraordinary leadership and exceptional contributions to the profession of nursing. Two years ago, the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations (NCEMNA) presented him with a Nurse Scientist Scholarship. As PNAA president, Jurado represents the organization on the NCEMNA Board of Directors.Leo Jurado (standing center), inaugurated at the PNAA convention, enjoys the moment with wife Nini (far right), and (standing from far left), Jovita Solomon Duarte, PNAA secretary and Majuvy Sulse, Essex County N.J. Chapter president and PNAA CARE and Scholarship Awards winner.
Seated are NCSBN president Faith Fields (left), Nursing Spectrum senior staff writer Lorraine Steefel, and Gayle Pearson, assistant dean, Center for Professional Development, Rutgers University, Newark.
Keynote reflects theme
At the PNAA convention’s Gala Night, Faith Fields, RN, MSN, president, National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), inaugurated Jurado into his new role.
In her keynote address, Fields reiterated the convention’s theme, reminding RNs that nursing is not just a job or career; it’s a passion and a calling — an “occupassion.” She encouraged attendees to continue making a difference in health care by loving what they do. “When people love what they do, productivity goes up,” said Fields.
Last year, Fields delivered the NCSBN Board’s decision, as NCLEX overseer, that Manila, in the Philippines, was approved as an international testing site for the administration of the NCLEX-RN. This eliminated the need for travel abroad to take the NCLEX-RN for Filipino nurses who wished to work in the United States. Jurado and Mayor, representing the PNAA, were part of the Philippine Presidential Task Force which presented its case for this testing site to the NCSBN.
Passion is as passion does
At the convention, the PNAA presented awards to RNs whose work expressed the passion of their commitment to nursing and the organization. Of the 37 applicants for 18 PNAA affiliate chapters, nurses were presented with excellence awards in the following categories:
Nurse in Clinical Practice — Sarla Duller, California
Nurse in the Community — Alice Andam, Metro Washington, D.C.
Nurse Administrator — Jeanette Livelo, Massachusetts
Nurse Researcher — Majuvy Sulse, New Jersey
Nurse Educator — Perry Franciso, Virginia
Nurse Entrepreneur — Cora Vizcarra, Indiana
PNAA recognized Phoebe Andres for her role in suggesting and establishing a foundation to augment organizational expenses and make educational programs affordable to members. As a nonprofit organization, the foundation promotes and provides opportunities for philanthropy to support professional advancement of Filipino-American nurses and health for all, through nursing care, education, management, and research.
In addition to the CARE award, Majuvy Sulse, Essex County, New Jersey, subchapter president, received the PNAA scholarship and the bronze medal for taking third place at the convention’s 5K Run.
Shining the light
In his address to members, Jurado defined his administration’s mantra — Shining through the PRISM of PNAA, honoring our traditions, and advancing our future. “PRISM stands for professional linkages, regulatory and legislative agenda, interagency collaboration, services and program development, and management of organizational resources. Within PRISM, there are strategic initiatives that will be undertaken,” Jurado said. “These will honor our past and those who contributed to the PNAA to make it the solid and steadfast organization it is today.”
Jurado challenged members to renew their commitments to the PNAA and to keep the PRISM shining.
Besides Jurado, the PNAA has other New Jersey residents on its board: Susan Castor, board member and recent past president of the PNA-N.J.; Jovita Solomon Duarte, secretary; and Madelyn Yu, chairperson of the Council of Presidents and current PNA-N.J. president. CARE Award winner Majuvy Sulse and Phoebe Andres also hail from the state.