CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi joined forces with the Eta Omicron Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing, to present keynote speaker Dr. Jane Mahoney as part of the Adele Bemis Leadership Lecture Series. The event took place March 28 in the University Center, Anchor Ballroom.
Mahoney is Director of Nursing Practice and Research at the Menninger Clinic, and she also serves as Associate Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She led an interactive, comical, and dynamic session that moved fluidly from a speech to casual conversation and back again, challenging the audience to focus on positive experiences and reframe challenges so they appear as opportunities. She addressed a solution-focused approach to wellness called “Positive Deviance,” defined as going against a tendency to focus on the impasses in each situation.
“If it is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing,” said Mahoney. “You have to enthusiastically capitalize on strengths, draw out your natural talents, and work around weaknesses. And by extension, this includes finding a balance between power, purpose and leadership.”
Mahoney noted the multidimensional roles nurses fulfill, calling on nursing professionals to avoid problem-focused thinking and embrace strength-based management of both personnel and daily issues while being open to other points of view.
“This means moving from workplace stress to joyful productivity,” said Mahoney. “Ask yourself, ‘what is the best thing that has happened to me today or this week?’ How can we translate that positive energy to dealing with what is not ideal?”
The evening’s affair was in honor of Adele Bemis, a charter member (1984) of the Eta Omicron Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. Bemis is also a Clinical Assistant Faculty member of the CONHS.
“Adele was ahead of her time right from the beginning,” said Dr. Bunny Forgione, Associate Dean of the CONHS. “She opened the first neonatal intensive care unit in Texas, and she pioneered the use of evidence-based practices and competency-based education programs for nurses, which are now standard nationwide.”
Mahoney closed her presentation in tribute of Bemis, telling the story of two wolves battling within the individual; one being evil, and the other working for good.
“Which one wins?” she asked an enthralled audience. “The one you feed.”
The attending nursing professionals not only gleaned valuable insight, they also received one contact hour of continuing education credit.