Jason Straw BSN July 6, 2017- BSN
Place of Employment: Higher Fellowship, Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis, Disability Party, The National Chronic Pancreatitis Support Network
Which Nursing Organizations are you currently a member of: ANA, ISNA
Board(s) currently serving on:
Disability Party Medical Adviser, Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis District 5 Leader, Higher Fellowship Medical Adviser, The National Chronic Pancreatitis Support Network Medical Adviser
Tell us about your journey to the boardroom. What inspired you to seek a leadership position?
As a critical care nurse who deployed twice to Afghanistan. I have a solid foundation from the Army and Air Force in leadership training. During my first deployment as a charge nurse in the ICU I was responsible for the lives of up to 15 critical care patients with a nursing staff of 4 critical care nurses, 2 respiratory therapists and 3 critical care med techs. The second deployment as a critical care air transport nurse you see a lot of pain and suffering from the most severely wounded patients anyone in the world would deal with while flying in a plane.
Here is a video from the USAF with me in it with our patient on one of our CCAT missions: http://www.military.com/video/operations-and-strategy/afghanistan-conflict/militarydotcom-embed-with-evacuation-flight/1101453692001
You want to do everything you can to help them. When I retired out of the United States Air Force. I looked for ways to help others which led me to advocate for pain and disability rights through several organizations.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
I continue to look to others as mentors. I ask questions and research areas we are advocating for in pain control and opioid addiction treatments. I find that the Bible holds many tools and great advice for leadership development.
What impact have you had serving on a board? Example?
I have been able to assist in helping several organizations work together to get Indiana HB 1148 passed for children of epilepsy to try CBD. I know I was a small part of the whole process but keeping people open and talking to each other is key in everything you do. Many people were ready to throw in their hat. Kind compassionate words of reassurance and listening to their concerns helped to calm the waters.
Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis was able to educate The Indiana American Legion about medical cannabis which resulted in them passing a resolution supporting medical cannabis (marijuana/hemp) for research and treatment.
I have contacted the Indiana State Nurse Association and they have posted several of our Indiana Higher Fellowship Educational Town Halls on Medical Cannabis and Opioid Addiction Treatment options. We have nearly 1 million views on our website to help educate the public on medical cannabis.
What advice would you give someone going into a board leadership position for the first time?
Keep an open mind, be honest, listen, and remember to be compassionate towards others. If you start from that point and work from there then usually you can achieve your goal. Listening is the most important skill you can develop. Not listening to debate but listening to hear what they are truly saying. Being able to hear what the true meaning is a necessary skill that takes time, until others are trusting enough of you to be open and honest. If you are open and honest with limited responses, then it may help open some doors.
What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader and eventually obtaining a board position?
I would find a mentor in the area you are looking in being an expert. I have had several throughout my life. The Bible gives me great strength, focus, and compassion in the worst of times.
Why do you feel it is important for nurses to serve on boards?
Nurses are the heart and soul of healthcare. Compassion is what nurses do. Without that unique aspect it can leave a board incomplete and almost heartless.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to nurses serving on boards?
Many still discriminate against nurses and consider us less educated or experienced as them. Nurses develop a keen sense of moral compassion for their patients. We care and show it which can be seen as a weakness, but Jesus said “Love you Neighbor as yourself” in Matthew 22:36-40.Boards: Disability Party Medical Adviser, Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis District 5 Leader, Higher Fellowship Medical Adviser, The National Chronic Pancreatitis Support Network Medical AdviserContinue Reading
“Board service can be rewarding to nurses both personally and professionally. It not only requires them to exercise leadership; it expands those skills and advances their capabilities and knowledge. It gives nurses the chance to meet people and enhance their professional networks. And it can be inspirational and empowering.”
-Sue Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation