Member Spotlight: Sandy Cornett, PhD, RN (retired)
Sandy Cornett, PhD, RN, was one of the founding members of HCEA. In this member feature Sandy discusses her greatest professional achievement and reflects on her vision of HCEA in the years to come.
When did you join HCEA?
I am a founding member of HCEA, established in 1997. It was established by those of us that had been members of the American Society of Health Education and Training (ASHET- an American Hospital Association affiliate) when AHA closed all of their affiliate entities. It was composed mostly of hospital education and training directors, staff development professionals, and those of us in patient education management positions.
Where do you work and what is your role?
I retired after almost 50 years of work as a staff nurse, head nurse, staff development educator, faculty at 3 universities, patient education manager at The Ohio State University Medical Center (21 years), and 13 years as director of the OSU Clear Health Communication Program (health literacy) at OSU College of Medicine.
Why do you work in this field? What is your greatest achievement related to patient education?
Patient education has always been my passion, even as a staff nurse in the 1960s and 1970s. As a staff development educator, I was able to establish an interdisciplinary cardiac rehab program in the mid-1970s. In 1979, I created the position for an institution-wide patient education manager. There were very few positions such as this back then. It was a challenge, but the most rewarding time during my career. To be on the ground, helping to establish this position, not only locally, but nationally through the networking and work done at ASHET. For example, we were instrumental in helping to get the Joint Commission to put patient education into their standards.
What is your vision for HCEA in the next 2 years and why?
My vision for HCEA is to grow our membership and be able to provide additional resources and educational opportunities to our members, other than those on the website, the list serve, and our biannual conference. We need to be able to have networking that is ongoing throughout the year. This may take partnering with another like organization or acquiring a continuing sponsorship arrangement. If we do not grow, we can't provide members those resources and opportunities to grow professional in the field.
What is the best thing about being involved with HCEA?
The best thing about HCEA is the people I have been able to learn from and call as my friends in the organization. Networking is always the best attribute that we have.
If there is one piece of advice you could give to our members what would it be?
The best piece of advice for members is to get involved in the organization. This way you will learn a great deal, and gain those friendships that are essential to your growth in the field. Most institutions have only one person who is in the management role for patient education and it can be lonely. Actually, very few people in one's organization truly understands the what, why, and how, you do your job. It is through HCEA that you interact with people who know exactly what challenges you have and have ideas for how to meet these challenges.
Want to help shape the future of HCEA? Get more involved by joining one of our Committees. Visit this page to learn more: http://hcea-info.org/html/committees.html.
(Last updated 8/2/18)