Who looks after the health care heroes? Georgia Nurses Foundation is here to help

Local nurses, the GNF has your back

Georgia nurses have had their backs to the wall throughout the pandemic. From crippling hospital shortages to “crisis” level burnout, it’s been more than two years of nonstop stress in a field already full of prepandemic challenges. For health care heroes that feel cornered in 2022, there’s someone on your side — the Georgia Nurses Foundation.

The “charitable and philanthropic arm” of the Georgia Nurses Association, the Georgia Nurses Foundation is dedicated to helping and promoting local nurses and their profession. From their Honor a Nurse Program to their peer assistance to their scholarships, it’s a charity Georgia nurses need to know about.

Credit: Georgia Nurses Foundation

Credit: Georgia Nurses Foundation

As a branch of the Georgia Nurses Association, an organization that has been empowering local nurses since 1907, the charity has deep Georgia roots. According to Georgia Nurses Foundation president Wanda Jones, it’s that connection to the community that makes all the difference.

“I have been involved with both GNF and GNA since 1995, and I have witnessed GNF’s level of dedication to helping Georgia’s nurses at the personal, academic, and professional level,” Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “No other organization in Georgia does that for nurses. And that makes me very proud.”

During all these years, the charity has been doing quite a bit.

“GNF sponsors and offers programs such as scholarships for nursing students, the Georgia Nursing Hall of Fame™ for distinguished and exemplary nurses, free mental health care and resiliency trainings and resources, virtual support group sessions, the Peer Assistance Program (GNA-PAP) for nurses suffering from the disease of substance use disorder,” Jones said. “Additionally, GNF’s Board of Trustees draft white papers and policy briefs related to health care, access to care, and equity, that may influence legislation.”

Credit: Georgia Nurses Foundation

Credit: Georgia Nurses Foundation

Just last year, the charity funded the Georgia Center for Nursing Excellence — an independent nonprofit dedicated to building a “diverse, qualified, nursing workforce to meet the health care needs of Georgians.” The Georgia Nurses Foundation is showing no signs of slowing down this year either.

Thanks to a grant issued to the Georgia Nurses Association’s peer assistance program this year, the charity will be spending 2022 hosting more trainings and doing more hospital and school visits to help nurses suffering from substance abuse disorders. According to an early 2022 study in the Journal of Nursing Regulation, 5.7% of nurses struggle with illicit drug use and 9.9% struggle with prescription-type drug use. Nurses working in hospice were recorded at a staggering 19% rate, while 15.8% of nursing home nurses were suffering from drug use. Overall, the study determined that 18% of the 1,170 nurses that were screened across the U.S. ultimately tested positive for substance use.

This is just one way the charity is looking to make an impact in the Peach State. Jones wants to do even more this year.

“I want to see GNF grant more scholarships, increase awareness of the GNA-PAP, continue to work in partnership with the Georgia Center for Nursing Excellence, and continue offering mental health care and resiliency trainings and resources to Georgia’s nurses even after the pandemic is a memory of the past,” she said.

Come September, the charity will also be putting together its annual golf tournament — a fundraiser dedicated to raising money for the GNF Scholarship Program. With the money raised, the charity can work to increase diversity in the nursing workforce, develop mental health care resiliency training for nurses, sponsor nursing profession related research and support other nursing activities and programs.

“I am extremely excited about this year’s fundraising golf tournament,” Jones said. “The tournament will take place at Heritage Golf Links in Tucker, GA on September 29th, and we are honored to have former Atlanta Falcons Superstar wide receiver and current 680 The Fan Host Brian Finneran as our master of ceremony! Funds raised will go towards our scholarship program and to fund more mental health care and resiliency trainings. Please come and enjoy a round of golf with your favorite foursome!”

Supporters who can’t make it to the Sept. 29 tournament can still donate online, and sponsorship opportunities range from $150 for a single player to $3,500 for a platinum sponsor. The Georgia Nurses Foundation is making an impact, one par at a time.

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