Montana Action Coalition Status Report June 2012


Montana Action Coalition Status Report

June 2012

Action Coalition Organization and Leadership Structure
Action Coalition Co-Leads:

  • Casey Blumenthal, Vice President, MHA, an Association of Montana Health Care Providers
  • Cynthia Gustafson, Executive Director, Montana State Board of Nursing


  • A Regional Awareness Meeting at MHA’s office on November 30, 2010 was co-hosted by Casey Blumenthal, Vice President, MHA, an Association of Montana Health Care Providers (MHA) and Cynthia Gustafson, Executive Director, Montana State Board of Nursing.  Because there is no organized consortium of nurse leaders in Montana, the current work of the Montana Action Coalition is breaking new ground.

Action Coalition Structure:
The Action Coalition calls itself the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing (CAHN). Its purpose is to improve the health of Montanans by advocating for nurses and facilitating change to improve nursing education and practice. The Center includes the nearly 175 individuals participating in teleconferences throughout the final months of 2010 and into 2011.

  • CAHN is governed by a 9-member steering committee, whose members represent the array of nursing’s presence in Montana.
  • Fiscal oversight is provided by the Montana Health Research and Education Foundation (MHREF), housed within MHA.
  • The work of the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing is to be carried out by a collective of Councils. Each Council is supported by a workgroup with 10 – 15 members and has a work plan with key strategies.
  • MT Council for Nursing Leadership Development (LEAD):  The LEAD Council’s objective is to develop nurse leaders within practice settings, policy settings and the health care community. This means supporting nurses to be leaders in whatever they setting they practice, from the bedside to the boardroom. Council co-leads, Dawn Lynch, MSN, Director of Patient Care Services at Clark Fork Valley Hospital in Plains, MT, and Christina Sieloff, PhD, Associate Professor Montana State University at the Billings campus, have been joined by over 20 persons across the state through audio- and videoconference sessions.

This workgroup, along with the AC co-leads and members of Sigma Theta Tau International, Zeta Upsilon Chapter, recently completed an official “launch” of the Action Coalition and the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing—and Dr. Sue Hassmiller came to Montana to help us celebrate. The launch included a Gala event on Friday evening, April 13, and a nursing leadership conference on Saturday the 14th.



Dr. Hassmiller participated in several different events during her three days in Montana, including a luncheon in a small community with a critical access hospital, whose leaders have signed the first of its kind Health Care Facility Sign-On Letter to support the Future of Nursing Campaign for Action! The afternoon and evening were spent with the Action Coalition Steering Committee.

On Friday, she addressed new inductees into Sigma Theta Tau International, followed by meetings with Education/Practice leaders and Native American nursing students. The Gala event Friday evening was well attended and included students, nurses, and nurse champions; a representative of each of these groups was chosen to receive an inaugural award based on nominations by their peers. The President of Montana State University welcomed the participants, and Dr. Hassmiller was on hand to address the group. She was honored by Brittany Iron representing the MSU Caring for Our Own Project which is a program for supporting and mentoring Indian students. Ms. Iron performed a traditional Crow Indian woman’s dance and presented a gift to Dr. Hassmiller. We also had representatives from AARP, and 2 of our 3 Congressional offices, who read letters of support for the Campaign from one of our Senators and our Representative.

On Saturday, we held our conference, which was titled, “Tools for Nursing Leadership: Bedside to Boardroom.” Sue started the day by sharing breakfast with the student nurses present, and then provided an inspiring keynote address which drew in many more attendees than anticipated. In fact, we ran out of room! A series of sessions on nurses in leadership (and leadership in nurses) followed throughout the day, with enthusiastic response by everyone. The presenters were all Montana nurse leaders and showcased the wealth of experience and knowledge we have right here at home.

  • MT Council for Nursing Transition to Practice:  The Transition to Practice Council’s objectives are in accord with IOM recommendations–to improve patient health outcomes by supporting nurses as they transition into practice as new graduates, return to the workforce, or move into new clinical practice areas. The Council’s workgroup meetings helped to define transition to practice and the needs from the nurse and facilities. To date, with leadership from Lori Chovanak, Executive Director of the Montana Nurses Association and Karla Lund, Nursing Program Director, Miles Community College and with the support from the Health Resources and Services Administration grant (through Idaho State University), the Council (via MHA) is continuing to offer the transition to practice program (Rural Nurse Residency) throughout Montana. The Council has also made presentations about the transition to practice model, building awareness of the opportunity around the state. Our plan is to take the next year to transition into a more independent model, gradually reducing our reliance on Idaho State University until we are autonomous.
  • MT Council for Nursing Education:  The Education Council, now led by Mary Nielsen, Program Director, University of Montana College of Technology, Missoula, and Karen Vandaveer, Director of Nursing, Montana Tech at U of M, Butte, has involved approximately 20 persons in a series of strategy planning meetings with a statewide meeting October 2011 with keynote speaker/facilitator Dr. Mary Sue Gorski. The education workgroup is interested in designing easier transitions for nurses wishing to continue their education and studying state models of differentiated practice/ pay for baccalaureate and higher degrees. The Council’s objectives are in line with IOM recommendations to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80% by 2020, double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020, and ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning.

Mary attended CCNA’s western regional education meeting in Sacramento, CA in Feb 2012. She returned very enthused about the idea of collaborating with the other educators to improve our existing articulation model to make it even more efficient and effective. The Nursing Program Directors are meeting with the statewide University system administrators to insure transferability and articulation between units, so students can enter at an associate degree point and continue to the baccalaureate without barriers, using the statewide common curriculum. This submitted a proposal and is a finalist for the APIN grants.

  • MT Council for Nursing Workforce Data:  Leadership for the Council for Nursing Workforce Data is provided by the Montana Office of Rural Health/Area Health Education Centers at MSU in Bozeman and its Healthcare Workforce Advisory Committee and the Montana Board of Nursing. The Council’s overall goal is an infrastructure for the collection and analysis of nursing workforce data. This council includes Casey Blumenthal and Cynthia Gustafson with leadership from Steering Committee member Kris Juliar (Director of the MT Office of Rural Health).   An application to become a member of the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers was accepted and Casey Blumenthal attended the annual meeting of the forum in June 2012.

Campaign Liaison:  Peter Reinecke

Action Coalition Areas of Focus
This section contains a list of recommendations the Action Coalition is working toward.  Areas of focus are defined as having a workgroup, action plan and/or dedicated efforts on IOM recommendations 1-8, diversity, interprofessional collaboration communications efforts, etc.

  • Rec. 1 Scope of Practice
  • Rec. 2 Leadership (expanding opportunities)
  • Rec. 3 Transition to Practice
  • Rec. 4 Education (80/20)
  • Rec. 5 Education (Doctorates) – Education Council is looking at this but not as a priority – although our only graduate program in the state – MSU College of Nursing – is changing their  nurse practitioner option (family and family psych-mental health) to a DNP
  • Rec. 7 Leadership (preparing nurses)
  • Rec. 8 Data

Action Coalition Progress
This section contains cumulative progress by the Action Coalition or influenced by the Action Coalition.
Rec. 1: Remove scope-of-practice barriers

  • The Board of Nursing (AC co-lead) has a separate workgroup reviewing APRN rules and statutes to ensure they are congruent with the NCSBN consensus document.

Recs. 2 & 7: Leadership

  • 4/2012: The Action Coalition (mostly via the LEAD Council) planned a statewide leadership event on April 14, 2012 with Dr. Sue Hassmiller as keynote speaker on the topic of Tools for Nursing Leadership:  Bedside to Boardroom. More detail, above.
  • 4/2012: At one of MHA’s member facilities (Livingston HealthCare—site of the first facility sign-on letter), the CNO also took Dr. Hassmiller’s article re Nurses on Boards to her hospital board and asked them to read/reflect on it. She will follow up at next meeting to discuss whether they would like to pursue having an RN on their board.
  • 2/2012: The LEAD Council used a student intern to research the literature for a definition of a nurse leader; she presented her findings to the stakeholders at an interactive, statewide videoconference in late February. The Council developed their own definition that encompasses leadership roles for nurses at all levels:  “Nurses are leaders when they advance health through change.”

Rec. 3: Nurse Residency

  • 4/2012: MHA has a pilot transition to practice program (Rural Nurse Residency) at several facilities throughout Montana. The Council is assisting to promote the program and has made presentations about the transition to practice model, building awareness of the opportunity around the state. The new T-to-P Coordinator (at MHA) is on the Transition to Practice Council.

Recs. 4 & 5: Education

  • 4/2012: Statewide Nursing Program Directors meeting with University system officials to propose “seamless” education for students to enter at associate degree and finish the baccalaureate with formal articulation agreements between programs.
  • 1/2012: The Education Council has had a change in leadership; one of the co-leads attended the Western Region Education meeting in Sacramento to learn new possibilities for articulation.
  • 10/2011:  Mary Sue Gorski attended a series of strategy planning meetings in October 2011.

Rec. 6: Life Long Learning

  • The Board of Nursing (as of Jan 2011) requires each licensee in the state to have 24 contact hours of continuing education to renew licenses by Dec 2012. Members of the Steering Committee are Approved Providers of nursing contact hours under the Montana Nursing Association Accredited Approval process.

Rec. 8: Data

  • 4/2012: The AC is awaiting approval as a member in the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers. Became a member?
  • 2/2012: The State Board of Nursing will have the ability to track workforce data at the renewal licensure of all nurse licensees in December, 2012 per a grant from NCSBN.
  • The MT Office of Rural Health has a statewide healthcare workforce advisory committee addressing data collection and analysis issues; the AC collaborates with them where possible.


  • 1/2012: Co-lead Cynthia Gustafson works directly with Jan Leishman-Donahue, Project Director for the Montana American Indian Nurse Internship through Benefis Health System at this link:  This program first helps Indian student graduates to be successful on their NCLEX; a large percentage have repeated attempts at passing. The internship program is designed to give them an acute care perspective at our larger Montana hospitals and then send out to the rural areas with support.

Interprofessional Collaboration

  • [Insert Text Here].

General (communications, funding, stakeholder recruitment, or other non-recommendation specific progress)


  • 2Q/2012 Received contributions of $4,000 from several Montana hospitals.
  • 2Q/2012: The Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing (MTCAHN) has received a letter of support from Montana State University.
  • 2Q/2012: As a result the April 12-14 launch events, the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing received endorsements from two area hospitals. Livingston HealthCare and St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula signed letters supporting the four key messages of the IOM Report on the Future of Nursing and the work of the Action Coalition. The letters commit these hospitals to working with MTCAHN to implement the IOM recommendations.
  • 4/2012: Hosted an official “launch” of the Action Coalition and the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing in which Dr. Sue Hassmiller attended a series of events to include a Gala event on Friday evening, April 13, and a nursing leadership conference on Saturday the 14th.
  • 4/2012: Secured AARP MT’s presence at the above Gala.
  • 3/2012: Livingston HealthCare, a health care facility, provided a letter of commitment to the campaign.
  • 3/2012: Funding for the Gala launch of the AC and the Nurse Leadership conference was received from 2 MHA member facilities. Invitations to the Gala were sent to the state legislators who have participated in health committees. Representatives from two of Montana’s three Congressional offices attended the Gala AC launch and read messages from Senator Max Baucus and Representative Denny Rehberg.
  • 12/2011: Received 3,000 from Montana Nurses Association to pay for a web designer for the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing (CAHN).
  • 8/2011: The work of the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing is to be carried out by a collective of Councils on Nursing Leadership Development, Nursing Transition to Practice, Nursing Education, and Nursing Workforce Data.  Each Council has a work plan with key strategies and is supported by a workgroup with 10 – 15 members.
  • 8/2011: A strategic planning retreat was held in August 2011 to develop a statewide structure for collaboration and inclusion of interested stakeholders.

Action Coalition Events
Events Occurred in 2012 (list date, event name, # of participants, and brief description)

  • 02-29-2012 – Statewide video conference with 16 remote sites to discuss “Being a Nurse Leader.” 1 contact hour of nursing continuing education offered for participants. Interactive discussion at each site, with feedback to group as a whole. Review of research provided by one of the AC workgroup’s interns.
  • 4-12-2012 – Tour of Livingston HealthCare (a critical access hospital in Livingston, MT) by Dr. Sue Hassmiller and members of the AC. Luncheon followed, with local area nurses (and others) to discuss the campaign with Dr. Hassmiller.
  • 4-12-2012 – AC Steering Committee Meeting, approximately 15 participants – met with Dr. Hassmiller to discuss future planning. Meeting followed by networking dinner.
  • 4-13-2012 – Dr. Hassmiller attended a series of events to include an Sigma Theta Tau International induction and brunch in which she addressed the inductees and others about their role in the campaign; a meeting with nursing program directors and CNOs to discuss 80/20; a meeting with students in Montana State University’s Caring for Our Own Program (Native American student nurses); and a Gala launch of the Action Coalition and the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing.
  • 4-14-2012 – Nurse Leadership conference with keynote by Dr. Hassmiller. Four subsequent sessions on leadership in nursing presented by members of the AC. Excellent attendance and feedback; continuing education offered for attendees.

Events Planned (list date, event name, and brief description)

  • Early June, 2012 – Action Coalition Steering Committee plans a retreat to discuss strategic plan and work for the coming year. This meeting was changed to July 9 & 10.


Action Coalition Partners (This list indicates stakeholder groups that are represented on the Action Coalition).   To check a box: double click the desired box, click “checked”, then click “OK”.

AARP State Office Human Resource Associations RWJF Nurse Executive Fellows
AACN Members Legislators/Policy Makers RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars
Area Health Education Centers Minority Nursing Groups (Ethnic/Men) RWJF PIN Grantees
Businesses Nursing Students State Board of Nursing
Chambers of Commerce Nursing Workforce Center State League for Nursing
Community Colleges Other Consumer Advocates State Nurses Association
Family Caregiver Organizations Other Health Clinicians State Org. of Nurse Executives
Foundations Other State Officials Unions
Health Plans / Insurers Physicians Universities/Colleges of Nursing
Health Systems RWJF AF4Q Workforce Investment Boards
Hospital Association RWJF Health Policy Fellows


Other Stakeholder Groups:

Technical Assistance Requested or Needed

Technical Assistance that the Montana Action Coalition Received from the Campaign

  • 6/2012: CCNA Chief Strategist Susan Reinhard hosted a dinner meeting for Action Coalition co-leads attending the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Center conference in Indianapolis, IN on June 27. Co-leads met with Susan, CCNA staff, and consultants to discuss AC accomplishments, challenges, and goals. This dinner provided a forum for co-leads to share and discuss common themes and experiences.
  • 4/2012: Prepared a draft press announcement for Montana Leadership Summit for release prior to the event and one about the Summit and award recipients for release after the Summit.
  • 4/2012: Assisted with recruitment of MT AARP senior leader to attend the Montana Leadership Summit.
  • 4/2012: CCNA representative attended and provided social media support during summit tweeting highlights of each event and posting to CCNA Facebook page and coordinating for placement on FON Facebook Page and Twitter feeds.
  • 4/2012: Published a multimedia journalism story posted to the CCNA website profiling the Montana State University’s School of Nursing “Caring for our Own” Program to highlight the school’s work on diversity.
  • 4/2012: PR solutions wrote a blog on behalf of Sue Hassmiller covering the MT summit.
  • 4/2012: Provided a Thank You letter from Sue Hassmiller thanking and recognizing the MT AC’s successful summit.
  • Q1/2012: Assisted with drafting of press announcement and press release for the Leadership summit and Awards Gala.
  • Q1/2012: Campaign staff assisted with preparation and planning of events during Sue Hassmiller’s visit.
  • Q1/2012: Sue Hassmiller participated and spoke at 8 events leading up to and surrounding the Leadership Summit.
  • Q1/2012: Campaign staff successfully worked to encourage participation in the Awards Gala by Montana AARP state coordinator.
  • 1/2012: Provided overview of communications support and tools available to Action Coalitions. Provided with CFA templates.
  • Responded to request for consultation on the development of a website for Montana CAHN.  MCAHN successfully pursued funding from the Montana Nurses Association for the development and launching of the MCAHN website.
  • 6/2011:  Action Coalition leaders participated in a “Connect” training in Washington, DC, designed to help Action Coalitions build and strengthen relationship with members of Congress to advance their goals and objectives.
  • A list of technical assistance provided to all Action Coalitions is available at:

Technical Assistance that the Montana Action Coalition Could Provide to Other Action Coalitions

  • Having hosted a successful statewide summit, we could assist other states with advice on pulling such a major set of activities together.

Technical Assistance that the Montana Action Coalition Provided to Other Action Coalitions

  • When our Facility Sign-On Letter is tweaked by the Campaign folks, we will provide that to the extranet. Miscellaneous documents posted to the extranet over last few months.
  • Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing created and shared a template letter that commits organizations signing on to support the four key messages of the IOM Report on the Future of Nursing and the work of the Action Coalition.
  • Montana AC provided West Virginia AC guidance and insight for preparing for a “Sue Hassmiller”.

Grants and/or Description of In-kind Resources Received by the Action Coalition

  • Montana Office of Rural Health is providing the fee for application to the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.
  • Q1/2012: Two other MHA hospital members provided donations to MT CAHN for the Gala and conference.
  • 12/2011: The AC received $3,000 from Montana Nurses Association to pay for a web designer for the Montana Center to Advance Health through Nursing (CAHN)
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