‘Pinky Promise’ to be Unstoppable

If ever a SuperSession could bring a crowd to tears and then jolt them back into fits of laughter, Wednesday’s SuperSession was it.

AACN President Lisa Riggs delivered an emotional farewell to her presidency, a year she tirelessly dedicated to using her voice and her strength while encouraging us to do the same day after day.


“I’m totally in awe of all your professional accomplishments in nursing,” Riggs said with a quivering voice. “Sometimes, I have to pinch myself when I realize that I am in the company of greatness. I am continually amazed at all you do to plan for AACN’s future. It’s changing so rapidly and it’s so chaotic, but you do such a brilliant job of it.”

Riggs passes her vision to AACN President-Elect Megan Brunson. She’s been an unstoppable force since she was kicked out of nursing school in her senior year. From self-proclaimed “reject” to bedside night shift nurse to AACN president, Brunson has resilience, passion and most of all, grit, which inspired this year’s AACN theme: Unstoppable.

“Unstoppable is knowing if we get knocked down, we get up again,” Brunson said. “Unstoppable is using our unique talents to expose inefficiencies and celebrate positive, innovative solutions, no matter how small. Unstoppable is gaining momentum from others — pushing each other to take certification exams, precept another RN or comfort a colleague. As nurses, we are Unstoppable ‘from the inside out’ when we practice self-care and stretch ourselves into the unfamiliar.”

Brunson’s parting words filled attendees with excitement and hope for the next 365 days under her guidance.

“I am humbled and privileged to serve as AACN’s 50th president,” Brunson said. “I look forward to traveling around the country for the next year meeting nurses. Nurses who are filled with spirit and grit, like me, you, we, us, our AACN community — who are unwavering, unmatched and unshakeable. But most of all: Unstoppable!”

In fact, make a promise to yourself, your colleagues and your patients to be Unstoppable. In fact, make it a “pinky promise,” the pinnacle of all promises. This is what keynote speaker and Poetic Voice Sekou Andrews begged of attendees: a pinky promise.

“I trust you will always pursue betterment,” Andrews declared. “You are literally in the betterment business. People come to you so they can get better … You want to continue to find new and improved ways to make people better, but you can’t … make me better if you’re not first finding new ways to make yourselves better. You can’t transform the system for everyone else if you’re not embracing transformation for yourselves!”

Attendees left feeling Unstoppable with Andrews’ incredible Poetic Voice, especially with his final words.

“This humanity, this magic you have, this hope, this care, this love is what you deliver without fail. You do what you love and love what you do. THIS is who you are!”