Helen Krick Poole, BSN ’77, knows that nurses are natural leaders. In her own nursing career, she has led in the areas of home health and hospice care and chaired committees and campaigns at the School. Helen has been a driving force in helping grateful patients find ways to give back that can change the lives of others, uncovering opportunities for philanthropy that will improve care for the patients of tomorrow.
Helen wants to see nurses leading in issues of health and health care at all levels. To this end, she has established the Helen Krick Poole Nursing Leadership Award, an award that will support graduate students as they develop their leadership skills and seek the opportunities they need to position themselves as major problems solvers in our world.
“Our doctor of nursing practice students are going to be our leaders in the future of health care, not just in nursing, but in hospital systems and beyond,” says Poole. “I want them to have what they need to be our best and brightest, our most-inspiring leaders. If I can have a tiny piece of helping a nurse leader achieve those goals, I’ve done my part.”
Award recipients will use the award to attend conferences and meetings, present their research, sit in on panels, network with other nurse leaders, investigate problems in patient care and access whatever resources they need to grow as nurse leaders. Helen credits such opportunities with helping her develop her vision as a leader who would spend her career improving the lives of patients.
She says nurse leaders should be at the head of committees and councils focused on current issues for patients and their families. They should be elected officials influencing policy and leading professional organizations that can promote and strengthen nursing.
“Nurse leaders network across the world and the United States. They seek out and listen to the voices in their own communities to get to know patients and families, and to hear what is important to them. They put themselves out there, and with what they learn, they can plan priorities for their hospitals and organizations,” she says.
Poole has been a longtime leader at the School, offering mentorship opportunities and contributing both time and private gifts. She says she is inspired by what she sees at the School to stay involved and try to make as much of an impact as possible. Helen understands the pressing issues of our day as well as the issues ahead – care for military veterans as they return from deployment, the physical and social needs of the ‘baby boomer’ generation, troubling outcomes in women’s health – and knows there will be opportunities for nurses to take the lead toward solutions.
“The students at the School of Nursing are so smart, and so inquisitive,” she says. “Nursing is all about problem solving, and the students I’ve met I know are going to be solving some of our world’s most critical problems.”