Winona State Professor to Lead the International Family Nursing Association



Rochester, Minn. – Winona State University – Rochester ’s Sonja J. Meiers, PhD, RN has been elected to leadership in the International Family Nursing Association (IFNA) as President-Elect and member of the Board of Directors. She assumed formal duties on June 30, 2017 and will begin service as the President of IFNA on July 1, 2019.

The International Family Nursing Association is comprised of over 370 members, representing 33 countries worldwide, and aims to transform health for families worldwide.

“Evidence shows that health issues among any family member influence the health of the family and that family health influences health for each family member,” said Meiers. “I am honored to serve this organization, which stands as a strong, premier unifying force and voice for family nursing globally. I will enthusiastically support our mission to develop education, research, and practice through collegial exchange in all aspects of family nursing.”

Meiers, who serves as professor and director of Graduate Nursing for WSU’s Rochester Campus, recently returned from the International Family Nursing Conference 13 in Pamplona, Spain, where she, along with Associate Professor Jen Prochnow from Winona State and over 200 authors, presented research regarding family health and family care.

Meiers advanced work on development of a special family interview to support families managing chronic illness, and Prochnow shared her doctoral project findings about use of the Teach-back method to improve medication teaching for patients and caregivers.

Meiers also presented findings about the state of family nursing across the globe with co-authors from five other countries. A major point of this study was that a shift is needed toward translating evidence about the family as a unit of care and health promotion. In addition, health care institutions can best support family health and care by improving communication between health care providers and family members.

“This is our challenge worldwide,” said Meiers. “We have a responsibility to equip nurses in welcoming families as advocates for their loved ones and supporting family engagement in care. When we do this, we improve healing processes for patients and families. We also need to reward health care systems that demonstrate value for the family.”

Carole Robinson, outgoing President of IFNA and long-time board member, said: “We are truly excited to have Dr. Meiers join us at the senior executive level. Professor Meiers has already offered significant leadership to the organization through co-chairing the Research Committee, and, in particular, through the international collaborations she has nurtured. Dr. Meier’s talents as a leader have been evident for quite some time. I look forward to working alongside her to make a difference that matters for families globally.”

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