Meet one of AAACN’s dedicated volunteers who worked behind the scenes to give his colleagues the best education program possible.

The inspiring thing about people who volunteer is that they often do so without the need for thanks or admiration. They just put their heads down and work.

George D. Velianoff, PhD, RN, FACHE, ANEF, is one of those people. He served in several AAACN volunteer positions, most notably on the Conference Program Planning Committee, first as a member in 2017 and then as chair from 2018-2020.

"George has guided the Program Planning Committee for several years with a steady, strong, leadership style, and has mentored our future committee leaders to ensure quality educational programming," said AAACN Director of Education Michele Boyd, MSN, RN, NPD-BC. “We sincerely thank him for all he has done.”

George Velianoff
George D. Velianoff, PhD, RN, FACHE, ANEF

Dr. Velianoff joined AAACN in 2014. In addition to his work on the Program Planning Committee, he was a AAACN Conference moderator in 2015 and 2018, and a reviewer and task force member for the 4th edition of the Core Curriculum for Ambulatory Care Nursing.

He is now retired from his position as an executive in population health with Cerner Corporation. Much of his career focused on nursing health care administration, and he amassed more than 30 years of leadership and clinical experience in the acute care, ambulatory, association, and academic settings.

His achievements were broad, spanning the areas of population health models, technology application, systems design and integration, finance, patient care redesign and workflow, operations, and professional practice.

Dr. Velianoff’s education background is equally impressive. He earned his PhD from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, his nursing diploma from Bethesda Hospital School of Nursing, and his undergraduate degree from Edgecliff College of Xavier University. He’s a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and the NLN Academy of Nursing Education.

To get a better sense of what has driven his impressive career, we asked Dr. Velianoff to describe his path to nursing and what has been particularly fulfilling along the way.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

After high school I got a summer job as an orderly at one of our local hospitals. My experience during those months included working with all the different roles and areas/specialties, and I was encouraged to consider nursing. I enjoyed the patient interactions, and the caring I witnessed from the nurses was uplifting.

I originally enrolled in science undergraduate courses and then transferred into and completed a BS and diploma program, while the entire time, my nursing instructors kept priming me to go to graduate school.

I was fortunate to be accepted in a doctoral program post-BSN, and had the ability to dual major in nursing and health care management. I worked throughout as nursing assistant in the emergency department and floated everywhere.

I decided the best way to help the profession was to become a nurse manager/executive. I worked up the ranks from staff nurse, supervisor, assistant director nursing, CNE, and then COO. During this time I had to implement an EHR in three different organizations and was intrigued by the ability of informatics to enhance/assist in care delivery. I then made the switch into informatics.

How did you find AAACN?

While I was working with clients across the country on EMR implementations, it became clear that ambulatory care was an area that had been “neglected” in favor of acute care. Having been involved in several nursing associations, it was clear there needed to be an ambulatory-focused group and I found AAACN.

You’ve been very involved in the education aspects of AAACN. Why that focus and how did you come to chair the Program Planning Committee?

One of my major focuses in my career has been the academic-practice collaboration. I taught at the graduate level while holding practice positions. It was clear to me that practice needed the academic research, rigor, and knowledge generation, and academics needed the practical, everyday perspective of nursing care delivery to make the profession strong and relevant.

My academic-practice focus lended itself to serving on program planning committees at other associations, as well as attending conferences, and so I volunteered for AAACN’s committee. I became chair after my first year.

The quality, volume, and willingness of AAACN members to submit abstracts, and the work they are doing is amazing. On one hand, that quality made our work easy, but because there were so many great speakers and topics to choose from, it made it difficult to choose the final speakers for our program.

Given COVID-19 and the need for virtual education, what is your opinion on that format of learning?

Of course I miss the interactions, conversations, and seeing everyone, and just the impromptu discussion and feedback you get in person, but I was VERY pleased with the virtual program.

The work that went into this year’s program - especially by the AAACN and Digitell, Inc., staff - was amazing, as well as the support and guidance from the AAACN Board of Directors. I was actually able to attend more sessions with on-demand sessions, poster presentations, and the general sessions with the virtual platform.

Given the pivot to virtual and the uncertainty of in-person education events, what do you see on the horizon as far as learning for professional associations like AAACN?

I think there will continue to be a large virtual component in the future for all professional association conferences, and I think interactive sessions will become more prevalent. How we blend both in-person and virtual will take some planning, but we now have a good template for both to build from.

As someone who has expertise in public health, is there anything top-of-mind you want to share about the pandemic the world is facing? Nurses’ role and impact?

For me, the most important thing nurses should/are doing is educating the public and articulating the facts, truth, interventions. Common sense things people should be doing is most helpful.

What motivates you as a human and as a nurse? As a nursing leader?

Making it possible to live the healthiest, safest, most inquisitive, fulfilling life, and experiencing all that there is to enjoy.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’m thankful for having found AAACN and the opportunity to interact, know, and work with such dedicated professionals. I also thank the staff, especially Michele Boyd and the AAACN Board, for their continual support and making the work easy.

Reported by Janet D’Alesandro, AAACN Communications and Media Director.
September 2020