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Online RN-BSN student elected to state association

Heather Foley follows dream to give nursing a voice at decision-making tables




Heather Foley, an online RN-BSN student from Gahanna, Ohio, was recently elected secretary of the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA).

Foley, who earned her diploma in nursing in 2014 from HackensackUMC Mountainside School of Nursing in Montclair, N.J., began the online RN-BSN program in January 2015. She describes how her expanded education dovetails with her service, “...My baccalaureate nursing education at Villanova is continually enhancing my proficiency in critical thinking, health promotion, and leadership.  This directly relates to my capacity to be of service as a nurse leader, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to continue my education.”

Foley is currently a home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis nurse in the Columbus area.  “My current role offers me a great deal of autonomy, wonderfully complex patients, and the opportunity to improve outcomes - especially quality of life - for patients with end stage renal failure,” she says. She was previously an acute care cardiac nurse in New Jersey.

It was in New Jersey where Foley first became involved with professional nursing organizations as a nursing student, when she was elected community health director of New Jersey Nursing Students, Inc. (NJNS).  “I soon took on the additional role of secretary when a vacancy occurred, and served as president the following year.  My early exposure to the professional realm of nursing awakened me to the reality that America's most trusted professionals are insufficiently represented at decision-making tables, which adversely affects our profession and our patients. My dream is to change this,” she notes. 

Foley had previously earned a bachelor of arts degree at Bryn Mawr College where she carried a double major in biology and French, with a minor in Russian and concentration in Africana studies.

When career and educational plans led her to the Midwest, Foley says she jumped at the opportunity to run for office at the ONA, given her robust drive to serve. She was opposed by a more experienced nurse but was selected by the ONA delegation for the position of secretary.

Foley reflects on her new role, “My fellow board members come from all walks of life - a testament to the wonderful versatility of our profession - and it is such an honor to share this path with them.  I am very much looking forward to a productive and groundbreaking term of service.”