Jeanne Surdo: Defining Nursing Practice

Most nurses would agree: nursing is an ever-changing profession. And as nursing evolves in response to shifting needs and demands, the profession itself must define and regulate its practice.

Jeanne Surdo, BSN, MA, RN, genetics clinic, Children’s – St. Paul, has devoted a significant part of her career to activities that advance, protect, and regulate the profession of nursing. Over the years, she has taken on a variety of roles that have influenced nursing practice at Children’s, in Minnesota, and across the nation.

In addition to being a long-time Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) union leader at Children’s, Surdo is an elected member of the MNA’s Commission on Nursing Practice. She is also an elected member of the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Congress on Nursing Practice and Economics. The Congress establishes the profession’s approach to emerging trends within the socioeconomic, political, and practice spheres of the health care industry. This includes working closely with ANA’s Nursing Scope and Standards Committee to foster high standards of nursing practice.

Surdo acknowledges that there was a time when “I had no idea what this work involved and why it was important. But the scope and standards tell me how to practice. It serves as the measuring stick for our profession.”

Surdo says she thrives on the exposure to a broad range of nursing issues. She also finds many connections between practice issues facing Children’s nurses and those she deals with on a national level. “One of the advantages is that Children’s gets a ‘heads up’ on national nursing standards — and we at Children’s can have input on the national level to define how nurses practice.”