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Posted on November 24, 2010

Dr. Cheryl A. Hettman, a registered nurse and chair of the Department of Nursing, has begun a two-year term as president of the National Association of Catholic Nurses, USA.

The nonprofit NACN-USA is an affiliate and full-voting member of the Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants (CICIAMS), which is a member of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Formed in 1940, the organization arose from the effort to begin uniting Catholic nursing clubs or guilds to form organizations for health-care providers in countries around the world. It reorganized and took its current name in 1993. NACN-USA was chartered in the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., and is listed on the National Directory of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Hettman has been a member of NACN-USA since 2001 and served as president-elect for the past year. Her term as president began Oct. 1.

“As president of NACN-USA, I see my role as being one of a facilitator, to help foster a much-needed focus on the professional development of nurses, nursing students and other health-care providers with regard to spirituality and bioethics,” she said.

Hettman has taught nursing for more than 20 years at various institutions. She has taught at both the bachelor's and master's levels, and also has taught online nursing programs for several years.

The nursing profession proclaims that human beings, as whole persons, consist of mind, body and spirit, Hettman said. She is concerned that caregivers perhaps focus their efforts primarily on physical aspects of care.

“In these challenging times in our life when we are vulnerable regarding our health, it is the integration of the spirit in health care that may provide those we care for and their families with significant comfort, hope and a true sense of being cared for, irrespective of one’s personal faith orientation,” she said.

The membership of NACN-USA is divided into five regions across the country. The organization welcomes new members, including nurses and nursing students, along with non-nursing health-care providers who seek a connection to others who value the opportunity for professional growth, networking, educational offerings and advocacy in spiritual health care.