1. Mortlock, Nancy BSN, RN, CRNI(R), OCN(R)

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The following speech was delivered at the INS Annual Meeting and Industrial Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on May 20, 2010.

Nancy Mortlock, BSN,... - Click to enlarge in new windowNancy Mortlock, BSN, RN, CRNI(R), OCN(R)

Only a few generations ago, for the great majority of us, the smoke rising from the chimneys of the neighboring village marked the limits of our world. Today, however, sitting at our computers, we are linked in a matter of moments to the rest of the globe. The rapid advances in science and technology, the increasingly free exchange of ideas among societies, and the dynamic growth in international trade have brought us closer together. We talk today, without poetic license, of living in a "global village."


These advances have brought with them great benefits to the world community, benefits secured by goodwill and tolerance. Cyberspace doesn't recognize territorial boundaries. The rapid development of globalization has posed new challenges and new opportunities. Nurses have centuries of experience as leaders and facilitators of the sharing of healing knowledge, wisdom, resources, and action. This experience, however, has not been fully cultivated and therefore leaves us with unfulfilled potential for strengthening global health.


It is well known that the Infusion Nurses Society is today's recognized leader of infusion therapy in the western hemisphere and the developed world. We are quickly gaining recognition and respect in the developing world, including the farthest corners. To influence infusion excellence in the rest of the world, we will need to be proactive and deliberate. I believe that it will take intentional bridge building and alliance cultivation to achieve global, standardized infusion services producing superior patient outcomes. Consequently, I've chosen "Bridges to a Global Alliance" as my theme as president of the Infusion Nurses Society through the coming year. This theme is consistent with the vision of INS, which states: "Recognized as the global authority in infusion therapy, INS is dedicated to exceeding the public's expectations of excellence by setting the standard for infusion care." I would like to add an additional clause, "exceeding the public's expectations of excellence, both domestic and foreign." My efforts, and I hope you'll choose to join me, will be driven by clearly identified needs in areas of the world where we have (1) the opportunity to make an impact and (2) the capability to provide the necessary knowledge and logistical support to succeed.


A bridge is defined as a structure that provides connection, contact, and transition. A strong bridge connects a purpose and an action to a course of which there is no retreat. As we anticipate building bridges to connect with nursing colleagues around the world, it is my goal to create a strategy, energy, and synergy, passing the baton of infusion excellence from every corner in America to our infusion nursing colleagues practicing some distance from us.


Before we discuss developing countries' need for infusion standards, I want to suggest that we begin closer to home, in rural America. In July 2009, statistics revealed that out of more than 1300 certified Critical Access Hospitals located throughout the United States, with thousands more community hospitals in rural America, most do not have infusion teams or CRNI(R)s. An INS past president and respected author Sharon Weinstein has said, "Nurses around the globe often receive their education in urban areas closely aligned with medical centers focused on the biomedical paradigm of health care. Yet nurses have historically worked in rural communities and facilities that support populations that use traditional methods of healing. Nurses, because of their societal roles, often serve as 'cultural diplomats' for people as they navigate the 'river' of historical and conventional recommendations and 'evidence' when making health care decisions that reflect a full spectrum of health promotion to life-saving behaviors." Nurses working in rural America are ambitious, courageous, flexible, and, most likely, the best cross-trained nurses in our profession. Wouldn't it be exciting to have an infusion hero in each of these hospitals and community clinics?


With intentional effort, it is time to bridge and connect with rural nurses, encouraging them to affiliate with one of the 41 existing INS chapters or to organize new ones. As your president this coming year, I'll take the journey through our covered bridges to rural America, making alliances with nurses who serve in small, independent hospitals and clinics where infusion standards and expertise are lacking. We can accomplish this by inviting them to chapter meetings, encourage participation at regional conferences and citywide seminars, offer to share the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, the Journal of Infusion Nursing, Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing, and Infusion Nursing: An Evidence-Based Approach.


More globally, across other bridges, there is more work to be done. Focusing on sustainability and good stewardship of resources, our targets will be regions of the world where infusion programs exist and where resources can be used, culturally adopted and adapted, and where common interests between INS and our International Affiliates intersect. We're proud of the 275 international nurses representing 38 countries and territories who currently hold memberships with INS. This is a great start to what I believe can become a much broader-based, more widely spread, global representation in our nursing specialty.


Fifteen years ago, because of a personal desire to stretch beyond the comfortable and convenient, I made a deliberate effort to invest in international health care projects and in the lives of the interesting people who live in other countries. With all certainty, my professional career and personal growth have been enhanced beyond measure. Crossing the bamboo bridge to understand the nursing challenges in Asia was compelling. Our Asian colleagues represent 61 countries that complete the map of that huge continent; yet, proportionately very few of our Asian colleagues are members of INS or attend our educational events. These nurses are growing in number and sophistication. Thousands of our Asian friends surround us on American university campuses. They gain access to American culture and information through conferences and academic venues, including our national and regional meetings. Connecting with our Asian counterparts both in the United States and abroad affords a rich blessing and a rewarding experience. Look for opportunities to connect, to mentor, and to align.


Whether we pursue relationships over the famous timber bridges of South America, the teetering footbridges of Africa, the ice bridges of our northern neighbors, or the skyline-shaping bridges down under, opportunity abounds for INS nurses to change radically the art of infusion excellence worldwide. This can all begin right here at home. Find the international graduate student nurses in your city who are studying at the local university. Invite them to your INS meetings or to your hospital or workplace. Perhaps you will provide the encouragement that they need to invest in the infusion nursing specialty.


Two years ago, INS launched a program to strengthen our relationship with international colleagues. A strategic affiliate program was designed and implemented. This triggered the first official INS International Affiliate relationship, recognized as INS UK and Ireland(R), in February of this year. While numerous other countries have expressed interest in becoming an International Affiliate of INS, INS UK and Ireland(R) is leading the charge as an international infusion leader.


Team building, partnering, outreach, and collaboration are all terms of the new millennium. Such terms suggest a continuum in health care. Partnering and collaboration are the hallmark of many successful models implemented in practice by infusion nurses and academic health care settings worldwide. Strategic partnering, within and beyond institutions, provides opportunities for personal and professional growth, outreach, and collaboration. Within the global nursing community, cross-national partnerships represent a vehicle for extending knowledge sharing.


Today, it takes more than a village to ensure great outcomes for our patients at home and around the world. It will require global alliances of people like you and me, and our rural and international colleagues, bridging infusion novice to infusion expert-everywhere. Over the next year and further in the future, we will celebrate every bridge built and the growing interest in infusion nursing internationally. We'll welcome new colleagues to our communities and agree to share the rewards of learning from them as they do from us. It's not only the right thing to do, it's possible.