1. Baker, Kathy A. PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CGRN, FAAN

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This past week, I had the distinct honor of attending my first American Academy of Nursing (AAN) meeting as Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) colleague, Donna Zucker, PhD, RN, and I were the first SGNA members to be inducted as Fellows into the AAN. It was an amazing honor, and we both made sure our work in gastroenterology was mentioned publically from the podium!! Donna was recognized for her research work on Hepatitis B and C as well as her advocacy and outreach act ivies for individuals with liver disease and addiction, particularly those who are incarcerated. She has published in Gastroenterology Nursing many times. My work as editor of Gastroenterology Nursing and efforts to promote professional development among our specialty both in the United States and abroad was highlighted. It was an amazing experience and one I was thrilled to share with my closest friends and family. Of special note, SGNA Board Member, Phyllis Malpas, MA, RN, CGRN, attended to represent SGNA, which was particularly meaningful to Donna and me.

Kathy A. Baker, PhD,... - Click to enlarge in new windowKathy A. Baker, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CGRN, FAAN

On my first day, as I sat in a huge ballroom with approximately 700 Fellows, I was struck by my observation that everyone in that room at first glance appeared ordinary. Most of the room was occupied by women, although there were certainly male members in attendance as well. The age group was primarily those in their later professional life, and most were in typical business attire. I laughed as I realized that a stranger who entered this room would have no idea of the magnitude of leadership and knowledge sitting in that single ballroom at the Washington, DC Grand Hyatt Hotel. I couldn't help but smile as I acknowledged that greatness often starts with ordinary people. How sad that some of us never realize we can do great things despite being ordinary!!


At our SGNA annual meeting, many of you visit with me and share your personal perspective that you aren't "special" enough or "gifted" enough to write that first article for publication, give your first podium presentation, or offer your service to SGNA. I am here to tell you that those who make great contributions are people who just first "gave it a try." Sure, some of those Fellows at AAN aspired early in their life to be famous or highly accomplished; most didn't. The room was filled with nursing leaders who simply always did their best, walked through open doors, took advantage of opportunities to learn and grow, and said "I'm going to give this a try."


I see so much potential in the SGNA membership and I want you to understand that you are part of that potential. Our association is held in high esteem because of its leadership and actively engaged members. We are unique among many professional organizations. Yet, many of you choose to sit on the sidelines, wishing you were good enough to play on the team, had the right credentials, or were especially gifted. Stop wishing!! You ARE good enough, your credentials ARE perfect for the job, and you ARE gifted. Walk through the open doors. Make a commitment and stick with it until you deliver. If you've told me you want to write an article, write it!! Set a deadline and make it important so that you will follow through. If you are asked to serve on the regional or national level in a leadership capacity, say yes. You have abundant resources to draw on, including other colleagues, SGNA Headquarters staff, and SGNA leadership. Have you wished for the opportunity to pursue a higher degree? Do it. Find the program that fits your budget, time requirements, and interests. Make an application and walk through the open door.


The change that happens in our world starts with ordinary people who end up doing extraordinary things. You think you're ordinary? Then just imagine the extraordinary things you can accomplish-and get going!! Greatness starts with ordinary people.