1. Puglise, Kathy MSN/ED, RN, CRNI(R)
  2. INS President 2012-2013

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The following speech was delivered at the INS Annual Convention and Industrial Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 3, 2012.

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Good morning. Twenty-seven years ago, I entered the New Mexico State School of Nursing program in Alamogordo, New Mexico. My inspiration was a diminutive red-headed nurse who wore her crisp, white uniform and a lab coat with nursing pins to career day at my high school. I told my parents that evening that I wanted to become a registered nurse. My mother was excited and supportive, but my father said that I should become a physician instead. Needless to say, my mother won that battle as I completed my application to nursing school and was accepted that fall at the age of 18 to New Mexico State University.


Twenty-two years later, when my father was diagnosed with cancer, it was I, the infusion nurse with 17 years of experience, who managed my father's mediport and care. By then he knew nursing was my profession, my love, and my passion. He was proud and grateful that back in 1982 my mom said, "George, she wants to be a nurse, and she will be a nurse."


I tell this story to explain my deep satisfaction with my career choice and my appreciation for the Infusion Nurses Society's role in making me a better infusion nurse. In return, I have chosen to lead this organization for the next year. My presidential theme for 2012-2013 is LEAD: Leadership, Education, Accountability, and Development, which is how we LEAD by example every day. As Jeanette Adams completes her presidential year and her theme of Evolving Our Legacy, each of you will leave a legacy to the patients and families that you've cared for and those that we will continue to care for through our LEAD.


The Infusion Nurses Society is recognized as the global authority in infusion nursing. Infusion nurses worldwide are held to the highest standards of care. The public demands and expects safe, effective, quality care; therefore, we must be dedicated to the organizations that employ us, as well as to the communities and patients we care for every day. Each element of my theme reflects the mission and values of INS.


The first element is Leadership. Every infusion nurse who is looked upon to provide patient care or is instrumental in influencing others is exercising leadership. Through our expertise we carefully manage the nursing process to provide excellence in infusion care from beginning to end. As the leader in infusion therapy, INS must continue to inspire nurses to become involved, build alliances globally, and leave the legacy that the specialty practice of infusion nursing is crucial for positive patient outcomes. Each patient is unique, with individualized needs, and we LEAD the way to meet those needs!


The words nurse leader conjure images of CEOs, nurse entrepreneurs, managers, and professors of nursing. But what if these titles don't describe your current position? Could you still be a leader? If you're not in a position of authority, you may not feel empowered to step into a leadership role. Nurses have historically been considered support staff, and while this perception of nurses is outdated, many of us, even with nursing certification and degrees under our belts, continue to see ourselves this way.


In order to meet the growing demands placed on nurses and stem the problems caused by the nursing shortage, we must learn to develop a range of leadership skills. This isn't as daunting as it sounds. Developing leadership skills doesn't mean we all have to become executives or managers, or earn an advanced degree. It means learning to think critically about our work, about ourselves, and about the health care organizations in which we work. It means not just pointing out problems in patient care or infusion procedures, but offering solutions. All of this can be accomplished without a change in job title, but it will require a change of mindset.


The second element in my theme is Education. Health care is constantly changing, so we must continually seek out education to keep up, and never stop. We should never be satisfied with what we've learned previously; instead, we should continue to build on the foundation that INS has constructed for us. This convention is just one of INS' platforms for continuing education. The INS Knowledge Center offers one-stop "shopping" for webinars, publications, streamed video, clinical practice questions and answers, and much more. And all of this is available 24/7 to accommodate our busy schedules.


Advances in technology and medication development create a critical need for infusion education. Our practice is broad and pervasive throughout the health care continuum. Infusion nurses work in a variety of practice settings-hospitals, homes, infusion centers, skilled nursing facilities, and rehabilitation facilities, to name a few. But technological advances provide opportunities for change and a need for greater understanding of infusion therapy.


Because of this growing need for infusion therapy and proficiency in the specialty, even experienced infusion nurses must maintain competency by staying abreast of the latest medications, delivery methods, vascular access devices, and equipment. In addition, any nurse involved in the provision of infusion therapy should keep up with the most up-to-date information and best practices.


One of the best ways to observe the basics is through the education of both patients and staff. We are held to a higher standard because we set the example. Teaching a patient about proper catheter site care-but then using our own shortcuts-leads to inconsistency, a lesser level of care, and possibly complications.


We nurses who specialize are looked upon as experts in our field, so we must continue to seek out learning opportunities in order to provide the high-quality care the public demands. Through innovation and evidence-based practice, we will continue to advance not only as individuals but also as a nursing organization. And we should always practice to the full extent of our education and training.


The third component of my theme is Accountability. Our first responsibility as a society and as infusion nurses is accountability. We are responsible and accountable for providing specialized care to patients and their entire families. The Infusion Nurses Society is accountable to all of our members and potential members for acting with integrity.


As a specialty nursing organization, we promote excellence in practice by professional accountability through the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice. Each standard provides criteria for nursing action and accountability in the delivery of IV therapies. This invaluable document guides us as we develop our plans of care for our patients. Every infusion professional in this room should have a copy; it's easier than ever to own, since it's now available for e-Readers, as well as in print.


To eliminate central line-associated bloodstream infections and medication errors, health care professionals must first make safety a priority, accept shared accountability, monitor and correct staff shortcuts and errors, communicate effectively with each other, and change the organizational culture so that "this is how we've always done it" is no longer supportable.


As the leader in the infusion therapy community, it is incumbent upon us to take our leadership position to heart and recognize our obligations to our specialty and patients. As we are accountable to the organizations for which we work, we are also accountable to the members of this Society. As such, we must make a commitment to honesty, trust, and respect in all that we do.


The fourth pillar of my theme is Development. INS and infusion nurses rely on the further development of our Society. Today we stand at more than 7000 members with over 3400 CRNI(R)s in the United States and internationally, yet many health care professionals have never heard of the specialty of infusion practice. As infusion nurses, we know how much our special skills are appreciated by our patients. But not all health care professionals understand the need for certified infusion nurses, infusion education, and infusion teams. We must do a better job of communicating the value of the specialty and helping our colleagues learn how to integrate the infusion component into a patient's plan of care.


If we are to continue to grow and develop as nurses, we must take on new challenges through research and evidence-based practice; collaborate within our workplaces and with our professional Society; never stop learning; get certified; and continue to set the standard for infusion care, in every health care setting.


Thank you! I look forward to working and collaborating with all of you.