1. Ritzert, Barbara PhD, RN
  2. Column Editor

Article Content

The leadership of the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates has set forth a vision for gastroenterology nursing practice, fully endorsing a sustained commitment to engage in purposeful initiatives to advance key recommendations outlined in the venerable Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (Baker, 2013; Institute of Medicine, 2011). What are the operative concepts embedded in this engagement, and how will this commitment be visible at the point of care? What are the foundational principles that will contribute to successful achievement of this vision and how will nurses maximize opportunities for engagement to assimilate components of this vision in everyday practice?


Components of the Vision

Vision provides the portrait of future direction for development of disciplines in practice. Components contributing to achievement of this vision include formulation of a succinct mission, identification of values embedded in successful accomplishment of the mission, development of high-impact strategies to reach this vision, and measurements to evaluate outcomes facilitating success in moving forward to fulfill the vision (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE 1. Components of the vision. IOM = Institute of Medicine.

The term engagement implies a relationship, arrangement, agreement, encounter, obligation, or pledge (Webster's New College Dictionary, 2008), depending on the perspective of individuals involved in a particular environment. We engage in practice through respectful relationships with colleagues and caring relationships with our patients, honoring our ethical values and legal commitments inherent in the provision of care.


Healthcare policy, legislation, and delivery models in the United States are emulating global models to transform practice at an exponential pace exceeding the norms of traditional models of change, challenging available resources to accommodate and adapt to sweeping reforms. The opportunity to influence implementation of recent healthcare initiatives in a positive manner can be capitalized through engagement of clinical practitioners in their practice environments to impact the perception, quality, and overall experience of health and healing at the point of care-the patient.


In other words, transformative practice occurs through various "points of engagement." The manner we choose to engage in practice with collaborating providers, colleagues, patients, and family members is shaped by the embedded values we bring to the table to enhance achievement of the vision. On any given day, will a snapshot of your "points of engagement" match your articulated values? At the point of practice, will your patients recount their gastroenterology care experience by describing the extraordinary competence and compassion exhibited by their nurses, or will their actual procedural experience pale in comparison to their "prep" the night before? Will your colleagues describe their day in terms of how many procedures they performed, or will they frame the day in terms of satisfaction and accomplishment because of the commitment and collaborative efforts of the team to deliver the standard of care they cherish and value at the depths of their very core?


Throughout the next year, the Points of Engagement column will explore each of the values driving successful achievement of the vision to "advance science and practice" through the following:


* Embracing duty and virtue-based ethics;


* Incorporating legal statutes and standards in practice;


* Building a culture of collaborative practice in your environment;


* Developing moral courage and resilience; and


* Formation and reformation of professional identity.



Meaningful "Points of Engagement" are a result of the intentional accumulation of value-driven practice habits, seizing opportunities to live out the vision in our daily practice environments. Our challenge is to develop a purposeful practice grounded in the core values and ethical principles of nursing practice, followed by consistent recognition and action on opportunities to engage.




Baker K. A. (2013). Support for the future of nursing. Gastroenterology Nursing, 36(2), 89-90. [Context Link]


Webster's New College Dictionary. (3rd ed.). Engagement. (2008). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [Context Link]


Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: National Academies of Sciences. [Context Link]