1. Meyer, Britt MSN, RN, CRNI(R) VA-BC, NE-BC
  2. INS President, 2013-2014

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The following speech was delivered at the INS Annual Convention and Industrial Exhibition in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 5, 2014.

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Good morning, everyone! Welcome to INS 2014. It is both an honor and a thrill to stand before you this morning to deliver the state of our wonderful organization.


Last year, we celebrated INS' 40th year as an organization with many accomplishments. As the calendar turned to 2014, we embraced the opportunities that greeted us, and we look forward to continuing to make our mark as the preeminent organization for infusion professionals.


It seems like only a short time ago that I introduced my presidential theme, Lining Up to Infuse Excellence. The reason I chose this theme was simple: infusion nurses are on the front lines delivering care to patients every day in a variety of ways. Placing lines is only one of the many ways that our nurses provide infusion excellence. We line up to infuse excellence by managing change in organizations, being leaders focused on teaching others, getting involved, acting with professionalism, generating new infusion knowledge, and thinking innovatively. Infusion nurses play a significant role in today's constantly changing health care system.


One of the most important principles of managing change is to understand the needs of our customers, who include busy bedside nurses, anxious families, and fearful administrators. Each of these constituencies has different needs, but it is up to us to be patient and persistent in helping to create an environment that is conducive to change. The skill set of the infusion nurse is expansive. It can include the ability to reduce complications related to device insertion, care, and maintenance. It can also include using expert skill to make procedures less painful and anxiety producing for patients. It can even include creating culture change that transforms the financial landscape of a hospital or clinic. No matter the circumstance, no matter the setting, infusion nurses hold a unique position in the health care system.


Each of us is part of an organization, and often the inner workings of these organizations are very different from one another. For some, the acute care setting is where we practice; for others, it is home care, home infusion, or industry. One of the fascinating aspects of our profession is that it allows us to be educators, entrepreneurs, or expert witnesses, and it offers many other choices as well. In all of these settings, we have the opportunity to make a profound difference. INS is the one unifying organization in which all of us, no matter the practice setting, can come together to network and share our expertise in ways that improve our practices and patient care.


For 41 years, INS has made its mark as the voice for infusion therapy. Our opinions are consistently sought, and we continue to set the standard for infusion care. Our climb to the Mount Everest of infusion nursing has been guided and assisted along the way by a supportive and ardent membership. Each of us, along with the thousands who preceded us, helped build an organization and a legacy that continues to grow. As we all gather this week here in Phoenix, we do so in celebration of all that our specialty has accomplished and all that it still has to do. We are buoyed by the strength of our organization, our specialty, and our nursing community. I am honored to represent you and report on the state of the Society.


As you will hear shortly as part of the financial report, INS experienced a successful financial year in 2013. And while good financial health is a key component for any organization, it certainly isn't the only measure of success. That is certainly true of INS. Each year we are faced with many challenges-some financial and some logistical. No matter the circumstances, INS is committed to continuing its work to set the standard for infusion care. We do so by developing innovative new resources and learning tools for our members, and 2013 was a perfect example of this.


Since its debut in 2011, the INS Knowledge Center has served as an innovative learning component for our members and the infusion community. Accessing critical infusion information in a 24/7 environment is essential to the lifelong learning needs of today's infusion nurse. In 2013, several additions were made to the Knowledge Center that expanded its use and increased its value. Previously, the Clinical Nursing Forum section of the Knowledge Center enabled INS members to submit questions to the INS education staff. We expanded this section by offering members the opportunity to also submit their questions to the entire INS membership. This new feature, the Clinical Community Discussion, was introduced in June of 2013 and instantly became a valuable resource. In 2013, a total of 568 members registered to participate in the Clinical Community Discussion. During this time more than 67 different discussions were generated, leading to 145 comments. In addition, more than 12 000 pages were viewed.


Members still have the ability to submit questions directly to the INS education department through the Ask INS component of the Forum. A total of 971 questions were submitted in 2013, and 13 250 searches of the question-and-answer database were conducted.


We also added several educational programs to the Knowledge Center last year. These programs were originally presented at national INS meetings and recorded and archived for use in the Knowledge Center. By doing so, we were able to extend the life of our national meetings and make some of the content available for those who could not attend. The Knowledge Center's flexibility in adding programming and learning elements has greatly enhanced its value; therefore, it was a phenomenal year for the Knowledge Center. On behalf of the entire INS community, I would like to take this opportunity to thank B. Braun Medical for their continued financial support of the Knowledge Center.


The development of educational resources is vital to INS' growth and to the educational needs of our members. We owe much of our 2013 success in this area to the work of many dedicated INS members who volunteered their time and talent to INS by serving on task forces and committees.


The Infusion Team Task Force has been charged with a tremendously important function: to validate the need for an infusion team from both a clinical and a financial perspective. There are several components to this project, and the work being performed by this task force, led by Chair Lynn Hadaway, has been impressive. The first order of business was to define the infusion team as a "group of nursing personnel centrally structured within an acute health care facility charged with the shared mission of outcome accountability for the delivery of infusion therapy." Once that was done, work began on a white paper titled Infusion Teams in Acute Care Hospitals: Call for a Business Approach. All aspects of the white paper were developed with the infusion team definition in mind. In addition, the paper also addressed the 3 basic models of infusion services provided in the hospital: primary care, vascular access, and infusion team.


Additionally, there are components of this project still to come. They include an integrative literature search; a resource with numerous cost models for infusion therapy; a review and revision of INS's current resource, Infusion Therapy Team Implementation Module; and a webinar to present the task force's findings. The latest installment in this project, Making the Case for Infusion Teams: The Purpose, People, and Process, will be available in the September/October 2014 issue of JIN. We look forward to the final components of this very important project. Our thanks go out to BD Medical for their financial support of this work.


Peripheral IV insertion is one of the most common nursing procedures and often considered routine. However, many nurses underestimate the risks involved in peripheral IV insertion, care, and maintenance. As a result, INS formed the Short Peripheral Catheter Task Force, chaired by INS Past President Cora Vizcarra, to address the basics of peripheral IV insertion from a safety and clinical-outcomes perspective. Several valuable resources were created under the overall theme of Short Peripheral Catheter: Think Safety, Insert Safely. These included a position paper, a safety checklist, laminated safety cards, and a webinar. The response to all of these resources has been tremendous. Again, special thanks to BD Medical for their financial support, which enabled us to create these important resources.


Each year, INS develops and presents 2 major educational programs: the Annual Convention and the National Academy. The work that goes into these programs is amazing. The timely topics, along with nationally recognized experts who serve as faculty members, have set INS meetings apart. Led by Chair Barb Nickel, the National Council on Education (NCOE) has done an outstanding job in meeting the lifelong learning needs of our members. I would like to ask the members of NCOE to stand and be recognized. They are responsible for planning our education sessions and continue to provide the framework for excellence in infusion education here at INS. They are an extremely dedicated group of infusion nurses and have once again developed a stellar program for us this year. Thank you all so much for your service.


We also have INS members contributing to the work of 3 additional task forces and committees. They include the Research Committee, chaired by INS Past President Jeanette Adams; the Vesicant Task Force, chaired by INS Past President Lisa Gorski; and the Central Line Task Force, chaired by former NCOE Chair and current President-Elect Ann Earhart. The work of these groups will add critical evidence-based information to the INS library of resources, and we thank them for their time and expertise.


The year 2013 also brought about the publication of the fourth edition of Core Curriculum for Infusion Nursing. This publication, in its expanded outline format, serves as a major study aid for the CRNI(R) exam, and sales have been robust. This new edition covers the latest technological advances in infusion therapy and reflects the expansion of the practice of infusion nursing.


INS recognizes that consistency in clinical practice yields better patient outcomes. As a result, Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing of the Pediatric Patient was published late last year. It is similar in format and style to Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing of the Older Adult and serves as a guide to infusion therapy delivery in the pediatric population. We now have 3 separate resources that address the infusion needs of all patient populations from pediatric to older adult. This new resource is also offered in an e-format version along with Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing, and Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing of the Older Adult. Our library of e-books continues to grow and further establishes INS as the source for infusion-related information.


INS is committed to developing and strengthening our leadership capacity, and we believe there is no better place to start than with our local chapters. The INS chapter system is nearly 40 chapters strong nationwide and committed to providing the best membership experience possible. Our chapters offer infusion professionals the chance to meet and share information with infusion colleagues in their geographic area. In addition, many chapters host multiple educational meetings with dynamic speakers and exhibitors that also offer continuing education and recertification opportunities.


Chapter leaders are a vibrant group of individuals, all of whom are interested in furthering professional development in the field of infusion therapy. In October, we held the INS Leadership Academy, a 11/2-day program that covered topics related to competencies of leadership, strengths-based leadership, and building relationships. Board leaders from 24 chapters participated in this interactive program. Also, as part of the Chapter Visit Program, I had the pleasure of visiting several chapters, connecting with them and witnessing firsthand the great work they are doing.


INS continues to look for innovative ways to partner with other specialty organizations in an effort to improve the information patients and their families receive about their access devices and infusions. I am currently working with the American College of Surgeons to create a home skills kit for central venous access devices that will aid in patient and family teaching for quality care and maintenance of these devices. We are committed to providing clinicians with the latest in infusion education and realize that patients and families are in need of accurate educational resources, as well.


One of the many things that sets INS apart is our collaborative participation with other specialty nursing organizations. During 2013, Mary Alexander, Ann Earhart, and I participated in leadership education and networking with the Nursing Organizations Alliance. The alliance is represented by many of the nation's elite nursing organizations, and the ability to network with the leadership of those organizations is invaluable to our mission. I also was thrilled to represent INS as a delegate at the American Nurses Membership Assembly in Washington, DC. During that meeting, I was able to meet with Renee Elmers, congressional representative from the state of North Carolina. As a result, INS was invited to participate on Ms. Elmers' health care advisory panel, which offered us a position from which to have input on issues that affect infusion nurses directly. I continue to contend that we need to have a more active voice in Washington if our specialty is to thrive, and this was the perfect opportunity for our organization to do just that.


Our Board of Directors also actively participates in collaborative work with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, and many other organizations. We are frequently asked to provide review and commentary to draft guidelines from other organizations. Most recently, ASHP reached out to us for guidance in managing the nationwide saline shortage. Our board and committee members are flexible and quickly respond with guidance when we are approached for expertise.


Since we are set apart as the premier specialty organization for infusion nursing, we need to look to the future of infusion nursing and recognize the need for a solid succession plan and a mechanism by which we can educate future generations of infusion nurses. I recently participated in a national meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to begin a dialogue concerning the methods by which nurses are educated about infusion practice and principles. I hope to continue that discussion in the future in order to create a more standard and direct infusion focus on nursing education.


In looking at the many accomplishments that INS has enjoyed this year, one cannot help but reflect on how far our specialty has come. Just as quickly, however, we also recognize that there is still much to be done. We have been given a unique opportunity to serve as the voice for our specialty, and from those to whom much is given, much is expected. That is certainly the case with INS.


I thank you all for your support and ask that you continue the journey with us. It is a journey that will be difficult at times and one in which the path is not always clearly marked. However, the journey also promises to be exciting and rewarding and one on which we can clearly stake our claim and make a difference. It is a journey that I am excited to continue.