1. Alexander, Mary MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN

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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, and welcome to INS 2014. Each year, it is an honor to have this opportunity to speak with you and share my thoughts about the organization and specialty that mean so much to all of us. Infusion practice touches the lives of many patients, so it stands to reason these therapies are delivered by such caring and expert nurses. I believe, and I'm sure you will agree, that our specialty is second to none. The work we do is a critical component in the overall delivery of health care. You are all to be congratulated for the excellent work you do.


You will notice that this year's meeting focuses on four themes: learn, share, discover, and innovate. Each of these themes aptly describes INS 2014 and everything it has to offer, but it also describes INS as an organization. Every day I have the pleasure of witnessing the impact INS has on the infusion specialty. Whether it is through a presentation to infusion nurses in Istanbul, Turkey; a fascinating research article in the Journal of Infusion Nursing; the creation of educational resources; an enhancement to the INS Knowledge Center; or an e-mail from a member who wanted to let us know that joining INS was the best professional decision she has ever made, INS continues to make its mark on the infusion specialty and those who practice in it.


INS has embarked on a continuous journey that is not unlike the journey that each of you is on. As an organization we continually look to improve ourselves, our products and resources, and our place in the infusion community. And much like you, we continue to learn. The sessions that will take place over the next 4 days are the result of recommendations and suggestions from past meeting attendees. They are topics you have asked us to cover because they are important to you, and you want to learn more about them. Your requests have led to a learning process for us. It helps us better understand what is happening within the specialty and what we as an organization can do to improve it. Those of us who have chosen nursing as our profession have made a commitment to lifelong learning. Our profession demands it of us, but more important, we demand it of ourselves. If there is a better way to do things, we want to know. If there is a better process, we want to implement it. If there is evidence-based research that will advance our practice, we are the first to advocate for it. The same is true of INS. As an organization, we too have made a commitment to lifelong learning. We continually look for ways to improve.


When I look back at the INS of 17 years ago when I became CEO, I see a vastly different organization. Changes in technology, changes in our specialty, and changes in the expectations of our members, and ultimately your patients, have necessitated a change in how we develop the resources you need. INS didn't have a Web site in 1997, and the phone was our main form of communication because INS and its staff didn't have e-mail addresses. Things certainly have changed since then! And while technology has undoubtedly played a significant role in helping us form the INS of today, there is an even bigger factor that has led to our success-we have never lost focus on our need and desire to learn.


Merriam-Webster describes learn this way: to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something. INS aptly fits that definition. Our success is the result of the knowledge we have gained as an organization through continuous studying of our specialty, experience over these many years serving as the voice for our specialty, and being taught by the best and the brightest. We have surrounded ourselves with committed experts who have shared their expertise with us and helped us reach our goals; those experts are you, our members. We learn from you every day.


The next step in INS's learning process is to share what we have learned. That is one of the most rewarding aspects of our job. In looking at the information that we have been able to share over the years, we are heartened by the knowledge that this information has made you a better infusion nurse and has resulted in positive results for your patients. And we know this has happened because you told us. We know this has happened because the number of people accessing information on our Knowledge Center and Web site continues to grow. We know this has happened because, in addition to telling us, you ask us for more information. And we know this has happened because many other organizations call us for our opinion and expertise. And as you can well imagine, we are very willing to share what we have learned.


The next 4 days are an example of that sharing. In addition to the educational sessions taking place, we have a packed exhibit hall of vendors with some of the most cutting-edge products and services in the specialty. We also have simulation labs and exhibitor theaters that enable you to get a more up-close and personal view of these products and services. Also, tonight we continue with a program that was rolled out last year in Charlotte: speed networking. This is the ultimate example of sharing. This program offers you the chance to meet and greet many of your colleagues to discuss a wide variety of topics. There are no ground rules for this session; you decide what you want to discuss and share. Last year's event was a tremendous hit, and we are hoping for the same tonight.


While sharing is not unique to the nursing profession, I believe the nursing profession does it in unique ways. The sharing you do as an infusion nurse is multifaceted. You share information with your colleagues, both nursing and medical. You share information with the many different disciplines that are involved in the specialty. You share information with family members and caregivers. And most important, you share information with your patients. In many industries, knowledge is considered power, and the thought of sharing that knowledge or power is unthinkable. Where would nursing be if we held true to that sentiment? None of us sitting here today can even fathom that we would operate in such a manner. INS feels the same way. Our goal is to share as much information through as many platforms as possible. From live programs like INS 2014 to our online Knowledge Center, we are committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise through as many different methods as possible.


One of the exciting components of our specialty is the multitude of discoveries that are made. It seems that as soon as one discovery is made that affects the infusion world there is another close behind. That is why evidence-based practice and research are so important to INS. Over the past few years, INS has made a concerted commitment to using evidence when developing our resources. The creation of task forces to gather information as part of their discovery process has helped tremendously. These discoveries have led to the development of many of our educational resources. The short peripheral catheter white paper and card deck, the infusion team white papers, and Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing of the Pediatric Patient are just some of our most recent discoveries. Future discoveries will help mold future resources, including Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, which is currently in the revision process with an expected publication date of the first quarter of 2016.


Along with the clinical discoveries that help define INS as an organization, we also have what can best be described as personal discoveries. These discoveries about how best to reach our goals and make an impact are driving motivators behind our success. From a staff standpoint, what can be done to contribute their personal best to make INS a success? From a membership standpoint, what can be done to contribute your personal best to make INS a success? As CEO, what can I do to contribute my personal best to make INS a success? To me, the answer is not complicated. The knowledge each of us has is expansive and unique. We all have individual expertise which, when shared for the benefit of the whole, makes for a powerful result. What is not unique among us is the commitment we all have to see INS succeed and continue to be the voice for the infusion specialty. INS will only go as far as we want to take it. Our success is contingent on a multitude of factors, not the least of which is a strong desire and commitment by its primary stakeholders. As you look around this week, you will see who INS is and what we are about. You will see an organization committed to exceeding all expectations. You will see a highly motivated and highly successful organization. And you will see that the success we have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy is certainly a team effort.


Since its inception in 2011, the INS Knowledge Center has represented one of INS's most valuable innovations in learning. Its 24/7 online platform provides numerous avenues for education and is continuously updated to provide the most recent information for our specialty. The development of the Knowledge Center was the result of an expressed need by our membership to have quick access to information. The innovation of the Knowledge Center extends beyond its unique platform and delivery system. It represents an innovation of thought. In working with our technology partner to create this platform, we stepped out of our comfort zone and thought outside of the proverbial box. We embraced a different way of looking at the delivery of education and weren't afraid to take some chances. In a health care environment whose only constant is change, we felt that our innovative approach and thought process was appropriate. The thousands of members who have accessed the Knowledge Center are proof-positive that our instincts were correct and our strategy was sound.


Learn. Share. Discover. Innovate. Four words that not only describe what INS does but also describe who we are. Four words that help shape not only the content of this Annual Convention but also shape the direction in which we want to go. Four words that exemplify not only the commitment INS has made to its members but also the commitment our membership has made to themselves and their patients. Your commitment to INS and our specialty is evident not only by your attendance at this meeting but also in the things you do every single day. Your desire to learn and your desire to provide the very best infusion care are hallmarks of today's infusion nurse.


We thank you for your willingness to learn. We thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise. We thank you for discovering new ways to broaden your approach to solving problems. We thank you for your innovation of thought. And most of all, we thank you for your continuous support. Without you, none of this happens. We are extremely grateful for and humbled by your support.

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