1. Plohal, Ann PhD, APRN, ACNS-BC, CRNI(R)
  2. INS President, 2014-2015

Article Content

The following speech was delivered at INS 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 18, 2015.

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Good morning, everyone. Welcome to INS 2015. It is an absolute pleasure to be here to celebrate our specialty, our organization, and each other.


When I stood before all of you 1 year ago and announced my theme of Infuse Knowledge, Competence, and Confidence, I did so with a firm belief in the meaning of the words that made up that theme. Knowledge. Competence. Confidence. Are there any other words that more accurately describe an infusion nurse?


As nurses, we are committed to a continual quest for knowledge. Our profession does not allow for anything less. The things we learn today may well be out of practice 3 years from now, but they are critical to the work we are doing now, so it is imperative that our learning be continuous. Part of that learning process is facilitated by asking questions and conducting research. It is important for infusion nurses to understand the importance of research and seeking the evidence that guides our practice. It is equally important to then share that knowledge with our colleagues so they too can use it to provide better care, which leads to better outcomes.


The word competent or competency can sometimes be misleading. While in lay terms it can be defined as adequate, its meaning from a nursing perspective is very different. Competency is the ability to perform a technical, knowledge-based function by using critical thinking and interpersonal skills. Knowledge and confidence increase with competency. It speaks to skill, knowledge, and experience and being properly qualified. These are all the things that make a nurse so important and so valuable. It is why the nurse's role is so complex and comprehensive. We have the ability to do many things and do them well. It is who we are.


One of the hallmarks of a nurse is confidence. Each day we are faced with tremendous challenges, and we are often asked to do the impossible. This is our routine. This is our normal. However, we are confident in our abilities to do the impossible because we have the knowledge base, the expertise, and the desire to go above and beyond what is expected. This is why our opinion and our talents are continuously sought.


In addition to knowledge, competence, and confidence there is 1 other word that most accurately describes a nurse: leader. Each day I am challenged and encouraged by leaders who have created and who continue to create a legacy, who inspire and lead us, and who motivate us to be better infusion nurses. Every one of you here this morning is one of those leaders. How many of you have been sought out by others in your facility for guidance and expertise? How many follow your lead? How many more follow without you even knowing it? They do so by simply observing and seeing what you do and then incorporating it into their own practice. As nursing leaders in the infusion specialty, we are challenged at all levels regarding knowledge, confidence, and competence. We are the driving force and continue to set the standard for what it means to be an infusion nurse. We do important work, and much is expected of us, yet I don't believe there is anyone who would want it any other way. As we consider our leadership position within the infusion community, let's not forget that there will be times when we, too, need to look for guidance and support. It is my fervent hope that during those times you will find it not only with each other but with INS as well. We are here to assist in any way we can.


One of the most rewarding aspects of serving as your president this past year was being able to witness all the exciting things happening with INS. Much of INS' work this past year has centered on getting you the information you need as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is important to you, and it is important to us. It is what motivates us to do the work we do.


Our new podcast program is a prime example. This new resource brings you information quickly and efficiently, and its informal platform is engaging for the audience. It has quickly become a valuable go-to learning tool. Several podcasts are already posted on our Web site, and many more are in the planning stage. We have heard many great comments about this new resource, and we are excited to bring it to you. If you haven't had the opportunity to listen in, I encourage you to do so. We are turning the infusion community on its ear.


In keeping with our commitment to providing the solutions you need in formats that are best suited to you, we continue to expand our online educational resources. One of our most frequently used resources is the "Clinical Community Discussion" forum, which enables clinicians to post and respond to questions posed by fellow members. Nearly 700 members are registered users of the forum. In 2014, there were more than 150 separate discussions and 21 000 searches conducted on the site as clinicians continued to go to INS for answers to their questions. In addition, the "Ask INS" portion of the forum received and responded to more than 700 questions.


The second position paper related to the work of the IV Team Task Force, "Making the Business Case for Infusion Teams: The Purpose, People, and Process," was well received by the INS membership and others within the infusion community. The document was included as a handout to all attendees at INS 2014, was published in the Journal of Infusion Nursing (JIN), and is posted on the INS Web site and available for download. More than 500 downloads have been recorded. Infusion teams that many felt were a thing of the past have made a slow but prominent return. This white paper helps you make the business case for why an infusion team is both cost-effective and clinically effective.


The "Short Peripheral Catheter" or "SPC Insertion Card Deck" was introduced in 2014 and highlights proper site selection, insertion techniques, and care and maintenance methods. As a result of questions and comments we heard through the "Clinical Community Discussion" forum, a task force was convened to examine this topic and make a recommendation on how best to address the needs specified by the membership. In addition to a webinar, it was determined that a laminated card deck series that encouraged clinicians to think safety and insert safely was needed. More than 6000 card decks were sold in 2014. In addition, the "SPC Checklist" was developed to provide much-needed guidance on insertion, assessment, and removal of short peripheral catheters. It is also posted on the INS Web site and is offered at no charge to INS members.


Our signature educational events continue to be our Annual Convention and our National Academy. The work involved in planning and presenting these face-to-face meetings is immense. We understand that every aspect of the meeting is important to the continuing learning needs of each of you, and we strive to make sure that your experience is educationally and personally rewarding. Without doubt, the most challenging part of this meeting is developing the educational content. Each session is based on 1 of the 8 core areas of infusion therapy and is carefully developed to ensure that it adds to the educational rigor of our specialty. The National Council on Education, or NCOE, is charged with developing the content. They review all recommendations made by members and past meeting attendees and then work as a team to create the sessions that will comprise our Annual Convention and National Academy. Their work is not over at that point, however. In fact, it has only just begun. They are then responsible for developing the abstract, outline, and objectives for each of the sessions and then recruiting and securing the high-caliber speakers who make our meetings so valuable. It is an incredible amount of work and responsibility, and they do a fabulous job. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank these dedicated clinicians. Led by the chair and nurse planner, Barb Nickel, we have Michele Biscossi, Elizabeth Campbell, Shelly Fess, Beverly George, Denise Harper, Karen Johnson, Diana Sharp, and Jacquie Steuer. Ladies, please stand and accept our appreciation for the extraordinary work that you do.


We are most appreciative of our many industry sponsors whose support is vital to our success. These strategic alliances are integral components to the growth of our association and enable us to develop and deliver the educational resources needed by our membership and the entire infusion nursing community. Their support goes far beyond their exhibit booths here at INS 2015. Webinars, the INS Web site, the Knowledge Center, and the revision of the Standards of Practice, which will be published in early 2016, are all supported through sponsorships and grants from our strategic partners.


It has been an honor to serve as your president. I have learned so much from each of you, and I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve as your president. Thank you for your support, your commitment, and your dedication. Our community is enriched by your kindness and your deeds.