1. Baker, Kathy A. PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN

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I find it hard to believe we are already beginning the year 2016. It seems each new year comes and goes much faster as I age. I've always heard others state that sentiment and now, unfortunately, I understand! The start of a new year certainly brings me pause for planning and reflection. I must admit I've given up New Year's resolutions, as I find they are quickly forgotten as I dive into the norms of daily life. While the desires to fulfill those resolutions don't necessarily subside, the ability to focus on each one dwindles quickly as I get on with my daily life. I live a very full and blessed life, but I do at times long for days of routine when I knew that after my nursing shift was completed, I was headed for family, chores, and a little relaxation. My life today is consumed with meeting after meeting, never-ending deadlines, constant consultation with students and colleagues, care for aging parents, and a few hours here and there to keep my household running. Instead of routine, I deal with ongoing chaos, stress, and change-exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time.

Kathy A. Baker, PhD,... - Click to enlarge in new windowKathy A. Baker, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN

As a nurse, I have never known anything other than multi-tasking and adapting. Regardless of our specialty, institution, or geographic location, nurses typically juggle multiple needs and priorities to fulfill the demands of our job. In addition to the normal shift requirements of nursing, our professional commitment also calls for lifelong engagement, leadership, and development that often extends beyond our assigned work hours. Thankfully, our professional organization provides us with meaningful and convenient opportunities to fulfill those obligations. I've mentioned time and time again how fortunate I am to have found the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) early in my career. I hope that you can say the same.


Whether you choose to be involved at your unit, regional, or national level, SGNA has opportunities to make 2016 "sweet" for you. Resources for influencing your nursing unit are countless including evidence-based practice guidelines and position statements, the SGNA Fellow or Scholar programs, infection prevention champion program, and exceptional nurse manager resources including the SGNA mentorship program to name a few.


At the regional level, you can serve as a regional officer, speaker, or committee member. In my many years of regional service, I loved networking with colleagues across the metroplex, learning the nuances of organizational leadership including such skills as budgeting, member recruitment, marketing and advertising, problem solving, communication, and professional development. Learning to speak publically was another benefit of being involved in my region. Not only did I learn to feel comfortable in front of an audience, other regions asked me to speak, allowing me to further develop confidence as a speaker. By engaging in my regional, I learned from other regional leaders and found I was more confident and equipped for my nursing practice. The time commitment was minimal and manageable, and the pleasure of serving far outweighed the time required. Nationally, you can volunteer as a committee or task force member (or volunteer to serve in any capacity needed), become a journal author or reviewer, apply for the Fellow or Scholar programs, or submit an abstract for a podium or poster presentation at the annual course. There's something for everyone within our organization.


Stepping into a new year is the perfect time to consider opportunities for professional and personal development through SGNA. I encourage you to push yourself to commit to a new experience in 2016 that will not only benefit you personally and professionally, but will impact our specialty, peers, and patients. Step out of your norm, and take your commitment to the next level. Make it sweet in 2016!