1. Barman, Kristine BSN, RN, CGRN
  2. SGNA President-Elect

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A new year will begin for SGNA at our 43rd Annual Conference in Seattle. Our new officers and Board of Directors will begin a year of dedication to keeping SGNA vital and of value to our members. Our members have a passion for the practice of gastroenterology and come together at our annual meeting to learn, network, and applaud each other. It is a time of collaboration and celebration. But we also have a mission.

Kristine Barman, BSN... - Click to enlarge in new windowKristine Barman, BSN, RN, CGRN,

SGNA's mission states we are dedicated to the safe and effective practice of gastroenterology nursing. We carry out this mission by advancing the science and practice of gastroenterology nursing through education, research, advocacy, and collaboration and by promoting the professional development of our members in an atmosphere of mutual support. Accomplishing this requires commitment from each of us. As your President for 2016-2017, I want to encourage each of you to not only attend the meeting in Seattle but also invest in yourself. An investment by each of us will inspire others and provide the power and resources SGNA needs to accomplish our mission. What might this investment be for you?


On a personal level, if you are not already certified, consider sitting for the certification examination. If you are certified, encourage your co-workers by helping them prepare for the examination. Or, you could educate yourself as an expert on a disease or the use of accessory equipment and be a mentor for new team members. If your facility doesn't already participate, you can promote having an Infection Prevention Champion in your unit, and even volunteer for that role. You can become part of a mentoring circle as a mentor or mentee. There are opportunities to write to your congressional representatives on legislation affecting our practice or healthcare initiatives such as Medicare reimbursement for screening colonoscopies. You can vote in our next SGNA election so that your voice is heard.


On a regional level, you can invite a coworker, maybe a technician, to the next regional meeting and offer to drive. You can organize or participate in a community walk/run to raise money and awareness of a gastrointestinal disease or colon cancer prevention. Your unit can sponsor a regional meeting, or you could speak at a regional meeting on a disease or gastroenterology procedure. You can serve on your regional board as an officer or committee member. You can write a resolution on an issue of concern for the SGNA or gastroenterology practice for the House of Delegates to consider.


At the national level, you can attend the annual education conference, serve as a moderator, and even speak on a gastroenterology topic in which you have experience. You and your team members can exhibit a poster concerning research or education in gastroenterology practice. You can volunteer to serve on a national committee and work with others who share your enthusiasm for the practice of gastroenterology. If education or research is a passion for you, the SGNA Scholar or Fellow programs may enable you to pursue your interest and advance our practice. You can write an article on a clinical issue or research initiative for Gastroenterology Nursing.


When I think of my own journey, I am aware of how many of you have inspired me. My certification came first and is important to me because it is an illustration of an investment in myself and my gastroenterology practice. I started in the Central Florida region as a treasurer and eventually as president (thanks to Barb, Judy, and Pat). I began my national involvement on the Regional Societies committee (thank you to Kathy, Barb, and Candy). Then I moved on to the Program committee (thank you Lisa, Rhonda, and Katie). In all these endeavors, I had the support of the SmithBucklin staff (thanks to all of you). Eventually, I was elected to the Board of Directors and served as liaison to the CEPRG and Practice committees (thank you Peggy, Leslie, Phyllis, Betty, Colleen, and Lisa for your inspiration and mentoring). Now, after a year as President-Elect, I will move into the Presidency. Wow, what a rush!


All of this is a direct result of SGNA and investing in myself. I have met and been enriched by so many wonderful people. I have worked in a collegial atmosphere with many talented gastroenterologists doing procedures I never thought would be possible with a scope. I have been privileged to travel and share my experience here and abroad. Without investing in myself and involvement in SGNA, much of this would never have happened and my life experience would be so much poorer. SGNA has been a blessing to me.


Each of you has interests, abilities, and passions. You might know what they are, but you might not be aware of where they could lead you. Don't hesitate. Trust in yourself and all of us to support you. Take a step forward in your practice and your membership. Don't shortchange yourself by missing out on full involvement in SGNA. It will enrich your experience, and by doing so, you will enrich the experience of those around you. Invest in yourself, inspire others, and jazz up your journey.