1. Wright, Kathy B. PhD(c), RN, CGRN, CS

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2003, a fresh new year... where did 2002 go? I find the older I get, the shorter the years seem to be! My daughters are hastily moving towards high school graduation, routine deadlines at the university where I teach seem to come earlier than the previous semester, and my youthful figure is disappearing fast. In fact, when I look at the past few years, I'm amazed at how many things are changing so quickly.


The healthcare setting is certainly in constant flux with rules and regulations that are modified as soon as you turn a page in the guideline manual. Nursing colleagues come and go, frustrated with the current environment and enticed by a plethora of job opportunities that just might be that ideal situation they are dreaming of. Healthcare organizations are reorganizing, shuffling managers and staff from one department and management strategy to another. It's enough to discourage even the greatest optimist... well, almost! Despite recent trends, I still have great expectations for 2003, particularly for gastroenterology nurses and associates.


So where does the optimism come from? My experiences in both personal and professional life have shown me that some of the greatest blessings, growth, and opportunities undoubtedly come from being in the valley or struggling to climb the mountain! And this perspective is once again supported by the recent positive outcomes nursing has experienced through this current chaos of change. For instance, in recent months, over 200 action plans were developed by nursing organizations in the United States, including SGNA, to shape nursing's agenda for the future; not just talk, but documented plans of action! Facing a challenging future, our profession has taken responsibility to proactively identify our needs and strategies for moving forward.


In August 2002, The Nurse Reinvestment Act, P.L. 107-205, was signed by President Bush addressing issues in nursing for the 21st century. The act calls for establishment of a National Nurse Corps to provide nurses for shortage areas, supports development of adequate numbers of nursing faculty to educate a larger nursing force, addresses workplace and environmental concerns, and directs attention to community-based practice. Legislative funding is still needed and SGNA members should take an active role in contacting government representatives to encourage passing of this legislation in 2003. Visit this web site for more information, including links to your representative and senators: And be sure to mention your affiliation with SGNA in your e-mails to government officials!


Within our specialty, SGNA and ASGE are partnering as never before to address mutual needs of organizational members and present a united front on issues relative to gastroenterology patients and practice. Our organization's new strategic plan, including financial goals and strategies, is creative, yet sound, with a firm plan to meet the mission of SGNA despite the uncertain economy and unpredictable environment. Because of the benefits of working in the GI environment, nurses who have never considered our specialty are asking questions, seeking employment, and looking to SGNA for support and resources to explore a new specialty. Members of the specialty are continuing to certify, recognizing the value of high practice standards and recognition for the specialty through certification. Our vendor partners, faced with similar challenges in the business world, have recognized the value and rewards of partnering with SGNA to meet the technological and educational needs of nurses providing care in today's healthcare environment. Nurses are surrounded by great opportunity. We mustn't squander our chance to capitalize on the progress that occurs with challenge and change.


It's true. There are challenges and more change ahead. But I greet the new year with great expectations! How about you?



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