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

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This past week, I made a quick trip "home" to the city where I was born and lived during most of my childhood. In addition to time spent in my hometown, I also took a day's drive to see relatives and visited my grandparents' former town on the return trip. The last morning of the trip, I was blessed to meet a friend I had known my entire life, and we shared, over coffee, events from both the past and present. Needless to say, there was a great deal of reminiscing during that trip with stories that brought laughter, some which led to serious conversations, and others that made me remember special times that shaped who I am today. The time spent "back home" was special and comforting.

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

My daughter accompanied me on the trip and enjoyed seeing where I grew up, spending time with my mother's family, listening to stories about their childhood, and also seeing the small town that my brother and I fondly recall because of the many summers spent there with my paternal grandparents. We even saw the high school my 89-year-old father attended, and drove down old Main Street where the original red bricks still pave the street.


As we headed home a few days later, my daughter and I talked about what my life (and hers) would possibly be if my family had not relocated to Texas 40 years ago from that city we had just visited. While I loved being back in my hometown, where I could still remember street names, locations, and people from the formative years of my life, my daughter and I could easily recognize the positives that had come from relocating to a new state with a new beginning and new experiences that expanded my perspectives about people, culture, and life in general.


I loved finishing high school in a new place, with new friends, a new school, and all that goes with that change. I believe I really blossomed with this move because I was starting from a new place with a fresh start. Within just a few years, I left that new home for college, and my adult life led me to yet another city where I have experienced having my own family, an amazing nursing career, and friends that have greatly enriched my life. Reminiscing about my early life, hometown, and experiences helped me to appreciate how life had unfolded for me, recognize the blessings I had experienced with the many changes in my life, and provided a sense of satisfaction with the present.


Interestingly, over dinner last night with a gastroenterology nursing colleague, our conversation turned to memories of the early days as gastroenterology endoscopy nurses when the processes and procedures were much different from today, as were the generational aspects of healthcare providers and consumers. As I had done with my family and friends earlier in the week, we laughed over memories, shared concerns over some of the many changes we see, and agreed that the present was a time for both enjoyment and extending efforts for positive change. Our views now (both personal and professional) are influenced by the many experiences, people, and skills we have encountered along the way. While revisiting the past brought laughter and insights, living in the present made us both very aware of the amazing opportunities and experiences that had brought us to our current lives. Revisiting the past helped us to both appreciate and enjoy the present.


For most of us, life is busy and there is little time for remembering the past. Even living in the present can be challenging as we are constantly thinking about how to manage "future" upcoming obligations and expectations. Yet, finding time to revisit the past, whether physically as I did by going "home" or mentally, as my colleague and I did through sharing memories and stories from earlier experiences, can bring pleasure to the present. Like my daughter, colleagues who have not lived in those earlier times with different resources and procedures can benefit from hearing about gastroenterology nursing in an earlier time, with different perspectives, people, and processes. All contribute to our current efforts at safety, quality, and efficiency.


If you are a seasoned colleague with memories accumulated from years of practice, find opportunities to share stories and experiences from the past with your gastroenterology colleagues. Take time to laugh, mentor, and celebrate the present. For those of you who still feel relatively new to gastroenterology nursing, seek out your seasoned colleagues for reflections that bring perspective to current practices, procedures, and relationships. Relive the past to enjoy the present. And of course, anticipate the future and all that is to come-because of the past and present.