1. Pearce, Angela N. MS, RN, FNP-C, ONP-C
  2. NAON President

Article Content

I'm writing this after a horrific week in Texas post-Hurricane Harvey. The destruction caused by a 500-year storm was devastating both to life and to those trying to put their lives back together after losing everything. Any region receiving up to 25 trillion gallons of rain in 4 days is going to suffer large amounts of damage.

Angela N. Pearce, MS... - Click to enlarge in new window NAON President

Imagine being told at 1 o'clock in the morning that you had to get out of your house, and had a very short time to do so, because the river may overflow and flood your house. This was the case for my husband's cousin who lives in Baytown, a town between the gulf coast and Houston. Fortunately, she was one of the lucky ones who 5 days later was able to get back into her house without any significant damage. Another relative lost his fence and a couple of trees in Corpus Christi but did not become flooded in the house. He was welcomed in the neighborhood because he had a paddleboat that he had placed in the front yard and was able to provide rides for the kids down the street.


NAON's first president from Texas, Roseanne Arlington, in 1986 worked at St. Luke's Hospital in the Texas medical center complex in Houston and when I met her I felt a fire light within me at her closing Congress because we were so proud that she was from Texas. I also remember that she was in a wheelchair as president-elect because she had just fractured her ankle. Unfortunately, Roseanne died of breast cancer in the 1990s. When Roseanne was president, I asked myself if one day I might be elected to be president of NAON and here I am 30+ years later as the 38th president of NAON.


Texans help other Texans with time, treasure, and talent as seen by the many people who came out with boats to help the stranded families be evacuated from their houses while waist deep in water. I remember the vivid picture of the vulnerable elderly in the nursing home sitting waist deep on couches and standing leaning on a walker waiting to be rescued. The courage of these lay individuals who were willing to give their time and ability to rescue these evacuees is commendable. The Cajun Navy also offered great assistance to the people of Houston and Beaumont.


J. J. Watt, the Houston Texan football player, has raised $33 million at this time, as well as many other celebrities who have donated large sums of money to help the people of Houston.


Now comes the time for talent, as Houston has to rebuild. What is needed now is manpower and materials to replace large parts of the houses that were damaged and avoid the hazards of mosquitoes, Escherichia coli, and other waterborne diseases, as well as possible electrocution from broken power lines. We should be grateful for our water engineers from Rice University and the University of Texas at Arlington who allowed most of the Texas Medical Center complex to remain open and functioning during the hurricane aftermath.


As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands-one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. (Audrey Hepburn)


These profound words of wisdom are what we do every day as nurses in the many venues that we work at, which require our daily commitment to our patients and the many challenges we face. I would like to give a shout out to those nurses who helped out at the evacuee shelters in Texas.


Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in. (Unknown author)


There are numerous ways to get involved to volunteer in NAON. You may decide to do something locally with your chapter or complete a willingness to serve and be involved in NAON's committees to serve others, such as ACORN (Advancing the Career of the Orthopaedic RN), CAT (chapter advisory/affiliate team), NEC (education), and LSC (leadership search committee), or running for the NAON executive board or the Research committee.


Locally, there is a need for various officers in the chapter such as secretary, treasurer, president-elect, and president. A local workshop can provide 6 hours in 1 day, and this satisfies the continuing education units to maintain chapter status as well as providing revenue for scholarships to take the ONC examination or attend other orthopaedic meetings.


Maybe you have the organizational skills to be a workshop chairperson?


Maybe you have a creative flair with social media and with developing a website?


Maybe you are really good at networking and encouraging people to belong to a chapter/affiliate of orthopaedic nurses? Play to your strengths and the rest will come easily.


Maybe you are really good financially and would like to be the treasurer or at least learn what it takes to become the treasure?


Many hospitals have career ladders and with the onset of Magnet status; belonging to a professional organization is both beneficial and productive.


Maybe you have life experience and wish to mentor an ACORN?


Maybe you have the gift of words and would like to keep up the newsletter?


Writing for publication is another avenue in professionalism and could start with a poster before a manuscript. There are many people available to help you.


Teaching and public speaking are skills that come with time and effort, but again there are many people who want to see you succeed and are willing to help you be the best you!


After spending nearly 40 years in Texas and being more Texan than English, I can really say that I am proud to be living in a state where Texans help Texans, as seen during Horrible Hurricane Harvey. We must maintain a sense of optimism and show a sense of humor despite the worst adversity, as we rebuild parts of southeast Texas.


Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth. (Muhammad Ali)


In closing, I wish you a safe, happy holiday season with family and friends and ask that you continue your mission to give to others. Please remember that in your community, whether in the hospital or in the neighborhood, there is often someone who doesn't have a family to share the happy times with. If you are able to welcome them into your home, the giving and the receiving are mutually beneficial. Thank you for all your participation in giving to others.