1. Schaps, Felicia MSN-Ed, RN, CRNI(R), OCN(R), CNSC, IgCN

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I hope you've had a fantastic experience during the past few days at INS 2018, that you've made new friends, and learned new information that you'll take back to your workplace and share with colleagues.

Felicia Schaps, MSN-... - Click to enlarge in new windowFelicia Schaps, MSN-Ed, RN, CRNI(R), OCN(R), CNSC, IgCN INS President, 2018-2019

I'm honored to serve as INS president for the next year and to be able to give back to an organization and a profession that has been an integral part of my life for the past 30 years.


INS presidents are asked to develop a theme for their year in office. I was fortunate that, about this time last year, I had the pleasure of listening to an inspiring keynote speaker talk about focusing not on oneself, but on bettering the world we live in and the people we meet. His speech led me to the theme for my presidential year: "Leaving things better than you found them."


This is not a new concept. Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of world scouting, coined its motto: "Be prepared."1 In his last message to scouts in 1941, he asked them to "try and leave this world a little better than you found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that, at any rate, you have not wasted your time but have done your best."2 Ralph Waldo Emerson said something similar: "To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived-that is to have succeeded."3


As infusion nurses, we touch our patients' lives in positive ways every day, hopefully leaving them a little better and breathing a little easier than when we met them. We strive to provide care that treats their illnesses, eases their pain, and offers emotional support. This special relationship between nurses and their patients is why nurses are repeatedly rated the most trusted profession.4


Anne Frank said, "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."5 We can take the commitment we have as nurses to improve patients' lives and apply it to so many other aspects of our lives. To leave something better than you found it seems such an obvious and simple choice. Imagine how different the world would be if everyone's primary intention was to interact with everyone else in a way that would leave them better than before they met. We can make it our personal responsibility to improve the state of the world around us.


It's interesting that people who are so kind to patients can be so cruel to coworkers. How many times have you heard the phrase "nurses eat their young" or witnessed it in action in your workplace? The US Census Bureau estimates there will be 19.5 million American workers 65 years of age or older by 2050 and that 75% of the US workforce will reach 65 or older at the same time.6 The average age of a registered nurse in the United States today is 50, and the average age of a nurse entering the profession is 30, meaning new nurses are spending fewer years in the profession than nurses have traditionally done.6 We can't afford not to nurture and encourage new nurses who will take over for us when we retire. Every relationship or interaction with a new nurse is an opportunity to leave that nurse better than you found him or her. Every meeting, patient assignment, or project is an opportunity to help them progress in their development as an infusion nurse. How many of you who have achieved the CRNI(R)credential have ever told another nurse who was contemplating becoming certified that it was the worst exam you've ever taken and that you would never do it again? Wouldn't it be better to let them know that if they studied and prepared, they too can become a CRNI(R)?


Sometimes in the workplace, the real challenge is finding the strength to be positive enough to make a difference when you're surrounded by negativity. Can you imagine how different your workplace might be if everyone committed to leaving it better than they found it in every interaction every day? Start small. Smile. Sincerely thank someone who has helped you. Refuse the urge to gossip or engage in mean-spirited conversations. Help someone who needs your help. Your presence in your workplace should be a positive thing, so that if you left, you would leave it better than you found it.


I have been fortunate in my career to have had some wonderful mentors who held my hand when I needed it to be held, pushed me when I needed to be pushed, taught me how to be a good infusion nurse, and encouraged me to strive for the goals I didn't think I could reach. It has been the highlight of my career to be able to say that I have held hands, pushed, encouraged, and mentored nurses, as well. I challenge you to do the same.


I would like to thank Mary Alexander and Pamela Jacobs for their guidance in preparing me for my year as INS president. I'd also like to thank the INS Board of Directors and the INS staff and to extend a special thank you to Kathy Puglise, my former boss, a past INS president, and an awesome friend who encouraged me to go back to school in my 50s and to run for INS president. She was the one holding my hand, teaching me, pushing me, and leaving me better than she than found me.


I would like to conclude by sharing a quote from the Better Man Project: "It's not the things we have, the money we make, the photos we take, or the popularity we gain that defines us. It's the unforgettable marks we make on others' hearts and lives that will cause us to bloom. It's leaving people a little bit better off that matters."7




1. Robert Baden-Powell quotes. Wikiquote website. Edited April 9, 2018. Accessed April 9, 2018. [Context Link]


2. Robert Baden-Powell quotes. BrainyQuote website. Accessed April 9, 2018. [Context Link]


3. Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes. Goodreads website. Accessed April 9, 2018. [Context Link]


4. Brennan M. Nurses keep healthy lead as most honest, ethical profession. Posted December 26, 2017. Accessed April 9, 2018. [Context Link]


5. Frank Anne. BrainyQuote website. Accessed April 9, 2018. [Context Link]


6. America's nurses are aging. Allied Staffing Network website. Published February 15, 2017. Accessed April 9, 2018. [Context Link]


7. Evan Sanders. The Better Man Project website. Accessed April 9, 2018. [Context Link]