1. Bauer, Catherine MSN, MBA, CGRN, CFER
  2. SGNA President, 2018-2019

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I am looking forward to the next year as the president of the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) as a great honor. I am honored to be a part of such a great organization, honored to be a part of the legacy of this position and the many friends that have taken this role before me, and honored to represent the membership. I have been a member of SGNA for more than 20 years. The reason I became a member is still part of the reason I stay a member. I was working in a small community hospital in upstate New York and transferred to the gastroenterology department not knowing what I was getting into. I quickly needed to find a resource for education, protocols, and a network of experts to assist me in the transition from inpatient nurse to a procedural nurse. The SGNA is just what I needed, and I am so glad I found it.

Catherine Bauer, MSN... - Click to enlarge in new windowCatherine Bauer, MSN, MBA, CGRN, CFER, SGNA President, 2018-2019

Everyone has their own story of how they became involved in our great organization. Some may be similar to mine. I dare say that it doesn't matter how; what matters is that you get what you need out of the specialty organization you belong to. If you want to get involved, there is always opportunity to serve at the regional or national level. You just need to "raise your hand," complete the "willingness to serve" form on the national website, and submit it. If you are not chosen this year, apply again next year (and the year after that, if that is what it takes). Winston Churchill once said, "Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." That is so true. Keep up the hard work, be your greatest self to everything you do, and you will succeed.


I have been asked how this year's slogan come about. How does the association's president pick her slogan for the year? It is a matter of talking through your values, expectations, inspirations, and what means the most to you. My father was a big influence on me growing up. He would always remind me to "do your best the first time, so you don't have to do it all over again." He helped me to understand that no matter what you are doing, be your greatest self while doing it. Don't settle for less than that from yourself first and encourage others to do the same. So as I started talking with the marketing team at SGNA, they took that story and created the first part of the slogan.


The second part of the slogan is more about what I believe in: that excellence is not a destination, but a lifelong journey. If you think that you have arrived at the end and excellence is where you are, think again. There are always ways to improve and exceed no matter what you are doing. Just when you think there is no better way to do it, you should ask yourself, "How could I have done this better?" and then set new goals and take the steps to get there. You get what you expect. If you expect people around you to be their greatest self and you feed into that, you will most likely get that. On the other hand, if you expect people around you to be negative and you feed into that, then they will most likely be negative. The finish line continues to change. If you stop aspiring to be more, better, greater, then you settle for what is rather than what can be. This can occur in your professional life as well as your personal life.


John D. Rockefeller said, "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." It helps to have guidelines for what is considered great or excellent. Everyone defines "great" differently based on their own personal experience and situation. In the SGNA, for instance, being the recipient of the Regional Society of the Year award, Flame award, and other awards from the SGNA or ABCGN are examples of greatness in our nursing specialty. There are written criteria for submitting your application to set the bar and give specific goals on the journey to accomplishing these milestone awards. Individually, we set our own standards. It is important to share those expectations with coworkers and colleagues and share them with your spouse or children so they can be a part of your journey. They already are, by default, sometimes! Helping them see the goal will help you realize that goal.


I look forward to this year as SGNA president. I commit to continuing on my journey to excellence and being my greatest self as I serve in the role of the president of this great organization.