1. Sims, Angie MSN, RN, CRNI(R), OCN(R)
  2. INS President 2020-2021

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I am grateful to you, the members, the INS board of directors, INS staff, and Mary Alexander for the opportunity to serve as INS President this year. I first learned about INS through my local chapter in 1998, then became a member with the goal of obtaining my CRNI(R). I have now been a member of INS and a CRNI(R) for more than 20 years! INS has provided me with a wealth of resources and helped me connect with other nurses who have the same passion for infusion therapy as I do. Thank you to all the nurses for sharing their knowledge and commitment to the infusion specialty both then and now.

Angie Sims, MSN, RN,... - Click to enlarge in new windowAngie Sims, MSN, RN, CRNI(R), OCN(R) INS President 2020-2021

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), described nurses as being "a bridge between the complex system that is health care and the people of the community"1 in honor of WHO's "Year of the Nurse and Midwife" and Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday. While the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic may have overshadowed a year declared to celebrate the contributions and achievements of nursing, it could also be viewed as a time that highlights not only the nursing profession, but all those who work in health care. The pandemic has returned our focus to basic infection control measures-good hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and disinfection, respiratory hygiene, and distancing from those who are ill. What we are facing now is strikingly similar to what Florence Nightingale faced during the Crimean War: lack of adequate supplies to care for patients, access to care, and high infection rates. Nightingale established standards of good hygiene and environmental cleaning and disinfection to support the patients' recovery from their injuries and aide in health and healing. As she made her rounds through the barracks, the soldiers under her care identified hope when they glimpsed her lamp. Patients under our care today, whether during a pandemic or life as usual, also identify hope when they glimpse their nurse, knowing that they will be cared for with skill, knowledge, and compassion.


Each INS president is asked to identify a theme for their presidential year. My theme, "Ignite the Flame," is about reconnecting with your purpose for the work you do. Why did you choose to go into nursing, and more specifically, why did you choose infusion therapy nursing? Today's health care system is fragmented and complicated. We hear about reductions in staffing, health care reform, job re-engineering, managed care, and pandemics. These issues lead to stress, burnout, and a loss of purpose in the work we do every day. Reconnecting with your purpose or "igniting your flame" tells your story about the work you do and the value that you bring to the health care team.


There are many stories throughout the history of nursing, and perhaps one or several of those stories was a starting point that ignited your flame. Perhaps you had a personal experience with nursing care or you were influenced by a friend or family member who went into nursing that sparked your interest. Whatever the story or experience was, think about how you felt and what you thought in those moments, because remembering your story and sharing it can have the power to ignite your flame now or whenever you sense your flame is burning low.


My story has many parts. I knew I wanted to be a nurse from the time I was in grade school. I attribute the values I learned from my parents as part of that desire. My flame was ignited when I went through training to become a certified nursing assistant while in high school. The flame grew when I got my first job in a hospital and grew again when I was accepted into a nursing program. During nursing school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and the skills I had acquired so far were put to the test as she recovered from surgery. My dad commented, "You're pretty good at this." The flame grew.


I graduated from nursing school and began my first job as a registered nurse in a hospital. I worked the night shift and floated to any unit that needed to be staffed for that shift. As anyone who has worked the night shift knows, there are limited resources and you need to listen and learn to build your skill and knowledge to meet the changing needs of the patients and the hospital at night. There was not an IV team, and I challenged myself to develop that skill so that my patients would not suffer multiple attempts to place a device. I succeeded in developing that skill and my flame continued to grow. I started to build my knowledge and skill with central vascular access devices. At the time I thought about working in the intensive care unit, but my path and purpose led me elsewhere. I found myself on the oncology unit and I remembered my time from nursing school on an oncology unit and my flame grew brighter. Infusion therapy and oncology are closely linked. I felt fortunate to be able to combine my passion for infusion therapy and oncology nursing. This path and purpose have followed me to this day.


Over the years, my flame has dwindled and it has flared. With every new challenge in my career, gaining new knowledge and skills, the flame burned brighter. Remembering my story and experiences when days were challenging, not only for me but for my patients, helped me to see beyond the challenges and acknowledge the impact that I had on a patient or a fellow nurse, no matter how small.


The "Year of the Nurse" highlights nursing's contributions to the health care profession. We look back and remember, and then we move forward. During normal times or in times of crisis, nurses are on the front line and caring for patients just as we always have from the earliest of times to the present. We enter our patients lives during a time when they are most vulnerable and scared, and we work to help them regain their health and independence in a complex health care system. We are innovators, educators, and advocates in our workplaces and communities. I take my inspiration from our history, from the stories of other nurses, and from my own story and my flame remains ignited.


You do make a difference out there and if there is doubt in your mind, then you and only you can identify what will ignite your flame and keep it burning. This excerpt of the Nightingale Prayer is the perfect reminder:


"Today, our world needs healing and to be rekindled with Love.


Once, Florence Nightingale lit her beacon of lamplight to comfort the wounded.


Her light has blazed a path of service across a Century to us -


through her example and through the countless nurses and healers who have followed in her footsteps.


Today, we celebrate the flame of Florence Nightingale's legacy.


Let that same light be rekindled to burn brightly in our hearts.


Let us take up our own 'lanterns of caring,' each in our own ways -


to more brightly walk our own paths of service to the world -


to more clearly share our own 'noble purpose' with each other..."2




1. Yadzi M. 2020 is the "year of the nurse"-here's what that means for nurses. website. Published February 21, 2019. Accessed April 13, 2020.[Context Link]


2. Beck DM. The Nightingale prayer: the flame of Florence Nightingale's legacy. The Nightingale Initiative for Global Health website. Published 1996. Accessed April 13, 2020.[Context Link]