1. Gonzalez, Cynthia M.

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Es un honor y un placer ser el Presidente numero 26 de la Asociacion Nacional de las Enfermeras Ortopedicas; to translate, it is an honor and a pleasure to become the 26th President of the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses, the fifth person from Illinois to hold this prestigious title.

FIGURE. Cynthia M. G... - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE. Cynthia M. Gonzalez, MSN, RN, APN, ONC, NAON PRESIDENT, 2005-2006

In the past 5 years, we have "Soared to Greater Heights," while keeping "Focused on the Mission." We have shown the power of the orthopaedic nurse through the elements of water and light as we demonstrated our "passion" for nursing. Finally, we have seen that possibilities are endless when we look for opportunities. It is in this context that I choose the theme, "Partnering for Growth."


A goal as President, as well as that of our Executive Board, is growth. Growth in membership, growth in opportunities to work with other organizations, growth in advocacy, and growth in volunteerism. As you see the artwork of the young sapling growing into a tree, I ask you to envision the "Tree of Andry," otherwise known as the "orthopaedic tree." This young tree is synonymous with the beginning of a new year and with this year, a chance to renew your commitment to NAON. Surrounding the sapling are two hands, symbolic of the healing hands that we as nurses possess. In combination, we begin as healers in this grand profession of nursing and we grow through relationships that we make along the way, such as the young sapling in the artwork chosen for this year.


Let me further break down the vision that I foresee as our organization evolves. First, growth in membership: similar to other nursing specialty organizations, we have seen a decline in membership. This decline is multi-variant: loss of an orthopaedic identity, loss of employment, retirement, and changes in professional needs. We need to look at ways to react to these changes. The Executive Board has begun this process through the use of the member needs assessment. This tool will provide us with information that can serve as a catalyst to assist in stimulating growth in our association. We are also fortunate to have a new Executive Director who shares this passion for growth and has past success in implementing incentives to increase membership. Ultimately, though, we are all responsible for this initiative. Ask those around you what would encourage them to join NAON. Share that information with others who can make a difference in our organization, including those in leadership.


Consider these other initiatives: growth in partnerships. I am fortunate to have met a number of dynamic national and international leaders throughout the past year. During each encounter, I shared our mission with them and reached out to them for opportunities to partner, whether it be to exchange proposals for future Congresses, contact information regarding publishing in the journal, or sharing productions catalogs. We overlap in certain areas, and it is important to initiate and seize opportunities to make NAON visible. After participating in meetings with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), it is exciting to plan opportunities to partner in educational venues. International contacts are looking at NAON as brokers of education and as the organization that can educate their staff through use of our productions and online offerings. These are exciting and evolving initiatives!!


The third initiative, growth in advocacy. Healthcare is ever changing. Policy issues arise and dissipate quickly. We must continue to be proactive to capture these opportunities. Supporting issues in numbers doubles our strength and our opportunities. There are many areas that we can support and assist others in by signing onto their statements. An example includes the ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) issues, which have led to a developing dialogue with the Emergency Nurses Association and can lead to a number of other growing partnerships. Support of initiatives such as Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow and ANA's "Handle With Care" has made us more visible, but we need to forge ahead and continue this work to strengthen both our practice and our profession.


Finally, growth in volunteerism: this was a common theme discussed at the National Organizations Alliance meeting last November. As our profession ages (but certainly not us!!), we are not able to recruit the same enthusiasm to serve the organization. There are numerous opportunities for us to become involved. Growth does not just occur through what we learn but from what we teach along the way. How many of us have enjoyed learning from those we have taught, whether it be nurses, physicians, or other ancillary personnel? Teaching is a part of mentoring and helps us to share knowledge. I challenge each of you to find a mentor or become one. Look around and see who can benefit from your past experiences. Who can you partner with to expand your growth, and whom can you challenge to grow?


You have begun the journey by becoming a member!! Retain, recruit, advocate, and support NAON as we partner for growth in the future!!