1. DeNiro, Nancy RN, CGRN

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Starting off my SGNA presidential year is very exciting. I anticipate this is going to be a gratifying year. I feel a real energy among the Board of Directors, the committee members, the members in general, and the SmithBucklin staff that manage our affairs. The theme for my presidential year is "SGNA on a Mission: Exceeding Expectations," a fitting goal to culminate next May in San Antonio, the site of the largest cluster of Spanish missions in the United States. SGNA is truly dedicated to upholding its mission, and we do it by exceeding expectations.

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There is an art and science to exceeding member expectations. Recently, BioInformatics, LLC (Arlington, VA), a leading provider of market research to the biotechnology industry, published ways to exceed member expectations in "Scientific & Medical Societies: Exceeding Member Expectations" ( Their recommendations were based on a recent 26-question survey of more than 1,300 life science and medical professionals. They found one way to exceed member expectations is by "doing what members want." The SGNA Board of Directors and staff find out what members want, and then we strive to meet their needs: education, publications, products, and support.


SGNA leaders also strive to "provide sources of inspiration" so you will continue your involvement in the society and want to pass it along to your colleagues. "Giving unexpectedly great service" means we always exceed member expectations. Through the years, we have sustained member relationships by "upping the ante with technology." In fact, our online services have skyrocketed. Finally, we strive to "make superior service contagious;" when members receive superior service, they will pass it along, at least telling others about it.


The strength of a professional society like SGNA comes from having a solid membership base. Simply recruiting new members to replace those that discontinue their affiliations each year will not compensate for the loss of its sustaining members. According to BioInformatics, LLC President Bill Kelly, "Members must believe that the investment of their resources, specifically time, dues, and expertise is being well spent in order for them to continually renew their membership. Securing the loyalty of one's membership is an invaluable asset in attaining a society's membership goals in terms of long-term retention of these individuals." Most associations strive for an 80-85% retention rate. SGNA is at an impressive 90%.


According to the BioInformatics report, there are a variety of reasons why an individual joins a professional society. Slightly over one-third of survey respondents stated the most important reason for joining is to obtain information on the latest developments in their field. This corresponds directly with SGNA's mission statement: SGNA will advance the science and practice of GI/endoscopy nursing.


Furthermore, 34% of the BioInformatics survey participants cited the ability to attend meetings and conferences as the most valuable benefit when deciding to renew their membership in a professional society. Through education, SGNA's annual course offers approximately 40 contact hours annually. Interestingly, the two most important features taken into consideration when respondents decided whether or not to attend a society's annual conference are the conference topics and the quality of the speakers.


The BioInformatics report goes on to say, "Not only is professional development a critical expectation of members, but the communication of scientific and medical information, concepts, and principles is also highly desired." SGNA's mission is to support research. Through position statements and guidelines, SGNA meets that member expectation.


Fifty-nine percent of the BioInformatics survey respondents indicated it is very important for a professional society to support scientific and medical policy advocacy. Healthcare professionals place great value in their society's ability to address their changing needs throughout each stage of their professional life. To meet SGNA's mission of advocacy and collaboration, SGNA participates with other physician and nursing organizations in advocating for important nursing issues with Congress and other legislators.


In addition, the BioInformatics report found, "Outreach through educational programs and materials is considered a worthwhile investment of society resources." SGNA has a strategic initiative in place to outreach to new member markets. One area has specifically focused on the ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). SGNA's goal is to become the professional resource and support for ASCs. Another SGNA mission is to promote professional development. Association with SGNA benefits nurses and associates touched by the outreach initiative by enhancing their confidence, knowledge, and professionalism resulting in increased patient safety and satisfaction. These new associations also offer growth for SGNA. The SGNA Mission calls for mutual support.


As summed up in the BioInformatics report, "The most successful societies are those that understand what their members value most, and then take steps to exceed member expectations." Through the SGNA mission, our commitment is to exceed the expectations of the members and all communities we serve. Nobody wins until everybody wins.


We are anchored in SGNA by several key components.


* Our History: SGNA's history is rich, spanning 31 years.


* Our Leaders: SGNA leaders, regionally and nationally, are dedicated and motivated.


* Our Members: Membership numbers are growing, and retention is at an all time high.


* Our Management: SmithBucklin has directed and supported SGNA in the best possible ways.



In addition, SGNA promotes the following core values as the key drivers of our success:


* exceptional member services


* quality


* integrity


* respect and support for each other


* exceeding expectations.



This is our culture-it energizes!! Did I mention that I could feel the energy?


SGNA has made remarkable accomplishments and will build on these successes for the future. Not only was 2004/2005 a great year, we look forward to even better years to come-because SGNA is an organization for the future. We are proud of our past, and we know we represent the future of GI nursing. Clearly, SGNA is on a mission!!