1. King, Janet BSN, RN, CGRN

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As I enter my Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) presidency, I am all too aware that it has been a challenging time for all of us as the COVID-19 pandemic still surrounds us. Many of us are feeling some relief after completing the vaccination process. Yet, others are still waiting for their turn. As professionals, we continue to face the changes taking place in our nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are checking Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates, reading the latest research, and listening to scientists' recommendations. It is a different world than any I have ever experienced.

Janet King, BSN, RN,... - Click to enlarge in new windowJanet King, BSN, RN, CGRN SGNA President 2021-2022 Janet King is a practicing registered nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, Gastroenterology Unit, Boston, MA.

In our gastroenterology units, we have seen elective and outpatient procedures that had been suspended reopen. Many of our gastrointestinal (GI) nursing staff who were deployed to COVID-19 intensive care units and other areas have now come back to their own work areas. The pandemic has shifted our perspectives, and many of us are reassessing our work-life balance. A recent SGNA survey shows a shift to part-time employment from full-time. Many nurses have retired and are now working per diem or pro re nata (PRN; i.e., as needed) status.


Our endoscopy staff are reaching out to our GI patients, encouraging them to now return for their care and procedures. Colonoscopy screenings that had been delayed are reappearing on our procedure schedules. We are beginning to see an increase in our unit daily patient volumes. We are working hard to be sure our work environments are safe for everyone. We can see a slow shift back to the pace we experienced prepandemic.


As we shift back, it is so important for us to refocus on our GI specialty and how we as individuals can work more effectively within our GI nursing practice. With so many distractions, we must create and promote an environment that supports us to be fully engaged in patient care and practice. This is important for all of us whether part-time, full-time, or PRN staff.


To fully engage, we must meet the challenge of learning what activities in our lives energize us. We are all in charge of our own positive energy and must learn how to draw from these activities. Making time to enjoy those activities will assist us in staying fully engaged at work and finding balance in our personal life. Being fully engaged makes us more effective in our work environment while providing the best care to our patients.


Within your own personal life, think about some of these sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. These forms of energy are all interconnected and will provide you with ways to be passionate, engaged, confident, and positive. One can induce physical energy by taking a deep breath in over 4-6 seconds. This will promote alertness and focus as well as relax and quiet the body and mind. Emotional energy is fueled through positive emotions such as self-confidence, social skills, and empathy. They are all means of emotional connection. Mental energy is needed to support our level of concentration. It is through this energy that we see the world as it is, but always work positively toward a desired outcome. This energy can be supported through positive self-talk, good time management, and visualization. Spiritual energy originates from our own values and purpose. Spiritual energy provides passion, perseverance, and commitment. It is necessary to be spiritually aligned with our goals.


Working to learn how to use our energy sources in a positive manner will help us all. We will achieve our best by learning the process of full engagement. I am energized through volunteering with SGNA and especially the SGNA 48th Annual Course: A Virtual Experience starting May 22, 2021. I am looking forward to a full lineup of sessions for our virtual attendees. I am grateful for all the work our SGNA leaders and staff have put into providing us with this opportunity.


As we move forward and the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, we plan to return to an in-person SGNA 49th Annual Course to be held in Salt Lake City, UT. Our theme involves reuniting, recharging, and reflecting. It has been too long since we have joined together in person to share, collaborate, and network with our fellow GI professionals. Having the opportunity to refresh our spirits and recharge within our SGNA family is exciting. I have always found it inspirational to learn from each other while enjoying the comradery and mentoring that take place during our conventions. We must also take time to reflect on our experiences during the pandemic and how it has changed our vision within our GI practice and ourselves. I hope to see many of you virtually in 2021 and then in person at the Salt Palace Convention Center in May 2022.


I want to thank everyone for this wonderful opportunity I have been given to serve as your 2021-2022 SGNA President. I am looking forward to this experience both personally and professionally. As your President, I will do my best to promote SGNA as the highly respected nursing organization it is. As the Board of Directors works to reaffirm our purpose, mission, and vision, we are gaining a more definitive focal point directing our members, the Board of Directors, and the organization to one purpose.


My highest priority will include meeting the educational needs of our members. As professionals, who take pride in our care delivery, we all have the goal of improving our ability to provide excellent gastroenterology patient care. As your President, I am committed to ensuring SGNA provides you the tools to improve your practice. As part of this commitment, SGNA will be focused on both the development of an updated education strategy and the creation of a new strategic plan. I'm so excited about these projects and the outcomes that will benefit all of our members. Join me in making 2021-2022 the year that we reunite with each other in person, recharge and refresh our energy and passion for GI nursing, and reflect on all that we accomplished in the midst of a unique few years.