1. Jenkins, Monique PhD, MA, FNP-BC

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I would like to take the opportunity to thank Kimberly Cogley for her service as President for the past 2 years. It is an honor and pleasure to begin my term as President for the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association, Inc. (APSNA). It is so hard to believe that I am now the President of an organization that has been a major part of my personal and professional life for so many years.

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In 2002, my son was born with Hirschsprung Disease and required multiple surgeries, multiple hospitalizations, and multiple trips out of our home state for procedures to be performed. During that time, I met many nurses and nurse practitioners (NPs) who taught me a great deal about Hirschsprung Disease and how to properly care for him. I often heard them speak about a surgical nursing organization, but I did not really know the name until years later when I applied for a job as a pediatric surgery NP. The first person I called, when I was offered the position, was the NP who instructed me on stoma care for my son-Laura Flanigan (an APSNA Past President). She said, "I think you should go for it and you must join APSNA because you will get the support you need." My life as an NP was forever changed!


It wasn't long before I realized the importance of the collaboration between leadership and membership. The importance of membership participation and interaction is equally important. I ultimately became involved in the organization's committees and then became a board member. I grew a true love for the organization and the desire to help advance pediatric surgery. That has not changed!


As an organization, we have gone through some challenging times. The year 2020 was particularly trying as the COVID-19 pandemic affected the way in which we lived, worked, and cared for ourselves and our patients. We had to adjust rapidly to the ever-changing demands of patient care and organizational business. We have been through a difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic, not only as a nation but also as an organization. APSNA made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 Annual Scientific Conference and hold a virtual Annual Scientific Conference for 2021. We continue to keep the organization moving forward, even in these uncertain times.


Moving the organization forward is not something that one can do alone; it takes the commitment and participation of the Board of Directors, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), committee members, and you-the membership. We have a difficult road ahead of us, but together, we can forge through.


Members are vital to organizations. Twenty years ago, membership organizations were crucial to a professional's career; they opened up opportunities that were not matched by other sources. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations had a decline in membership engagements as it was harder to get individuals to join, renew, and volunteer (Morand, 2020). This decline in organizational membership and participation continues, and APSNA is not immune to this. The decrease in organizational membership goes hand in hand with a decrease in volunteerism. Across America, there has been waning volunteerism, yet the number of hours contributed by volunteers has not shown the same drop (Dietz & Grimm, 2018), meaning more collaboration and participation by smaller numbers or individuals.


We have many opportunities for you in the only specialty organization with an exclusive mission to serve the pediatric surgical community. Membership in APSNA will make you feel like you belong to something bigger than yourself. Once you commit to being a member, you are part of a group that is accountable to each other, promotes unity in shaping the quality of healthcare, offers resources for professional growth, and encourages leadership (Walton, 2017). That leadership can be endless and individually unique.


As part of our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan, we have a goal to increase our membership by 5%. It will take all of us to reach and surpass this goal! Some of you may have competing professional needs, but I want to encourage you to enlist in making APSNA the road to pediatric surgical nursing excellence.


These are only some of the irresistible APSNA member opportunities:


* Professionalism: Your association with the specific brand of pediatric surgery nursing sends the message that you are serious about your profession.


* Online member community: a collaborative forum for APSNA members to network and obtain answers on day-to-day practice issues


* Flexible online learning: specific education for patients and families, pediatric surgery specialty education, virtual conference, and wound care resources


* Entry-to-practice resources: mentoring program and pediatric surgery nurse practitioner competencies


* Membership-only job boards


* Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing automatic subscription


* Meaningful and unique volunteer experiences: committee participation, SIG participation, committee or SIG leadership, authoring patient and family information sheets, webinars, position statements, conference participation, journal manuscript writing


* Recognition: awards and grants offered for research, education, wound, ostomy, continence care, innovation, spotlight on excellence, and the esteemed Founder's Award


* Individual profile transformation: APSNA provides you with an opportunity to give back to nursing.



I hope these opportunities are valuable to you-and transformative. They have been for me. As I begin my presidency, I reflect on my time on the board and the leadership and mentorship I have received from Raquel Pasaron, Janice Dudley, Barbara Bratton, and Kimberly Cogley (all past Presidents). Each of these leaders and all past Presidents of this organization have different leadership styles, yet they were able to keep the organization moving forward. I have learned from them, and as I stand on their shoulders, my goal is to continue to move the organization forward. I invite you to join me on this journey as we strive to become the leading authority for the nursing care of pediatric surgical patients.


"We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope."


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




Dietz N., Grimm R. T. J. (2018). Where are America's volunteers?[Context Link]


Morand T. (2020, December 11). Should organizations worry about a decline in membership? 3 Experts weigh in. Wild Apricot Blog.[Context Link]


Walton K. (2017). Barriers to membership in a professional organization for advanced practice nurses.[Context Link]