1. Gonzalez, Cynthia M.

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There are many lessons to be learned as one moves from role to role in life. My recent experience as President has taught me much about the value of leadership and of people who may be leaders without necessarily retaining a title. I recently saw a marquee that had the following quote, "Leadership is action, not position"; it is in this context that I begin my final presidential message as many of those who have assisted the organization in growth this year have done so from behind the scenes.


My theme of partnering for growth was developed after much reflection on what I wished to lead the Executive Board and the membership to accomplish during my tenure. I had four goals for the association this year: growth in advocacy; growth in membership; growth in partnerships; and growth in volunteerism. I am pleased to say that we have progressed in many of these goals. Why not state that we have accomplished these goals, you may ask? Leaders, while trying to achieve and complete many goals, open many doors to those who lead after them.


In our strive for growth in advocacy, we have continued our role as nurse leaders educating about all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety, having even been published in the fifth edition of Policy and Politics in Nursing, our Congress eye-opener speaker will expand on the effect that associations such as ours make in some of these lesser known political venues. We have also continued to sign onto legislation that supports Title VIII-The Nurse Workforce Development Program Funding, asking Congress to allocate funding under the Public Service Act to help alleviate the nursing shortage in this country each fiscal year. This program seeks support for federal investment in nursing educational grants, nurse and nursing faculty repayment programs, and various scholarship and loan opportunities. We are also being represented at the table with the Safe Patient Handling Campaign by Carol Sedlak and have remained an active group in the Bone and Joint Decade initiative.


Another of our strategic goals was to grow membership. We have begun the work of the membership taskforce, and new membership brochures will be available soon. We hope to recruit the future nurse through outreaches at the National Student Nurses Association meeting and have implemented plans to recruit students, including inviting all local schools to send students to Congress in Boston. Currently, we are beginning to see some increases in member numbers but will be able to further report this at our Annual Business Meeting.


We also looked at our Member Needs Assessment and identified areas of educational needs. You, the NAON member, told us this was the most important reason for joining the organization, thus the launch of Web-based education should be underway by the time you receive this issue. In addition, we were fortunate to be able to work with the Stryker Corporation to bring you a new and updated look to the fifth edition, Core Curriculum. Additionally, the second edition of the Core Competencies should be available this summer.


Growth in partnerships is evident not only through new sponsorships and exhibitors that you may begin to notice but also in the development of new leaders through the Leadership Fellows Program and the opportunity for every member voice to have value through the passage of the bylaw change where every member has a vote.


We have also continued our work with the AAOS in providing the Allied Health meetings after needing to change venues due to the devastation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those in our Gulf Coast states as they work to rebuild their communities.


NAON's visibility continues to reach other organizations such as AORN, who I anticipate will continue to dialogue with us regarding OR issues, such as fatigue. Our Hartford Foundation grant is affording us opportunities to work with the National Gerontologic Nurses Association, and we look forward to educational opportunities with them.


The publishing of the NAON Pin Care Guidelines and subsequent admission of these to the National Guideline Clearinghouse has increased dissemination of what we can offer as an organization. I would like to thank Sue Baird Holmes and Sarah Jo Brown for their work on this.


Perhaps the one area where growth was not as evident was in volunteerism. It is not easy to commit time and energy to volunteer work. I am grateful to those who are able to assist the association, the so-called behind-the-scene members, but we need to continue to reach out to others and encourage them to participate. This is a challenge that our chapters face, and the Chapter Advisory Team and Chapter Restructure Taskforce will continue to help them. As healthcare and the profession of nursing change, these issues may become all too common in our future; therefore, it is our challenge to mentor the future volunteer and provide enthusiasm for the novice member to become involved.


I began writing this message about lessons learned as a leader, perhaps one of the biggest lessons I learned was using the five fundamental qualities of a team; components of the fist, the leadership theory that Coach Mike Krzyzewski from Duke University developed and that I spoke of at Congress in Phoenix.


The Executive Board, this group of nine other experienced leaders used communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring, and pride as they took on their roles. New members accepted challenges and brought new blood and ideas to the table. NAON is fortunate to have such dedicated leaders, though at times, we did not come to consensus, we always listened to each other and worked as a strong team always looking to better the association. Dwight Eisenhower said, "We, the people, elect leaders not to rule but to serve." These women have truly served the membership proudly, and I was fortunate to have led them.


As I complete my term as the 26th President of NAON, I ask you to support Miki Patterson, NAON's 27th President, as she begins her presidential journey and seeks to "Energize the Future." As Barbara Bush said, "You don't just luck into things[horizontal ellipsis] You build step, by step, whether it's friendships or opportunities." I hope that the steps that I continued to build on from those of my predecessors have brought positive opportunities for NAON's future.


Fue un honor ser tu Presidente, espero oir de ustedes en el futuro. To translate, it has been an honor to have been your President; I hope to hear from you in the future.

Figure. Cynthia M. G... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Cynthia M. Gonzalez, MSN, RN, APN, ONC, NAON President, 2005-2006