1. Holder, Max MSN, RN, CRNI(R), NE-BC, VA-BC
  2. INS President, 2022-2023

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Where were you when opportunity came knocking? Did you see it? Or was it veiled as a challenge or problem that needed to be solved and you felt like you simply did not have the time or interest in getting involved?

Max Holder, MSN, RN,... - Click to enlarge in new windowMax Holder, MSN, RN, CRNI(R), NE-BC, VA-BC

Opportunity is described as "an occasion or situation that makes it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do, or the possibility of doing something."1 Many times, opportunities are presented to us as problems or challenges that need to be addressed. Sometimes, we just do not know what an opportunity looks like! The key to seeing problems or challenges as an opportunity is having an opportunistic mindset that allows us to actively invite and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.2


Life is full of opportunities, both personally and professionally. Are you taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way? Sometimes opportunity knocks, but many times we must seek out or even create opportunities. This is true in our personal and professional lives. Many of us may be shy about taking advantage of an opportunity that presents itself or seeking ways to create our own opportunities.


"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." - -Charles R. Swindoll


I have been able to take advantage of many opportunities across my career in health care. Keeping an open mind and having a willingness to serve have been foundational to my success when new opportunities have knocked. They have not always been successful endeavors, but, overall, the opportunities I have been afforded during the last 30 years in health care have helped me grow both personally and professionally, whether these opportunities were ones that presented themselves or that I actively created.


My journey with the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) started from opportunities that I was both offered and created. Fourteen years ago, I was working at a small rural hospital in east Texas as the corporate compliance auditor. My experience in nursing was primarily in the emergency department (ED), but I took on the role of compliance auditor when I was asked to help the hospital manage its Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of the Inspector General. At that time, the hospital outsourced vascular access services for peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) to a contractor and was seeking nurses to start its own internal PICC team. Having completed PICC training prior to the use of ultrasound for PICC placement, I immediately took advantage of the opportunity to increase my knowledge and learn the new skills in this exciting vascular access space.


About 18 months after I learned to place PICCs with ultrasound, I decided to move from the small rural hospital to a hospital in the large metropolitan city where I live. The problem was, as is often the case today, vascular access team (VAT) jobs are not always readily available. This became my chance to create an opportunity, and that is exactly what I did. I attended my first INS chapter meeting with the sole purpose of meeting the leaders of the VAT where I intended to get a job. Sure enough, it worked out to my advantage, and after getting hired in that hospital as an ED nurse, I quickly worked my way onto the VAT on an as-needed basis, and then I transferred to the VAT full-time within 2 months.


I began regularly attending the local INS chapter meetings where another opportunity was offered to join the local chapter's board of directors. That was really the beginning of my journey with INS, and I will be forever grateful for it.


The opportunities with INS just kept coming! Sometime around 2013, I received a call from the INS Nominations Committee chair to enquire whether I had an interest in applying to be on the national INS board of directors. This could have been one of those moments where I might have thought this is going to be too much work or I do not have the experience to serve in this capacity. Even though I did not know whether I would be selected for the ballot or even be elected, I decided it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up, and I heartily said "YES!"


This is only one example of the many opportunities that I have taken advantage of, but it is the most rewarding one to date. I have benefited in so many ways from my involvement in INS. I have been privileged to serve 2 terms as INS director-at-large and now have the honor and privilege of serving as your INS president. I would like to highlight a few of the benefits of my involvement with INS.


As a result of my involvement with INS, I have experienced significant personal and professional growth. I have met so many people in our specialty from across the globe, some of whom are personal friends, and others who are part of my professional network. I developed the skills to become a better public speaker and have been privileged to share what we do as infusion therapy and vascular access nurses across multiple venues around the country. My position on the board of directors has supported my professional growth in my health care organization as well. I have the responsibility for ensuring that our practices are in line with the Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice, and my deep involvement with INS and knowledge of the standards have given me the credibility to be successful.


Opportunities do not happen by luck; rather, they come disguised in many forms. Perhaps they seem insignificant or overly challenging and are just more work. There are 6 key strategies to ensure that you have the right mindset to see opportunities when they come knocking3:


* Focus on the end goal, not the beginning problem.


* Have an opportunistic mindset.


* Do not look for the easy solutions.


* Be ready for the next opportunity; it could be today.


* Capitalize on the present situation.


* When opportunity knocks, go through the door with optimism and passion.


Why am I sharing this as my presidential address, you may ask? It is because I want you, our INS members, to think about what opportunities are out there for you. Is it serving on the national INS board of directors? Serving on a local INS chapter board? Is it putting together a poster or podium presentation about the great things you do every day? Perhaps it is becoming involved in your organization's best practices committees, addressing issues such as central line-associated bloodstream infections.


"Welcome the challenges. Look for the opportunities in every situation to learn and grow in wisdom." - -Brian Tracy


I want each of you to experience the personal and professional growth that opportunities bring, to have a voice at the table, and to reap the benefits that come from taking advantage of opportunities. Keep your eyes and ears open; the next opportunity is right around the corner. Listen closely for the knock.




1. "Opportunity." Cambridge English Dictionary.[Context Link]


2. Handel S. How to take advantage of opportunities on a daily basis. The Emotion Machine. Published June 6, 2020. Accessed April 25, 2021.[Context Link]


3. Mesiti P. Opportunity Knocks: Open the Door to an Extraordinary Life. Pat Mesiti; 2020. [Context Link]