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Good afternoon, and welcome to the 2006 INS Annual Meeting and Industrial Exhibition. It is a pleasure to see such a great turnout again this year. It is extremely gratifying to witness such dedication within the infusion community. As President of INS, I am very pleased to report to you that the State of the Society is excellent.

Figure. Mary Walsh, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Mary Walsh, BS, CRNI(R)

The past year, members of the Board, CEO Mary Alexander, and I attended a number of specialty nursing conferences. There were a significant number of opportunities to collaborate with other nursing professionals and groups, support student nurses, and work with my fellow board members to continue mapping the future for INS. Let me share with you some of the highlights and accomplishments of my second term as president.


My first engagement as second-term president was the Board of Directors meeting held the final day of the Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale. I arrived back in Boston exhilarated, motivated, committed, and yes, exhausted. Soon I was on the road in June to represent INS at the Oley Foundation Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, where I presented "Boot Camp for IV Catheter Care and Maintenance." This was a wonderful opportunity to have conversations with patients and their families regarding their vascular access devices and to show them how important it is to have a specialty nurse involved in their care. I was in my element as I watched little children run around the hotel with their infusion catheters "dressed up" for the event.


In September, President-elect Lynn Czaplewski, Mary Alexander, and I attended the Nursing Alliance Leadership Academy in Louisville, Kentucky. Here, executive directors, presidents, and presidents-elect came together for the first Leadership Academy hosted by the Nursing Organizations Alliance. The facilitator, Jo Manion, did an outstanding job of identifying our leadership styles and teaching us how to master them and integrate them into the diverse cultures our organizations offer. I left that conference with a firm understanding of the importance of not only my leadership but also that of each professional nurse's contribution to our profession.


In October 2005, the INS Board of Directors convened in York Harbor, Maine, for its mid-year Board meeting. During the 3-day meeting we focused on a number of initiatives. We concentrated on assessing our strategic plan; addressing general business issues; reviewing our mission, vision, and core values statements; and discussing trends and legislation that will affect infusion nursing. For example, we discussed our support of the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) and their legislative advocacy for Medicare Part D. We continued our discussions, centering on success markers, product development, current trends, and the aging nurse population. The Board demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to INS and our members, as well as to our specialty practice.


In November, Cathy Robinson, director-at-large, Lynn Czaplewski, and I attended the Fall National Academy of Infusion Therapy in Atlanta, Georgia. Once again, the education presentations were well attended and received high marks on the meeting evaluations. The NCOE committee did an outstanding job once again in developing the program. Our thanks to this very dedicated committee.


Preceding the Fall National Academy was "Caring for the Patient Requiring Immunoglobulin Therapy and Blood Component Replacement Therapy," a one-day program sponsored by ZLB Behring. The program was informative, intensive, and comprehensive.


Also in November, Lynn Czaplewski and I attended the fourth Annual Nursing Organizations Alliance Fall Summit in San Antonio, Texas. We attended sessions that gave us insight in planning for the next generation of leaders, innovative strategies to address practice change, and even a presentation on engaging the "laughing heart." Lynn and I were paired with forensic nurses at a table where we distributed information about our organizations. This 2-hour Presidents' Exposition really gave us the chance to showcase INS, our membership profile, and our products. Both Lynn and I appreciated the respect that INS received from this prestigious group of over 30 national nursing organizations. My thanks to Roxanne Perucca, INS past president, for her work and dedication as chair of the Alliance's program committee and as secretary of the Alliance's coordinating team.


Since 1999, INS has participated at the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) midyear conference. In November at that meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Michelle Berreth, secretary/treasurer, served as a member of the Specialty Nursing Showcase Panel. Michelle spoke about infusion nursing to more than 1,000 participants. The students were highly interested in our organization and our specialty. Thank you, Michelle, for representing INS so well.


In December, Presidential Advisor Jackie Tropp was interviewed once again by Nursing Spectrum's Catherine Spader for an article entitled "IV Insertion Still a Special Skill." Jackie's passion for her profession and her love of infusion therapy were easily identified in the article. Thank you, Jackie, for being so articulate and impassioned.


January 2006 brought yet another opportunity to celebrate excellence as more than 5,500 members of INS came together in spirit on IV Nurses Day to honor our work as infusion nurse specialists. Many chapters celebrated their accomplishments and their commitment. Belonging to an INS chapter, as well as the national organization, keeps you connected and informed on topics related to infusion practice, healthcare, and nursing. Since INS chapters are connected with the national organization, it is that important link that secures success for chapters. Regional liaisons, chapter board members, and chapter presidents all work closely with Membership Services staff at INS to promote their chapters.


I was fortunate this past year to witness firsthand the passion and commitment of our chapters. Prior to the Fall National Academy, I spoke at the Southeastern Georgia Chapter meeting, and in April presented at the Puget Sound Chapter's Annual Seminar. Their programs were very well organized, and their enthusiasm about our work and the national organization was gratifying.


In January, Lynn Czaplewski was pleased to represent INS at the Association for Vascular Access (AVA) conference in Savannah, Georgia. I am also proud to announce that once again we were able to send a representative to the Nurse in Washington Internship conference. This year we sent member Rebecca Polly, CRNI(R), from Troy, Pennsylvania. Rebecca and I share a passion for politics and understand the importance of nursing involvement at the political and legislative levels. I know many of you agree that nurses' voices are critical to the care our patients deserve. INS pledges to maintain a voice for nurses and patients alike.


In March 2006, the INS Board of Directors convened in Boston. At this Board meeting we welcomed Lisa Gorski as president-elect and Lynn Phillips as director-at-large, and welcomed back Michelle Berreth for her second term as secretary/treasurer. Congratulations to all of you.


The Board addressed many issues at this meeting. We selected Gardner Foundation scholarship recipients, the Chapter President of the Year, and the winner of the prestigious Member of the Year award. We spent a day with consultant Jo Manion working on communication styles, leadership effectiveness, and teamwork. As you can imagine, it is imperative that the Board work closely as a team to achieve the outcomes and strategic initiatives set forth for the organization. I am pleased to report to you that this Board is an exceptional group of individuals. Its members have served INS well.


I would like to share with you some of the results our hard-working and dedicated committees have produced for INS' membership. Our standards of practice committee revised the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, in great depth and detail. INS has received many compliments on this revision, and as testimony, we have sold nearly 1,700 copies of each product since their publication. I would like to acknowledge and thank the committee members: Holly Bagnall-Reeb, chair; Lisa Gorski; Lynn Hadaway; Mark Hunter; Darnell Roth; and Joyce Saxton. I would also like to thank the reviewers for their comments.


Also published early this year is the 3rd edition of Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing. This revision was written in tandem with the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, making it the companion piece for the Standards. The addition of new material on pediatrics makes this version more valuable than ever.


The National Council on Education is a committee that INS depends on significantly. I would like to thank the very dedicated members of NCOE, who work throughout the year to put our educational programs together. They are Cora Vizcarra, chair; Ann Earhart; Carl Frithsen; Martha Hann; Linda Hall; and Dana Runde.


The high quality of INS programs presented year after year is a result of their knowledge, commitment, and hard work. Their contribution to INS is immeasurable. Many of the NCOE members are here at the meeting, introducing speakers before each presentation. They also facilitate question-and-answer periods for the speakers. Please be sure to thank them; I know they will appreciate it.


The Journal of Infusion Nursing has brought us informative and pertinent articles regarding our specialty. I cannot tell you how many times I have directed peers, colleagues, and administrators to the Journal when a question arises regarding infusion therapy. I am particularly excited about upcoming article submissions that will be peer reviewed in the coming months. Each member of the Board of Directors has pledged to lead by example, and each of us will submit an article for the Journal on a subject related to our practice. I applaud the Board for taking on this challenge; with so many other responsibilities, this is certainly admirable.


As I finish my 2-year term, I want you to know how much C.A.R.E.S. has become more than an acronym for me. I have learned much about myself, my profession, and all of you. I could not be more proud to know that in every state in this country there are infusion nurses, delivering exceptional care and demanding excellence of themselves. As INS members, we are building a bridge to excellence for future nurses. We are "Setting the Standard," and have been for years, and we will continue to do so. With every day comes a new opportunity to teach, to mentor, to lead, and to care. I imagine infusion nursing as a recognized specialty in many countries in the not-too-distant future. With the leadership of a dedicated Board of Directors, knowledge from our committees, commitment from our members, and expertise from the National Office staff, I believe our bridge to excellence is just about complete.


Thank you all, and have a great meeting. If there is anything I can do for you please do not hesitate to ask. I will do my best.