1. Phillips, Lynn MSN, RN, CRNI(R)

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Good morning. I am honored to walk in the steps of the INS board presidents that have preceded me. I have been privileged to be a member of the boards led by Cora Vizcarra and Lisa Gorski. Their respective themes, "Innovation: An Approach to Infusion Excellence" and "Advancing the Science of Infusion Therapy," have moved INS in new directions. I have also been blessed to have had a mentor in my early years with INS, Leslie Baranowski, who demonstrated leadership and nursing excellence and facilitated my growth within INS.

Figure. Lynn Phillip... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Lynn Phillips

My theme for this coming presidential year is "Connections to Success: Building Alliances." I have chosen this theme based on 3 factors: first, my background in nursing education; second, my commitment to facilitating the work accomplished by INS, the board of directors, and the membership over the past 2 years; and finally, because I recognize that forging strong alliances will further develop leadership in the next generation of nurse specialists. The focus of this theme is to demonstrate the impact that the infusion specialty has on the entire healthcare system and how many different people make up the infusion "team." I am humbled to represent each of you, and with this theme, I hope to make further connections to many of you and support your team alliances.


One of my favorite nursing authors, the late Em Bevis, used a tale about a sparrow in one of her books on leadership that relates to today's challenges in nursing. I would like to share this parable with you.


Once there was a knight riding across England's roads and byways. He was gloriously armored and looking for good deeds to do, fair maidens to rescue, Holy Grails to quest for, and dragons to slay. As he rode along, he noticed a small brown sparrow lying on its back in the dust of the road with its spindly little legs sticking up, stiff and straight into the air. The knight reined in his mighty mount and hailed the sparrow. "What ho, little sparrow? Why do you lie in the road dust with your spindly little legs sticking up stiff and straight into the air?" "Oh dear knight sir," replied the sparrow, "haven't you heard? The sky is going to fall." The knight laughed and bellowed, "And you think you can hold it up all by yourself with those spindly little legs?" A deep sigh escaped the sparrow as he replied, "One does what one can, kind sir, one does what one can."1(p.1)


In today's world, it sometimes seems as if the sky is going to fall on the delivery of healthcare to our patients. Nursing care demands are exploding in kind, quality, and quantity. The healthcare consumer is demanding better-quality care and more humanistic, safety-conscious care. Nursing must respond to the falling sky, and one way is to develop team alliances and make relationship connections.


I have identified 4 building blocks to connect with success this coming year. The first and most significant step, the foundation, is connecting to the success of the membership. I feel that each of the 6100 INS members has a voice in this organization. Finding the forum for that voice can be challenging. Making connections includes strengthening chapters with support from the Board of Directors and the INS national office, identifying leaders and nourishing leadership development, and supporting clinical practice. Over the past 2 years, the INS national office and the Board of Directors have reviewed strategies to communicate with each member more effectively. The board decided to assign one of its members to each chapter, providing opportunities for chapters to work with their elected leaders to garner support and obtain guidance. The board liaison-chapter visit program that started this past year is a way to link to the most important people in our society-each of you. I am committed this year to continuing to enhance our relations with each member and chapter as a step to building strong alliances.


The second step is developing solid generational connections in the workforce and within our nursing organization. The complexion of our workforce is changing, and by 2015, most of your current leaders will be retired. The X and Y generations will be entrusted with responsibilities for their professional organizations. As of 2005, Generations X and Y made up the majority of the workforce. How the Infusion Nurses Society will look in 6 to 10 years depends on making links between the generations. All generations participate on teams of some sort. What sets generations apart are the size, rules, and roles within teams. The baby boomers view teams as a community. The Xer team can be virtual rather than face-to-face and often involves no more than 3 people. The Y generation, or "Nexters," is beginning to form inclusive, civic-minded teams. It is predicted that the Nexter motto will be "No one gets left behind."


Attaining connections to build successful alliances includes all generations and their physical as well as psychological perspectives. I challenge individuals of the X and Y generations to seek out a mentor and develop a plan for a successful professional career in infusion nursing. To the veteran and boomer generations, I challenge you to listen to younger nurses and be open to new ways of team building.


In my research on this subject, I have found 3 keys to creating successful alliances between the generations: (1) understand the generational differences, (2) focus on the work needing to be accomplished, and (3) vary the communication strategies.


The third step is developing team alliances with effective community partners and affiliate organizations. INS already maintains collaborative relationships with the American Nurses Association (as an organizational affiliate), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, to name a few. In his address to Congress in February, President Obama promised to address the healthcare crisis and insurance needs of the country this year. INS is positioned to educate policy makers and affect healthcare delivery outcomes through collaborative partnerships.


The fourth step is encouraging our organization to become more aware of global concerns about our environment. During this presidential year, I want to examine how our nursing society can join with the global community to examine what we can do as nurses and as environmental health activists. Nurses play a key role in Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), an organization that includes the HCWH Nurses Workgroup, which represents a community of nurses who are dedicated to implementing environmentally responsible practices. INS is part of that workgroup.


Each of us can promote sustainability at multiple levels: as an individual, a chapter community, and a national organization. Everyone can make a difference at many points of intervention. As a nursing community, we can waste less, discuss issues to raise awareness, innovate new ways to recycle, and help sustain our environment by buying green products. This year I will devote a portion of my Newsline articles to this issue. I would like to see, over the coming year, a portion of each of your chapter meetings dedicated to discussing how we as an organization can make a difference in contributing to sustainability. I also invite you to share your "green attempts" in Newsline.


In conclusion, we all represent the little sparrow trying to hold up our part of the infusion specialty professional practice. Our little sparrow legs form chapter communities to link up with each other and, with other generations, develop affiliate relationships for a strong voice and increase awareness for a sustainable planet. If we make connections, we become a united team to move the Infusion Nurses Society forward in this ever-changing and challenging healthcare environment. We can make significant steps toward a progressive future. I ask each of you to connect with one other person by encouraging membership, obtaining the CRNI(R) credential yourself or helping another achieve the CRNI(R), by mentoring a new graduate who is considering the infusion specialty, or by working with your infusion team to look at environmental concerns. I promise to work hard this coming year by connecting with you and representing you to the best of my abilities. Thank you.




1. Bevis E. Curriculum Building in Nursing: A Process. 3rd ed. New York, NY: National League for Nursing; 1989;1. [Context Link]