1. Vos, Theresa MS, RN, CGRN

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How many times do you reflect on what you do everyday and how your profession impacts the lives of and brings value to those that it serves? How often have you been asked to articulate those very thoughts to others? Recently, I was given that opportunity. As the newly appointed president of the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA), I was asked to present my thoughts on the future direction of our specialty organization. I found the process to be both a personal and an emotional journey. What does the future hold for the profession of nursing and what is our responsibility as professionals that practice within the art and the science of nursing? How do we assure a bright future for a profession that is defined as the "essence of caring."

Figure. Theresa Vos,... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Theresa Vos, MS, RN, CGRN

As we face a challenging time in healthcare delivery, it is vital that the profession of nursing and our specialty organizations join together as a unified voice-a voice that gains its strength through the commitment of its members. When we address nursing, we find within it varying levels of education and expertise, diversity within age and culture, and a variety of venues in which we practice. What is it that consistently unites us as a profession even though the everyday aspects of our individual and collective practices are becoming more diverse? What is our unified voice?


The future of nursing and the direction we give to our specialty organizations, based on that future, belongs to each and every one of us. It is our obligation as professionals to participate so that the voice of nursing continues to be heard, understood, and valued. We must remember that what the future holds for our profession and our professional organizations depends on what we hold for their future. It is the blending of the nursing profession and our specialty organizations that will result in the best outcomes and bring value to the lives of those that we have the privilege to serve. It is where our strength can be found!!


As a profession, we are in the best place we have been in a long time-that is, if we choose to step up to the plate. The diversity found within nursing offers us opportunity to stretch beyond our current boundaries. This is an age of change. We must commit to become "change makers" instead of "change receivers." It is our responsibility to adapt to the dynamics of change and address it as a welcomed journey. Each of us must take on the responsibility and accountability as professionals to actively participate, so that the voice of nursing continues to make an impact in the delivery of care.


As nurses, we must be willing to challenge our past practices and create the pressure to change. Together we must continue to develop the leadership within us. Each of us must take on the responsibility of leadership in the provision of care. We must commit ourselves to continued life-long learning. We must be outcome driven rather than process orientated so that the reality of nursing and our specialty organizations will exist within a health-based care delivery system rather than a treatment-based system. As professionals, we must be willing to challenge our past practices. Our commitment must shift from volume-driven thinking to value-driven thinking. And under all circumstances, we must be willing to ask ourselves if what we are doing as a profession and a specialty organization has an impact.


Each of us has selected to be a representative of nursing and our chosen specialty. Along with that choice comes the accountability of involvement. The talent and diversity that each of you brings to our profession is the foundation by which it will build its future.


Today my colleagues, I ask you to actively join nursing and your chosen professional organization on their continued journey in the development of one voice. The road ahead will be filled with many new opportunities and new beginnings. It is through our collective efforts that we will see the future hold its door wide open. As representatives of the profession of nursing and our specialty organizations, we must walk through that door together. You are needed to help lead the way.


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