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Message From the President

If You Want to Travel Fast, Go Alone. If You Want to Travel Far, Go Together*

McKenna, Chris MSN, CRNP

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Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing: April/June 2014 - Volume 3 - Issue 2 - p 38-39
doi: 10.1097/JPS.0000000000000016
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It is truly a privilege to begin my term as President of the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association. I see myself, along with my fellow board members, as carrying the torch forward from those who have come before me to those who will lead our organization in the future. I am grateful for the opportunity to have seen so many of you at our fantastic 23rd Annual Scientific Conference in Phoenix just a few weeks ago. Many thanks to Raquel Pasarón and her Program Committee for a well-organized meeting packed with great information, lots of networking, and some fun social events. If you were able to join us, I hope that you returned to your life and job reenergized, excited, and full of great ideas. If you couldn’t make it this year, go ahead and start planning to attend our 24th Annual Scientific Conference in Fort Lauderdale in late April 2015. Watch this space for more details!

As I began thinking about what I wanted to say in this, my first “Message from the President,” I was reminded of a piece I wrote 20 years ago as the preface to an issue of Nursing Clinics of North America (December 1994) devoted to pediatric surgical nursing. I would like to share some of what I previously wrote with you as a way of demonstrating how far we have traveled, collectively, together as an organization:

“This is an exciting time for pediatric surgical nursing. In May, 1991, I was fortunate to attend the American Pediatric Surgical Association meeting in Colorado Springs, CO, along with approximately 50 other nurses who were working in pediatric surgery. This was my first contact with so many colleagues in positions similar to mine, and it was a privilege to meet such talented and dedicated people. Many of these nurses had been working diligently before our meeting to organize this first “Nurses’ Day”, as well as to develop a cohesive framework for a nursing group. (Special kudos to our founding president, Diane Jakobowski, and president-elect, Gail Garvin). We took the opportunity at that meeting to organize at the national level, and thus the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association was born.”

From 50 to now over 700 members—wow!!!

I come to you by way of Cincinnati Children’s (staff nurse on the acute care surgical unit where I thought my mentors of 6 and 8 years knew everything!!!), the University of Massachusetts Medical Center (pediatric surgery and trauma CNS), and now Pittsburgh. I am currently the manager of the trauma program at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; I also clinically care for patients 1–2 days/week as a nurse practitioner. I was APSNA’s first Treasurer and served another term on the Board as Treasurer from 2004 to 2006. I am grateful for the leadership and support of so many of our past-presidents, board members, and members over the years.

I would like to thank our outgoing Board Members: Ellen O’Donnell (Immediate Past-President), Nancy Thompson (Director-at-Large), Liz Hood (Leadership Chair), Melanie Hanlon (Membership Chair), and Karen Rodriquez (Secretary) for their contributions to the Board over the last many years. These remarkable women have volunteered many hours in support of APSNA’s mission to “promote excellence in pediatric surgical nursing practice through educational offerings, nursing research, professional collaboration and peer support.”

I am also excited to welcome some new faces to the Board. Kim Cogley comes to us from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and is our new Leadership Chair. Tish DeYoung from Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, California, is going to help us reinvent the role of the Director-at-Large. Jenifer Reistma assumes the Membership Chair position—I wonder if she is our first board member ever from South Dakota? Laurie Sands, our incoming Secretary, hails from the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. And after a several year hiatus, Kathy Leack from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is returning to the Board as Program Chair.

Finally, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to work with and learn from our Board Members who are remaining on the Board this coming year: Neil Ead as Immediate Past-President, Barb Bratton as Treasurer, Natalie Walker as Development Chair, Raquel Pasarón as President-Elect, Kim McIltrot as Publication Chair, Robin Deloach Koonce as Education Chair, and Margie Birdsong as Information Systems Chair. Their dedication to moving APSNA forward is inspiring!

As always, there is much going on with APSNA at the moment. Some of the work is front and center, but just as much is going on behind the scenes. We are working through our transition to Sherwood in our efforts to offload administrative responsibilities from Board Members. We are advancing our Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing under the editorial leadership of Kim McIltrot. We are continuing to develop our partnership with NAPNAP. Our Trauma SIG has developed a position statement on Distracted Driving. All of this—and more—is to better serve you, our members, and to support all of us as we care for pediatric surgical patients and their families.

I first saw the following African proverb on the e-mail signature of a colleague: “If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.” That is what we experience every day in our personal lives and in our jobs. And it is also the essence of APSNA. Groups of people—the Board, Committees, SIGs, and the larger membership—all working together to take this organization farther. At the Conference, we had a roundtable session on Member Engagement. We as a Board are really looking for ways to meet your needs and provide you with the opportunities you want to be involved in the organization. Nominations are open for the 2015–2016 board positions. Please consider volunteering to run for a position or nominating a colleague. Not sure if you’re ready to make a commitment to the Board? Join a SIG or Committee, write an article for the Journal, start working on a poster for next year’s conference. There are lots of ways to put your toe in the water.

I am here for you. You have my commitment that I will return your phone call, reply to your e-mail, welcome you, listen to you, and encourage you. I am available at, in the office at 412-692-6503, at home at 412-369-4767, and on my cell phone at 412-605-8184.

Won’t you join us on this journey as we seek to go farther with APSNA?

*African Proverb

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