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A Stepping Stone to Building Your Professional Legacy

McIltrot, Kimberly DNP, CPNP, CWOCN

Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing: July/September 2014 - Volume 3 - Issue 3 - p 65
doi: 10.1097/JPS.0000000000000033

The editor declares no conflict of interest.



Attending the Annual APSNA Scientific Conference is a time for learning, sharing our expertise, networking, friendship, and rejuvenation of the spirit. This year’s conference theme of “Kindling Synergy” and the Keynote Speaker, Jo Manion, presenting “Live Your Legacy and Your Legacy Will Live On” had many of us pondering how we would transform our energy, how we would collaborate with colleagues, and what imprint we would want to leave behind. Jo Manion’s concept of writing your obituary to read the way you want it to and then living it out has led me to research and question others on legacy (Manion, 2014). Notably, there were several editorials in the nursing literature on legacy and one research article: The power of clinical nursing research: engage clinicians, improve patients’ lives, and forge a professional legacy, written by Anna Gawlinski. Gawlinski (2008, p. 326) states, “as nurses and their colleagues act as preceptors and mentors for new generations of nurses, they pass on the research discoveries and changes they have made…the impact of a nurse’s work lives on and creates a unique personal professional legacy.”

In my professional and personal life, I have the fun and excitement of interacting a lot with teenagers. In discussing legacy with them, it was suggested by several teens that I read or see John Green’s new movie “The Fault in Our Stars” where the character says, “Our lives aren’t just measured in years. They’re measured in the lives of the people we touch around us” (Green, 2012). In addition, this coming year’s National History Day ( theme for teenagers is “Leadership and Legacy.” This topic of legacy is obviously not just for the older adult looking back on their achievements! I was impressed with how many young people understand the concept of legacy, want to make a difference, and are planning out how they are going to reach their goals. It is important for us as nurses and citizens in our communities to slow down and think about all that we say and do. Often it is the small acts of care and kindness that have a lasting impact on others, of all ages, in good and poor health. Leadership and mentoring can create a rewarding and far-reaching legacy by your advice and education spreading to other students, peers, and patients. By starting now, at any age, you can work on creating the person you want to be and, eventually, how you will be remembered. “The concept of legacy requires that you reflect on the personal attributes that are your greatest potential. What things do you like to do that are uniquely a part of your strengths, and how will you develop them further?” (Vestal, 2014, p. 10). Do you enjoy researching and writing? Do you want to be the best speaker at conference so your words will be carried on and repeated to others? Do you have a case study that you feel so passionate about that you want it in print for other nurses to read and help promote a good outcome in these kinds of cases? APSNA is your stepping stone to help you further create your professional legacy: presenting at conference, writing for JPSN, mentoring colleagues, and more. Please let us know how we can assist you and how you would like to enhance your professional legacy with APSNA. To further motivate you, we hope you enjoy the top 3 posters and their abstracts from the Annual Conference published in this issue.

As always, I look forward to reading your submissions to JPSN!

Kimberly McIltrot, DNP, CPNP, CWOCN

APSNA Publications Chair

JPSN Editor-in-Chief


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Gawlinski A. ( 2008). The power of clinical nursing research: Engage clinicians, improve patients’ lives, and forge a professional legacy. American Journal of Critical Care, 17, 315–326.
Green J. ( 2012). The fault in our stars. New York, NY: Dutton Books.
Manion J. ( 2014, May 28). Live your legacy and your legacy will live on. AZ: Phoenix APSNA’s 23rd Annual Scientific Conference, Phoenix, AZ.
Vestal K. ( 2014). Building a legacy: Passion with a purpose. In Nurse Leader, 10–11.
Copyright © 2014 American Pediatric Surgical Nursing Association