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APSNA is My Professional Association…and My Hobby

McKenna, Chris MSN, CRNP, CPNP PC/AC

Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing: July/September 2014 - Volume 3 - Issue 3 - p 66–67
doi: 10.1097/JPS.0000000000000025
Message From the President

Chris McKenna, MSN, CRNP, CPNP PC/AC, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA.

APSNA 2014–2015 President.

The author declares no conflict of interest.




I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and has enjoyed many wonderful outside activities with family and friends. In June, my husband and I spent a terrific week at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, and then in August, we celebrated my mom’s 75th birthday in Ohio. In addition, the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association (APSNA) Board has spent the summer furthering the many initiatives decided upon at our annual conference in May.

When I decided to accept the nomination as President-Elect of APSNA, I knew I was making a significant, 3-year commitment to the organization. I had some idea of what I was signing up for from my two previous terms on the Board, but I also knew that the organization had grown a great deal over the years and that the responsibilities and expectations for board members had increased as well. I realized that, if elected, the membership would be entrusting me with the great honor and responsibility of leading the organization and that it was not a decision to be made lightly.

In 2011, I ran and lost the election to my predecessor, Neil Ead, who did a phenomenal job of leading us through a year of significant change as we began in earnest to transition the work of the Board away from administrative tasks and toward governance. I ran again in 2012 and was thrilled to receive the call that I was to be the next President-Elect, and then President, of APSNA. When reality hit, I remained excited but realized that I was also a bit intimidated. For a while, I alternated between feelings of worry and anticipation, wondering how I would be able to provide the high level of commitment required of the President of the organization. Like most of our day jobs, mine is pretty demanding, and I was nervous about balancing my responsibilities. Thankfully, I have the support of my husband and my colleagues, but I was concerned that perhaps that still wasn’t enough. And then, in the midst of preparing to accept the traditional APSNA Presidential Hegar dilator (in lieu of the more traditional presidential gavel), I had an insight that significantly changed my outlook. I decided that, for the next 2 years…APSNA would be my hobby!

As stated in our 1994 Articles of Incorporation, APSNA was “organized as an association of persons having a common interest in pediatric surgical nursing with the purpose of pediatric surgical nursing.” So, what is a professional association, and what is a hobby?

According to Wikipedia (, “a professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) is usually a nonprofit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest.” Wikipedia defines a hobby as “a regular activity done for pleasure—typically during leisure—e.g., collecting themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits, playing sports.” The article on hobby in Wikipedia ( continues with “anyone who does an activity solely for fun is called an ‘amateur’ (from French for ‘lover of’) or ‘hobbyist’; whereas anyone who does an activity for a reward is a ‘professional.’” I think, then, that we are likely both hobbyists and professionals in our efforts on behalf of APSNA.

Last autumn, my husband, Pete, and I went to a picnic hosted by friends. These folks have friends from lots of different places, so as an icebreaker, they asked each of us to write our name on a “Hello my name is….” nametag and, on the same nametag, to complete the sentence “I like ….” Our host wrote the name of his wife, our hostess wrote M & M’s, Pete wrote old time rock and roll, and I wrote “lots of things.” It wasn’t a cop out; it was just that I like so many things that I couldn’t limit myself to just one. I like chocolate, pizza, oysters, and strawberries. I like to cook for company. I like to play tennis and golf, dance, and watch all kinds of sports. I like to play the piano and enjoy all kinds of music. I like plays, movies, and musicals. I like to crochet, knit, and cross-stitch. I love dogs. I love to read. I love spending time with my husband and our families and friends. I love to travel. Some people worry what they will do in retirement, not me—I am never bored. There is always something I am happy to do. I have had lots of hobbies in my life!

You might ask what I don’t like then—there’s not too much. I don’t really enjoy shopping. And I don’t like swimming in cold water or swimming when it is cold outside. That’s about it.

So, with the start of my Presidential year, I decided to focus on APSNA and make APSNA my main hobby. I gave up reading for pleasure. Many of my evening and weekend hours are spent on APSNA activities. I’m not alone—this is true of members of our Board, Committee, and Special Interest Groups (SIGs). However, besides the professional development and satisfaction of doing APSNA work, it turns out, as you might suspect, that hobbies are good for us! In a quick review of the literature, I found the following interesting study looking at the effect of enjoying hobbies on cardiovascular health. Using responses to questionnaires, Saihara et al. (2010) divided study participants into two different groups: those who enjoyed hobbies and a nonhobby group. The subjects were followed for several years for major cardiovascular outcomes. The only independent variable found to have an impact on cardiovascular health was the enjoyment of hobbies! So, not only is contributing to APSNA good for our profession and our patients and families, it’s also good for our hearts and thus our overall health!

As the cooler months approach and summer turns into fall and fall into winter, my wish for you is that you have time to enjoy an existing hobby or find a new one. I will continue to focus on APSNA. I thank the Board of Directors, Committees, and Special Interest Groups for their contributions and welcome your ideas and input.

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Saihara K., Hamasaki S., Ishida S., Kataoka T., Yoshikawa A., Orihara K., & Tei C. ( 2010). Enjoying hobbies is related to desirable cardiovascular effects. Heart & Vessels, 25( 2), 113–120.
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