It does not seem possible that 2018 has arrived! It seems like only yesterday that it was April 2017, we were in St. Louis, and I was installed as your president. I am now halfway through my term, and it has been a busy one. The entire Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) organization has been hard at work. Your Board of Directors (BOD), your national office staff, and your peers who serve on committees have been busy working on your behalf and the organization's. As you know, STN is a global entity partnering with many individuals and organizations across the world to bring the highest quality and most cost-effective trauma care to everyone.
The year 2018 is a special anniversary year for the Journal of Trauma Nursing (JTN), as it will be 25 years old. For a quarter of a century, it has been a most prestigious and academic journal for nurses who care for injured patients. Like fine wine, it gets keeps getting better with age. The JTN is also pleased to announce that Kristen Chreiman, MSN, RN, CCRN, TCRN, will be the Online Editor for both the electronic journal and the JTN social media sites. We are blending the best of all worlds to stay in touch with our membership. One of the ways STN is able to connect to trauma nurses around the world is through the JTN in all of its forms.
I love hearing from STN members on how to deliver products in new and exciting ways. STN needs to stay relevant to all of its members. In October at the BOD meeting, I had a tutorial from another board member about a hashtag project STN is planning. I loved it. STN continues to improve its social media presence, as it is a way for trauma nurses to be connected everywhere. I really enjoy being around STN members with all their new, creative thoughts, and positive energy.
As we begin this new year, I would like to share with you what is on the horizon for STN. We all make New Year's resolutions and have wishes for 2018. I encourage you all to set personal and professional goals and make wishes for yourself for this new year. Even if you did not make them by December 31—it is not too late. Here are a few ideas to reflect on for 2018.
- Every day, be grateful. If you are reading this, you have lived to see a new year; yet, we know that there are many people who cannot say this. None of the trauma patients we cared for in 2017 thought on that fateful day that it might be their last. And, although we have all had our setbacks, tragedies, and problems—we have persevered. Life goes on—even in the face of tragedy.
- Embrace getting older. Age is a marker but is not everything. What we're capable of has a lot more to do with our determination, creativity, and passion than the number of candles on the cake. For many years, I worked with an older pediatric trauma surgeon. He would frequently say, “I hope I am still relevant. I hope I can keep up with everyone ... so much energy, change and excitement.” He was an amazing man, a phenomenal surgeon, and I could not understand why he would ask if he was relevant; I am now 56 and he is in his late 80s and retired. We occasionally see each other, and I am amazed as he FaceTimes with his grandchildren, does Instagram, Snapchats, and keeps up with “those youngsters.” He loves all the “apps” that make practicing medicine and surgery so different than when he was training. I recently showed him the electronic version of the JTN, and he was amazed at how it had changed over the years. He had framed my first JTN publication for me more than 20 years ago and gave it to me as a gift.
- Surround yourself with passionate people. I believe STN has something for everyone. Join one of our committees, a special focus group, try one of our numerous membership engagement opportunities, and get lost in something that inspires you. You will meet new people, learn about yourself, and have fun. Find people who can make you a better person—That's how you stay fresh and continue to grow. If you are an experienced leader, find the most experienced and skilled people that you can and work with them, even if it means taking a smaller role. Taking the smaller role allows you to mentor others and grow in ways you never imagined.
- Practice patience and be kind. My maternal grandfather would frequently tell me and my sisters to “always be kind to everyone—no matter what. For everyone you meet is fighting a hidden battle and carrying a heavy burden that you know nothing about.” This has been a difficult year for trauma providers and STN members. We have had numerous hurricanes, destructive wildfires, earthquakes, and mass shootings. STN has deferred dues for members whose homes and workplaces were involved in the horrible tragedies of 2017. We recognize that it will be years for many of our members to be whole again. I would ask each of you to think about those individuals who are part of your “home families” and your “work families.” I would like to ask each of you to please contact a colleague who has had a difficult time over the past few months and ask how he or she is doing. Give the gift of your time. Consider donating money, old clothes, furniture, and so on, to relief agencies attempting to help people get back on their feet. Think about volunteering for a week and helping in the various rebuilding projects for the areas hardest hit with Habitat for Humanity or with various other groups.
- Take care of yourself. Our job of caring for trauma patients and their families is hard work. It is emotional, it challenges us clinically, it makes us question many things, and it motivates us. Nursing as a whole, and trauma nursing especially, functions every day in stressful and heart-wrenching situations. Stress takes its toll on all of us. We see death every day, and it is intensely real. When someone dies, it does not matter whether he or she is close to us or a stranger we see in news clips of the horror of Las Vegas on October 1, it shines a light on life's basic things: love, family, and relationships. What is important to you? Take time to be happy, healthy, and joyful.
- Thinking differently is good. We find comfort among those who agree with us—Growth among those who don't. I worked very briefly for a Director of Nursing who never wanted to hear a new idea or change anything. She was my interim director for a few months and questioned every project on why the change needed to occur. You had to think just like her or you were not “a team player.” Doing anything differently was seen as being critical of the way things were being done. I could not wait for my time with her to end. Trauma care is an ever-changing field in health care. With change comes growth and development, and it starts with people who think differently. If we all thought the same, life would be boring. It does not matter how old you are; you can still grow and make changes in your life.
- Look beyond your backyard. I love my backyard and find solace and comfort in my garden and rocking on my glider, but I recognize there is also a big world out there to be explored. Life is an adventure to be enjoyed. We are all fortunate to be where we are and have what we have. Many others are not so fortunate. STN has been working hard to assist our trauma colleagues who are practicing in developing and underserved nations. In October 2017 at its meeting in Chicago, the BOD approved several new initiatives for our organization and expanded on some others. STN approved the formation of an International Council that reports to our International Director Knut Magne Kolstadbraaten. The Council has been formed and has been having monthly teleconferences. It has members from all over the world and has set up goals and a plan on how STN can enhance trauma care worldwide.
Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN) is now offered in more than 25 countries and continues to flourish across the globe. STN provides grants to underserved countries to support the running of ATCN courses so that nurses have the necessary knowledge and skills to make a difference in the lives of the citizens of their country. STN has been updating the computerized database that maintains all of the ATCN information so that it is able to make accessing information for course directors and instructors faster and smoother. The ATCN curriculum is in the process of being reviewed and updated so that it will be ready to go with the release of Version 10 of Advanced Trauma Life Support later on this year.
STN is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to facilitate the expansion of trauma courses across the globe. In addition to working with the WHO on their trauma nursing curriculum for underserved countries, STN is updating the “e-Library” and Version 3 will be released this spring.
The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma will be sponsoring the 2018 World Trauma Congress (WTC) this fall. It will be held in San Diego from September 26 to 29, 2018, and STN will be coordinating the nursing tract. The WTC will be an exciting opportunity for the United States and other countries to showcase their knowledge, research, and expertise and learn from each other. Please think about what you would like to submit as an abstract for the WTC. Think about signing up for a WTC committee and planning that trip to San Diego.
I am also pleased to announce that in 2018, STN will begin taking nominations for the first STN International Fellow Program. This program will allow individuals from outside the United States to learn more about trauma care in the United States. They will be able to come to the annual TraumaCon Conference as well as other events. It will allow them to obtain knowledge and network with STN members so that they can better assist those in their homeland when they return.
In November 2017, STN announced it was inaugurating a yearly Pediatric Trauma Nursing Paper Competition, which will have a monetary award. Pediatric trauma carries an enormous cost to society in both money and the physical and psychological toll experienced by patients, parents, and families. Please refer to the STN website for more details on this exciting new endeavor. This, along with the STN Leadership Externship, the EAST Fellowship, the STN Research Award, and the JTN, and so much more are examples of how we share our knowledge and expertise with the world.
I encourage you all to begin planning to attend the 2018 TraumaCon in Portland, OR, this March. It will be an exciting conference. 2018 has only just begun and there is so much going on—Ring in the New Year and get involved!!!!