When I joined the Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) more than 12 years ago, at the direction of my then boss, I joined to connect with other trauma leaders. I did not envision being a committee member or being on the board of directors, let alone the president. I was brand new to the trauma program coordinator role at a hospital that was beginning the process to become a trauma center. I was immediately inspired. I quickly found that STN was a welcoming and knowledge-rich organization. I also knew that I wanted to emulate the amazing people that I encountered through STN. Quickly after becoming a member, I took advantage of all the resources that STN offers. From the listserv to the mentor program, from focus groups to taking the TOPIC course six times, I have done it all. When I started, STN was my lifeline. It remains my lifeline today.
As I write my first Journal of Trauma Nursing message as the new STN president, I cannot help but think that I am STN's success story. Our organization fulfilled its mission through me reaching this point. When I started my journey 12 years ago, I did not have a mentor to show me the way. STN showed me the way.
From 2006 until 2013, I attended STN conferences, participated in a workgroup to complete a project, and became involved in the STN Leadership Committee. I was involved with STN, but I wanted to take my involvement to the next level.
In the fall of 2013, I forwarded an e-mail about the STN Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) nurse fellow to my medical director and simply asked, “What do you think?” He never responded to me, and I just let it go because I didn't want to seem like I was begging him to nominate me. What I didn't know was that he had submitted a nomination. I was notified in November 2013 that I was receiving that award. That experience was career changing. I was given three incredible mentors, all of those have become dear friends. Amber Kyle, Betsy Seislove, and Joan Pirrung, thank you for taking the time to pour into me. My being in this position today is your achievement as mentors. After the EAST conference, I was intentional about staying connected with people that I had met and staying engaged with STN.
In the early summer of 2014, I was asked to consider moving into the cochair role o f the Leadership Committee with Amy Krichten and together we continued work on the Leadership Institute and launched the program in late 2014. Amy, you were the best cochair I could have asked for, and I am honored to have completed this project with you. The support and encouragement that we received, from all levels of the organization, while completing that project was so encouraging; it was contagious.
In the fall of 2015, I took a leap of faith and submitted my application to run for the STN Board of Directors. I served as the director-at-large for Leadership in 2016 and 2017, and in 2018, I was elected to the president-elect position. I spent the last year learning the ropes from Sean Elwell, STN Immediate Past President, and Stephanie Czuhajewski, STN Executive Director. And, that brings us to today.
So, as I begin my term as president, I promise you, the members of STN, the following:
- I will be authentic;
- I will strive to be mindful;
- I will be a good steward of STN resources;
- I will work with the board of directors and committee chairs to seek out additional opportunities for volunteer involvement at all levels of the organization; and
- I will continue to pay forward the benefits I have received from STN.
In return, I ask that you, the members of STN, do the following:
- Work together to cultivate a culture that fosters tolerance and civility;
- You dare to be uncommon; and
- You don't give up; work collaboratively with leaders within STN to find your niche, allowing you to thrive as a trauma nurse.
In closing, I want to thank you for this opportunity. It is my true honor to serve as the president of STN.