In 2005, former Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) President, Judy Mikhail, wrote an article in the Journal of Trauma Nursing (JTN) that has hung in my office since that time. The article titled “Ripples in the Pond: Building a Career of Influence” (Mikhail, 2005) struck a chord with me. The following are the tips I took away from the article:
- Influence is more important than authority.
- Influence cannot be bought or sold.
- Self-presentation begins with your attitude about yourself.
Influence is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (n.d.) as “to have an effect on condition or development of.” Influence is present in every area of life. As my career has progressed, I often find myself going back to this article that hangs in my office. I read the article, reflect on my key takeaway items, and find myself thinking about people who have influenced me and likely do not even know it. As a way to express my gratitude, I have recently begun a practice of sending notes to these individuals to thank them for their part in shaping who I am today. I encourage you to adopt a similar practice. I guarantee that you will find a sense of fulfillment in doing so.
My purpose in sharing this idea with you is threefold. First, this is the time of year that is perhaps my favorite. While many consider the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to be the busiest time of year, it is also when we often focus on spending time with those who are most important in our lives. During this holiday season, take moments during your time together to thank your friends and family for their influence in your life.
Second, I encourage each STN member to take the time during this season to reflect on their own ability to influence others. In how many areas of your life are you influential? What are you most proud of? Where do you think you can have positive influence but are not yet doing so? If, during your reflection, you find that getting involved in the STN needs to be added to your activities, I encourage you to fill out a volunteer form or reach out to the national headquarters office.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Judy Mikhail. Judy, you have influenced my life in a big way. Your article has helped me through some of the toughest days at work when I was questioning if the trauma program manager role was indeed the right role for me. Your work, as a past STN president, has paved the way for the work that I am honored to do for the STN this year. Your continued work, now as the JTN Editor-In-Chief, will continue to make many ripples in the pond for me and every individual that reads the JTN. Congratulations on your first edition as editor. I am sure that this is the beginning of something amazing.
Mikhail J. (2005). Ripples in the pond: Building a career of influence. Journal of Trauma Nursing, 12(3), 67–68.