Behind the Scenes | Friday, January 11, 2019
Message from the President: A Look at SGNA Around the World
And Onward to Portland, Oregon
From Cathy Bauer, MSN MBA CGRN CFER, SGNA President
Serving as the President of SGNA, I am asked to attend and speak at several meetings. This is one of my favorite parts of my role. Through my travels, I had the honor of meeting with many of our committed members and other nursing and technician colleagues from around the world. Last fall was very busy beginning with the annual American College of Gastroenterology/Old Dominion Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (ACG/ODSGNA) Post Graduate conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. I had the opportunity to speak about the benefits of being an SGNA member and relay all that SGNA has to offer to nurses and technicians. This course is held every year the weekend after Labor Day. As an added bonus, Williamsburg is a great location because of its long history and family friendly atmosphere.
I then represented SGNA at the Canadian SGNA (CSGNA) national meeting in Quebec City. The city is the oldest city in Canada and has so much history. The buildings and the architecture are spectacular – well worth the trip north of the border. The conference was attended by approximately 160 nurses from across the country. Everyone that I met was as passionate about GI nursing and supportive of the community we call SGNA as I am. They struggle with some of the same things we do here in the U.S. – whether that’s encouraging certification, membership in the specialty organization and bringing younger nurses into our specialty. With the average age of a GI nurse being 55, it is so important to look for ways to entice new GI nurses to join SGNA and discover the benefits of membership.
In October, I flew to Germany on my way to the annual European Society of Gastroenterology (ESGNA) and Endoscopy Nurses and Associates meeting in Vienna, Austria. While visiting a former gastroenterologist who works at one of the U.S. military bases in Saarbrucken, I was able to talk to his staff about the importance of infection prevention. I truly felt honored to have the opportunity to speak to the staff that takes care of our military.
I then drove eight hours from Saarbrucken to Vienna (on the Audubon, checked that off my bucket list!) and attended the annual meeting which was attended by more than 10,000 nurses and doctors from around the world. This was quite impressive to say the least. I was invited to meet with the board of directors of the ESGENA and talk about ways we can work together to create a world where GI nursing is successfully helping the patients we serve. We talked about similar struggles as CSGNA with recruiting members, and staying financially sound in times when support from employers to attend educational courses declines.
In November, SGNA held its annual Leadership Course in Rosemont, Illinois. It was a great event, with about 60 nurses and associates in attendance for a full weekend of education and networking. This course gets better and better. This year the format focused on providing time to connect with each other, develop relationships and talking about ways to support one another. I went away from that conference with renewed energy and faith in our organization’s success and the future of our members and leaders. I am positive that one of our future national SGNA presidents will come out of these leadership development opportunities and expect greatness from each of the attendees in their pursuit of excellence.
I am looking forward to the second half of my year as your president and hope to see you in Portland, Oregon, at the SGNA 46th Annual Course, from April 14-16.