The Pulse | Tuesday, July 21, 2020
A Q&A With Annett Schmit, 2020 SGNA Regional Society Member of the Year Award Winner
Annett Schmit, BSN RN CGRN, was recently announced as the 2020 SGNA Regional Society Member of the Year Award winner. SGNA spoke with Schmit about the importance of getting involved on the regional level of SGNA and what this award means to her.
Based on your experience, why is being a regional society member important?
I believe that a professional society like SGNA should be a reflection of its members. For me, being a member provides accountability and ownership to the organization. SGNA has always relied on its members for feedback and input on all regional matters, which sets them apart from other professional organizations. We elect our leaders from within the membership and hold open forum during the House of Delegates meeting at the Annual Course. For these reasons, I believe that the society is more responsive to its members’ needs. Being a member allows me to share my input. I have a vote in who is elected and on all voting matters.
Reflecting on your time with your SGNA Regional Society, what moments stand out? How has being an active member within your region helped you both professionally and personally?
There are numerous moments that stand out during my 20-year involvement with SGNA and Central Illinois SGNA. Involvement with SGNA has given me the skills, confidence and knowledge to take me from a staff nurse to my current role as unit educator and project specialist. A few moments include:
My first GI regional conference: I was hooked from the very first GI conference I attended. I was so impressed that an entire conference was dedicated to GI education. I was a sponge soaking it all up. Today, as the education chair for the region, I want to create opportunities that inspire that same feeling for our GI nurses who attend their first GI conferences. It isn’t just about providing a lecture, it’s about creating an experience.
Multi-Regional SGNA conference: The time I spent on the multi-regional planning committee helped me learn the skills I needed to plan conferences in my own region. I was able to digitalize all of our forms and move registration to an electronic platform. This really simplified our planning sessions, as we were able to share the work more easily between the regions. It also streamlined our meetings. We were able to accomplish more in less time and provide our members with a quality mini annual conference. As a group, we were able to overcome the challenges of planning a conference from five different states. Even though we no longer have a multi-regional SGNA conference, those committee bonds remain strong. We support and promote each other’s events.
SGNA has given me the opportunity and resources to share my passion of learning and, in turn, teaching.
My first SGNA Annual Course in Dallas, Texas: My first SGNA Annual Course was incredible. I attended the famous IMS “Elvis Party.” At work, Elvis was always the topic of discussion two weeks before annual course every year. Would it be young Elvis or old Elvis this year providing the entertainment at the networking welcome reception?
Alice Day, one of our regional leaders at the time, was never a stranger. She introduced me to everyone at this conference. I learned from her how friendly and encouraging this group of like-minded nurses were. She taught me the importance of networking and sharing of ideas. As Faith Roberts, RN, magnet coordinator at Carle Hospital and SGNA keynote speaker, would say, “If something was a ‘pebble in my shoe’, it was probably a pebble in someone else’s shoe, also.” Through networking with others we could discuss those issues and share solutions. Although the “Elvis Party” has phased into a reception that highlights the hosting city, what better place to network than at the SGNA Annual Course. I love making new friends every year and reconnecting with past ones.
My work with the SGNA Education Committee: Being part of this committee gave me insight into the amount of work that went into providing and promoting education to the society. We answered questions like, “What does the membership need?” and “What is the best format to present that information?”
I’m very proud of the work the committee did during my time with them. We reviewed and revised resources that nurses rely on in everyday practice. We have a great resource in our SGNA headquarters staff. They are here to serve us.
What does receiving this award mean to you?
I am truly blessed to be a part of one of the best work families, and SGNA is an integral part of our work culture. Loralee Kelsey, my preceptor, introduced me to SGNA on my first day of orientation. She knew the importance of creating a solid foundation. She knew that SGNA provided the resources a new nurse needed. The Core Curriculum was my go-to book. Whenever we looked at department policies and procedures, we would look at SGNA guidelines and position statements.
The fact that I am being honored with this award for doing something I love doing seems so unreal. SGNA has given me the opportunity and resources to share my passion of learning and, in turn, teaching. I’m able to share this with my peers and with my patients so we can promote evidence-based healthcare in all of our decisions.
What advice do you have for an SGNA member who wants to be more involved with their regional society?
Volunteering is one of the best things I have ever done. I have grown so much as a GI nurse and have been mentored by some remarkable GI nurses throughout our region. I encourage every member to volunteer at whatever level they feel comfortable. You’ll make new friends and gain insight to what SGNA has to offer.
In our region, we have several opportunities for members to volunteer. It can be as simple as helping at our Voices in GI conference by greeting attendees as they arrive, or by introducing one of the speakers. Or it can be more long-term like running for an open board position. When you volunteer you are never, ever doing it alone. We are all there, learning and working together.