The Pulse | Thursday, July 29, 2021
A Delightful Surprise: Q&A With Cathy Bauer, Gabriele Schindler Award Recipient
At the SGNA 48th Annual Course: A Virtual Experience, Cathy Bauer, SGNA past president (pictured above, right), was honored with the Gabriele Schindler Award for Clinical Excellence. The award recognizes an SGNA member who demonstrates excellence in gastroenterology clinical practice.
Celebrating awardees is special each year, but Bauer receiving this news as a surprise by SGNA Immediate President Michelle Juan made it especially sweet.
We caught up with Bauer to learn what that moment felt like, reflections on her career, advice for the next generation and more.
Thinking back on your professional journey, who or what got you to where you are today?
My father has been my biggest influence. He taught me to be open to new things, put my all into everything that I do and never give up. If you want to succeed, take chances and never think you are above anyone else. I never let an opportunity get away from me.
When I was younger, I often wondered why I always had bad luck. It was a struggle, but once I stopped thinking that way, my life changed. I am the luckiest person I know — not because everything always goes my way, but because I look for the blessings in my life.
I'll give you an example: one day walking across the street to get to my office, I fell off my shoe and sprained my ankle in the middle of the road. I had to crawl to the median and could not stand up. I was sure it was broken. The next thing I know, an ambulance came to the stop light on their way out of our emergency room. How lucky was I to have that happen at an intersection and an ambulance shows up within five minutes of my fall.
That may sound crazy, but that is the way I look at life. There is always something good that comes your way, especially when you are able to see through all the negative and still laugh.
The announcement of this award was a surprise for you. Can you tell us about that moment and how it feels to be recognized for your work?
I couldn't understand why Michelle was telling me about Gabriele Schindler, that wasn't one of the questions she prepared me for. The more she talked, the more I thought “She knows I know this stuff.” And when she said I had won, I thought she was joking with me — seriously joking! I am truly honored to be on the list of so many amazing women that I have looked up to for so long. I still do not feel deserving of such a high honor. Nurses have been at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing incredible resilience in the face of a year like no other.
Watch the surprise reveal of the award to Cathy in the video below.
Reflecting on the last year, what makes you hopeful for the future of the profession?
Endoscopy, especially interventional endoscopy, never slowed down during the pandemic. The patients that needed our care were not denied the essential life-saving care that we provide. We as endoscopy staff had to rethink the way we do things. As always, we stepped up to the task and collaborated on the best solutions for the patients. We were uniquely supported by our fellow SGNA colleagues, came together and provided guidance for best practices across the country. That is what being a part of a specialty is all about.
We may live and work in rural West Virginia or New York City, but we all care for the same patient population. We all have staff members and families who struggled with COVID, yet we pulled together and provided the best care to each other and our patients. That is why I think we can all be hopeful for the future of health care, nursing and especially the specialty we care so deeply about.
What is your advice for those just entering the profession or who might be new to SGNA?
Always know it doesn't matter where you work or where you grew up, you have something to contribute to our specialty. My motto has been on the wall of my offices: “It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.” These are words I live by. Don't let your past determine your future. Your future is up to you. If you don't like change happening to you, then get involved so you can understand and have influence over that change.