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Energizing Generations: The Race to Distinction!

March/April 2017

Katrina BickerstaffKatrina Bickerstaff, BSN, RN, CPAN, CAPA
ASPAN President 2016-2017

Spring is here, flowers are blooming, the days are longer and the sun is warmer. Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and what better way to energize yourself than to attend the 36th ASPAN National Conference, Energizing the Generations: The Race to Distinction! This year’s conference will be in the great city of Indianapolis. It seemed like just yesterday that we were celebrating in Philadelphia.

Why Did I Choose This Theme?
As I look back over the past exciting and very rewarding year, I think of all the wonderful people I have met in all the states I have visited. This last year was an opportunity to spread my ASPAN message of Energizing the Generations: The Race to Distinction. Many people asked how I chose the words for my theme. In choosing my theme, I thought about what intrigues and moves me, and how I could use that message and those ideas to connect to all nurses, young and old.

What the Words Mean
When creating my theme, I wanted to use the word energize which means, “Give vitality and enthusiasm to.”1 I am an energetic person, and wanted to exude some of my passion and enthusiasm about ASPAN to all. I chose to focus on all the generations, because we all know each generation has different values and priorities. Important to me was to emphasize to each generation how they can make an impact and influence the future of perianesthesia nursing. 

The second part of the theme title, The Race to Distinction, does not necessarily refer to this year’s national conference being in the racing capital of the world, Indianapolis,2 or the fact that I am huge NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) and INDYCAR (Indy Racing League LLC) fan. Rather, it is in reference to the fact we are endlessly striving, racing, and competing to be the best. In this sense, our race will never be finished. 

Distinction: “An excellence that sets someone or something apart from others.”3 This word is important to my theme because ASPAN is unique and is different from other organizations. We are not critical care nurses, at least not all the time. We are not operating room nurses, although many nurses are cross-trained. We are not interventional radiologic nurses, obstetrical nurses, or cardiac catheterization nurses, but, at any time, we can be a bit of everything. We are no longer caring for just patients recovering from surgical procedures. We are distinct because we excel in not just one area, but provide care to all who will be patients recovering from any number of procedures. My message to all perianesthesia nurses of every generation is to focus on our future, embrace our distinction, and show your pride.

What’s Next for Me?
As I near the end of my term, I am honored and humbled to have been the leader of this wonderful organization. I could not have done it without the thousands of volunteers. It is only because of you and your commitment to ASPAN that we have this great organization, and I would like to thank each and every one of you. I would also like to thank a very hardworking group of people, the ASPAN National Office staff. Believe me, I could not have done this without them. Together, the national office staff along with Kevin Dill, ASPAN Chief Executive Officer, work tirelessly to support the work of ASPAN’s many volunteer leaders. 

In Indianapolis, I will be installing the new ASPAN Board of Directors and I will be passing the torch to Vice President/President-Elect Susan Russell. I will begin a new chapter as a past ASPAN leader. I will continue to support the work of the Society during this next year as the Chair of the Nominating Committee and Leadership Development Committee. I will now be responsible for promoting the leadership roles within ASPAN. I want to develop and mentor all who are interested, and I hope to encourage those who may be fearful to take the next step towards that leadership role.

My hope is that I have energized each and every one of you in some way to be the best that you can be, to find the energy within and ignite the passion for our specialty. ASPAN is distinct because of members like you and we should all be honored to be part of this great organization.

Another Leader’s Great Words
On a personal note, I must tell the story of how and why I decided to focus on the top position of ASPAN. Three years ago, I was on one of my favorite walks, a walk I have done many times, the Cape Cod Canal. It is a lovely stretch of seven miles each way, paved and preserved. Along the walk there is a short wall, and painted, graffiti-like, was the quote by the late Senator “Ted” Kennedy. I passed this wall nearly one hundred times and never gave it much thought, but one day, I stood there and thought my journey was just beginning. I wanted to be part of the ASPAN future. I leave you with the quote.

“There is no end to the journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will
outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make”

--Senator Edward Kennedy

  1. Energize. Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com./definition/energize. Accessed January 7, 2017.
  2. Racing Capital of the World. Available at: http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/legacies/loc.afc.afc-legacies.200002999/. Accessed January 7, 2017.
  3. Excellence. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/distinction-defined-excellence-sets-someone-something-sonia-olive. Accessed January 7, 2017.
  4. Senator Edward Kennedy. Available at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/edwardkenn411542.html. Accessed January 7, 2017. 

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