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Perianesthesia Nurses Together – The Importance of Human Connection, Power of Community!

May/June 2021

Jennifer Kilgore, BSN, RN, CPAN
ASPAN President 2021-2022

Perianesthesia Nurses Together – The Importance of Human Connection, Power of Community! Oh, my goodness, it is a joy and honor to be president of American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (ASPAN). Our year ahead will take us together on a journey to empower and advance the unique specialty of perianesthesia nursing! Together, we will focus on the importance of human connection and the power of community. There is a rising physical and emotional toll disconnection has on each one of us and beyond. We need each other and our patients need us, and society needs us. There is great strength and power in recognizing that, through our diversity, we can find unequaled unity. With that said, I believe it is crucial for us to focus on the things that bring us together.

Ownership Brings Commitment
Ownership brings us together. As members of the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses, we are each owners of our specialty. One distinguishing factor an ASPAN member has, and which truly raises the bar of our practice, is ownership. Ownership takes immense commitment and sacrifice, but the rewards and return on investment are indeed great.

Have you ever noticed we tend to take better care of property when we own it? After my first year of college, I rented an efficiency apartment. It was one huge room with a bath, in an unusually large house that met my budget and needs I had at that time. The color scheme left a lot to be desired. It was drafty and dated, with the walls a dark, wood-grain paneling, and the floors sporting a long, red shag carpet. It was old and falling apart. Honestly, it did not matter to me because I knew I would not live there forever. It was not mine. It was only temporary. 

My husband and I bought our first home in 1997. It was a small, startup home, but I remember how good it felt to own something and call it ours. Together, we worked hard to make improvements, updates, and renovations on our first home. We made sure everything was as perfect as possible. Over the next five years, we took impeccable care of our house, inside and out. This house was different from my first rental, because it belonged to us. Ownership is a powerful concept. Together, we as members of ASPAN are owners of this great organization.

Ownership When We Love Our Job
I think we can easily apply this very concept to our profession. Like most, we tend to take better care of things we own. Far too many enter our first jobs like we do an apartment. We may not be positive it is ‘the one’ or that it is the perfect, dream job or specialty worthy of personal commitment. Maybe the uncertainty of first jobs causes us to ‘rent’ instead of ‘own.’ Often, we are less likely to get involved, seek certification, go the extra mile, attend conferences, or dive into leadership roles if we are ‘renting.’ This was true for me. I began my nursing career working night shift on an ortho/neuro floor. However, when an opportunity came to transfer into the recovery room, I was so excited for a new adventure. This time was different. I knew right away I loved the unique specialty of perianesthesia nursing. It did not take long for me to buy in to our amazing specialty. Joining ASPAN sealed the deal for sure!

Own Your Career!
We live in a selfie world and, the truth is, we are all in it for ourselves. We are building our careers daily. In the past, nurses and other professionals often stayed with a company for decades. Step-by-step, they would climb that ladder toward higher positions and better salaries. Today’s nurses and professionals have moved from ladders to lily pads. Instead of climbing, it may look more like a frog hopping from one spot to another. Many nurses may have multiple careers in a variety of settings and specialties, belonging to several organizations. We live in a new day, and today’s nurses may not be interested in climbing a corporate ladder. Today’s nurses may not stay in one place for decades. My recommendation is still the same. Own your career, don’t rent it. Wherever you find yourself, invest yourself fully into the work before you. Give it everything you’ve got. 

A Sense of Ownership with ASPAN
One primary way to be an owner is to join and participate in your professional organization. Find ways to get involved and dig deeper and share the insight you gain with your colleagues. Promote component events, seminars, certification, and the things you learn from being a part of ASPAN. Unlike any other element of my professional development, being a member of ASPAN has brought me a greater sense of professional growth and ownership. Shortly after I joined ASPAN, I decided to get involved in committee work and, from there, so many doors have opened. There is power in owning our work. Energy, ingenuity, creativity, focus, and passion come to life when we own our work, regardless of where we serve. You hold the keys to that open door when you are an owner. Ownership brings us together!

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”1 We are perianesthesia nursing, from eye contact and touch to a warm whisper of reassurance to our patients, letting them know we are present and available for them – so powerful. Together, let us make 2021-2022 the very best year ever for ASPAN and perianesthesia nurses! Perianesthesia Nurses Together - The Importance of Human Connection and Power of Community.


  1. Brainy Quotes. Franklin D. Roosevelt Quotes. Accessed January 24, 2021.


Elmore T. Habitudes Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes. Growing Leaders, Inc.; 2015

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