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Authors

  1. Haryanto, Mickey RN-BC, MBA, ONC

Article Content

It is truly an honor to be chosen to serve as president of the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) and to follow in the footsteps of former NAON President, Angie Pearce. I'd also like to recognize the past presidents whose dedication and vision have led our organization to be a major source of knowledge and professional connection for our specialty. I am humbled and very fortunate to serve with this fine executive board and very much look forward to working with our newly elected board members.

  
Mickey Haryanto, RN-... - Click to enlarge in new window NAON President

During the nearly four decades since NAON was formed, there have been momentous changes in healthcare, new procedures and technologies, and shifting regulatory priorities affecting us as orthopaedic nurses. However, the NAON mission has remained steadfast: to advance the specialty of orthopaedic nursing through excellence in research, education, and clinical practice. My goal is to carry the work of NAON forward as we pivot to the next decade with positive and productive momentum.

 

A little bit about me...

 

My current position is Joint Replacement Program Manager for the Musculoskeletal Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina. For the past 3 years, I have served as a director on the NAON board. Prior to that, I was chair of the NAON Education Committee. My nursing career has focused on orthopaedics in areas of critical care, home care, case management, and program management. My introduction to NAON came after I had taken a position as an orthopaedic service line manager in my former home region of Western Massachusetts. A new role with a new focus demanded that I seek expert advice. Where did I find that? With NAON of course! I discovered that other nurses had the same questions I had; through NAON, I realized that I wasn't alone and there was a place to come for answers.

 

Thirty-nine years ago, while NAON's founding leaders were launching our organization, I was a senior nursing student, a few months shy of graduation, at Albany Medical Center in New York State. The American Journal of Nursing reported that the nursing shortage throughout the Unites States was dire; nurses were leaving the profession in unprecedented numbers, which resulted in an erosion of the quality of care. The negative messages were reflective of an era in which nurses were undervalued by employers, physicians, and the public. It was common to hear the question: "why would anyone want to be a nurse?" Hearing this as a nursing student, I wrestled with the uncertainty of the career I chose.

 

Fortunately, I had my defining moment, thanks to an orthopaedic patient. It was the Saturday before Valentine's Day and I didn't have a date, so I picked up an extra shift. Mabel was my patient that day and my shift with her turned out to be a date with an angel. Mabel was the patient that no one wanted to see next to their name on the assignment board. She was difficult to please and, despite her age, was extremely sharp. She was also a nurse, who had served in the Army Nurse Corps in World War I and she made sure everyone knew about it! Mabel was frustrated about being in the hospital, weary of being poked and prodded and not listened to by her doctors. We could not determine what was wrong and she only wanted to leave and spend whatever time she had left at her daughter's home.

 

As I was gently changing the dressings on her fragile skin, Mabel asked me the question that she must have sensed I was asking myself ... "Mickey, why did you decide to become a nurse?"

 

I was full of typical responses: "I want to help people, I love science, it's always interesting." Eager to hear what nursing was like when Mabel started out, I asked her the same. I was fascinated with what I heard. Mabel told me that her decision to go into nursing had nothing to do with helping people, rather it was a way to ensure that she would be able to support herself. She was assigned to a field hospital near the frontlines in France where there was a constant flow of broken and bleeding soldiers. Shifts were endless; 12 hours on, 12 hours off, day after day.

 

At 19 years of age, Mabel was in charge of an entire ward of critically ill, traumatized patients. As casualties rolled in one exhausting night, there was a new soldier in the corner, crying out for a cup of tea. Mabel went over to him and did a quick assessment. He was rattled but physically intact. She had more pressing needs to attend to, yet eventually she brought him some tea. Before she scurried off to her other duties, the soldier grabbed Mabel's hand and said "Thank you, nurse. There's so many fellas here dying and you took the time to get me what I needed. I'll never forget you. You're my angel." Mabel didn't think of herself as an angel. She said, "Sometimes you just have to figure out what people need and find a way to get it to them, even if it doesn't seem very important."

 

Those words cracked my cynicism. Mabel was teaching me a lesson about the essence of nursing; the baton had been passed. As soon as I could, I hurried to the nurses' station and called Mabel's attending at his home. What was I thinking ... on Saturday morning? Soon, he was at her bedside, and the plan for her to discharge later in the day was underway. Mabel's parting words erased any doubt I had about the course of my profession. "My doctor told me you called him. You figured out what I needed and you took care of it. You're going to be a good nurse." This experience taught me to look beyond the voices of pessimism about nursing and to focus on the possibilities ahead.

 

Back to the future ... this year at Congress, we tackled clinical issues that challenge us; we were educated in new concepts; we considered research questions, and we connected with new and old colleagues. The networking opportunities were unsurpassed. Yet, how long will the energy kindled from Congress last? Will it be a few days? A month? Until the 2019 Congress? Or, only up until the next struggle causes us to question why we work so hard?

 

The words of Arthur Ashe, the first African American male tennis player to win both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, and who was also a champion in humanitarian efforts, remind us: "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." Ashe's quote is about momentum. Momentum is defined as the force of movement.

 

Momentum is critical to NAON's success, which is why I chose, "Keep Moving Forward" as the theme for the 2019 Congress. This theme is both an invitation and a goal. As you apply the momentum gained from being at Congress, the key is to get started. When you return to your areas of practice, demonstrate the value of belonging to NAON. The NAON is an influencer. You can and will influence the quality of care being delivered to orthopaedic patients.

 

Here is the checklist of a few ideas on how to keep the momentum going:

  

* Share what you've learned.

 

* Bring the best practices back to your teams of nurses, therapists, physicians, and administrators.

 

* Start a quality improvement project related to what you have learned.

 

* Start a journal club with Orthopaedic Nursing journal articles.

 

* Set a date to become certified through the Orthopaedic Nursing Certification Board. If you are already certified, be a champion for ONC certification for others.

 

* Consider joining a NAON chapter or affiliate in your region.

 

* Visit the NAON Web site. It has been newly configured to be more user-friendly to allow you to explore the depth of information contained in it.

 

* Join the discussions on the Issues in Practice forum. This forum is alive with dialogue on current topics.

 

* Attend NAON's free webinars.

 

* Answer the calls for proposals and author opportunities-NAON needs your ideas and expertise. Consider the opportunity to fill out a Willingness to Serve form.

 

The NAON is embarking upon exciting new innovations. Being the preeminent orthopaedic nursing organization in the world requires that strong relationships are developed among members, nursing leaders, and the healthcare organizations that NAON touches. The NAON has collaborated with other nursing organizations such as the Gerontological Nursing Association and the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. We also teamed up with the American Nurses Association to provide public comment regarding recent regulatory changes with joint replacement. The NAON acknowledges the interdisciplinary nature of our specialty. As you heard from Dr. Weber, president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), on Saturday, the NAON and the AAOS continue to explore ways to collaborate in educational efforts for our members and patients. The NAON recognizes the unique role of the nurse navigator in our specialty and we are working to delineate the orthopaedic navigator's scope and define the role's practice.

 

Like everything in orthopaedics, it takes a team! Thank you to all of our volunteers for their commitment; it is your dedication to excellence in patient care that is at the core of what NAON represents. Thank you to our superb team of NAON staff from SmithBucklin, led by Executive Director, Kristin Tamkus. This staff manages the details at Congress and we could not fulfill the day-to-day work at NAON without them.

 

For the last 16 years, the nurses have earned the number 1 ranking in the annual Gallup poll for ethics and honesty. It is now unquestionable that our profession is valued and respected. We are recognized by the public as a mainstay of the American healthcare system. The naysayers of many years ago failed to see the possibility of that prospect.

 

Nurses have a bright future, and thanks to NAON, orthopaedic nursing shines as an example of excellence as we Keep Moving Forward.