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Flying out of the clouds and toward the sunshine. (President's Message).

I spend a lot of time in airplanes. Recently was one of those times, and on that particular day, I was almost overwhelmed with my perceptions of the realities of life, nursing, and ANNA. While I was caught up in my thoughts, not particularly happy ones that day, and wondering where I was going to get the wisdom and energy to address the problems I perceived, the plane flew from beautiful sunlight into heavy, oppressive clouds--similar to the realities I had been thinking about. My reaction of, "Great, par for the course. The weather is even bad today," wasn't very flattering, but not unusual when one is down.

The pilots, the leaders in this case, continued to move us upward and through the oppressive clouds. Soon, the sun was shining again in all its glory. What a contrast, and all in a matter of moments!

The Realities of the Nursing Profession

As I continued to gaze out the window, I was struck by the thought that what I had just experienced was much like the journey we are on right now in life and, particularly, in nursing as a career. We all want glorious, sunny days and, for some of us older nurses, we want things to be like they used to be in the "good old days." However, the reality is that as health care professionals we seem to find ourselves struggling all too often with the oppressive, heavy clouds of change, unrealistic demands on our time and talents, staffing shortage, more challenging patients, decreasing resources, and increased government and consumer scrutiny. The challenges, obstacles, and issues never seem to end and, in fact, seem to be increasing with time.

Regardless of the climate, however, you and I have chosen to be nurses and by nursing's very nature, leaders and mentors. Each of us in our particular capacity directly impacts the success of nephrology nursing today and over the term of our careers will have a direct hand in shaping nursing's future as well as the attractiveness of nephrology nursing as a specialty.

Leaders Must Unite in Challenging Times

As Karlene Kerfoot stated in a recent ANNA Update article (Kerfoot, 2002), "Leadership happens in good times and bad, and in bad times and bad" (p. 45). She goes on to say that "while leading through great adversity may be a new challenge for many of us, leadership during this new era will provide us with opportunities for learning and growing as we transcend through and over the adversities we face." She continues by telling us that leadership is not retreat; it is advancing in the face of adversity--adversity under the guise of apathy of ANNA members and co-workers, time constraints, limited resources, challenging patients, etc.

Winston Churchill wasn't quite so poetic as Kerfoot, but he was very profound when he said, "The nose of the bulldog is slanted backwards so he can continue to breathe without letting go." Think what would happen to our current and future patients if we let go and give up on our profession and specialty!

We have the opportunity to pull ANNA's members and nephrology nurses together and unite them during these challenging times. We have the opportunity to create a sense of community and belonging much as President Bush did after the tragedy of September 11. You and your chapter, you and your co-workers, you as nephrology nursing professionals can bring people together to communicate and dialogue in positive ways--ways that are now more important to nursing than ever before. You can bring people together to focus on issues and find solutions rather than merely complaining or focusing on the negatives.

Create an Environment Where Spirits Can Grow

As Kerfoot so eloquently said, we can create a culture in which "people's spirits can grow." What a powerful recruitment and retention strategy--a culture in which people's spirits can grow! I could substitute "an ANNA chapter culture in which people's spirits can grow," "a committee in which people's spirits can grow," and "a work environment where people's spirits can grow." There are so many places where people's spirits can grow!

This is my vision as well as my challenge to you as nephrology nursing's leaders--create a culture in which people's spirits can grow. Do that individually and collectively, and nephrology nursing will have a wonderful action plan for addressing recruitment and retention in nursing as well as our specialty. Create a culture in which people's spirits can grow--and both ANNA and nephrology nursing will definitely come out of any heavy, oppressive clouds that might exist into a future filled with sunshine, success, and career satisfaction!

ANNA's Mission

ANNA will advance nephrology nursing practice and positively influence outcomes for patients with kidney or other disease processes requiring replacement therapies through advocacy, scholarship, and excellence.


Kerfoot, K. (2002). Leading through the blur: Leadership in difficult times. ANNA Update, 32(2), 43-46.

Gail Wick, BSN, RN, CNN ANNA President
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Title Annotation:personal growth in the nursing profession
Author:Wick, Gail
Publication:Nephrology Nursing Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Previous Article:Managing stress for optimal outcomes. (Professional Issues).
Next Article:The nephrology nurse's role in improved care of patients with chronic kidney disease.

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