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President's Message; Volume 19, Issue 1

A New Year – What Will Your Fingerprint Be?

By Amy Cotton MSN, GNP-BC, FNP-BC, FNGNA, FAAN

NGNA Form Listen to the President's Podcast (Jan-Feb 2012)

Amy Cotton It is hard to believe that a new year is upon us. In 2012, NGNA is committed to supporting your success in improving nursing care to older adults.  I am pleased to highlight a few resources for you.  NGNA has reinstated our listserv to assist your professional networking and communication needs.  

We will also be adding to our online CE education library the educational sessions from the 2011 convention that received high evaluations from attendees.  We continue to strengthen collaborations with many nursing and health organizations to bring current and relevant news to your practice and employment settings.  Our continued participation in the Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations gives gerontological nurses a strong voice in advocacy and health policy decision making on a national level.   

As I get ready for a new year, I reflect on my resolution from 2011 and ask myself what was my fingerprint on others’ lives in the past year? Like many of you, my resolution path was filled with detours and barriers.The crisis of the day at work, curve balls in fiscal cutbacks, health policy changes and disappointments in my personal and professional life. To top it all off, life had a general disregard for what was convenient for my schedule.  Can you relate?

A few things have helped me navigate during the last year.  I want to share the following tips in an effort to encourage you to make and keep your resolutions for 2012 and be more effective gerontological nurses.  

1.  You are in charge of your attitude: You can’t change other’s attitudes or responses but you have complete control of your thoughts, feelings and actions.  The next time negativism is creeping into your life, take control and choose an attitude that promotes wellness.     

2.  Take time to stop and smell the roses: Value what is good and right in your life.   It is so easy to take advantage of those “givens” in our lives - health, companionship, family, friends, meaningful work.  I literally have to stop and remind myself what is important on some of what I refer to as “days filled with opportunities to learn.”  I have never cared for a dying patient yet who has told me they wished they had worked more or been busier in their lives.  

3.  Take action: Changing the world starts one person at a time.  It takes knowledge and courage to act.  Seek wise counsel from trusted friends and colleagues.  Do your homework, develop a plan and, most of all, do something! Leave fingerprints that are larger than your life.  Don’t be discouraged if circumstances change and things don’t go exactly as planned.  Be bold and brave, evaluate, re-shape your plans and move on.

4.  Stick to the facts: Many times people will make up stories about what they have heard. While perception is one’s reality, I have learned that sometimes the stories I made up were not accurate at all!  Get clarity on the facts as soon as possible.   It helps one stay grounded in reality and not waste time or energy on things that are not real.

5.  Forgive Freely: One thing in life that is for sure, people will hurt us.  Don’t be held hostage to bitterness and hatred.  It will suck any energy, wellness and peace from your life.  If there is any one of these tips that I urge you to consider practicing in 2012, this is the one.  It is life changing!

I am privileged and honored to represent the finest nurses in the nation.  As you go about your daily lives in 2012, as gerontological nurse educators, practitioners, researchers, and community health advocates,  I thank you in advance for the tremendous impact you have on improving the lives of  our aging community members and their family caregivers.  Happy New Year!