Throughout the month of May, there has been more rain in the area where we live than I can ever remember. However last Saturday, the day our daughter was married, was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, with a short storm in the evening that gave way to beautiful double rainbows followed by a very pretty sunset over the bay. There has not been a warm, sunny day since, and it is raining again as I write this blog. I am amazed and grateful that we were given the sunshine when we needed it!
Weather is never a predictable factor! Making plans for outdoor activities must always involve a back-up location in case of inclement weather. Throughout my experience this year as NAPNAP president and the past 18 years as a NAPNAP member, I have never been concerned that the association's barometer is going to change, as this organization is stable with a predictable, but extremely progressive forecast. NAPNAP, with a mission to “enhance child and family health through leadership, advocacy, professional practice, education and research,” remains my number one professional organization and has provided a home for all pediatric-focused healthcare providers for 43 years.
The predictability of NAPNAP lies in the strength of our numbers. This organization has grown from the founding 400 PNPs in 1973 to more than 8500 members today. NAPNAP offers its members many volunteer and education opportunities, and focuses strongly on advocacy, supporting policy initiatives that benefit children and their families. These are all reasons that I stay involved.
I began my years as a NAPNAP member very closely linked to my local MD Chesapeake Chapter, where I learned about the association from experienced colleagues. I wish I could mention all of the PNPs who taught me about NAPNAP and encouraged my participation at both the local and national levels. Our chapter was rich with experienced volunteers and leaders. Claire Marie Rogers, the founder of the MD Chapter, served as its first president and went on to perform many other roles at the national level, including secretary of the board and Nominations Committee chair. Arlene Butz, one of the first PNPs I met through our local chapter, was a charter member who served for many years as an officer and committee chair. Arlene was NAPNAP’s national Research Committee chair from 2003 to 2006. Sheila Holdford, Barbara Moore and Catherine Searson provided mentorship for me as I joined the Program Committee, taking the role of program chair in 2002. Gina Friel, who received the President’s award this year at the national conference, was the Legislative Committee chair for at least six years, teaching me about local advocacy and policy. Three previous NAPNAP presidents, Joan Greene, Virginia Millonig and Patricia Franklin, called the MD chapter their local NAPNAP home. I thank these colleagues for their influence and mentorship throughout my NAPNAP career.
NAPNAP continues to grow and take on greater endeavors, but offers a predictable, comfortable place where you can connect with friends and colleagues who share your passion for children’s health care. Many of these friends and colleagues contribute their experience and expertise through NAPNAP’s educational programs, including the national conference and the specialty symposia, designed to offer updates from pharmacology to acute care topics in regional meeting format. NAPNAP members have been role models in leadership, research and policy. Their varied backgrounds and experience, and their willingness to get involved allow the organization seats at many forums, most recently addressing national quality measures and initiatives. TeamPeds: Volunteers encourages you to share your expertise and volunteer for convenient, variable-length commitments, basically - when and how you are available.
NAPNAP is my professional home and I have been honored to sit at many tables and contribute to decision-making for the organization! As my year as president comes to an end, I welcome future opportunities to stay involved as a NAPNAP volunteer.
Here on the East Coast we are looking for warm weather with limited rainfall for the remainder of the summer, but I know that even trained weather teams cannot always be accurate in their forecast. Despite careful planning for any event, weather is not always predictable. I believe that being a member of NAPNAP is predictable, not in the sense that things don’t change, but in the organization’s constant motivation to support all pediatric-focused healthcare providers, despite the variety of practice settings they represent. The combination of an executive director and staff who are engaged and current, along with motivated members, contribute to making NAPNAP the place to belong if you care for children!