President's Message

Pay it Forward, Give back

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President Tresa Zielinski, DNP, RN, APN-NP, CPNP-PC

Ironically, September is Disaster Preparedness Month. Could not have planned that any better.  September has started in a whirlwind (no pun intended) as August went out with a bang. So many losses for so many, especially in the southern hemisphere with Hurricane Harvey hitting and Hurricane Irma active. NAPNAP’s thoughts and prayers are with you. If you want to help, please refer to our website for updates and ways to give back to those effected by the hurricanes. If you have the capacity to volunteer and have a license in Texas, Florida or a compact state, please look for opportunities. The Red Cross comes to mind. Our colleagues in Texas and Florida have not only weathered the storms, but are still caring for others while trying to rebuild their own homes and lives. Having teams there to help will give them much needed relief.

August also brought a tremendous loss for our organization. It is with great sadness that I address the passing of a good friend and a great colleague, mentor and leader. Sarah Gutknecht DNP, APRN, CPNP-AC/PC was a friend to all and a leader to follow. Her thoughtful approach to problems and her ability to see different angles and solutions to issues that faced our profession was a pleasure to experience. There are so many who considered Sarah a friend. What a treasure it would have been to experience a medical mission with the whirlwind of energy and positivity that Sarah brought to every event. How much fun it was to work seriously and diligently with her during the day and then see the funny jubilant person pop out at night as if seeing a leprechaun emerge at the end of the rainbow. If you knew her or worked with her, I am certain the color green comes to mind. 

Words do not do Sarah justice to describe her personality and work ethic. She taught me so much in the time that I knew and worked with her. Her accomplishments are too numerous to list. Sarah was a PNP in orthopedics at Gillette Children’s and one of the first pediatric hospitalists at Shiners Hospital for children, which she started doing in 1999! How forward thinking. The thing I remember most about Sarah was her ability to pay it forward and give back. She volunteered for so many different professional initiatives over her career. Sarah was on the founding leadership advisory team for the Institute of Pediatric Nursing, certification chair for NAPNAP, president of the PNCB, clinical coordinator for Operation Smile and board member of Ready, Set, Smile. 

Please take time to enjoy your friends and family. Go out to dinner with your friends. Celebrate the little wins in life. If there is something that the last few weeks have taught us, it is that tangible items can be gone in moments, but the memories we make today will stay with us for a long time. A simple gesture from a stranger can change our outlook for the future. Pay it forward, give back.  

Humble and hungry,

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