President's Message

Volunteering for NAPNAP - Oh, the Places You'll Go!

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President Cathy Haut, DNP, CPNP-AC, CPNP-PC, CCRN

Do you recall the song, “I Can’t Say No,” from the musical, “Oklahoma” by Rogers and Hammerstein?  The original Broadway production opened in 1943, and the film was released in 1955. Although my knowledge of this award-winning musical can suggest my age, the song is truly my theme song! I still have difficulty saying “no” to anyone for anything, whether it is personal or professional!  In fact, many nurses feel obliged to say “yes” to overtime, taking the extra patient or staying late at the office for that last sick child of the day. It is difficult in our profession to “deny” our compassion for our patients and families by saying “no,” so we continue to say “yes.” We wish for more time to ourselves, but in reality, this “don’t say no” philosophy offers many opportunities and adventures that truly can enhance life!

The history of nursing and professional nursing organizations includes events such as war, policy, regulation and legislation. Events in history triggered nursing group activities, leading to the organization of the nursing community to rally and advocate for patients and health care in many different arenas. The goals of pediatric nurse practitioners often encompass healthcare issues for children and their families. Success in meeting these goals often depends on leadership and available numbers of interested volunteer advocates. In the history of nursing successes, volunteers do lead the troops!

If you Google, “nurses as volunteers,” pages of offers appear, from recruitment for organizational, local and political leadership opportunities to participation in medical missions. The internet gives the sense that there are many available volunteer positions for nurses but perhaps not enough interest to fill them. 

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines the word volunteer as “a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service,” or “a person who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest.” I would add a statement that says, “without monetary reimbursement” to this definition. When we are directly asked to volunteer for a task, many of us can’t and don’t say no. On the other hand, when a general call goes out for an available service opportunity, many of us will ignore it, thinking the invitation is not for us, we don’t have the expertise, or we don’t want to take any more time out of our already too busy lives. What could happen if you choose to answer the call?

Being asked to volunteer for NAPNAP can be a personal invitation or a call to service. Many of you have taken board positions on your local chapters because you were invited, couldn’t say no or there was no one else to do the work. Congratulations to all of you who have taken this leap!  I am sure that many of you have stayed involved in your chapters, not just because there wasn’t a long line of people waiting to jump into your position and you are a “girl (or guy!) who can’t say no,” but because you are dedicated and interested in sustaining your chapter. These volunteer positions began your “career” with NAPNAP. There is much more opportunity waiting for you at the national level!

NAPNAP national elections will be upon us soon and September is the month to submit your application for a position on the NAPNAP Executive Board or Nominations Committee.

To begin the process, visit the NAPNAP elections and nominations pages to learn about available positions and find out how you can nominate yourself or someone else.

Not sure what you can do? Consider a member-at-large position! This is a recently created role on the Executive Board. These experts are a part of organization leadership and decision-making. They participate in board operations, provide oversight for committees, and make recommendations for policy or clinical issues.

If you are not able to respond to the call for national office candidates, consider offering your expertise as a volunteer representing a specific area of practice or concern for PNPs. In the coming weeks, you will learn about an exciting opportunity to volunteer for your association for shorter-term projects that may match your interest and schedule. 

In Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” pages of rhymes depict a journey that isn’t always on level ground and requires both brains and feet to pursue, but the journey is exciting. If I’m just “a girl who can’t say no,” and didn’t, why don’t you consider joining me on this NAPNAP journey to the places you will go?

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So... get on your way!” 

― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go! (1990)

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