President's Message | 5.17.2023
President's Message: May 2023

Sprint or Marathon? 

I have just returned home from our NAON 43rd Annual Congress in Pittsburgh, and I am so grateful! Each time I go to Congress or interact with my fellow NAON members, I am reminded of the knowledge and expertise that exists among our colleagues. This year was no different. My awe and inspiration quickly turned into humility and gratitude for our members' willingness to share their ideas and experiences with us so that we can learn and make improvements in our own places of work.  

Aside from the sea of opportunities ahead and my brain feeling chock full of content, my contact list is also overflowing with new connections that I made. This is one of my favorite things about Congress and about NAON. I had the pleasure of meeting orthopaedic nurses and colleagues from all over the country as well as international nurses who came all the way from Sweden and Singapore!  

So far this week, I’m finding it nearly impossible to settle into my normal work routine because my mind is still reeling through the list of things that I want to do and the opportunities ahead. It’s all a bit overwhelming in its entirety, and it seems as if there are just not enough hours in the day to get it all done. My desire to influence change coupled with the need for it tends to nudge me into a sense of urgency, and I fall victim to the pressure of time. But I have to remind myself to slow down and have to practice the old adage of “one day at a time” which sometimes turns into one minute at a time. Change is a process, and we all know that most changes related to healthcare practice don’t happen overnight. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a wise patient of mine. She told me, “Go slow and be intentional so you can get things done quicker and with less stress.”

I was reminded of that patient when reading a book recently, titled “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz which focuses on how to manage your energy, not your time. Time is fixed and we all have the same number of minutes in our day. The key is to focus on harnessing and utilizing the energy you have but allowing for proper periods of energy renewal. They go on to discuss how life is a series of small sprints with equal periods of rest in between. If we run through life like it’s a marathon, we can quickly deprive ourselves of the proper renewal and we avail ourselves to burn-out and an eventual loss of drive and passion. 

Balancing and harnessing the energy and excitement of change with the degree of perseverance to see projects to fruition is a skill. Much like with physical training, we must work hard and push for results beyond ordinary limits. We should also expect resistance, difficulties, and maybe even discomfort along the way. But just as with building your muscles, the incremental advances and demand helps to strengthen the effort and make progress. In a motivational speech I recently watched by Denzel Washington, he cautions us to not confuse movement with progress. We can spin our wheels or run in place and still not get anywhere or get anything done. Consider breaking your projects up into smaller, more manageable ones, or sprints. Use the time between those efforts to measure and enjoy your progress. Be intentional in your recovery and renewal to prepare yourself for the work ahead. Set goals by which you can measure your forward progression, and don’t forget to take others with you. Let’s go! We’re better together!

Michele Hughes, DNP, ACNP-BC, APRN, ONP-C 
NAON President

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