March 1, 2020
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and yet it is one cancer that can be prevented through screening. I have cared for numerous patients that have come for their screening colonoscopy who have received the dreaded news that they have colon cancer. I have also seen those same patients return for follow-up visits and thrilled that they are now cancer free. We all likely can name one patient that wasn’t as fortunate who has died of colon cancer and that makes me sad. I think it is awesome that colorectal cancer screening can save lives. Please continue to spread the word!
March is also the month we celebrate GI Nurses and Associates Week. This year’s focus will be on SGNA members’ stories using themes of membership, inspiration, education, collaboration and celebration. The Wisconsin SGNA Board of Directors would like to join me in creating a new story using those themes for Wisconsin SGNA members. You’ll find out more during GI Nurses and Associates Week. Keep reading those WSGNA emails to find out what we are planning!
I recently was moved by reading an article about the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame and how this statewide polka organization appears to be on its deathbed, mainly from lack of interest. You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with our organization? The article stated “the culture is changing”. Having been a gastroenterology nurse for over 30 years, I can definitely say the culture is changing for our organization as well. The real question I ask is—Can the organization adapt to changes or will it become extinct in the future?
The polka article gave some reasons why their organization is failing. The first reason was the loss of the original organizers and members to old age. WSGNA has lost members, both nurses and associates, to that very same reason. Looking at the list of members who have not renewed, I can easily point to the names of those who have retired. Lack of volunteers was the second reason mentioned. WSGNA has seen a decline in the number of people who volunteer. Luckily, there have been a number of members who have stepped forward and have volunteered to run for an office on the Board of Directors, plan the WSGNA Spring Conference, or plan GI Nurses and Associates Week. If you know any of these people, please thank them for the time they have devoted to make these activities happen. As WSGNA members, we definitely benefit from their hard work.
Another reason mentioned in the polka article for a failing organization was the lack of organizational skill and promotional energy. The polka organization has no officers anymore. They reported having trouble getting members to nominate anybody. The president quit over a year ago and the vice-president wasn’t interested in the job. In WSGNA, I have witnessed several board members leave their position during their term. With no current president elect, I question what would happen if I decided to quit my role. Who would step up to take the role of WSGNA President? For those of you who know me well, you know I do not give up that easy. If anything I start asking questions to learn why we are in this predicament and I try to find solutions.
There was one solution offered in the article that resonates with me—“more energy”. Things are changing and we have to change with it. This may mean adding more variety in the way we conduct our activities. This brings me to my final thought: Instead of the board members just providing reports on what we have been doing, I would like to hear from you—the members—on what you would like our organization to be doing. Our members meeting, which is being held at the WSGNA 2020 Spring Conference on April 25th, is the perfect place to start. I challenge all members to come and join in the conversation.
Get involved, and let your ideas be heard!