March 2023 President's Letter

Greetings SPN Members!


In February, I attended a memorial service for my aunt. She was born and raised in a small town in Hawaii where she lived most of her life, and she recently passed away at 100 years of age. She was a lover of art, a gifted painter, calligrapher, and floral arranger. She taught others the virtue of family first and role modeled the importance of being kind to others. She worked at one of the local hotels and put together the beautiful floral arrangements for the hotel lobby. She often interacted with hotel guests and had such an impact with those she met that she made friends throughout the world. She was often described by people outside of the family as the “ambassador of aloha”; aloha is the Hawaiian word that means love, affection, peace, mercy, and kindness. It also means living in harmony with the people and land around you. My aunt was well traveled and bore witness to numerous historic events like the bombing of Pearl Harbor and two tsunamis that destroyed the town in which she lived. She saw so much in her 100 years. Her sharp memory and ability to tell stories of the past and bring them to life was truly a gift. She modeled aloha and left a legacy for many through the way in which she lived her life and interacted with others. As I reminisce about her, I realize how impactful she was with setting a strong foundation for her family, her love of exploring new places, and her willingness to take chances. When asked about her secret to a long life, she responded with “work hard, play hard.”

We have all heard the phrase “work-life balance”, or what defines equilibrium where our professional and personal demands are equally prioritized. For some it means working fewer hours. For others it means making time to do things that bring us joy. Recently, one of my colleagues commented on having reached the maximum accrual cap of hours for paid time off. This colleague commented on not having taken a vacation since the onset of COVID-19 and was feeling burned out. This past month, she took a two-week vacation abroad, a trip she had always wanted to do but had put off for years. She came back relaxed and re-energized and commented about how she was able regain balance by doing those things that brought her joy. As I thought about my aunt’s secret to a long life, it made me realize that I tend to “work hard” but don’t necessarily take the time to “play hard” to create that equilibrium. I am planning to be more intentional about committing time to do those things that bring me joy such as spending time in nature, hiking/walking, reading, and gardening. How will you work on achieving greater equilibrium by finding time to do those things that bring you joy?


I recently ran across an article titled  We asked for wishes, you answered: Send leaders into space, free electricity, dignity where NPR asked the question, “If money were no object and you had unanimous support, what would you wish for the world in 2023?” Respondents included notable figures such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and the White House’s Raj Panjabi. A first-grade teacher from The Friend’s School of Atlanta submitted her students’ handwritten wishes and drawings. The insights of these first graders were infused into the article and left me filled with hope for the future. 

It also made me stop and think about this question in terms of the workplace. What would we wish for our patients…our department…our profession if asked that same question? And the more important question, how would we make this happen? How can we be champions for change, advocates, innovators, mobilizers, and doers of good to make our wish for the future of children, our workplace, and our profession come to fruition?

Some of these questions may be answered at our 33rd Annual Conference in Pittsburgh April 26-28, 2023. This year’s conference theme is Building Bridges and Making Connections. Our Program Planning Committee has put together three pre-conference workshops, plenary sessions addressing diverse topics, seven different tracks for the breakout sessions, posters, exhibitors, and opportunities for networking. Attendees can earn up to 24 nursing contact hours. Check out the preliminary program for details and be sure to take advantage of  early bird registration by March 24 and save $150.


Certified Nurses Day™ is celebrated each year on March 19, on the birthday of Dr. Margretta Madden Styles, RN, EdD, FAAN. Dr. Styles was an innovator who transformed our profession by pioneering and developing the implementation of standards and credentials for nurses. On this day, we celebrate and recognize nurses who have earned the highest credentials in their specialty by attaining national certification. For those of you who have received national certification in your specialty, thank you for your dedication to the nursing profession, your desire to achieve excellence in your specialty, and for your service in caring for children and their families!

Kathy Van Allen, MSN, RN, CPN

SPN President

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