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Focus on the Things That Bring Us Together – Ignite Your Passion!

September/October 2021

Jennifer Kilgore, BSN, RN, CPAN
ASPAN President 2021-2022

Passion for perianesthesia nursing brings us together. Water is extremely hot at 211 degrees but increasing the heat by a single degree changes its power. One degree more, turning up the heat to 212 degrees, and water can power a locomotive! I believe this applies to our professional lives. A perianesthesia nurse who does a little extra, goes the extra mile, and gets involved and contributes truly has the power to differentiate and empower change.

America’s greatest inventor, esteemed by millions, is Thomas Edison. He patented over a thousand inventions, including the light bulb, phonograph, and motion pictures. Tenacity, ambition, curiosity, and passion to problem solve are qualities that set Thomas Edison apart from everybody else. He lacked formal education, but he made up for it with passion.1,2 What sets you apart from everybody else? 

Thomas Edison did have some setbacks. He wasn’t perfect. Some considered him socially awkward. For the majority of his life, he suffered from impaired hearing. Some of the trials and experiments ended up in disasters, too, like burning down barns and other buildings. Sounds like a menace, right? He wasn’t a savvy businessman either. Over his lifetime, he lost millions of dollars. But, Thomas Edison was a timeless optimist and incurably persistent. He was often ridiculed because his attempts failed thousands of times, but his optimism shined through as he simply replied to his critics by saying the invention of the light bulb had thousands of steps.1,2 One of his most famous statements is, “Success is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”3

Elevating Your Commitment
Just one degree different and everything changes. What if you elevated your degree of service, courage, advocacy, excellence, or respect? What if you decided to elevate your commitment to your component just one degree? Or, suppose you decided to go an added degree in your workspace? When the heat is turned up just a notch, the outcome of the entire situation can change. It is that little extra degree of heat that makes a champion. 

Passion Makes the Difference
We need perianesthesia nurses to move the needle up one degree. Our components need emerging leaders to take the helm and step up to lead the next generation of perianesthesia nurse leaders. I believe attitude, effort, curiosity, and passion set achievers apart. It is not uncommon to think achievement and success comes from giftedness, or early advantages, that give some individuals a head start. Fact is, the single greatest element for success is not giftedness, or social status. It is drive, grit, and passion. How hungry are you? Passion is the energy of the soul, and it is often the difference between good and great. A friend of mine describes passion as the thing you find yourself singing, dreaming, or crying about. I find that true for me.  

Are you serving on a committee or strategic work team? How often do you share information about upcoming ASPAN events? Do you talk about the many benefits that being an ASPAN member has for the perianesthesia nurses with whom you engage daily? Maybe you are a clinical expert. Have you written an article for your home component to share with colleagues? There are numerous ways to contribute to the success of your grassroot component. 

Why do so many seem to lack that extra degree of heat? I mean, let’s be honest. We see apathy every day. Why do people, some of the very nurses we love and admire, lack passion? I think there are several reasons when we dig a little deeper. One reason is they may have not seen a model of passion or excellence. Many of us have attended a seminar or conference and returned energized because of the passion-infused environment and being together, only to return to our workspaces and see so many who don’t ‘get it.’ So, we slip back into the mundane routines. 

Maybe your colleagues lack the extra degree of heat because they fail to catch a vision for something beyond themselves. We do live in a world that is consumed with self. It’s possible they don’t believe their involvement will make a difference. Maybe they’ve tried to contribute, and they were met with resistance, because their way was different or unfamiliar. Or, it may be because there are so many other voices demanding our attention. Finally, it is possible many lack the extra degree of heat to make a difference because they have permitted something that was once cherished become ordinary, or routine. 

Reenergizing Your Passion
So, what is the solution? Turn up the heat. What if you invested a few “extra degrees of heat, energy” or hours a month to your own personal development? What if you cut out thirty minutes of television or social media scrolling daily? What if you decided to dedicate a specific amount of your energy and attention to listen in, get involved, contribute to your local component? What are the needs of component members, and how can you serve? When everyone does their part, we grow and have fun. 

We all have gifts and talents to contribute to our specialty and to the future of perianesthesia nursing. Thirty years ago, I graduated from high school. I vividly remember the excitement surrounding that time. I was so fortunate to receive many graduation gifts, and my favorite was money. It was many months after graduation cards and one, I discovered, was unopened. Low and behold, I opened it to find my grandmother had gifted me the largest graduation gift of them all. It was there the whole time but had gone unopened. Many of us have gifts that are not even opened yet. It’s time, open your gifts, share your passion, and make a difference. Our gifts, talents, interests, passion, and drive are the very things that unite us.


  1. Thomas Edison. Wikipedia.org. Accessed July 25, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison
  2. Thomas Edison Biography. National Historic Park New Jersey. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://www.nps.gov/edis/learn/historyculture/edison-biography.htm
  3. Thomas Edison quotes. Brainy Quote. Accessed July 25, 2021. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/thomas_a_edison_109928

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