Many years ago an infamous general gathered his commanders in a war room and with a quivering finger he pointed to a map and said these words; "There is a sleeping giant, let her sleep for when she awakens, she will shake the world."
The giant that Napolean spoke of was China, she has awakened and the world trembles at her footsteps. Today, the PA profession is the sleeping giant. We have awakened, we have become recognized, we have furthered our education, our experience, and our reputation and we are forced to both contend with and to meet the needs of healthcare in our generation. The future is now, the time is ready and we desperately need unity and leadership and vision to make greater changes in the next 50 years.
Unity in an organization is no different than unity in a family or military group. There is no room for caring about ourselves in particular but about those with whom we work from day to day and our profession which has been so good to all of us.Unity can be defined as having the same voice as we begin to attack new problems and start new ventures. We can have different opinions but in the boardroom, once an opinion has been voted upon and has passed, it becomes one opinion and we all stand behind it. This is the manner in which an organization is sustained. When cooking outdoors one needs fuel, the natural environment, and flame.When the coals are placed together they produce the necessary heat to cook and thus sustain life whereas when they are separated, they rapidly cool and diminish.We need to stand together and not separate ourselves because of our egos.There is no room for Lone Rangers in a professional organization.
Another ingredient that we need is excellence. We have proven our excellence for the past fifty years. We have fought in the trenches, we have formed alliances, we have become a respected, educated group of professionals who know what it takes to succeed and then do what it takes to succeed. We strive for excellence. I can remember as a new PA asking the chief of Otolaryngology at Greater Baltimore Medical Center when he last performed a perfect surgery. This was sort of a stupid question but this man trained me at his home and we performed dissections at 0500. He said;" bob, I have not yet performed a perfect case and when I do, it is time for me to retire because there would be something wrong with my standard." His humility and his response have remained unforgotten for more than forty years.We must all strive to be better than we were the day before.
The Election: In a week we will be voting for new leadership in our professional organization. We can vote for old favorites, we can vote based on years of service to the Academy but we can also vote on platforms that indicate the direction in which the new leadership would take us. Like Columbus, we need to seek the new world, we need new goals and we need to fire new enthusiasm in the ranks of this new generation of PAs. We need to vote, we need to pass our customary 5% and we need to become excited again just as we were fifty years ago. It can be done and you can do it.