Why are you #ANACProud? by Melanie Steilen and Andrea Vinet

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Melanie Steilen, RN, BSN, ACRN is an #ANACProud member

Melanie Steilen, RN, BSN, ACRN is an #ANACProud member

I’m #ANACProud because for over 20 years I’ve been mentored, supported, loved and encouraged to reach beyond my wildest dreams in my HIV nursing career. I’m  #ANACProud for being an ACRN since 1997.  I’m #ANACProud for being a part of an organization that advocates and fights for the rights of all people affected by HIV. I’m #ANACproud for being a part of a global network of amazing nurses. I’m #ANACProud,  and so very grateful, for being able to attend the ANAC National Conference which offers up not only cutting edge, evidenced based information, but serves as a retreat to nourish our souls and spirits. I’m #ANACProud for being a member of a nursing organization that features “Erik in a TuTu” each year at the Gala.  Thank you #ANAC

Andrea Vinet

When the AIDS Crisis first presented I was working in Oncology.  Because of our expertise in Infectious Disease and Immunology it was natural that our services met the immediate needs of this new crisis.

It came on so fast and furious that staff were severely stressed and fear and prejudice were expressed before filters developed.  It was extremely distressing to see this manifested where compassion and professionalism were needed.

In reaction to this and in addition to giving care to our new population of patients,  I started to volunteer at AIDS related services.  That led to an offer to serve as a Health Educator at a nutrition based project.  In order to assume this role I joined the GNY Chapter of ANAC  to increase/improve my understanding of AIDS.

Over the next few years I was asked to serve as Secretary of the chapter and then elected to Director at Large.  I became involved in the planning committee for the GNY ANAC and continue until today.  I have also joined the Chapters Committee at the National level.

My colleagues are some of the finest and kindest people I know. When I brought my mother to live with me for the last four years of her life, I asked her and her care giver to allow me to continue my active membership in the chapter.  I had given up nearly all of the activities I was involved in aside from my job but this was too valuable to leave behind.  The support and friendship in those years kept my life in balance.

As I continued in my career, the added value of my expertise in HIV nursing enhanced my Oncology expertise and I believe added extra value to my practice.

Although I am now retired I continue to maintain an active role in my chapter and had the privilege of speaking at our annual conference on Safe Sex for Seniors.

I am #ANACProud.

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