By Ruth Akers, RN, BSN, MS, FAACVPR
AACVPR is a multidisciplinary community with members ranging from nurses, psychiatric professionals and exercise physiologists to respiratory therapists, smoking cessation experts and nutrition professionals. As different as we are in some respects, we also are very much the same.
To illustrate, the view from my small summer home on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay captures a pond inhabited by a fascinating variety of wildlife. One of my favorite activities is lounging on the deck in the early hours, sipping coffee and watching the different birds that share the relative calm and stillness of the morning with me. Majestic bald eagles swoop through the air, taking command of the skies. Ospreys protectively guard their nests. Ducks and white swans glide gracefully in the water, while many smaller birds eagerly peck at my newly filled feeder. I love to watch them with their different markings and eclectic personalities. Some are tiny and chatter, others are large and loudly shriek diverse bird calls as they hunt for prey. Each one is so different.
Taking in this familiar sight one morning reminded me of the idiom birds of a feather flock together. Inspired to look up the meaning, I traced the origin to an old English proverb that describes how people naturally gravitate toward others they find similar to themselves. As a “flock” banded together by like values and purpose, the wisdom suggests, they can face whatever the future holds.
As a member of AACVPR, I identified with that proverb. We’re all cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and/or pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) professionals who come together once a year for the AACVPR Annual Meeting, where we share our experiences and learn from one another. The quality of the educational sessions is exceptional, and the networking is not only fun but recharges us for the year to come. Since joining AACVPR when it was established in 1981, I’ve attended almost every Annual Meeting and still find myself looking forward to the next.
When we gather at the event, we’re like the brilliant species of birds I watch. Some of us are eagles that have soared high in our long careers, while others of us are just starting out and learning to peck our way to the feeder. We come from far and wide, but all with the same purpose: to be better, so that we may better serve patients who need CR or PR for an improved life.
I hope your wings carry you to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this year so that you can join the “flocking” of our profession and leave knowing your future looks brighter.
Ruth Akers has worked in cardiac rehabilitation for 38 years. She currently serves as Director of Cardiovascular Imaging Services and Cardiac Rehab Services at Bryn Mawr Hospital and Main Line Health in Newton Square, Pennsylvania. Akers also is Secretary of the Board for AACVPR and the volunteer editor of News & Views.