Nursing Experiences Paved the Path to Executive Director

Katherine Freeman
June 16, 2022

My interest in health care started at a young age, when I discovered my grandpop’s medical books. When we would visit his house, I really enjoyed reading them and knew I wanted to do something in medicine.

However, in high school the idea of eight to 12 more years of school did not appeal to me. A friend of mine suggested I check out nursing, so I decided to look into the field. In my years as a nurse, some of the most memorable experiences has been working in the ICU with really sick patients and hopefully making their day a little better.

In my years of nursing, my position has evolved to whole patient management from where I started with bedside oriented tasks. As one of the nursing theorists stated, it has really gone from novice to expert. Learning attention to detail, among other skills, has served me well as I started the American Foregut Society (AFS) in 2017.

It started as a handful of surgeons that would get together at various meetings and brainstorm on how they could do their jobs better. My husband was one of those surgeons, so I went along for the ride. The nurse in me sort of took over and started taking notes and organizing.

Eventually, the team at Affinity Strategies took on the responsibilities I had been doing for the organization. It was very difficult to hand over all the tasks needed to be successful to a person/company that I did not know very well. The job I was doing I took very seriously and paid attention to every detail. I was sure there was no one that could do the job as well as I was; that would have the same passion as I did. The reality was, I was trying to do so much that there was no way I could do it all to the level needed to grow.

In the time since Affinity started managing AFS, they have provided all the expertise in all the different areas needed for the society to grow. Accounting, social media, graphic design, journal support, industry support, and someone to take the lead to organize it all.

Our success is a result of both time and a lot of hard work (and a little luck to be honest). It is the right time for this type of society. I am most proud of the time and dedication of the executive committee and the board. As we look forward, we are eager for continued success of the society, which will result in a lot of people improving their quality of life.