|Chapter Members Cherish Networking, Involvement
By Leslie J. Olesen, RN, MBA
Chapter Advisory Team Representative
Why join an AACN chapter? We are all so busy with our careers and our families that the last thing we need is another commitment. Or do we?
More than 16,000 AACN members belong to a local chapter of AACN; many are actively involved in their chapters. Why do these busy critical care nurses take on one more responsibility?
One reason is that chapter involvement is energizing; it recharges your batteries. Chapter members and leaders will tell you that the rewards of chapter involvement far outweigh the time and energy invested. The rewards are both tangible and intangible.
Chapter members find opportunities for networking, mentoring, professional relationships, and a sense of community. Long-term friendships and support systems evolve. In some communities, AACN chapters bridge the gap between nurses who are employed by competing organizations. Community outreach projects offer the busy professional the opportunity to give back to their community. Chapter membership and involvement also offer educational experiences that keep critical care nurses current and up to date, whether they are new, experienced, or returning practitioners. Another role of local chapters is to keep members current on national AACN initiatives and to form a link between members and the AACN National Office.
One Member’s Story
Lori Marcantonio, RN, BA, was a staff nurse in critical care when she injured her back. Because of her injury, Lori was unable to work in ICU for 7 years. During that time, she had 3 major surgical procedures to correct the problem. Throughout those 7 years, Lori remained an active member of the board of directors of the Greater Chicago Area Chapter (GCAC) of AACN. Her AACN activity was so important to her that she scheduled her surgeries around chapter meetings. Today, Lori is back to work as a critical care nurse and has very strong feelings about her membership in GCAC.
Through her chapter membership, Lori was not only able to remain current on critical care topics, but was also able to maintain her professional ties and relationships. She feels that her chapter involvement helped her transition back into her clinical role. However, most important are the friends she has made within the chapter. Lori tells us that when her days seemed the darkest during her illness, her friends have kept her going.
For information about the AACN chapter nearest to you or about starting a chapter, call Chapter Specialist Darval Bonelli at (800) 809-2273, ext. 234, or visit the “Chapters” area of the AACN home page,
Chapters Greet New Members
Chapters now have the opportunity to serve as the official greeters of new AACN members in their areas, under a program that was launched in November.
The Chapter Member Greeter program, which was piloted the past year, is designed to make new members feel welcome and comfortable within the AACN network of critical care colleagues. It is also a way to help new members more easily obtain answers to their questions and to direct them to available resources.
Piloting of the program was in response to feedback from many members who said that they initially were introduced to the association because a colleague personally invited them to attend an AACN chapter meeting.
On a quarterly basis, chapter presidents will receive mailing labels of all new AACN members within a 50-mile radius. Postcards to send to these new members will be included.
For additional information about the Chapter Member Greeter program, contact Chapter Specialist Darval Bonelli at (800) 809-2273, ext. 234.
Find a Chapter Near You
To find an AACN chapter in your area, call (800) 899-AACN (2226) or visit the AACN home page at
http://www.aacn.org. Click on the “Chapters” area.
Meet Your CAT and PPAT Representatives
PPAT (Ext. 8952)
Mary Abraham, RN, MA, CCRN
Missouri City, Tex.
Chapter Affiliation: Houston Gulf Coast
Motto: Try a little harder.
CAT (Ext. 8908)
Lou Ann Honek, RN
Chapter Affiliation: Red River Valley
Motto: Keep your eyes open.
CAT (Ext. 8817)
Connie Higgins, RNC, MS
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Chapter Affiliation: Southern Colorado
Motto: Put your face in the sunshine and you never see the shadow.
PPAT (Ext. 8954)
Sharon Pletcher, RN, BSN, CEN
Woodland Park, Colo.
Chapter Affiliation: Southern Colorado
Motto: We can get it done if we do it together.
PPAT (Ext. 8955)
Deri Dority, RN, BSN, BA, CCRN
St. Paul, Ore.
Chapter Affiliation: Greater Portland
Motto: Vacation is good.
CAT (Ext. 8800)
Judi Robinson, RN, MSN, CCRN
Agoura Hills, Calif.
Chapter Affiliation: San Fernando Valley
Motto: Live each to the fullest.
PPAT (Ext. 8956)
Rebecca Dahlen, RN, MSN, CS
San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Chapter Affiliation: South Orange County
Motto: Don’t tell me we’ve always done it this way. Be creative. Change is good.