Chapters Can Travel a Road to Revitalization
To be successful, chapters must identify areas where change is needed as well as opportunities for growth.
That message was delivered by Tracie Mcvey, RN, CCRN, and Dave Hanson, RN, BSN, CCRN, of the Dallas County Chapter of AACN to participants at the 1999 National Teaching Institute™ in New Orleans, La., in May. Mcvey was 1998-99 president of the chapter and Hanson is 1999-2000 president.
Their presentation at a chapter education session was titled “A Peacock in a Land of Penguins: What Makes a Chapter Successfully Stand Out.”
Success is not a destination, but a road toward a destination, Hanson emphasized. He outlined steps taken by the Dallas County Chapter to revitalize its membership.
For example, he said that when decreases were experienced in membership, monthly meeting attendance, volunteers and income, the chapter established a framework for change.
Included were expanded networking opportunities and better communication of the needs of chapter members.
In identifying potential chapter members, membership trends and demographics must be considered, he said. For example, members do not want to travel far to attend meetings.
Hanson said new initiatives that relate to core functions are necessary for chapter survival. Functions can include educational opportunities, such as monthly programs and seminars; newsletter publications; community relations; and scholarships.
In addition, problem areas must be identified. For example, are the same members doing all the work all the time? If so, they may be experiencing burnout.
Members must also have good communication skills, according to Hanson, noting that effective mentoring requires commitment and time.
Mcvey recommended development of a chapter vision, which includes goals that can be promoted, marketed and communicated. Additionally, chapter members should draw on resources such as members of the Chapter Advisory Team (CAT) and chapter specialists at the AACN National Office.
In addition, she advocated leadership training sessions for chapter board members, informational posters, changing the membership renewal process and a chapter member needs assessment questionnaire.
“Don't assume you know your members,” Mcvey cautioned.
Other strategies suggested by Mcvey included having nationally known speakers at chapter functions, focusing on collaborative ventures for chapter support, identifying active members who are stepping down and emphasizing open communication, responsibility, accountability and constructive criticism.
She stressed the need to evaluate what works and what doesn't, and most of all, celebrating success.
Success Means Helping Others
Members of the board of the Hill City Chapter of AACN are (from left, seated) Linda Lange (secretary-elect), Paulette Dawson (treasurer) and Teresa Putt and (from left, standing) Frances Smith, Gloria Fortune (president), JoAnn Martin (treasurer-elect), Dianne Pillow, Mary Snead and Carla Kimmons. Mary Baders (secretary), Ellen Gilliam (president-elect) and Betty Kerr are not pictured.
The Hill City Chapter of AACN in Lynchburg, Va., is sharing the fruits of its successes with others.
Formed just three years ago, the chapter has already established an educational program that has cleared between $1500 and $2000 in the past two years. As a result, the chapter was able to donate $1000 to the Hurricane Mitch Relief Fund last fall.
That charitable gift inspired the chapter to seek out needs in its own community, where $1200 was donated to sponsor a family of 10 at both Christmas and Easter. Chapter members say that each dollar given “came back 10-fold.”
Soon after, the chapter learned that a colleague had family in Colombia, South America, who had lost homes and possessions in the recent earthquakes there. The chapter gave him $500 so that he could travel to Colombia to check on his family
“Our chapter has been successful and we have given back a good portion of our wealth to our community and the world.”
The Hill City Chapter was formerly a part of the Blue Ridge Chapter of AACN in Roanoke, Va., but was able to identify enough critical care nurses to start its own group. The chapter started with 25 members and has grown to 61 members.
The chapter’s annual critical care seminar is its largest fund-raiser each year. The proceeds can be attributed in part to the fact that many experienced speakers, nurses and physicians in the area are willing to donate their time. In addition, Centra Health, which employs many of the chapter members, has donated audiovisual equipment and personnel to assist with the seminars.
Happy 25th Anniversary!
The Rochester Chapter of AACN, Rochester, Minn., recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a pizza and cake party. Among those on hand for the celebration were (from left, seated) Teresa Neuzil (president-elect) Jackie Johnson (president) and Darcy Mullenbach and (from left, standing) Becky Kruger, Barb Reid, Janyce McHale, Diane Heimbuch, Melissa Barth, Doreen Gudlin and Marsha Swanton-Plummer. Some participants included their children as future members of the Rochester Chapter. Past chapter presidents were also invited to attend.
What's on Tap
CCRN Review in New York
The Central New York Chapter of AACN will sponsor a CCRN Review Course on Sept. 17 and 18, 1999, in Liverpool, N.Y., near Syracuse, Buffalo and Albany, N.Y., area. For more information, contact Sharon Jasek, RN, MS, at (315) 687-3369.
The Puget Sound Chapter of AACN will present its 25th annual Currents Critical Care Symposium on Oct. 25 and 26, 1999, in Bellevue, Wash. For more information, contact Pat Blissitt, P.O. Box 25144, Seattle, Wash. 98125; phone, (206) 447-9873; e-mail,
Does your chapter have a program or special event coming up? Send the information to AACN News, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; fax, (949) 362-2049; e-mail,