AACN News—May 1999—Chapters

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Vol. 16, No. 5, MAY 1999

Florida Chapters Collaborate to Make Seminar a Success

By Penny Blake, RN, CCRN
Palm Beach County Chapter
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Cochair, A Wealth of Knowledge ’98

Even the threat of Hurricane Georges did not dampen enthusiasm for the “A Wealth of Knowledge ’98” seminar in October in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Scheduled every two years through the cooperative efforts of four southeast Florida chapters, this two-day seminar covered a variety of topics for critical care nurses. In addition to five “break-out” sessions both days, the symposium

provided opportunities for 53 exhibitors to demonstrate their products to approximately 250 nurses who attended.
Two of the participants were a surprise—Janet Master, from Sydney, Australia and Kristin Olafsdottirm from Reykjavik, Iceland. They registered for the symposium after learning about it on the AACN Web site, which includes information about chapter programs.

The addition of specialty tracks for emergency department and pediatric critical care nurses, as well as a breakfast session on “Women and Heart Disease” were among the highlights of this year’s effort.

Following a welcome by symposium chairperson Naomi Rodgers, RN, DNS, CCRN, AACN President Mary McKinley, RN, MSN, CCRN, delivered the keynote address, titled “Vision, Values, and Voice.” McKinley challenged attendees to “give voice” to their profession and believe in themselves to define their values, and to “illuminate” their vision by imagining what greatness means to each of them.

“Zeroing in on Clinical Excellence” was the title of a speech by Marianne Chulay, RN, DNSc, FAAN, a past president of AACN, who was closing speaker on the first day. She spoke about creating excellence in practice by linking competence, caring practices, leadership and communication. Using the lyrics of the song “I Think I Can Fly” to accompany slides showing nurses in various aspects of their profession, Chulay encouraged participants to believe they can fly when striving for excellence in clinical practice.

Because temperatures are warm in South Florida in October, symposium committee members renamed the traditional “fireside chats” as the “sunset chat.” This was an opportunity for nurses attending the conference to meet with McKinley and AACN President-elect Anne Wojner, RN, MSN, CCRN, about issues affecting their practices. The response was so good that additional seating was needed. Several of the nurses who attended said the opportunity to meet AACN national leaders personally made them feel more closely connected to the National Office.

Wojner, who opened the second day of the symposium, took participants “Cruising Through the Gyri: A Guided Journey in Correlated Brain Physiology and Assessment.” Comments on evaluation forms praised Wojner’s ability to pack in “information and deliver it in a comfortable, easy to understand method.”

The closing session topic the second day was “A Whole New World: The Vision for Critical Care Nursing,” delivered by Pat Moloney-Harmon, RN, MS, CCRN, past chairperson of AACN Certification Corporation. Moloney-Harmon described challenges expected to face healthcare in the 21st century and explained how AACN’s vision of “a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients where critical care nurses make their optimal contribution” will help prepare nurses by identifying the competencies they need. Using the Synergy Model, which AACN Certification Corporation uses as a framework to develop its exams, Moloney-Harmon illustrated how patient needs drive nursing competency.

Saying that “we bring caring practices which creates safe passage for patients, but we often remain invisible,” Moloney-Harmon encouraged nurses to “make visible the invisible” by showing how clinical expertise in nursing can move patients toward favorable outcomes in demonstrable ways.

In addition to nationally known speakers, “A Wealth of Knowledge” seeks to provide a forum for expert speakers from the area. Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCRN, Jonathan Jaffe, Barbara Russell, and Cammie House-Fancher RN, MSN, APRN, were some of the more well-known area lecturers who made presentations.

Break-out sessions included topics of interest for clinical, managerial, and advanced practice nurses. Poster presentations were available in the exhibit hall, with the presenters available at designated times to answer questions about their projects.

The “Wealth of Knowledge” seminar was conceived in 1988 as a cooperative effort of the Greater Miami, Broward and Palm Beach County chapters of AACN. The Treasure Coast Chapter of AACN joined the group in 1990. By 1992, the seminar had outgrown its original site and was moved to the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Pursuing a desire to present a more diverse program, the South Florida Gold Coast Chapter collaborated with the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Emergency Nurses Association on the 1998 symposium, which added an educational track for emergency department personnel.

Donation Helps Furnish Hospitality House

Jane Vortherms (left), coordinator of Hospitality House, shows a chair and footstool for which the Central Minnesota Area Chapter of AACN donated money. With her are Kirsten Skillings (center), chapter president, and Aleen Roehl, publications chair.

The Central Minnesota Area Chapter of AACN recently donated money to purchase a lounge chair and footstool for Hospitality House, a facility where patients in the St. Cloud, Minn., area or their families can stay overnight. Hospitality House opened in October 1996 following a two-and-a-half-year remodeling project. The five-bedroom home can accommodate up to 20 people. Since opening, approximately 2000 guests have used the facility. The occupancy rate has been approximately 87%.

A $20 charge is assessed to stay at the home. However a fund was established to help those who cannot afford to pay.
Information about Hospitality House is available in the family waiting areas and many nurses refer families to the accommodations.

‘Heartsavers’ in Colorado

Members of the Colorado West Chapter of AACN in Grand Junction, Colo., recently volunteered to teach the “Heartsaver” cardiopulmonary resuscitation class in their community. A total of 387 people ranging in age from 12 to 65 years received the free training. Pictured are (from left, kneeling) Mary DeYoung and Rusty O’Neal; (from left, second row) Bonnie Jean Brown, Glenna Stark, Debbie Slover, Cyndy Smilanich, and Chris Gibson (president); and (from left, back row) Judy Williams, Barb Keene, Lori Fink (president-elect), Sue Dickson, Cathy Roberts, and Steve Tatum.

What's on Tap

Interventional Electrophysiology
The Greater Louisville Chapter of AACN and Jewish Hospital will present the second “International Symposium on Advances in Interventional Electrophysiology” September 22 through 24, 1999 in Louisville, Ky. For more information, contact Vickie Miracle, RN, at (502) 587-4902; e-mail, Vickie.miracle@jhhs.org.

Bugs and Drugs
The High Sierra Chapter of AACN will present “Bugs & Drugs” from 9 am to 1 pm June 9, 1999, in Reno, Nev. Brunch and continuing education units will be provided. For more information, call Ella at (775) 746-3104 or Diane at (775) 789-3137.

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