AACN News—December 2001—Chapters

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Vol. 18, No. 12, DECEMBER 2001

WOW Has Significance for Multichapter Group in Florida

Planning Committee members for the Waves of Wisdom
program are shown with keynote speaker Col. Andrew Allen
(center). The committee members were (from left) Jane
Curts (Brevard Chapter), Pam Dulin (Metro Orlando Chapter),
Jeanne Steele (Volusia-Flagler Chapter), Charlotte Wolff
(Spacecoast Chapter), Debbie Laughon (Heartland Chapter),
Marilyn Malkut (Volusia-Flagler Chapter), Kay Rhoades
(Suncoast Chapter), Rheta Campbell (Brevard Chapter),
Pam Johnson (Heartland Chapter), Stephanie Phillips
(Metro Orlando Chapter) and Nancy Mack (Gulf-to-Bay Chapter).
Not pictured were Doris Dixon (Heartland Chapter) and
Bonnie Rice (Suncoast Chapter).

A coalition of central Florida area AACN chapters came together in July 2001 for their fifth biennial education program, titled “Odyssey in Courage.” The Coast-to-Coast chapters— Brevard, Gulf-to-Bay, Heartland, Metro Orlando, Space Coast, Suncoast and Volusia-Flagler—have sponsored the Waves of Wisdom (WOW) program to advance nursing education and to create a time for critical care nurses from across the state to network and socialize.

This year’s program was built on 10 years of experience, strong and knowledgeable leaders and a band of supportive members who were committed to spending time together over the course of two years to plan, coordinate and host the event. More than $10,000 was contributed to support the educational efforts, as well as to raise funds for individual chapter activities, including sponsoring attendance by chapter members at local or national programs and support charitable chapter activities.

This year’s program was attended by over 100 critical care nurses, many of whom have made this event a regular happening, including one repeat attendee from California. Scheduled in Cocoa Beach, near Cape Canaveral Space Center, the program featured Astronaut Col. Andrew Allen, as well as immediate past AACN President Denise Thornby, RN, MSN, and President-elect Connie Barden, RN, as keynote speakers. Educational topics included neurological advances, the latest in interventional cardiology, assessment techniques for gastrointestinal and pulmonary systems and using the Synergy Model in caring for today’s acutely ill.

The program was chaired by Jeanne Steele, RN, AA, ADN, CCRN, of the Volusia-Flagler Chapter.

Chapter Leadership Development Workshop Set for May 5 in Atlanta, Ga.

Dec. 31, 2001, is the deadline for chapters to nominate their president-elect or another chapter leader to attend the annual Chapter Leadership Development Workshop on May 5, 2002, in Atlanta, Ga.
The workshop is planned in connection with AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ and Critical Care Exposition, which is scheduled May 4 through 9. The chapter’s nominee will receive complimentary airfare to Atlanta and one night’s hotel accommodation.

Nomination forms have been mailed to chapter presidents. For more information, call Chapter/Volunteer Associate Mitzi Inman at (800) 394-5995, ext. 365.

What's on Tap

The Greater Phoenix Area Chapter will present “Different Strokes for Different Folks” on Feb. 7, 2002, at the VA Medical Center, ACA Building. For more information, contact Debbie Milillo at (480) 661-8310.

The Greater Chicago Area Chapter will present “CHF Update” on Feb. 5, 2002, in Chicago, Ill. For more information, contact: Lori Marcantonio at (847) 854-8358; e-mail, gcac_aacn@yahoo.com.

The Greater Evansville Chapter’s fourth annual “Christmas for You” Party will be Dec. 17, 2001, at St. Mary’s Manor. For more information, contact Lynn Schnautz at (812) 450-7172 or Kathy Burton at (800) 852-7279, ext. 0329.

The Greater Evansville Chapter will present a CCRN Review Course at St. Mary’s Crescent Rooms on Jan. 17, 21, 24, 28 and 31 and Feb. 4 and 7. For more information, contact Lynn Schnautz at (812) 450-7172 or Kathy Burton at (800) 852-7279, ext. 0329.

The Northeastern Indiana Chapter will present a dinner recognizing critical care nurses and honoring CCRNs on Feb. 25, 2001. For more information, e-mail Marie Hamrick at nursemdh@aol.com
or Mary Lou Snouffer at INNICU@aol.com.

New Jersey
The Jersey Shoreline Chapter will present “Pediatric Respiratory Care” on Jan 23, 2002, in Tinton Falls, N.J. For more information, contact Ryn Fernandez at (732) 462-6976; fax, (732) 462-0132;
e-mail, rynfern@aol.com.

The Northern New Jersey Chapter will present “Critical Care Skills for Non-ICU Nurses” on Feb. 2, 2001, in Paterson, N.J. For more information, contact: Janice Wojcik via the chapter voice mail at (973) 905-7205; e-mail, janice.wojcik@gte.net.

North Carolina
The Heart of the Piedmont Chapter will present a CCRN preparation course on Jan. 24 and 25, 2002, in High Point, N.C. For more information, contact John H. Jeffries at (336) 878-6000, ext. 2543; e-mail, jjeffries@hprhs.com, or Karen Caviness at (336) 878-6066.

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, aacnnews@aacn.org.

Advance AACN’s Mission and Vision

By Michael L. Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN
President, AACN

Is your chapter looking for ways to advance AACN’s mission and vision? Following are some ideas aligned with my presidential theme—“A Journey of Rediscovery: Looking In and Reaching Out”—that may assist your chapter in the continuing quest to make workplaces and communities thrive:

• Conduct a comprehensive internal review of your chapter to streamline work processes, to help chapter officers and members make their optimal contribution, and to evaluate the board’s effectiveness in
achieving its strategic plan.
• Pursue a community service project that rediscovers the joy of giving and making a difference. For example, contact your local movie theater and arrange to have AACN public service announcements
shown prior to the movie previews, “adopt” a room at a local shelter and clean and redecorate it, or arrange for your local pizzeria to deliver copies of AACN public service announcements with their
• Sponsor a symposium or a “walk in my shoes” program that highlights the contributions of nursing to the local community.
• Participate in a career fair for middle and senior high school students or a recruitment fair, perhaps targeting young men and minorities, that showcases nursing as an exciting and viable profession.
• Challenge your members to recruit new members, with a goal of increasing your chapter membership by 30% by the end of the fiscal year. (See page 7 to find out the rewards chapters can receive for a
top-notch membership drive.)
• Write letters to the editor and feature stories on the nursing shortage and your concern for the future of healthcare for your local newspaper.
• Collaborate with other nursing organizations, such as the Emergency Nurses Association, Association of Operating Room Nurses or American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses on educational
• Reach out to area nursing schools to share the positive aspects of critical care nursing with nursing students. Highlight your commitment to patients and families and the critical, analytical thinking skills
needed to do your job. Establish a scholarship fund for local nursing students interested in critical care.
• Schedule a self-nurturing program to celebrate the valuable contributions nurses make to society.

Does Your Chapter Exemplify the AACN President’s Theme?

Has your chapter “looked in and reached out” during the past year through its programs or community service events? If so, it could be a recipient of the AACN Circle of Excellence President’s Award for Chapters for 2002.

The chapter or chapters that best exemplify the “A Journey of Rediscovery: Looking In and Reaching Out” theme of AACN President Michael L. Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN, will be selected to receive a monetary award. Recognition of these exemplary efforts will also be provided in the annual Circle of Excellence awards publication and at AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ and Critical Care Exposition, May 4 through 9, 2002, in Atlanta, Ga.

Applications for the 2002 award are due March 1, 2002.

For more information about the Circle of Excellence President’s Award for Chapters or to obtain an award application, call (800) 899-2226. Request Item #1011. Or, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Apply to be a Chapter Adviser

Past chapter presidents are invited to apply for regional Chapter Advisory Team positions in Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), Region 2 (New York), Region 3 (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), Region 7 (Florida), Region 8 (Michigan, Wisconsin), Region 9 (Indiana, Ohio), Region 13 (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska), Region 14 (Kansas, Missouri), Region 16 (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming) and Region 18 (Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington). March 1, 2002 is the deadline to apply. See the Call for Volunteers in the center of this issue of AACN News.

In the Circle: Award Honors Chapter Leadership Development

Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with the 2001 Sharon Connor Chapter Leadership Development Award, part of AACN’s Circle of Excellence recognition program. This award, named in honor of the longtime AACN national office team member who died in June 1997, is intended to promote the development of chapter leaders by recognizing premier chapter leadership development plans, outcomes and effective leadership transitions. The criteria include an assessment of the chapter’s support of the four Cs: communication, connection, consistency and contribution. One chapter from each membership category received $1,000.

White River Chapter
Yorktown, Ind.

Our chapter was conceived through a blending of funds, knowledge and vision.

For startup, dues were collected and the founding board of directors and officers were elected at an open house, attended by 15 critical care nurses in the Muncie, Ind., area in the summer of 1999. A chapter mission statement and mechanisms under which the chapter would operate were then developed.

Our primary task was to develop a communication system that included e-mail, a newsletter, a chapter Web site and a dedicated phone line, which was donated by Ball Memorial Hospital. After designing the chapter logo, we were able to proceed with chapter stationery, membership applications and membership pocket guides.

Because a feeling of connection builds trust and a sense of security, we followed a guiding principle of “holding hands and sticking together” during our first year. Our chapter events not only served our members but also provided a wealth of experience for the board.

Feeling strongly about the importance of consistency and commitment, the board voted that members holding prominent board positions would be asked to remain for a second term. This provided a seamless transition for a larger and less experienced board.

Through a demonstrated commitment to connection, communication, consistency and contribution, the chapter has faced and mastered the challenges of infancy.

Dallas County Chapter
Dallas, Texas

Although I had been a member of the Dallas County Chapter since 1985, it was not until August 1999 that I decided to step up my involvement. I was motivated by the mentoring of our president at the time, Dave Hanson. His friendly interaction with chapter members and his support of any member interested in helping out encouraged me to become more active in chapter activities.

Initially, I simply attended team and board of directors meetings to observe the proceedings. Soon, I graduated to small assignments with the Recruitment and Retention Team. With the encouragement of our chapter leadership, I successfully ran for the position of director of membership in the summer of 2000.

At the same time, our newly elected chapter leadership was put to the test when the president decided to step down for personal reasons. This occurred a week before our annual planning retreat. The president-elect graciously and seamlessly stepped into the responsibilities of president, and the board selected a new president-elect.

This unexpected turn of events was handled with calm discussion and mature decision making. This potentially calamitous event did not deleteriously affect the leadership of the chapter. The Dallas County Chapter continues to provide excellence in its service to our chapter members, empowering its members to continue to provide safe passage for the patients and their families entrusted to their care.

I would not have had the courage to be where I am today without the support of the past and present leaders of my chapter. It is a nurturing place to be professionally.

Greater Evansville Chapter
Evansville, Ind.

The newly elected leadership of the Greater Evansville Chapter set five goals for the year: increase membership, increase the number of CCRN-certified members, increase quality programs, increase community awareness and develop teams.

After the chapter hit a record low of 31 members, the board planned a membership drive in which area hospitals would compete in bringing in the most new members. As a result, the chapter grew to 84 members and is still growing.

When the CCRN drive started, 24 members were certified. The chapter sponsored two CCRN review courses, which resulted in 14 new members passing the CCRN exam.

Chapter programs provided more than 70 continuing education hours during the year. In addition to the CCRN review courses, the chapter presented two seminars cosponsored by the American Heart Association, a holiday party where canned food items were donated to the Tri-State Food Bank, the Critical Care Challenge held in conjunction with a drive to collect items for the local domestic violence shelter and a Members-Only Dinner honoring two Nurse of the Year recipients and presenting educational advancement and NTI scholarships.

To increase community awareness, the chapter now distributes quarterly newsletters, uses e-mail, sponsors booths at area events, distributes ribbons for members to wear at symposiums and sells T-shirts with the chapter logo.

Sacramento Area Chapter
Sacramento, Calif.

For the past 25 years, the Sacramento Area Chapter has been recruiting and mentoring devoted professionals who have excelled in leadership roles. Recently, the chapter was excited about mentoring another chapter that is trying to increase membership and encourage leadership development.

Our board shared our policy and procedure manual, strategic plan and chapter objectives with our newly adopted “sibling” chapter in Louisville, Ky. In addition, we offered two of its officers an opportunity to attend our annual seminar at no cost. Attendance at the seminar offered not only excellent networking opportunities but also the chance to witness first hand the flow of running a successful chapter seminar.
In addition, the Sacramento Area Chapter initiated a local version of AACN’s Circle of Excellence Awards. We now have an annual recognition program that honors one chapter member with the Excellence in Caring and Clinical Practice Award. The recipient receives a one-year membership to national AACN, complimentary tuition for our annual seminar, a plaque and special recognition at our May educational meeting.
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