AACN News—June 2001—Chapters

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Vol. 18, No. 6, JUNE 2001

Full-Day Conference Focuses on Facing Challenges

Key participants celebrated the success of the full-day conference in Gulfport, Miss. Pictured are (from left, foreground)
Liz Stevens, MaryLee Hanemann and Eddie Hadley and (from left, back) Mary Genovese, Denise Thornby, Wendy
Garretson, Marla De Jong, Pat Fuller and Al Pittman.

Embracing the theme of AACN President Denise Thornby, RN, MS, the Greater New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Magnolia chapters of AACN joined forces for the first time to sponsor an all-day educational conference in Gulfport, Miss.

“Building Courage to Face the Challenges” was the theme of the program, which featured a keynote speech by Thornby titled “Courage to Influence Others.” Other speakers who addressed many of the challenges critical care nurses face on a daily basis were Dr. Richard Summers, associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Mississippi; Dr. Carol Kauffman, chief of infectious diseases at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich; and Kathy White, RN, MS, owner of Kathy White Learning Systems. More than 100 nurses from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana attended the event.

A networking reception the evening before the program provided the nurses with the opportunity to talk with Thornby and representatives of sponsoring companies. The sponsors included Ortho Biotech, Key Pharmaceuticals, Hill-Rom, Genentech, Inc., Siemens Medical Systems, Inc., Kathy White Learning Systems, Harcourt Health Sciences 3M Healthcare, ESI Lederle, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, LOPA & MORA, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and the Learning Curve.

Program committee members were thrilled by the success of this first joint venture, which grew out of the Chapter Leadership Development Workshop at AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ in 2000. After the workshop, Wendy Garretson, RN, MN, CCRN, and Kathy Hagy, RN, ADN, AA, presidents of the Greater New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Magnolia chapters, respectively, committed to the project.

Other members of the program committee were MaryLee Hanemann, RN, MSN, CCRN, Eddie Hadley, RN, CCRN, Liz Stevens, RN, BSN, CCRN, Mary Genovese, RN, BSN, BS, CCRN, Maria Roche and Gwen Stewart-Woods, RN, MSN, all members of the Greater New Orleans Chapter, and Pat Fuller, RN, Marla De Jong, RN, MS, CCNS, CCRN, CEN, and Al Pittman, RN, MSN, CCRN, all members of the Gulf Coast Magnolia Chapter.

Reporter Explains Chicago Tribune Series at Chapter Meeting

Responding to a series of articles in the Chicago Tribune on nurses’ role in medical errors, the Northwest Chicago Area Chapter of AACN invited investigative reporter Michael J. Berens to speak at its monthly program in January.

Jenny Zaker, RN, MEd, CCRN, chapter president, and Sarah A. Martin, RN, MS, CCRN, CPNP, PCCNP, Program Committee chairperson, said Berens explained how the series evolved. He told the group that he interviewed nurses throughout the country after identifying that nursing was in a crisis and undergoing a fundamental transition as part of his research on healthcare. He said he discovered that, though there are more nurses in hospitals today, they are not at the bedside, and that they are responsible for many mistakes. The goal of the series, he said, was to ask questions: Is there a problem? What is the source of the problem? Is care linked to staffing levels?

In analyzing 3 million state and federal records, Berens said he ascertained the hidden role RNs play in medical errors. He said he wrote the article to inform the public and encourage patients to ask questions, such as: Who are you? What are you doing? Why are you doing this?

The open dialogue that followed Berens’ presentation was spirited, with nurses in attendance debating the series from both sides of the issue. One repeated concern was the sensational and potentially negative impact of the headlines for each article. Although Berens said that he had no plans to write future articles on nursing, an article by Berens, headlined “Plan aims to head off nursing crisis,” did appear in the Chicago Tribune in February 2001.

The leadership of the Northwest Chicago Area Chapter supports the national AACN statement that the Chicago Tribune series raises valid concerns relative to issues in healthcare today that impact patients, families and healthcare professionals and that it has raised public awareness of nursing issues. The chapter encourages all AACN members to remain abreast of the issues, information and publications that impact nursing.

Apply for Chapter Awards Recognition

July 15, 2001, is the deadline to apply for most AACN Circle of Excellence Awards for chapters.To obtain the awards guide, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #1011, or visit the AACN Web site at www.aacn.org. Click on “Membership,” then “Awards, Grants, Scholarships.”

Following are the awards that are offered for chapters:
Pioneering Spirit Award—One chapter from each membership category will be awarded $1,000 toward participation in the 2002 NTI in Atlanta, Ga., or toward any AACN product.
AACN Sharon Connor Excellence in Chapter Leadership Development Award—One chapter from each membership category will receive $1,000.
Outstanding Chapter Communications System Award—One chapter from each category will be awarded $1,000.
Outstanding Chapter Educational Program Award—One chapter from each category will receive $1,000.

The deadline to apply for the President’s Award for chapters is March 1, 2002. The goes to the chapter or chapters that best exemplify the annual theme of the president of AACN. The theme of 2001-02 President Michael Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN, is “A Journey of Rediscovery: Looking In and Reaching Out.”

In addition, one chapter from each membership category is eligible for the CCRN Certification Drive Award, which recognizes chapters that demonstrate the value of CCRN certification by increasing the number of CCRNs in their chapters during the year. To be eligible, chapters must submit their membership rosters as of Dec. 31, and highlight the members who have achieved CCRN status during the year.

What's on Tap

The Western Connecticut Chapter will present “Care of the Critically Ill Patient with Pulmonary Fibrosis” on June 21, 2001, in Danbury, Conn. For more information, contact Leslie Bardelli at (860) 355-1499; e-mail, Ibardelli@snet.net.

The Coast to Coast Chapters will present “Waves of Wisdom 2001, An Odyssey in Courage” on July 20 and 22, 2001, in Cocoa Beach, Fla. For more information, contact Rheta Campbell at (321) 631-3439; e-mail, RhetaSC@aol.com.

The Atlanta Area Chapter will present “12-Lead EKG” on July 12, 2001, in Atlanta, Ga., For more information, e-mail Nancy King at king_nancy@dkmc.org.

The Greater Chicago Area Chapter will present “What Is Your Real Age?” on June 19, 2001, in Chicago Ill. For more information, contact Lori Marcantonio at (847) 854-8358; e-mail, gcac_aacn@yahoo.com.

The Northwest Chicago Area Chapter will sponsor its member recognition dinner on June 20, 2001, in Schaumberg, Ill. “The Magic of Making a Difference” is the theme. For more information, contact Jodi Gunther, RN, MS, CCRN, at (847) 526-5865; e-mail, jlg3@gte.net.

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.
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