AACN News—June 2002—Chapters

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Vol. 19, No. 6, JUNE 2002

Participants Challenged to Find the Leader Within: Chapter Leaders Focus on Developing Skill Sets

AACN chapter leaders were challenged to find the leaders within themselves and their chapters at the Chapter Leadership Development Workshop, conducted as a preconference of NTI 2002 in Atlanta, Ga.
Joan Vitello-Cicciu, RN, PhD, FAAN, vice president of patient care services at St. Anne's Hospital, Fall River, Mass., and a past president of AACN, opened the workshop with remarks focusing on the inner journey of self-discovery that healthcare must make to achieve better external leadership skills.

Vitello-Cicciu discussed the importance of emotional intelligence and the ability to identify emotions, integrate emotions into thought, understand emotion and manage emotions. Being aware of emotional intelligence improves leadership abilities because it allows people to project a positive and constructive atmosphere.

�It is our choice as leaders to project more light than shadows,� she said.

Vitello-Cicciu created a model incorporating the four skills that AACN's Leadership Development Work Group has identified as key to successful leadership: self-awareness, dialogue, navigating change and conflict management. Vitello-Cicciu's model tied the skills together through emotional intelligence and appreciative inquiry. In this model, a leader must embody emotional intelligence to achieve self-awareness and successful conflict management. Appreciative inquiry is the methodology a leader must embrace to promote dialogue and navigate change.

Developing Self-Awareness
According to Vitello-Cicciu, the four qualities of emotional intelligence�identifying, integrating, understanding and managing emotions�are enhanced when leaders focus on self-awareness.
�Self-awareness is taking one's emotional temperature,� Vitello-Cicciu said. She encouraged AACN chapter leaders to assess their personal emotions, strengths and weaknesses, and to define their purpose and vision as chapter leaders. Leaders can engage in activities that develop emotional perception, such as people watching, acquiring more active listening skills, sharing emotional stories or accounts of leadership difficulties, relaxation techniques, and stress and anger management.

Emotional intelligence also promotes conflict management, she said.

Vitello-Cicciu also emphasized appreciative inquiry, a set of principles that helps leaders promote dialogue and navigate change. Appreciative inquiry focuses on valuing what is, dreaming of what might be, designing what should be and focusing on what will be.

Unlike problem solving, which assumes that an organization, person or system is a difficulty that must be resolved, appreciative inquiry assumes that an organization, person or system is a mystery to be embraced, Vitello-Cicciu said.

�A healthcare leader is a person who is able to ignite the spirit of people within their sphere of influence and to co-create and make real a shared vision, goal or purpose,� she said.

Building a Dream Chapter
Anne Wojner, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNS, also a past president of AACN, called on leadership to find creative ways to maintain the long-term health of their chapters.
Wojner said that the optimal chapter setting is one where members feel safe and secure, and can find other nurses who can relate to the stresses they face. Creating such an atmosphere leads to improved recruitment and retention.

Determining whether members see the chapter as a welcoming environment requires taking a hard look at how it feels to come into a meeting from the perspective of leadership and of members, she said. Leadership should engage in honest discussions with members to determine if the chapter is what they hoped for and, if not, what they think the chapter needs. Such discussions can break down perceptions that newer members are not as committed and that leadership is unwilling to consider change.

Leadership must be willing to change quickly to meet the needs of the chapter and accept the possibility that not every change will be successful, she said. This often can mean overturning traditions for innovations and involving chapter members in implementing change.

�We have to work through the members�it's not about me, it's about we,� Wojner said.

Building the Future
Perhaps the most important function of chapter leadership is to identify future leadership. To ensure the continued vitality of the chapter, this search should stretch beyond the likeable members who mirror the current leadership, Wojner said. Instead, consider provocateurs who challenge the status quo, see the chapter through new eyes and can identify unanticipated problems and develop new strategic directions for the chapter to take, she said.

Another approach is to recruit members for brainstorming sessions where seemingly bizarre ideas are encouraged. These off-the-wall ideas often contain the blueprint for a workable plan, she said.
�How can we think outside the box to come up with new ideas?� she asked.

Wojner also challenged chapters to form their own vision statements to help guide the chapter's development. Although these vision statements should be consistent with the national AACN vision, they should also carve out distinctive identities that define the chapter's preferred future in ways that inspire the membership.

�We have so much passion, and we have to make sure that passion comes across in the work that chapters do,� she said.

Round Up for Cardiovascular Nursing

Members of the Planning Committee for the eighth annual �Heart of Cardiovascular
Nursing 2002� symposium, cosponsored by the Greater Evansville (Ind.) Chapter of
AACN, Deaconess Hospital and the University of Southern Indiana, were (from left,
kneeling) Diana Everley, Bonnie Vance, Ellen Wathen and Lynn Schnautz and (from
left, standing) Peggy Graul, Maria Shirey, Becky Malotte, Sandra Duvall, Sally Finley,
Karen Fox, Jean Hunt, Linda Schile and Karen Thompson. The one-day event, titled
�Fix My Achy-Breaky Heart,� was held in March on the campus of USI.

What's on Tap

The Hawaiian Islands Chapter will present a CCRN/Systems Review on July 19, 2002, in Honolulu. For more information, contact chapter President Sharon Chun at (808) 833-7697 or e-mail Teresa Evangelista at kurt.terry@verizon.net.

The Northwest Chicago Area Chapter will present �The Art and Science of Fluid Management� on Sept. 18, 2002, at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill. For more information, contact Marilyn Arnold at (630) 833-4824; fax, (630) 993-4232; e-mail, marnold@emhc.org.

The Northwest Chicago Area Chapter will present �Cardiac Case Studies�Markers and More� on Oct. 16, 2002, at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill. For more information, contact Marilyn Arnold at (630) 833-4824; fax, (630) 993-4232; e-mail, marnold@emhc.org.

The Lehigh Valley Chapter will present �Nurse-Fest 2002� on Sept. 16 and 17, 2002, in Bethlehem, Pa. For more information, contact Deborah Kumar at (610) 967-6161; fax, (610) 965-6210; e-mail, debi@nurse-beat.com.

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.

Chapter Presidents Luncheon: �CSI' Co-Star Relates the Difference His Nurses Made

Twenty-three years ago, then 31-year-old Robert David Hall was �working as a DJ at a third-rate radio station while also studying acting and performing in a lousy band.� One day on his way to a recording job, a drunken truck driver plowed an 18-wheeler through the chain-link median, destroying Hall's Volkswagen in a fiery crash that resulted in severe burns over 65% of his body and the loss of both legs.
A three-month stay in the critical care unit at the University of California-Irvine followed, as did eight amputation procedures and 25 skin grafts.

Today, Hall co-stars in the top-rated �CSI: Crime Scene Investigation� television series as coroner David Robbins. But he has never forgotten those harrowing days and nights, nor the acts of kindness performed by the nurses in his critical care unit.

I read the exemplars (Circle of Excellence Awards) and studied your faces and the program, and read your stories. I want to remind you of just how deeply you can touch people, and how you touched me, how life-changing your passion and your compassion is,� Hall said at the annual NTI 2002 Chapter Presidents Luncheon, sponsored by Nellcor/Tyco Healthcare.

Nursing Team
�I make my living as an actor, so I know the difference between reality and magic,� Hall said. �But I also know, just as you do, that magic and real life come together all the time.�

Even now, 23 years after his ordeal, Hall remembers the names and faces of the �angels� in the ICU. After arriving at the University of California-Irvine Trauma Center, Hall was medicated for approximately 36 hours, before waking with his right leg missing, his left leg mangled, tubes in his nose and his entire body wracked with pain. The first face he saw was that of Carla, a critical care nurse, whose soft brown eyes and loving demeanor reminded him of his mother, he said.

�She was also one heck of an ICU nurse,� he said. �This woman was such an expert and so caring, it just blew me away.�

As his stay in the burn unit continued, Franny saw his fear and taught him deep breathing exercises and self-hypnosis, which took just enough of an edge off.

Beth was the nurse who took him to the debridement tank. Despite the fact that he was feeling vulnerable and afraid, she made him feel courageous. One of the pain-killing medications he took during this session elicited a dream where he was a child at a shop full of all types of Popsicles, including his favorite flavor, root beer. After he told Beth, his reward for each session was a root beer Popsicle.

One night after receiving treatment, Hall returned to his room to find it filled with candles. His fianc�e was there waiting, as Pat had arranged for grape juice in wine glasses and �lousy hospital food,� but served on a tablecloth.

�It was one of the most romantic evenings I've ever had,� he said. There also was Victor, who was proud of the profession. When people would mistakenly call him �doctor,� Victor would politely and proudly correct them, Hall said. Victor also made sure that Hall received a steady supply of John D. McDonald mystery novels.

Touching Goodbye
About a week before he was to be discharged, five of the nurses put Hall in a wheelchair and took him the three blocks to Anaheim Stadium, the home of the California (now Anaheim) Angels.

�In the 5th inning, on the outfield scoreboard, I saw �To our friend David Hall, get well soon, Your friends in the ICU,' � he said before pausing to wipe a tear. �It was the best ballgame I've ever been to.�

Circle of Excellence Award Nominations for Chapters Due July 15

Awards that recognize contributions by AACN chapters are among the Circle of Excellence awards presented each year. Nominations for all except the President's Award for chapters and the CCRN Certification Drive Award for 2002 are due July 15, 2002. Following is information about these awards:

� Pioneering Spirit Award�recognizes chapters whose contributions have influenced acute and critical care nursing in any setting. One chapter from each membership category will be awarded $1,000 toward participation in the 2003 NTI in San Antonio, Texas, or toward any AACN product.

� AACN Sharon Connor Excellence in Chapter Leadership Development Award�promotes the development of AACN 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 is selected to receive $1,000.

� Outstanding Chapter Communications System Award�recognizes chapters that exemplify effective communication and promote AACN's messages in the chapter and/or the community. One chapter from each category is awarded $1,000.

� Outstanding Chapter Educational Program Award�recognizes chapters that exemplify team-teaching, program quality and learning connection opportunities. Efforts by individual chapters, chapters working with other chapters and chapters working with outside collaborators are recognized separately. One chapter from each category is selected to receive $1,000.

For more information about the Chapter Circle of Excellence Awards program or to obtain an awards guide, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #1011 or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

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