In the Circle
Award Honors Outstanding Educational Programs
Editor’s note: The 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. Following is the exemplar submitted in connection with this award for 2003.
Greater Washington Area Chapter
Silver Spring, Md.
The Greater Washington Area Chapter has a long and rich history of excellent leadership for educational programs. The talent and experience within GWAC leadership speaks highly for the types of educational programs we are able to offer. Examples are Spotlight on Critical Care, a two-day multi-track seminar; a tribute dinner to honor the nursing-medical response to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, cosponsored with Washington Area Chapter Critical Care Society; and two area Critical Care Consortia.
How is GWAC able to sustain such a strong history of educational program excellence? First, by committing to AACN’s mission of providing high-quality resources that will maximize the contributions that nurses make to caring and improving the healthcare of critically ill patients and their families. Second, by mentoring members for leadership positions and educational program involvement. Third, by linking GWAC's strategic plan with educational opportunities that ensure the four C’s: communication, connection, consistency and contribution.
GWAC increased communication through electronic bulletins, newsletters and initiating a Web site. Its educational programs demonstrate connection “to the needs of the nursing community” through current and creative topics. The programs and events help to establish work and care environments that are respectful, healing and humane.
GWAC has been responsive to “listening” to members and seeking opportunities to “mentor” members for “team-teaching” contributions. The success of GWAC’s educational program is a testament to our members’ strength, talent and support among our members. Our voices have been “bold, fearless and essential” to our community.
Northwest Chicago Area Chapter
Arlington Heights, Ill.
For 30 years, the Northwest Chicago Area Chapter has consistently provided high-quality educational programming with the goal of optimizing the outcomes of patients and families cared for in critical care units throughout the Chicagoland area. Utilization of chapter resources reflects support for educational programming as evidenced by monthly programs, an annual four-day conference, a newsletter, a Web site and an active awards and scholarship program.
The NWCAC has both a program committee and a Midwest Conference program committee that allow for chapter member participation and recruitment. Member needs assessments are conducted annually. The 28th annual Midwest Conference was extremely successful. A total of 616 critical care nurses participated. Both national and local speakers provided sessions within the five tracks offered.
Our newsletter, Web site, and awards and scholarship program offer alternative educational opportunities. Our newsletter is published to coincide with the announcement of monthly programs and provides updates on unique and timely topics. The NWCAC Awards and Scholarship Committee offers educational opportunities to members and nonmembers. Chapter members can earn points toward financial reimbursement for self-directed professional and educational opportunities. Through participation in chapter activities, members can be reimbursed for national and local AACN membership, AACN-approved conferences, certification and AACN-endorsed textbooks and products. Our chapter makes annual contributions to the AACN Annual Fund, with this year’s donation earmarked for educational scholarship. Local chapter monies are budgeted for members seeking advanced degrees, to support research and for undergraduate nursing scholarships.
Nominations for this award for 2005 are due July 15. To obtain a Circle of Excellence awards application, call (800) 899-2226 or visit the
Members of the Sacramento Chapter of AACN embraced the year’s “Rising Above” theme as they celebrated Nurses Day and Nurses Week. They were joined by 2003-04 AACN President Dorrie Fontaine, who chose the theme for her presidential year.
What's on Tap
The Greater Phoenix Area Chapter will present a program titled “Emergency Management and Transfer of Burn Patients” on Sept. 2 at the VAMC Ambulatory Care Center. For more information, contact Bobbie Wiles at (480) 988-3526; e-mail,
The Northwest Chicago Area Chapter will present a program on “Management of Hyperglycemia in Critically Ill Patients” on Sept. 15 at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge. For more information, contact Andrea Kline at (773) 975-8835; e-mail,
The Northwest Chicago Area Chapter will present a program on “Gastric Bypass” on Oct. 20 at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge. For more information, contact Andrea Kline at (773) 975-8835; e-mail,
The Alabama and Georgia Chapters will present a program titled “Critical Care Nursing: Visioning Beyond the Basics” Sept. 26 through 28 at the Marriott-Century Center, Atlanta. For more information, contact Deb Erikson at (706) 774-8348; e-mail,
The Greater Akron Area Chapter will present a CCRN Review Course Sept. 9 and 23 at Summa Health System Hospitals. For more information, contact Diana Vance, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, at (330) 849-0950; e-mail,
The Cumberland Valley Chapter will present a program titled “Mastering Hemodynamic Monitoring and 12-Lead Interpretation” on Oct. 28 at The Orchards, Chambersburg. For more information, contact Polly McMullen at (717) 477-8267; e-mail,
The South Central Wisconsin Chapter will present a program titled “New Directions: Critical Care 2004” on Oct. 13 and 14. For more information, contact Jane Hartman or Susan Meredith at (608) 263-6618 or (608) 263-8134; e-mail,
Is your chapter planning a program or special event? Submit your information online; e-mail,
Dorrie Fontaine (second from right), 2003-04 AACN
president, greets South American Nurses (from left)
Mayela de Bejarano, Sofia Puerto, Carolina Valencia
and Maximina Contreras.
Chapters Join to Sponsor Visit by South American Nurses
Three nurses from South America, Maximina Contreras from Peru, Mayela de Bejarano from Bolivia and Carolina Valencia from Columbia, received sponsorship to NTI from several of AACN’s western chapters.
The idea was that these nurses would be exposed to a variety of research trends, technology and teaching methodologies, many of which they can adapt in their areas of work, explained Sofia Puerto of Loma Linda Veterans Medical Center and University School of Nursing in Loma Linda, Calif. Puerto’s Inland Empire Chapter of AACN, in collaboration with the Sacramento, San Diego, San Fernando and Albuquerque chapters, paid the costs of hotels, meals and registration for the visiting nurses.
Salaries for the international nurses range from $250 to $300 a month, making it financially impossible for them to attend NTI on their own.
“These nurses are in charge of organizing their yearly symposia and lack not only financial resources, but also speakers, materials and ideas,” Puerto said. “Despite the fact that their verbalization of the English language is limited, they are able to read and understand it. Attending topics of interest to them is invaluable for the content, presentation style and materials.”
Puerto said that many nurses in South America work 12-hour shifts, and rotate days and nights. She said it is not uncommon for nurses to take care of 50 to 60 patients in one shift with the help of only one assistant. Faculty members are often in charge of administration and teach four classes or more at a time, including both nursing theory and clinical applications.
“A frequent comment of nurses abroad is the lack of appreciation and the feeling of professional isolation that they experience in their areas of work,” Puerto said. “For them to be able to see such a great number of critical care professionals and get a feel of what nursing is about in the United States is an experience that for thousands of nurses is only a distant dream.”
Dorrie Fontaine (left) is joined by the presidents and presidents-elect
of chapters that contributed to the AACN Scholarship Endowment
and to other AACN programs. They are (from left) Kim Green, Greater
East Texas Chapter; Judi Robinson, San Fernando Valley Chapter;
Diane Davis, Houston-Gulf Coast Chapter; Maggie Carriker, West
Michigan Chapter; Dana Marie Miller, Greater Kansas City Chapter;
Sonia Astle, Greater Washington Area Chapter; Mary Bylone,
Southeastern Pennsulvania Chapter; Debbie Fischer, SePA; and
Julianne Gerstbrein, Three Rivers Chapter.
SePA Chapter to Match Scholarship Contributions Over 3-Year Period
A highlight of the Chapter Presidents Luncheon at this year’s NTI was a challenge issued by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter that will result in $100,000 being raised for AACN’s Scholarship Endowment.
The chapter had pledged to match contributions by other chapters up to a total of $50,000 over the next three years. Even before the challenge was formally announced at the luncheon, word had spread, and several chapters had responded.
As Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, 2003-04 AACN president, announced the chapters that responded, she tallied the pledges.
Making pledges were the Greater Washington Area Chapter in the amount of $10,000, the Greater Kansas City Chapter in the amount of $6,000, the West Michigan Chapter in the amount of $6,000, the Houston-Gulf Coast Chapter in the amount of $3,000, the Three Rivers Chapter in the amount of $3,000, the San Fernando Valley Chapter in the amount of $1,000 and the Greater East Texas Chapter in the amount of $500.
“We’re more than halfway to meeting the challenge,” Fontaine said.
The Scholarship Endowment was established to generate perpetual support for academic scholarships for undergraduate and graduate nursing students, and NTI continuing education scholarships. The goal is $2 million.
Also at the luncheon, the Northwest Chicago Area Chapter continued its tradition of making a $1,000 gift to support AACN initiatives. It was joined by the New York City Chapter, which also donated $1,000.
For the second year, the Dallas County Chapter supported the NTI visit by area students interested in nursing. The chapter also funded a one-time $1,500 scholarship to honor 2004 Distinguished Research Lecturer Cathie Guzzetta, RN, PhD, HNC, FAAN, a past president of the chapter.
Actress Patty Duke Pays Tribute to Nurses
A grateful Patty Duke was this year’s guest speaker at the Chapter Presidents Luncheon, sponsored by Nellcor/Tyco Healthcare during the NTI in Orlando, Fla.
The Oscar-winning actress, who has received five stents, was clearly excited and touched to be a part of the NTI.
“You don’t often get the chance to go and, from the very belly of your heart, say thank you to people for what they have chosen to do,” she said.
Duke credited the producers of her current film, Caught in the Act, with allowing her to attend the NTI meeting.
“When the cast and crew learned where I was going, so many people told me stories about critical care nurses who took care of someone they loved,” she said. “The bottom line is that they wanted me to bring you their gratitude and love.”
During the question-and-answer period, Duke was asked what, as a patient, she could offer nurses so they could improve patient care.
“It’s so important for you to let us in. Teach us,” she said. “It will help in the process to have more secure and more educated patients.”
“Your demonstration of love is so important,” she said. “The mere presence of love within you is an umbrella you put over me and all of your other patients.”
‘Live Your Contribution’ Drives President’s Award
Live Your Contribution” is the theme chosen by AACN President Kathy McCauley, RN, PhD, CS, FAAN, for her presidential year.
The chapter or chapters that best exemplify this theme will receive the President’s Award, part of AACN’s Circle of Excellence recognition program for chapters.
The deadline to apply for this award is April 1.
For more information, visit the
AACN Web site.
Chapters Bolster Campaign Recruitment Totals
The Greater Washington Area Chapter and the Montana Big Sky Chapter stepped right up to the front of the line as AACN’s Critical Links Member-Get-A-Member program began a new campaign May 1. Both chapters recruited seven new members during May. They helped bring the total of new members recruited by chapters and individuals to 195 in the first month.
Other chapters that contributed to the campaign in May are Alameda Contra Costa Chapter (1), Central Savannah River Chapter (6), Chesapeake Bay Chapter (1), Greater Birmingham Chapter (4), Greater Cincinnati Chapter (2), Greater St. Louis Chapter (1), Greater Toledo Area Chapter (1), Miami Beach Chapter (1), Mobile Bay Area Chapter (1) and Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter(1).
Chapters participating in the campaign, which ends March 31, are eligible for prizes that include one complimentary NTI registration to be drawn each month. In addition, the chapters with the largest increase in membership and with the largest percentage increase in members during the campaign will again receive $250 gift certificates toward the purchase of AACN products or services, as well as a recognition certificate.
The Miami Beach Chapter received the complimentary NTI registration in the monthly prize drawing for May.
Additional information about the Critical Links campaign is available online.