Multiregional Meeting Ushers in a New Era|
Unique Approach Emphasizes Mentoring and Collaboration
A new trend in chapter regional meetings recently emerged as chapters in three separate regions came together in Chicago, Ill. The multiregional meeting represented a collaboration and mentoring effort that extended far beyond the traditional approach.
Chapters have always had a pivotal role in living and making their optimal contributions at the local level. As volunteers, chapter members have made a commitment to the mission, vision and values of AACN and act on behalf of those core tenets. Each year, chapter members renew this commitment at their regional meetings, where they are joined by prospective members for a day or more of networking, education, sharing of best practices and regeneration.
However, in September, AACN had the unique opportunity to see chapters in Region 8 (Michigan, Wisconsin), Region 10 (Illinois) and Region 13 (Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska) come together to advocate and celebrate this creative multiregional meeting format.
Chapter advisers Jane Hartman, RN, MS, CCRN (Region 8), Joy Speciale, RN MBA, CCRN (Region 10) and William Mausser, RN, BSN, MBA, CCRN (Region 13), and more than 40 chapter members representing each of these regions met at Saint Xavier University to make their mark and live their contribution at this first multiregional effort. What better way to truly live your contribution?
Collaboration Was Key
Collaboration was a key to the meeting’s success.
The idea was born during a conversation that took place at AACN’s 2003 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in San Antonio, Texas, among Speciale, Mausser and then Region 8 Chapter Adviser Beth Hammer, RN, MS, MSN, CPRN, NP. But their collaborative spirit also embraced the community.
The School of Nursing at Saint Xavier University donated a faculty meeting room for chapter use, including the setup, audiovisual equipment and Internet access. Local vendors provided free resources, such as notepads, pens, bottled water and soda can holders. In addition, each chapter donated a gift basket indigenous to their area to raffle at the end of the day.
The three chapter advisers, all past presidents of AACN chapters, led the presentations and the discussions during the meeting. But individual chapter members also acted as teachers and mentors with a variety of presentations, including chapter financial management and collective brainstorming on how to secure vendor support, fund raising, chapter management, strategic planning and chapter needs assessment. In addition to brainstorming as a group and sharing best practices, time was set aside for the regional groups to meet with their chapter advisers to work through issues such as communication norms.
The final presentation, by Jackie Medland, RN, MS, on “Reclaiming the Soul in Nursing Care” was motivational. Medland asked participants to think back to what drew them to the nursing profession and reclaim its soul. The moving presentation was truly a celebration of critical care nursing and “living your contribution” in action. Participants’ positive responses have prompted organizers to set a date for another multiregional meeting next year.
Regional Chapter Advisers (from left)
Jane Hartman, William Mausser and
Joy Speciale were instrumental in
bringing together some 40 AACN
chapter members for the first
Chapter Advisory Team representative William
Mausser (above) speaks to members from
three AACN chapter regions (below) during
the first multiregional meeting.
In the Circle
Award Reflects Efforts to Exemplify President’s# Theme
The President’s Award goes to the chapter or chapters that best exemplify the annual theme of the president of AACN. The theme of 2003-04 President Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, was “Rising Above.” Following are excerpts from the exemplars submitted in connection with this award for 2004.
Greater Evansville Chapter
Founded in 1978 by a handful of area RNs, the Greater Evansville Chapter now boasts a membership of more than 140 nurses. We publish a quarterly newsletter and have established a toll-free 800 number for members to call if they have questions or concerns, and to register for educational offerings. We also have a Web site.
Using a new logo and display, GEC is better represented at various seminars and events, giving away pens, pencils and ribbons that increase awareness of the local chapter as well as promoting national AACN membership. GEC sponsors and cosponsors 12 to 15 educational events each year. A highlight is our annual Critical Care Challenge in which hospital and university teams compete for a traveling trophy. The event attracts a wide audience of nurses, instructors and even doctors! The Challenge is also the chapter’s opportunity to publicly recognize an outstanding volunteer for the year, as well as to give away $100 student scholarships and an NTI registration.
GEC is fortunate to have several members who rise above in the profession, including 43 CCRNs and three advanced practice RNs. Members have been speakers at NTI, been published in Critical Care Nurse for their efforts in advancing CCRN certification and won AACN Circle of Excellence awards. GEC has cosponsored several CCRN reviews. GEC will continue to endeavor to meet and rise above our members’ expectations.
Redwood Empire Chapter
Although the Redwood Empire Chapter is small in size, resources and quantity of projects, we were able to accomplish positive outcomes by “rising above” and seeing the possibilities of our future as a chapter.
While discussing ideas for the year’s activities, the topic of quality indicators for CAD arose. Similarities in MI data collection for our local institutions emerged. Significant time-to-treatment delays were common due to delay in access to healthcare services. We realized an opportunity for our chapter.
After connecting with a professor of media and communications at Humboldt State University in our area, we created a plan not originally envisioned. We were informed that students, for class credit, could create a public service announcement about heart disease that could air under chapter sponsorship on local radio stations. We met with students, identified key points we wanted to communicate and educate about, and gave them creative development. We distributed the announcement on CD to our local radio stations and from November to January, it was heard regularly. We received positive feedback from a variety of community members. We followed up by writing a letter to our local paper describing the symptoms of MI, risk factors and online education available from the American Heart Association.
Finally, despite a last-minute speaker cancellation and replacement, we were able to present our ‘Update on CHF’ in January 2004 with great success. We attracted not only our largest, but also our most diverse, group of nurses.
We can overcome adversity through professional networking and affiliations like AACN, which not only support, but also drive standards for excellence in practice.
Sacramento Area Chapter
In 2002-03, the Sacramento Area Chapter experienced a significant decline in both meeting attendance and in membership. The focus of our transitional meeting in July of 2003 was to meet the challenge of increasing our membership, renewing interest in our educational meetings and stabilizing our financial status.
Our action plan was threefold, to step up recruiting, to increase interest in our educational meetings and to enlist more support from vendors. We chose to use the “Rising Above” theme as a symbol of our efforts.
Our unit liaisons were encouraged to approach their peers individually and tell them about the advantages of membership. We asked them to post flyers of upcoming events in a timely manner so potential members could plan ahead to attend our meetings. The “Rising Above” logo was adapted to a lapel pin. This pin was given to all attendees at our October dinner meeting, and they were asked to wear it at work and explain its meaning to their peers.
Our yearly needs assessment showed that members wanted to have more physician presenters and also asked for a return of our annual Critical Care Bowl. With the help of some vendors, we were able to recruit physician speakers and sponsored another Critical Care Bowl in December. There has been a significant rise in attendance as a result of these changes. The Board renewed its relationships with vendors who had supported the chapter in the past to obtain financial help for our programs.
We achieved our goals and rose above impediments. Membership has increased more than 70%, attendance at educational meetings averages 40 instead of 25, and we had an excellent turnout at our spring symposium.
Daytona Beach, Fla.
How do a handful of active members in a sleepy beachside community breathe new life into their small chapter? Careful strategic planning, energetic members, grasping new opportunities and reaching out to our community are some of the steps we took to be reborn for flight.
Elevation above the ashes took shape when chapter members devoted three days to speaking to the community about the art of critical care nursing. Joining the Healthy Lifestyles Festival of News Channel 2 in Daytona Beach, we built a simulated ICU room that allowed the public time to touch, view and feel actual equipment within a simulated atmosphere. The attendance—18,000 people–included young and old, families, professionals, students and even aspiring nurses!
Chapter members were proud to show and tell the community what we do as critical care nurses. Members orchestrated mock codes showing sophisticated teamwork in process both live and by broadcast on Channel 2. Recognition of our chapter followed with a picture on the front page of AACN News and by local hospital leaders.
We developed long-term strategic plan objectives that included promotion of professionalism, a needs assessment task force, community outreach and awareness, fund-raising, a merit system recognizing member activity and dedication to AACN, a membership committee that increased our numbers from 25 to 70, an education committee, education endowment fund, CCRN recognition, Waves of Wisdom, and membership in the Coast-to-Coast Chapters that collaborate to organize a two-day seminar.
The chapter is helping critical care nurses gain respect for the knowledge, expertise and compassionate care they provide to individuals, families and other team members in the healthcare community.
White River Chapter
The flame shot upward with a swoosh, and the brightly colored canvas swelled, precariously tipping the basket in which I stood. The ground faded away and soon, the only movement was a quiet river far below. I began to breathe again, still surprised that my AACN board wanted me, the new chapter president, to literally rise above in a hot air balloon.
The young river below was like our chapter. After five successful years as a “new” chapter, this was our year to mature. The board began the habit of pausing and reflecting before making decisions. Our annual goals focused on work processes, recognition of excellence, community service and leadership transitions. We refined our operational structure by forming work groups, involving more members in decision making and streamlining meeting time. When our major fund-raiser was postponed, we joined with another chapter to design a Region 9 T-shirt. Sales resulted in our largest fund-raiser ever! When a sponsor of an educational event suddenly cancelled, the board empowered appropriate directors, who made deliberate yet quick changes. Surprisingly, we had our largest attendance ever!
In other initiatives, we implemented a local awards program to recognize excellence and increase national award submissions. We partnered with the American Heart Association for community service. We formalized a board transition process and extended term lengths to foster mentoring. “Rising above” became integral with our culture as we raffled a balloon ride, explored rock climbing and tightrope walking, and convened board meetings on upper levels of buildings for a reflective mood. We exceeded our goals, rising above a river, adjusting its course, deepening its channel, celebrating its flow. Through the quiet countryside of seven counties and the busy lives of many excellent nurses, our chapter’s current rolls on with purpose.
April 1 is the deadline to apply for the President’s Award for 2005. “Live Your Contribution” is the theme of AACN President Kathy McCauley, RN, PhD, FAAN.
Calling All CATs!
Jan. 7 Is Deadline to Apply for Regional Positions
The Chapter Advisory Team (a.k.a. CAT) plays a vital role in supporting and linking local AACN chapters and the National leadership team. AACN is currently inviting past chapter presidents* to apply for advisory team positions in nine of its 19 regions. These chapter advisers will serve two-year terms, beginning July 1, 2005. The deadline to apply is Jan. 7.
The CAT ensures effective communication between the AACN Board of Directors and National Office staff, and local chapters on pressing issues chapters face. Advisers are volunteers who have expert knowledge on chapter issues and trends in their regions of the country and who are well informed about what is happening at the national level and how that affects chapters. They directly support chapters and chapter leaders in a number of important ways.
Chapter advisers are expected to:
• Serve as liaisons and spokespersons to AACN chapters and leaders in their region.
• Establish ongoing mechanism for communication with chapter leaders.
• Work in partnership with AACN staff to identify individual chapter strengths and needs so that the National Office and chapter advisers can effectively support and service new and existing chapters.
• Develop and mentor local chapter leaders for future chapter and national leadership roles.
• Travel within assigned region.
• Attend two face-to-face meetings per year.
• Participate in conference calls and use electronic media and online communication tools and databases.
If you are interested in serving as a
chapter adviser in your region but have questions regarding the role, contact Member Relations and Services Specialist Stephanie Demiris at (800) 394-5995, ext. 367; e-mail,
To apply, register online in AACN Website. Be sure to select both “Chapter” under “area and/or topics of interest”and “Advisory Team” under “specialty or type of role.”
* Applicants should be currently active in their chapters and preferably have served as a chapter president in the past five years.
Welcome to the Northeast Arizona Chapter!
Welcome to the Northeast Arizona Chapter of AACN, which received its charter on Sept. 1. The chapter officers are:
President Fredda Kermes, RN,BSN
President-elect Michael Frace, RN, BS,BSN, RT
Secretary Brenda Riddle, RN
Treasurer Gary Zech, RN, BSN, MBA
What's on Tap
The Greater Phoenix Area Chapter will present a program titled “Bugs in the ICU” on Dec. 2 at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. For more information, contact Bobbie Wiles at (480) 988-3526; e-mail,
The Sacramento Area Chapter will present its “Critical Care Bowl” on Dec. 2 at the University of California-Davis Cancer Center auditorium.
The Northwest Chicago Area Chapter will present a program on drug to herbal interactions on Nov. 17 at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge. For more information, contact Andrea Kline at (773) 975-8835; e-mail,
email@example.com; Web site,
The Piedmont Carolinas Chapter and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte will cosponsor a CCRN Review Course on Nov. 19 and 20. For more information, contact Lienne Edwards at (704) 687-4675; e-mail,
firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site,
The Houston Gulf Coast Chapter will present a program titled “Volunteer Spirit of Nursing: Living the Contribution” on Dec. 10 at the Marriott Medical Center. For more information, contact Nena Bonuel at (713) 907-8331; e-mail,
email@example.com or Philip Abenojar at (832) 483-0731; e-mail,
Is your chapter planning a program or special event? Submit your information online