AACN News—July 2005—Chapters

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Vol. 22, No. 6, JUNE 2005


Actress Geri Jewell Addresses Chapter Leaders
Nellcor Again Sponsors Annual Luncheon at the NTI


Picking up on the “Live Your Contribution” theme, actress and comedienne Geri Jewell described how being born with cerebral palsy has been her life’s greatest blessing.
Jewell was the speaker for the Chapter Presidents Luncheon at AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in May in New Orleans, La. Nellcor/Tyco Healthcare sponsors the annual event.

Hand picked by Norman Lear to play Cousin Geri in the long-running 1980s sitcom “The Facts of Life,” Jewell kept the roomful of guests laughing as she recounted some of the most painful moments of her life with her irreverent and often self-effacing wit.

However, this was not your average standup comedy act, as Jewell told the story of how she gained recognition as the first person with a visible disability to be cast on a prime-time television series. She quickly became an important public force for raising awareness about disabilities and challenging misconceptions about people with cerebral palsy.

“I came into the world with cerebral palsy in 1956, and for me it has been my greatest blessing in life, perhaps even fair to say my wisest teacher,” she said.

Jewell said that having a disability has taught her “something fascinating about perception” because of all the many labels she has faced over the years. Whether she has been called drunk because of her involuntary erratic movements, mentally ill, chemically dependent, a victim, an underachiever or an overachiever, Jewell said she has learned that these labels and perceptions do not matter.

“What I have learned is that it doesn’t matter what people are. And, you all know that, or else you wouldn’t be here. It only matters who people are,” she said.

“The real disabilities in life are not the cerebral palsies. The real disabilities are prejudice, hatred, inability to forgive and abuse. These are painful disabilities of the heart and spirit,” she said.

She encouraged the nurses in the audience to go back to their work with a renewed purpose to restore people’s spirits. Nurses have a unique opportunity to raise people up on a daily basis, she said.

“When you go through any sort of life-altering situation like going into the hospital and going through recovery, you need constant reminders to get back to your soul and spirit,” she said.

Hitting Rock Bottom
Jewell said she learned this lesson firsthand when she underwent major spinal cord surgery after an accident. She was left with extensive nerve damage, very little mobility and the prospect of having to learn to walk again through rehabilitation. Overwhelmed by physical pain—and emotionally drained from going through a divorce at the same time—Jewell said she had little will to recover.

“My attitude was: ‘Why bother?’ I was so angry and so despondent,” she said.

Ultimately, her surgeon and nurses brought her through her personal crisis. She recalls her surgeon chastising her for giving up, calling her a hypocrite for having preached persistence and determination throughout her career.

As Jewell took her first steps, it was her nurses who helped her bear the pain. They guided her through her entire recovery process, she said.

“The nurses who got me through it were my angels. And they got me to laugh. To get a comedienne to laugh—that’s pretty good,” she added.

She said this experience forced her to realize that, in this instance, her real disability was having lost faith in herself and in her spirit.

After her surgery, Jewell was working on regaining her mobility and her sense of purpose, when a chance encounter brought a new opportunity into her life. She was picking up a prescription when she met television producer and writer David Milch, of “NYPD Blue” fame. After telling her that he had been a fan of hers over the years, Milch asked Jewell if she wanted to be part of a new HBO series in the works, a western called Deadwood.

“I looked up and said: ‘God, you have a quirky sense of humor. I’m standing here with cerebral palsy and a busted up neck, and David Milch wants me to ride a horse,’” she said. Jewell is now featured as the character Jewel in the series.

Contributions Recognized
The Chapter Presidents Luncheon also acknowledges award winners and applauds chapters that have given gifts to AACN. AACN has established an endowment fund to support the association’s scholarship fund. To date, $480,521 has been raised toward a goal of $2 million.

Kathy McCauley, RN, PhD, BC, FAAN, FAHA, 2004-05 AACN president, thanked the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter for its pledge to match dollar for dollar every gift chapters pledge to the fund, up to $50,000, over the next three years. Among the chapters that have responded to the SePA challenge are the Greater Washington Area, Greater Kansas City, West Michigan, Houston-Gulf Coast, Three Rivers, San Fernando Valley, Greater East Texas, Metropolitan Orlando and Northwest Chicago.

McCauley also accepted a gift of $1,000 from the New York City Chapter for the Sharon Connor Fund.

Nellcor representatives Brent Boucher (left), vice
president of marketing for Nellcor/Tyco Healthcare,
and David Sell (right), president of Nellcor PuritanBennett/Tyco
Healthcare joined incoming AACN President Debbie Brinker
(second from left) and outgoing President Kathy McCauley
at the Chapter Presidents Luncheon at the NTI.

Chapters an Important Part of Membership Recruitment Drive

In just the first month of AACN’s Critical Links membership drive, chapters added 180 new members. Their efforts meant that a total of 304 new members were recruited by individuals and chapters since May.

Four chapters recruited five members each to lead the campaign, which began May 1 and ends March 31. They are Greater Miami Area Chapter, Mobile Bay Area Chapter, Three Rivers Chapter and West Houston Chapter.

The 2005-06 campaign offers a revamped list of prizes that align chapters with individual rewards. This year, the chapter recruiting the most new members during the campaign will receive a $1,000 honorarium check toward its treasury.

Plus, any chapter recruiting a member in a month will be eligible for a monthly drawing to receive one complimentary registration for AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition. The winner of the May drawing is the Greater Portland Chapter.

In addition, each chapter that recruits five or more new members during the campaign will be entered into three drawings for a $500 honorarium check.

Note: For the recruiter to qualify for prizes and drawings, new members must include either the recruiter’s name or chapter name on the “referred by” line of the application. Chapters must be in good standing to be considered for prizes.

Other Chapters Recruiting
Adirondack Regional Chapter, Alameda Contra Costa Chapter, Albuquerque Chapter, Ancient City Chapter, Atlanta Area Chapter, Blue Ridge Chapter, Brooklyn Chapter AACN, Broward County Chapter, Carolina Dogwood Chapter, Central Arkansas Chapter, Central Indiana Chapter, Central Missouri Chapter, Central Ohio Chapter, Central Pennsylvania Chapter, Central San Joaquin Valley Chapter, Central Savannah River Chapter, Charlestowne Chapter, Chattanooga Scenic City Chapter, Chesapeake Bay Chapter, Denver Chapter, East Carolina Chapter, Eastern Iowa Chapter, Emerald Coast Chapter, First Coast Chapter, Gate City Chapter, Greater Akron Area Chapter, Greater Austin Area Chapter, Greater Birmingham Chapter,
Greater Boston Chapter, Greater Chicago Area Chapter, Greater Cincinnati Chapter, Greater East Texas Chapter, Greater Evansville Chapter, Greater Long Beach Orange County Chapter, Greater Louisville Chapter, Greater Memphis Area Chapter, Greater Milwaukee Area Chapter, Greater New Orleans Chapter, Greater Phoenix Area Chapter, Greater Portland Chapter, Greater Richmond Area Chapter, Greater St. Louis Chapter, Greater Tampa Bay Chapter, Greater Toledo Area Chapter, Greater Twin Cities Area Chapter, Hawaiian Islands Chapter, Heart of Illinois Chapter, Heart of the Piedmont Chapter, High Sierra Chapter, Hill City Chapter, Houston Gulf Coast Chapter, Jersey Shoreline Chapter, Lake Erie Chapter, Metropolitan Orlando Chapter, Mohawk Valley Chapter, Nassau County Chapter, New York City Chapter, North Central Florida Chapter, North Central West Virginia Chapter, Northeast Indiana Chapter, Northeast Tennessee Chapter, Northern Colorado Chapter, Northern Connecticut Chapter, Northern Illinois Chapter, Northern New Jersey Chapter, Northwest Chicago Area Chapter, Ocean State Chapter, Oklahoma City Area Chapter, Old Salem Chapter, Palm Beach County Chapter, Piedmont Carolinas Chapter, Pioneer Valley Chapter, Puget Sound Chapter, Riverbend Chapter, Sacramento Area Chapter, San Antonio Chapter, San Diego Area Chapter, San Francisco Chapter, Santa Barbara County Chapter, South Bay Chapter, South Carolina Mid State Chapter, Southeast Michigan Chapter, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter, Southwest Georgia Chapter, Spokane Chapter, Suffolk County Chapter, Suspension Bridge Chapter, Treasure Valley Centennial Chapter, Triangle Chapter, Tri-Valley Chapter, Upstate Chapter, Volusia Flagler Chapter, Washtenaw County Chapter, West Michigan Chapter, West Texas Chapter, Western Connecticut Chapter, Western Kentucky Chapter.

Researcher Shows Way to Achieve Successful Conversations
Use ‘CPR’ Method to Unbundle the Toughest Scenarios


Researcher David Maxfield spoke
at the Chapter Leadership Development
Workshop at the NTI.

A leading research contributor to the New York Times bestseller Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations and Bad Behavior, engaged participants in thought-provoking discussions during the Chapter Leadership Development Workshop at AACN’s recent National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in New Orleans, La.

David Maxfield presented tough-case scenarios and ways to achieve personal, team and organizational success in handling life’s most important conversations.
“Crucial Confrontations is all about holding people accountable for bad behavior and missed expectations, instead of avoiding the confrontation and enabling the behavior,” he said.

Unbundle the Problem
Maxfield went on to show how the toughest on-the-job scenarios could be unbundled with the CPR method—content, pattern and relationship.

When there is a problem, determine the specific instance—the content—that represents the problem first and then its impact, Maxfield suggested. If the problem continues, acknowledge the history of the problem—the pattern—and why it is a problem. If the pattern continues, determine what is happening between you and the other person or persons—the relationship—as a result of the bad behavior; for instance, a breakdown in trust or respect.

Maxfield described research conducted in cooperation with AACN that surveyed 1,200 nurses and physicians.

“Fifty percent of nurses and 80 percent of physicians say that they work with people and see them make mistakes that are dangerously incompetent,” Maxfield said. “Generally, only one in eight will confront the problem. If the problem involves a doctor, then only one in 20 will address the issue.”

Although this rate of mistakes is not uncommon across all industries, the consequences of not addressing mistakes in the healthcare industry are more serious, he stressed.

Step Up
Maxfield stressed the benefits of confronting peers and their management when problems occur.

“Some of you may think that confronting management could be construed as crazy or committing organizational suicide, when in reality our research has determined that people who stepped up to the plate to address tough issues with peers and management were seen as the most effective by their peers and the most committed to staying in their unit and in their hospitals,” he said.

Workshop Focuses on Leadership Development


Chapter Advisory Team representatives Kim Martin (left) and
Kathy Peavy helped set the tone for the Chapter Leadership
Development Workshop at NTI.

Chapter leaders from across the country participated in a daylong conference to hone their leadership skills. The sixth annual Chapter Leadership Development Workshop was a preconference at AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in New Orleans, La.

Setting the stage was 2004-05 AACN President Kathy McCauley, RN, PhD, BC, FAAN, FAHA, who focused on the elements of her yearlong presidential theme “Live Your Contribution.”
“Whatever our role, we all make a contribution, and we need to celebrate and own it,” she said.

“Setting an intention each day is part of living your contribution, and you must revisit your intention throughout the day to see if the goals you set are being attained,” the participants were told.

The workshop continued with chapter advisers leading members in an interactive session, exploring ways that members can bring the “Live Your Contribution” elements to their chapters.

Region 10 Chapter Advisory Team representative Joy Speciale, RN, MBA, CCRN, examined chapter initiatives and successes, praising individual chapter actions that correlate with the eight “Live Your Contribution” elements.

Region 7 representative Kim Martin, RN, MSN, CCRN, addressed ways members can bring elements of “Live Your Contribution” to their chapters.

She invited chapter leaders to tell about the contributions they have made in the past year. The participants then took turns telling their success stories and cheering each other on to even higher aspirations.

Region 6 representative Kathy Peavy, RN, MS, CCRN, concluded with a call to action, challenging the chapter leaders to collaborate on ways to improve their chapters, make the commitment in writing and work to bring their goals to fruition in the coming year.

Selected presentations from the 2005 Chapter Leadership Development Workshop are available at www.aacn.org > Chapters > Leadership Development Workshop Presentations.

Welcome, North Central West Virginia Chapter

Welcome to the North Central West Virginia Chapter, recently chartered in the Clarksburg, W. Va., area

Chapter officers are:
President Doanna Cupp, RN, BSN
President-elect Bonnie Blankenship, RN, MSN, CCRN
Secretary Joan Harvey, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, CRN
Treasurer Becky Plasay, RN, BS, BSN