AACN News—May 2008—Chapters

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Vol. 25, No. 5, MAY 2008

Chapter Listserv Hot Topic

Term Length for Chapter Officers

Chapter leaders use the Chapter Listserv to talk to their peers about methods that help manage their chapters. With 244 chapters in the United States and three foreign countries, the listserv is a chapter community where you’ll discover that your chapter’s issues may be the same as those of other chapters, and they may have already addressed and solved them.

Last month’s hot topic was on chapter meeting formats. That listserv subject transitioned to this month’s hot topic – officer terms, with Beverly Maloney from the Lake Erie Chapter (Cleveland, Ohio) mentioning on the listserv that her chapter is thinking of extending the presidency to a two-year term, as it is difficult to accomplish the goals in one year. She then asked, “How long is the term for your chapter president?” Responses were varied. So what is the “correct” answer? Chapters should do what is best for them. It is important for chapters to document what their terms are, how elections will take place and if there are term limits.

Following are a few of the responses:

Our president has a one-year term, but our treasurer has a two-year term. It is very important to create your strategic plan at the beginning of the year with input from the board and committee chairs so that when the president’s term is over, his/her elect can review the strategic plan and continue with the goals that were not achieved that year. There should be continuity. Our president can also sit on the board after their term ends, and he/she serves as the nominating chair for the following
year’s election.

Jean Uy, President
Houston Gulf Coast Chapter, Texas

Typically, all of our board members, except for the treasurer, serve one year. The treasurer serves two years. If someone wants to continue in the same position for another term, they have to be re-elected.

Kay Luft
Greater Kansas City Chapter & Chapter Adviser (CAT) for Region 14 – Mo. and Kan.

We have 170 members at GLBOC (Greater Long Beach Orange County in Southern California). We currently have a 16-member BOD. Regarding time on the board:

• The president ultimately serves a total of three years.
• President-elect is a one-year position (decided by the BOD).
• President’s term is one year.
• The third year this person has the position of past president for one year.
• The treasurer serves a total of two years.
• Treasurer-elect is for one year followed by:
• Treasurer for two years. This is the only position that is longer than one year.
• Secretary and membership positions are one-year terms.
• Communications (newsletter and Web site), programs, director-at-large, hospital liaison/recruitment & retention historian are all one-year positions, and there maybe a few people holding these positions.

All positions are on a ballot that is sent (via e-mail now; was mailed) to the membership roster in late March/April so we have our BOD decided prior to NTI in May. The ballot is also given to members at our April Journal Club (attendance about 40 a month). In our Jan./Feb. newsletter we sent out a call for nominations so members could think about a possible position on the BOD. Hope this helps.

Carla Wilson, Treasurer-Elect
Greater Long Beach Orange County (Calif.) Chapter

The Milwaukee Area Chapter has about 100 members. Our board consists of a president, president-elect, vice president (responsible for educational offerings), vice president-elect, secretary, member-at-large (sends out membership packets, communicates with hospital liaisons, orders food for general meetings), treasurer and treasurer-elect each serving one year. We use the elect position because we found it easier to recruit people if they knew there was a guaranteed training period. Thus, someone who accepts an elect position is accepting a two-year term on the board - one as elect and one titled (i.e., treasurer-elect and then treasurer). The immediate past president is responsible for securing a ballot for the next year but is not a voting member of the board.

We have a formal document that details each position’s responsibilities. For each position we condensed it into a one-page, quick-look summary and this info is displayed at each general meeting. We are fortunate in that our chapter has been around for 35 years and our leadership has maintained financial security throughout that period. This has made it possible for us to provide monetary incentives for our board members. It is either free attendance at our events or reimbursement up to a certain dollar amount for attending a conference of the person’s choice. We have found that getting people to volunteer to help out with an event or attend an event with board members helped recruitment. People realize how fun our board is and how it is not a stuffy management thing. Our chapter goal is education, and achieving that while having fun is our personal goal.

Please know that getting people involved at the chapter level has been an ongoing problem for all chapters. It is always the same small core group cycling through the different positions. There are no easy answers and no one solution. There is, however, a great resource in all of the other chapters and this listserv. Attending NTI’s Leadership Development Workshop and networking with the other chapter leaders is a fantastic experience!

Jeannine Davis
Greater Milwaukee (Wis.) Area Chapter

To read more of the responses on this Chapter Listserv Hot Topic or other discussions, chapter leaders are encouraged to join the Chapter Listserv and share their best chapter practices. Visit www.aacn.org > Chapters > Chapter Listserv. Other resources available to you include the Chapter Advisory Team, affectionately referred to as CATs, as well as the Governance Department staff at the National AACN office. E-mail chapters@aacn.org or call (800) 394-5995, ext. 365 or 313.3

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What’s on Tap?


The Denver Chapter will present a “CCRN Review” May 21 and 22 at University of Colorado Hospital Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora. For more information, contact Sara Clark at clarkontap@aol.com.


The Palm Beach County Chapter will present its “18th Annual CCRN Luncheon” May 23 at Benvenuto's, Boynton Beach. For more information, contact Lily Marifosque at (561) 784-0704; lmarifosque@yahoo.com.

The Merrimack Valley Chapter will present “Laboratory Values: Interpretation & Clinical Application” June 3 at Westford Regency Inn & Conference Center, Westford. For more information, contact Diane St. Pierre at (978) 455-4167; diane.stpierre@comcast.net.

North Carolina

The Piedmont Carolinas Chapter will present “End-of-Life Critical Care Nursing” June 5 at Queens University Campus-Withers House, Charlotte. For more information, contact Queens University at (704) 337-2537; www.queens.edu/lifelong online.


The Lake Erie Chapter will present “Reclaiming Our Priorities: Critical Care Essentials” May 13 at LaCentre Banquet & Conference Center, Westlake.
For more information, contact Anita White at (216) 476-0951; anita.white@fairviewhospital.org or Beverly Maloney at (216) 476-4014; beverly.maloney@fairviewhospital.org.


The Inland Northwest Chapter will present its second annual Certification and Awards Dinner May 16 at CenterPlace Mirabeau Point Park, Spokane Valley. A Preceptor Workshop is also planned for this date. For more information, contact Ellen Peller at (509) 953-9468; rfpeller@cet.com.

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Wanted: 2009 NTI Chapter Abstracts

Chapters are encouraged to submit abstracts for presentation at the 36th annual NTI May 16-21, 2009 in New Orleans, La. The submission deadline is June 1, 2008. If selected, you will be one of a handful of presenters at the Chapter Concurrent Educational Sessions.

For information and/or to submit your abstract, visit www.aacn.org > Conferences/Exhibits > Abstract Submission/Corporate Support/Sponsorship/Speaker Forms. Then go to “click here for the NTI 2009 Call for Abstracts – Submission Page.” You will be able to view the Call for Abstracts Policy Guidelines, and Call for Abstracts Procedure Guide.

Take this opportunity to showcase your chapter management expertise and teach others how to successfully manage their chapters. Submit your abstract today.

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How the South Bay Chapter Reclaimed Its Priorities

By Jacquette Ward, RN, BSN, CCRN

Hanson and Ward

The South Bay Chapter implemented Dave Hanson’s theme this year, and we wanted to share it with other chapters and nurses. South Bay (SBAACN) is comprised of nurses with many roles and occupations in various hospitals, clinics and work environments. We provide a safe, neutral oasis for nurses working to reclaim their priorities. We focus on issues that impact our fundamental values of patients and families, safety and reliability.

Scholarships for Needy Nursing Students

One of our chapter priorities is supporting nursing students. The high cost of living is one reason for the severe shortage of nurses and nursing professors in our area. SBAACN is located in Northern California where even middle income families struggle to meet the essentials of food, housing and education. An important priority, which is being lost as the nursing shortage grows, is providing for the future of our profession. We want to improve the quality of nursing care and leadership in our community. Therefore, we have made a financial commitment to support community-based nursing students. We donated two nursing scholarships of $1,000 each in September 2007. To be eligible an applicant had to be currently enrolled full-time in an accredited nursing program at any level (ADN, BSN, MA/MN or PhD), must have completed one semester with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be a resident in our area.

The first scholarship recipient, the sixth child in a family of 14, stated her goal was to become a neonatal critical care nurse. She wanted to make a difference for critically ill babies and their families. The second recipient, a single mother of a 2-year-old child, wanted to impact the lives of bilingual patients and their families as a pediatric critical care nurse practitioner. Critical care nursing education was a priority for both recipients even with the burden of supporting themselves and their families. We demanded something of ourselves as a chapter and reclaimed our priority to improve the quality of nursing care in our community.

Recognizing and Supporting Nurse Managers

The South Bay Chapter recognizes and assists nurse managers as a chapter priority. Healthcare in the 1990s brought changes that included hospital mergers, cutting nursing staff at the bedside and an emphasis on financial outcomes to the detriment of patient care. Today, nurse managers frequently have so much to do, with limited resources and support, and little recognition, that they are often no longer capable of fulfilling their original callings. But nurse managers impact patients and their families through daily decisions that affect the bedside nurse, safe staffing of the unit and the reliable delivery of patient care. Effective collaboration among nurse managers, physicians, educators and administrators will improve reliability in a unit and certainly impact nurse retention. We want to assist nurse managers in reclaiming their critical role in supporting and sustaining their nurses. We have set the goal of honoring and acknowledging their contributions and giving them the resources and tools they require to positively transform the care of patients and families as well as their units’ safety and reliability.

On Oct. 25, 2007, we invited local nurse managers to a dinner at a three-star restaurant. We discussed how the nurse manager is the key to healthy work environments and told them about AACN resources for nurse managers. An invited speaker, a nurse educator, gave them strategies on how to improve collaboration among the nurse manager, medical director and unit educator. Attendees gave extremely positive feedback, and we plan to offer the event annually.

Teaching About the Healthy Work Environment

The SBAACN made it a chapter priority to provide the highest quality of educational programs possible. We reclaimed healthy work environment education as a priority for nurses in the San Jose, Calif. area. We formed a collaborative partnership with the chaplaincy of El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif. “Creative Tools to Revitalize Nurses and Promote Healthy Work Environments,” a CEU class held Nov. 14, 2007, was completely funded through grant money from the chaplaincy. We created beautiful flyers, provided nutritious meals and snacks, and offered very relevant course material. We brought two dynamic speakers, noted on AACN’s HWE speaker Web site, who inspired the audience. Every participant received a copy of “AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments.” Critical and acute care nurses, nurse managers and nurse educators came to the class, and they were given communication tools highlighting patient safety and reliability. Class participants practiced techniques for creative engagement, problem solving and risk taking, and they learned critical conversation skills to give the best possible care to patients and families of several cultures. Class participants evaluated the class as “very high” in quality and usefulness. As a result, five new members joined the chapter.

Strengthening Our Own Chapter

Our efforts have positively impacted our own chapter’s working environment by refocusing our priorities and strengthening our ability to work as a team with one another, the chaplain and AACN staff members. By re-examining our own priorities we have discovered how we impact not only those around us, but ourselves as well. Like ripples in a pond, we impact nursing students, nurses at the bedside, nurse managers in hospitals and our whole SBAACN community. We watch as the ripples we started in our own chapter continue to expand.

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Wealth of Knowledge Conference Scheduled for July

By Julie Diane, RN, BA

“A Wealth of Knowledge” debuted in October 1990, and is sponsored by the South Florida Gold Coast Chapters, which is comprised of five individual chapters in South Florida: Broward County Chapter, Greater Miami Chapter, Miami Beach Chapter, Palm Beach County Chapter and Treasure Coast Chapter.

These chapters, in the spirit of sharing responsibilities and assets, decided to pool their resources. Every two years – on even-numbered years – the Seminar Committee has endeavored to provide relevant, state-of-the-art education to our colleagues. On the odd-numbered years, the “Waves of Wisdom” program is offered in North Florida (see related article below, “Region 7 Honors Chapter Adviser Laura Bratcher”).

In this way, we support AACN’s mission to meet the needs of patients and families, and also promote the creation of cultures of inquiry, broad sharing and data-driven practice.

Please join us for “A Wealth of Knowledge” July 17-18, 2008 at the Signature Grand in Davie, Fla. – two days dedicated to providing quality, up-to-the-minute continuing education for critical care nurses, telemetry nurses, medical-surgical nurses and emergency room/trauma nurses in acute care settings. We also invite pre-hospital personnel to attend.

Visit our Web site, www.awealthofknowledge.org, for further information regarding directions, hotel accommodations, registration, and exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities.

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Region 7 Honors Chapter Adviser Laura Bratcher

By Tim Cleeton, MSN, BC, ARNP


Laura Bratcher, RN, BSN, CCRN-CSC, Chapter Advisory Team (CAT) representative for Region 7 (Florida), was recognized for her outstanding leadership and commitment to the region Feb. 29 at the North Central Florida Chapter’s critical care conference “Swamped With Knowledge” in Gainesville, Fla.

Chapter advisers serve as liaisons between chapters and National AACN, providing guidance, assistance and support to chapters as they “live the mission” of AACN by providing quality education while promoting AACN’s key initiatives: the Beacon Award, Certification and Healthy Work Environments.

Bratcher has been the CAT for Region 7 for two years; her term ends June 30, 2008. She is a great asset to her region and home chapter, the North Central Florida Chapter. She is a former president of this chapter and has been actively involved in “Swamped With Knowledge.”

Plans for next year’s conference are already under way, and as we say in Gainesville, “Welcome to ‘Swamped With Knowledge’ – beware, you just may learn something.”

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