AACN News—November 2008—Chapters

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Vol. 25, No. 11, NOVEMBER

Chapter Listserv Hot Topic: New President’s Role

Chapter officers, new and experienced, use the Chapter Listserv to share best practices on chapter management. Cindy Gimont, new president of the Greater Reading Chapter in Pennsylvania, posted the following message on the Listserv:

“I am new to posting messages on the AACN Chapter Listerv. I am also new in the role of president for my chapter. I would like to send a warm hello to my chapter members as we begin a new year of learning. I would appreciate your feedback. I know part of my message will focus on AACN’s president’s theme of “With Confidence” and on our chapter being dedicated to AACN’s vision. I would really love to hear your input. Thank you.”

The Chapter Listserv community responded:

I am also new in the role of president for our local chapter. We are trying a few things that haven’t been tried in a while by our chapter to boost interest and increase participation. It’s not an easy task and takes lots of work. When we have our meetings, I tell the rest of the board members that they can manage to meet without me; that I have confidence in whatever they decide to take on as committee members to do fundraising, charity work, educational endeavors. I can tell you it’s been a very eye-opening first two months. The best thing I have found helpful is a monthly newsletter, with updates on what the chapter will be doing for the upcoming month and where we want to go. I am confident that the membership at large will be as excited as the board members. It just takes time and communication.

Good luck. Let’s keep in touch.

Joan Smith, President Carolina Dogwood Chapter, Fayetteville, N.C.

I am also new in this role and excited to see how our chapter can progress over the next year. I attended the Chapter Leadership Development Workshop (LDW) at NTI. It was fabulous. It gave me more confidence to move forward in my new role.

My first problem is that I have no president-elect, so I need to share some of the responsibilities. Therefore, I started two new committees: a Hospitality Committee and a Community Service Committee. I encouraged the chairpersons to meet with their groups and update us at our board meetings.

The second major task for our group was to improve communication. This requires a lot of effort and constant e-mails. We chose to redesign our Web site and make it more user-friendly. (Google calendar is a great tool.) You are welcome to take a look at the site and see if it might help you. It is still in the development stages so any suggestions are welcome. The site is www.aacntampa.com.

Andrea Efre, PresidentGreater Tampa Bay Chapter, Fla.

The Chapter Listserv is where questions are answered and relationships are formed. We invite you to join the Chapter Listserv and become a part of this great chapter networking community. To join, go to www.aacn.org > Community > Chapters > Chapter Listserv. Other resources available to you include your Chapter Advisory Team (CAT) and the Chapter Department staff at the National AACN office. Please contact your CAT at Region#@aacn.org, the National office at chapters@aacn.org or toll-free at (800) 394-5995, x365 or x313.

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Strategic Planning for Chapters

AACN has a strategic plan, and all chapters should have one also. In this article we will share with you what a strategic plan is, and one chapter’s approach to getting there. Simply put, strategic planning determines where an organization – or a chapter – is going over the next year or more, how it’s going to get there and how it will know if it got there or not. Chapter strategic plans should be driven by AACN’s mission and vision.

A mission statement explains the fundamental purpose of the organization. It concentrates on the present. It defines the customer and the critical processes. It informs you of the desired level of performance. A vision statement outlines what the organization wants to be. It concentrates on the future. It is a source of inspiration. It provides clear decision-making criteria.

AACN’s mission and vision statements are as follows:


Patients and their families rely on nurses at the most vulnerable times of their lives. Acute and critical care nurses rely on AACN for expert knowledge and the influence to fulfill their promise to patients and their families. AACN drives excellence because nothing less is acceptable.


AACN is dedicated to creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families where acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

Whether your chapter has new or returning officers, most likely they have reviewed the chapter’s strategic plan and re-assessed it to ensure it’s headed in the right direction based on the chapter members’ needs, or they have created a plan. Either way, the process of strategic planning requires open communication and participation by all chapter board members.

This year, Terri Campana, the new president of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter (SePA), used the webcast of Caryl Goodyear-Bruch’s presidential address and a session on communication called “Lost at Sea.” Campana said, “This prompted a lot of great discussion. We then launched into formulating our year’s strategic plan. It was a great experience!”

The premise of the “Lost at Sea” exercise is that you are stranded at sea with several people and have 15 items in your life raft. Each participant must rank these items in order of importance for survival. Then the group ranks the items. After this is accomplished the individuals score their items against what experts have considered the norm. The group then scores itself against the experts, and the best scoring group demonstrates consensus or synergy.

The creative way that Campana engaged her board resulted in a cohesive team that worked together to achieve a strategic plan they can execute “With Confidence,” for the SePA Chapter’s continued growth and success.

Chapters have resources available online at www.aacn.org > Community > Chapters > Document Repository > Chapters Best Practices > Strategic Planning. Your Chapter Advisory Team (CAT) is also available to assist chapters with their strategic planning process.

(To access the exercise SePA used, as well as other online exercises, visit http://wilderdom.com /games/descriptions/SurvivalScenarios.html.)

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