AACN News—October 2008—Chapters

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Vol. 25, No. 10, OCTOBER 2008

Two Chapters – A Common Journey

(Part 1 of 3)
By Susanne Wheeler, RN, MSN, CNS, CCRN, immediate past president, Wabash Valley Chapter; Jennifer Zettl, RN, BSN, CCRN, immediate past president, Central Wyoming Chapter; and Clareen Wiencek, PhD, ACNP, Chapter
Advisory Team co-lead

At first glance, Terre Haute, Ind. and Casper, Wyo. may not seem to have much in common because they are separated by distance and demographics. However, commonalities can be traced in two of AACN’s newest chapters, Wabash Valley in Terre Haute, Ind. and Central Wyoming in Casper, Wyo. This article, the first in a series of three highlighting their inaugural 2007-08 year, describes the birth of these chapters and the common themes in their journey. These themes include shared passion, NTI, support from the region’s CAT, support from other chapters and critical care leaders, and strategies for leadership recruitment.

For both the Wabash Valley and the Central Wyoming chapters, a shared passion for AACN with other critical care nurses was an essential key to their formation. Jennifer Zettl, founding president of the Central Wyoming Chapter, said, “Our chapter was born, as many are, out of the passion and drive of a few motivated critical care nurses.” Susanne Wheeler, founding president of the Wabash Valley Chapter, agreed. Although the process of forming a new chapter would take several years for both, their enthusiasm and passion never waned.

NTI also proved to be pivotal during each chapter’s formative stages. Both Zettl and Wheeler commented on how NTI attendance inspired and motivated them to start a new chapter. Wheeler and her colleagues were inspired when they saw an AACN display at the 2003 NTI on starting a chapter and were further encouraged when a prominent critical care speaker agreed to present, free of charge, at their first chapter program. When Wabash Valley held its first program in the fall of 2008, that speaker held true to her promise.

Additionally, access to national resources such as AACN’s Web site and the support of the chapter adviser (CAT) were important. Both founding presidents described how their CAT provided direction and support. Wheeler said, “Our Region 9 CAT was present at our startup meeting and was invaluable to the process of starting our chapter.” Zettl commented that the AACN Web site provided all the important forms needed to start the Central Wyoming Chapter.

Though sometimes AACN chapters may feel they operate in a silo, the birth of these two AACN chapters illustrate the impact chapters can have. The encouragement of AACN’s Denver Chapter was essential to the beginning of the Central Wyoming Chapter, and the financial sponsorship of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter was equally vital to the formation of the Wabash Valley Chapter. This selfless support is evidence that the spirit of “You Are AACN” is alive and well.

The final common theme was the recruitment of chapter leaders. Both past presidents described a process of filling key board positions with individuals who had passion and drive but also brought different strengths to the leadership team. Selection of a strong president-elect who could carry the momentum for the new chapters into their second year was essential.

In summary, the births of the Wabash Valley and Central Wyoming chapters were the result of a common journey of shared passion and the support of many outstretched hands. The second article in this series, in the December 2008 issue of AACN News, will describe the nitty-gritty of Wabash Valley and Central Wyoming chapter operations in their first year, and the resources that helped them along the way.

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Dance to the Music

By Majella Venturanza RN, MA, CCRN, Region 2 Chapter Adviser

What makes you wake up in the morning? Do you have to be dragged out of bed? Where do you get the energy to start another challenging day? What is your secret to staying lively and energetic?

It is up to us how we live our lives. How about creating your future according to how you would like it to be? If you desire a good future it often requires a lot of time and perseverance. Good things do not come always as easily as we think. Goal-directed people succeed easily and faster. Is there a quick recipe for success?

The following tips from the book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There-How Successful People Become Even More Successful may be useful: Be a good follower before becoming a leader, practice humility, be respectful of other ideas, always be ready to learn from others, keep your commitments, always deliver your best, be an open book, be a team player and most of all achieve a higher purpose or goal.

After reading the last paragraph, I started contemplating the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments. We all need to practice these standards at work and even at home. The six standards are Skilled Communication, True Collaboration, Effective Decision Making, Appropriate Staffing, Meaningful Recognition and Authentic Leadership.

Leaders raise the bar by being role models. In today’s environment it is so easy to cut corners even at the expense of others. Continue to fight for the right way, because eventually seeing excellence in action helps people visualize a way to do it themselves. Nurses are natural teachers. Continue to teach and coach. Meetings can be a good forum for teaching. An exchange of ideas can be very productive. Often, peers learn from one another by listening and practical application of the Healthy Work Environment exchange of ideas.

Healthy Work Environment standards can be applied in our own chapters and regions. We have an obligation to our nursing profession, and practicing these standards will develop future leaders and better relationships within AACN locally and nationally. Since these feelings can be infectious, let us incorporate these standards into our everyday practice.

The Healthy Work Environment standards are setting the stage for the dance and the energy. If we all dance the same tune then it creates harmony and happiness. These energies can drive us to attain and surpass our goals. Good leaders will provide an environment with systematic support and resources for their staff. Everyone is accountable in a Healthy Work Environment. The leaders are as equally accountable as their staff.

Once we have attained this level of commitment to create a Healthy Work Environment everyone becomes more attuned to patient, staff and environmental safety. Our environment becomes a powerful presentation of color, sound and energy.


Here’s your chance to showcase your chapter’s work, which you have done “With Confidence.” The President’s Award for Chapters recognizes those chapters that best exemplify the AACN president’s theme throughout the year. Chapters will be evaluated on programs and activities that were completed from July 1 to date of submission, and programs that are planned for the rest of the calendar year. The winning chapter or chapters will be selected by Caryl Goodyear-Bruch, AACN president, and will be awarded up to $4,000 for the chapter treasury. For an application or more information go to www.aacn.org > Membership > Awards, Grants, and Scholarships and click on Chapter Award & Application Program Information. The deadline to submit your application is Feb. 15, 2009. The winning chapter(s) will be announced by mid-March 2009.

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Calling All CATs

Oct. 31 Is Deadline to Apply for Regional Positions

AACN is currently inviting former and current chapter officers to apply for Chapter Advisory Team (CAT) positions in eight of its 19 regions. The chapter advisers will serve two-year terms, from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011. The deadline to apply is Oct. 31, 2008.

CATs play a vital role in ensuring effective communication among the AACN Board of Directors, National Office staff and local chapters on the issues chapters face. Advisers are volunteers who have expert knowledge on chapter issues and trends in their regions. They are well informed about events and issues at the national level and how they affect the chapters. CATs directly support AACN chapters and leaders in many ways.

Chapter advisers:

• Serve as a liaison and spokesperson to AACN chapters and leaders in their region, including supporting and understanding AACN initiatives, such as the Beacon Award, Certification and Healthy Work Environments.

• Establish ongoing mechanisms for communication with chapter presidents and other chapter leaders in their region.

• Work in partnership with AACN staff to identify individual chapter strengths and needs, so that chapters are effectively supported.

• Develop and mentor local chapter leaders for future chapter and national leadership roles.

• Collaborate with AACN staff to plan the Chapter Leadership Development Workshop, held annually at NTI.

• Travel within their assigned region and attend two face-to-face meetings with other advisory team members each year.

• Participate in conference calls and use electronic media, online communication tools and databases.

If you are interested in serving as a chapter adviser in your region or in another region and have questions regarding the role, contact Chapter Specialist Karen Certalic at (800) 394-5995, ext. 313, or by e-mail at Karen.Certalic @aacn.org or chapters@aacn.org. You can also contact the current chapter adviser in your region.

To apply, register online at www.aacn.org > Community > Volunteer opportunities > Access your AACN volunteer Profile. Be sure to select “Chapter Advisory Team” under “Specialty or Type of Role.” You will then be sent an application by e-mail.

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What’s on Tap


The Greater Tampa Bay Chapter will present “Tides of Tampa Bay” Nov. 3 at the Dr. Blaise F. Alfano Conference and Banquet Center, Tampa. For more information, contact Diane Morgan; (813) 503-3790; d11712@aol.com.


The Chesapeake Bay Chapter will present “Adult CCRN/PCCN Review Course” Nov. 10-12 at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, Towson. For more information, contact Karen Droter; (410) 248-9353; mdroter@aol.com.


The Greater Boston Chapter will present “CCRN Review Course” Nov. 6-7 at The Lantana, Randolph. For more information, contact Patricia Aylward; paylward@partners.org.


The Southeast Michigan Chapter will present “CCRN Review” Oct. 22-23 at Assumption Cultural Center, St. Clair Shores. For more information, contact Vicki Boyce; (313) 343-4035; vboycern @comcast.net.

The Northeastern Ohio Chapter will present “Acute Renal Failure and CRRT” Oct. 22 at St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown. For more information, contact Barbara Erickson; (330) 549-0172; berickson@msn.com.

The Northeastern Ohio Chapter will present “Long Term Acute Care (LTAC)” Nov. 12 at Mahoning Valley Hospital, Boardman. For more information, contact Barbara Erickson; (330) 549-0172; berickson@msn.com.


The Greater Portland Chapter will present the “35th Annual Critical Care Symposium” Nov. 20-21 at the Hilton Vancouver Washington Hotel, Vancouver, Wash. For more information, contact Donna Hunter; (503) 590-5788; gpcsupport @comcast.net.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter will present “Manager & Leader Preconference at TRENDS” Oct. 27 at the Radisson Valley Forge Hotel, King of Prussia. For more information, contact Monika Cornelius; (800) 394-5995, x239; trends@aacn.org.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter will present “TRENDS in Critical Care Nursing 2008” Oct. 28-31 at the Valley Forge Convention Center, King of Prussia. For more information, contact Monika Cornelius; (800) 394-5995, x239; trends@aacn.org.

The Greater Johnstown Chapter and Three Rivers Chapter will present “CCRN Certification Preparation and Review Course” Nov. 10-11 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion. For more information, contact Darlene Dubay; (814) 266-2946; ddubay@conemaugh.org.

The Greater Johnstown Chapter and Three Rivers Chapter will present “PCCN Certification Preparation and Review Course” Nov. 12-13 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion. For more information, contact Darlene Dubay; (814) 266-2946; ddubay@conemaugh.org.


The Greater Memphis Area Chapter will present “Critical Issues in Oxygenation” Oct. 24 at the Holiday Inn, University of Memphis, Memphis. For more information, contact Janet Mulroy; (901) 482-1084; jfmulroy@comcast.net.


The West Houston Chapter will present “CCRN Review Course” Nov. 10-11 at Kingsland Baptist Church, Katy. For more information, contact Celeste Smith; (281) 693-0446; ks2cs2ce@comcast.net.
Regions 12 and 15 will present a “Collaborative Meeting” Nov. 14-15 at Holiday Inn Select, Tyler. For more information, call Merci; (903) 531-8849 or Shelly; (903) 520-6415.


The Greater Washington Area Chapter will present “Spotlight on Critical Care” Nov. 5-6 at Waterford Receptions, Springfield. For more information, contact Frances Collins; frances.collins@inova.org.


The Mountain to Sound Chapter will present “Currents in Critical Care” Oct. 20-21 at Shoreline Conference Center, Shoreline. For more information, contact Mary Jo Kelly; (206) 340-1275; mts.aacn@gmail.com.

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