AACN’s Ryukyu Chapter: A Blend of Old and New
With a 1,000-year history, Japan’s Ryukyu (Okinawa) Islands have a culture distinct from that of mainland Japan. This champuru or “mixed” culture includes influences from mainland Japan, China, the U.S. and many other countries. The southernmost of the 47 Japanese prefectures, Okinawa is an archipelago of 161 islands that stretch more than 1,300 km from southern Japan almost to Taiwan.
The Ryukyu Chapter was founded in August 2006 to serve Navy and Air Force nurses and their Department of Defense counterparts stationed in Okinawa. It is the only chartered chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in Japan and the only professional nursing organization on the island. The chapter’s primary membership consists of active-duty nurses who spend two to four years stationed at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa or the 18th Medical Group attached to Kadena Air Base. Members encompass all specialties of nursing from neonatal through adult critical care to labor and delivery, medical-surgical and emergency.
This chapter has experienced many challenges, including a high turnover rate, deployments from the board of directors and its remote location, all of which have made it difficult for this fledgling chapter to survive. Yet the tenacious attitude of the founding members and the importance of the chapter mission have kept the chapter going. In addition to expanding the yearly conference, they are working on adding members stationed in Guam, mainland Japan and Korea, including local Japanese nursing students; offering more local continuing education; encouraging CCRN certification and applying for the Beacon award; and contributing to the growth of AACN as a whole.
In only its second year of existence the Ryukyu Chapter has held two conferences, offering one of the few island resources for continuing education credits for nurses. This year’s second annual Critical Care Conference included topics such as “Not So Commonsense Leadership,” “Bi-level Ventilation,” “Lung Injuries in Iraq,” “Lessons Learned During Katrina Relief” and an “AACN National Update.” CDR John Whitcomb, PhD, RN, CCRN, AACN and AACN Certification board member, and specialty advisor to the Navy Surgeon General, Critical Care, was the keynote and closing speaker. His opening topic was “Engage Nursing With Confidence,” in which he discussed the many roles and influences that nurses have in healthcare today, including mentoring/coaching, leadership and nursing research. His closing speech was titled “Healthy Work Environments and Lateral Violence.” Whitcomb also experienced firsthand what it is like to transport critical care patients in a K-135 Combat Casualty Air Transport plane. “It’s amazing the environment these critical care nurses work in with both adults and NICU patients,” he said.
Whitcomb also recognized the Ryuyku Chapter’s strong leadership team and continuing support of AACN: Capt La France Frances, the director of nursing, whose leadership and funding were instrumental in his participation at the conference, chapter president LT Jonathan Levenson, who coordinated the conference in conjunction with the chapter board, and chapter president-elect CDR Angela Saunders, NC, USN, currently deployed to Kuwait, for bringing the conference to a new level.
Special thanks to John Whitcomb and Jonathan Levenson for providing the information for this article.
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What’s on Tap?
The Mobile Bay Area Chapter will present “CCRN Review Course” Jan. 29-30 at University of South Alabama College of Nursing, Mobile. For more information, contact Eileen Harden; (251) 680-7023; email@example.com.
The Hawaiian Islands Chapter will present “CCRN Review” Feb. 19-20 at Pacific Beach Hotel, Honolulu. For more information, contact Jennie Chadbourne; (808) 625-4803; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northern Illinois Chapter will present “Understanding Stroke” Jan. 14 at Giovanni’s Restaurant, Rockford. For more information, contact Marcia Donaldson; (815) 971-6143; email@example.com.
The Greater Portland Chapter will present “CCRN/PCCN Test Review Course” Jan. 20-21 at Kaiser Permanente Interstate Campus, Portland. For more information, contact Donna Hunter; (503) 590-5788; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tidewater Chapter will present “CCRN & PCCN 4th Annual Review” Jan. 26-28 at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center Auditorium, Portsmouth. For more information, contact Julia King; (757) 488-7938; email@example.com.
The Greater Milwaukee Area Chapter will present “Ethics of Withdrawing End of Life Care” Feb. 3 at St. Joseph’s Outpatient Center, Room 5A-B, Wauwatosa. For more information, contact Jeanne Braby; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater Milwaukee Area Chapter will present “Hyper Metabolic States in the ICU” Feb. 3 at St. Joseph’s Outpatient Center, Room 5A-B, Wauwatosa. For more information, contact Jeanne Braby; email@example.com.
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Taking the Write Path to Confidence
In her first “President’s Note” column in the July 2008 issue of AACN News, Caryl Goodyear-Bruch, RN, PhD, CCRN, AACN president, asked members to share their stories “With Confidence.” As a result, Melissa Lowder, MSN, RN, CCRN, president of the Central Indiana Chapter, Indianapolis, asked chapter members to write about their experiences on the job when they act confidently. The stories are then e-mailed to Goodyear-Bruch. Each month, many of these stories are read aloud at the chapter meetings, and the chapter board randomly gives out three or four “Presidential Theme” prizes (mug, coaster, etc.).
Following are excerpts from several stories.
• “I have learned to be my patient’s advocate from my experience as a critical care nurse for 10 years working in the CICU.”
Susan Simons, RN, ASN, CCRN
• “I obtained my confidence through experience, at bedside inservices and modeling other experienced nurses.”
Evon Rairdon, RN, BSN
• “I have been a nurse for 30+ years and I am not ashamed to admit I ‘don’t know it all,’ and I have the confidence to know and ask when I don’t.”
Cindy Hedriana, RN, BSNB
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Increasing Chapter Membership With Bulk Membership Vouchers
AACN chapter leaders can provide incentives for potential new chapter members, as well as chapter members renewing their national membership, by offering bulk membership vouchers. AACN offers savings of $9 on 1-year active memberships when five or more are purchased at the same time. Chapters can then use the vouchers as gifts or to resell. Membership becomes activated upon receipt and processing at AACN. Members should be encouraged to activate the vouchers as soon as possible to help prevent them from being lost or stolen.
To order bulk membership vouchers, complete and submit the order form located on the Web site at www.aacn.org > Membership > Benefits of Membership > Bulk Membership Program, or call our Customer Care Department at (800) 899-2226, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific time.
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