AACN News—June 2009—Chapters

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Vol. 26, No. 6, JUNE 2009

Chapter Listserv Hot Topic: Why Chapter Leaders Volunteer

I was the person who organized the first meeting of local nurses to start the Northeastern Ohio Chapter (NEOAACN) in 1972, the first AACN chapter in the state. I firmly believe in the philosophy and mission of AACN and wanted to promote educational opportunities for local nurses and provide networking opportunities. At that time there were few educational opportunities for nurses learning to care for coronary and critically ill patients. I partnered with a local physician to provide such opportunities, and the chapter promoted effective networking for nurses in Northeastern Ohio and Western Pa. As a 1971 CNS graduate I wanted to give back to the community by sharing the knowledge I had acquired.

In the early years, area nurses willingly participated in growing the chapter and accepted officer, board and committee positions. Besides providing monthly educational programs, NEOAACN provided a yearly two-day symposium with national speakers and manned a weeklong educational booth at our local annual fair. Over the following 37 years I remained active in the chapter, sitting on the board and holding the position of president many times. Unfortunately, over the years, it became more difficult to get others to hold a position in the chapter and to obtain active participation from members. Currently, I hold the position of secretary/treasurer and with great effort again see chapter membership growing and member participation in chapter activities increasing.

I continue to volunteer as a chapter leader, because I see AACN and its chapters providing exceptional opportunities for members. In fact, I always tell others that AACN provides more membership benefits than any other professional organization I belong to. I want others to be exposed to and realize the many benefits of being a member of AACN. This includes the many educational opportunities, such as NTI, journals, online resources, free CEUs, certifications and standards of excellence, to name a few. As a committed member of AACN, I want others to know and experience the wonder that is AACN.

Thus, I continue to volunteer as a chapter leader and do all that I can to see that area nurses realize the benefits of belonging to AACN and that our chapter continues to promote and foster the objectives of AACN, and meet the needs of our local critical care nurses.
Barbara Erickson, RN, APRN, MSN, PhD
Secretary/Treasurer, Northeastern Ohio Chapter,
Youngstown, Ohio

Not only has this question been posed to me many times by colleagues, but I have asked myself this question through the years that I have been active with the Broward County Chapter. I have always said the chapter is a great way for networking, for obtaining free CEUs and for acquiring scholarships to local and national seminars (such as NTI). Recently, I have modified this answer to include my belief that being involved in a professional organization provides me with a respite from the grueling day I experience as a bedside critical care nurse. Doing more with less is an everyday reality in the clinical area. I also believe that nurses are leaders at the bedside, and that if I were to look for an entity that will help me develop my leadership potential I cannot rely on my employer. At the LDW in Atlanta in 2007, Connie Barden and Denise Thornby asked the following question to almost 300 chapter leaders: “How many of you rely on your employer to develop your leadership potential?” I did not see any hands raised. This brings me back to my chapter where so many leaders before me paved the way to bring AACN’s theme and vision to local members.
Divina Sirokie, RN, BSN, CCRN
Past President, Broward County Chapter,
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

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Chapter Members Participate in National Healthcare Decisions Day

Members of AACN’s Broward County Chapter, in conjunction with the hospital’s Palliative Care Team, helped to spread the word about National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16, at Memorial Regional Hospital, Hollywood, Fla. They provided information on advance directives, living wills and the Five Wishes, which is now accepted in more than 40 states, including Florida, as a legal document for a living will. Most documents were available in both English and Spanish, and there was also information about palliative care. Many visitors were amazed at what they could do to benefit themselves and their loved ones in making the right healthcare decisions, especially regarding end-of-life choices.

Broward County Chapter members educate visitors about advance directives on National Healthcare Decisions Day. From left: Sheryl Gilson, Sandy Salicco, Linda Swartz and Toni Mingola.

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What’s on Tap?

The Mountain to Sound Chapter will present “3-Day CCRN/PCCN Review Course” June 26-28 at Highline Medical Center, Burien. For more information, contact Mary Jo Kelly; (206) 340-1275; mts.aacn@gmail.com.

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Chapter Donates to Cardiac Care

By Cindy Martin, RN, BSN, CCRN-CSC
President, Columbia Wheatland Chapter
Walla Walla, Wash.

Recognizing the need to educate outlying medical facilities and ambulance transport teams about the benefits of induced hypothermia for cardiac arrest patients, our chapter decided to support the local fire departments. During a Code Blue Committee meeting, the topic of hypothermia was introduced into the conversation. (This committee is a group of community and hospital-based personnel who provide care for cardiac arrest patients.) The desire to implement this form of brain resuscitation following cardiac arrest was palpable, so we held a Hypothermia Quilt Raffle to help raise funds to purchase coolers for transport trucks.

We raised $600 to donate to the Richland Fire Department, South Richland, Wash. to assist with the purchase of a cooler unit (each one costs $799). The unit holds four 1,000 ml bags of normal saline cooled to 4 degrees centigrade: enough fluid to create vasoconstriction and begin cooling the body by 1 to 2 degrees before arrival at the receiving facility. By cooling the cardiac arrest patient directly after the arrest we hope to see a decrease in the occurrence of anoxic brain injury. With one out of five cardiac arrest patients having good outcomes using induced hypothermia (compared to one out of eight without it), we must consider this as a therapeutic option for every ventricular fibrillation patient who has a return of spontaneous circulation. Our chapter plans to conduct future raffles or fundraisers to assist the Kennewick and Pasco transport teams.

Chapter members present a check to the Richland Fire Department on April 9, 2009: First row, from left: Cindy Martin, chapter president; Trina Vierck, treasurer; Jackie Byrd, vice president; back row from left to right: chapter members NoraLynn Wilson, Chad Smiley and Christie Sommers.

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Bulk Membership Vouchers – A Great Incentive

AACN chapters can provide incentives to potential chapter members and to chapter members who are 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, and membership becomes activated upon receipt and processing at AACN. The vouchers should be activated as soon as possible, so they aren’t lost or stolen.

To order bulk membership vouchers, complete and submit the order form at www.aacn.org > Membership > Benefits of Membership > Bulk Membership Program, or call our Customer Care Department at (800) 899-2226, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific time.

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Chapter Officer Web Access

May 15 was the due date for all chapter officers who will be in office as of AACN’s new fiscal year, July 1, to be identified in the chapter database in the “future position.” Chapters that did not update this information will lose access to the Chapter Officers’ area of the AACN Web site. For further assistance, call the Chapters Department at (800) 394-5995, ext. 365 or ext. 313, or e-mail chapters@aacn.org.

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NTI 2009 Chapter Rebate

AACN is offering a $75 rebate to chapter members who attended NTI 2009 in New Orleans. All rebates must be postmarked by June 15, 2009. Access the form at www.aacn.org/nti > About NTI > Chapters/Chapter Advisors > Chapter Rebate > Chapter Rebate Form.

• The $75 rebate on the NTI registration fee is available to all chapter members.
• Complete the rebate form and attach proof of your chapter membership. (Proof of chapter membership is required because National no longer requires chapters to report their membership list on an annual basis.)
• Your rebate will be in the same form that you paid for the conference. If you used a credit card, the rebate will be credited to your card; if you paid by check, the rebate will be sent to you as a check.
• Please allow up to 12 weeks to receive your rebate.

We hope you enjoyed NTI this year and look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C. at NTI 2010.

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