Greater Washington Area Chapter

Excellence in Chapter Community Education & Public Service

The Greater Washington Area Chapter of AACN is a mature chapter dedicated to the education and advancement of critical care nurses. GWAC has consistently held quality programs and facilitated professional excellence among our colleagues throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. We continue to offer a high quality critical care consortium to provide a solid foundation for our newly graduated colleagues as well as planting an early seed for middle school students in one of our rural counties.

AACN Themes in  Action

Our theme last year challenged us to “Act With Intention,” which proved to be a very inspiring, active message that has transformed and invigorated our community and educational activities.

In an era of economic woes and heightened awareness and scrutiny regarding health care spending and quality, we are intentionally “Standing Tall” and creating alliance that will continue to spread the good news about nurses, who are the "heart beat of our hospitals."

Joining 'Power to End Stroke' Task Force

In February, our chapter partnered with the American Heart Association's Power to End Stroke/BP task force. Stroke is the number one cause of disability and the third leading cause of death. The AHA has an intense campaign to create awareness and change relative to the fact that stroke is largely preventable by blood pressure control. As a chapter, we pledged to cover community events and carry the important message about blood pressure as it relates to stroke prevention.

We have covered events from Baltimore to Northern Virginia during May and June [with scheduled events through August] and in attendance has been our proud ambassador, “Stan Tall.” The people served are very grateful for the education and our service, we are equally grateful to serve at a "grassroots" level and really feel the impact of "giving back" and "making a difference" — for free.

Coordinating Health Fair With Charles County Church

In April, we partnered with a local Charles County Church to provide health information at their health fair. Charles County is a growing community, but there remains a western section of the county that is largely rural and underprivileged. Access to healthcare, as well as low educations levels, remain a challenge and are well documented. With this in mind, we were happy to assist in the coordination of a health fair at one of the neighborhood churches.

Mentoring Youth at Flight-Team Base

Considering the youth membership, we also extended our available resources and planned a trip to the local flight-team base, MedSTAR Transport, to provide a tour and career presentation. The youth who attended were astonished by the tour and left considering the possibilities of a nursing career. The onsite question-and-answer session was extremely stimulating and left a few males with a different perspective: “I never really knew those were nurses,” (commenting on the flight team on the scene of the Pentagon Attack). While it is rewarding to volunteer, it is humbling to provide encouragement to our youth — many who may be first-generation college students.

Supporting Breast Cancer Awarenesss & Fundraising Efforts

In June we continued our commitment to Breast Cancer awareness and fundraising. We successfully manned two medical tents on the day of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, as well as having two of our members participate and raise funds for the walk. It was deeply moving to have the participants pass by and offer thanks for our support and time as we fulfilled the need as medical responders for the many blisters, the overheated and the minor injuries. It was with great pride that we hastened to respond wielding our stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers, ice and ace wraps to the breast cancer survivors, supporters and participants. And again, “Stan Tall” was on hand to witness it all!

Helping Our Regional AACN Chapters

We reached out to help our fellow AACN Chapters, too. On the regional level at NTI, we opened our GWAC booth to other region IV chapters to assist with t-shirt sales and information. We calculated the percentage of time volunteered by the other chapters and have split the proceeds from this event with a donation to our region IV account of 25 percent, with the remaining 75 percent shared with the volunteering chapters according to the percentage of time their members spent at the booth.

Giving Through 'Christmas in July' Program

We are aware that we are a blessed chapter in regards to location, resources and talent. We want to be able to share this. We started a program we refer to as “Christmas in July.” We chose the newest chapter in our region, Southern Maryland Chapter, and awarded them $500 to help them start their chapter. This was awarded at our Region IV Network Night at NTI.

In an attempt to reach out further to our AACN community, our Christmas in July this year awarded $100 to the three newest AACN chapters in the country. Our goal is to assist chapters on their journey to grow and prosper and, as a mature chapter, to share our resources and let them know that we are there to help mentor them in this journey.

Our outreach goals are targeted at our youth in an attempt to help them grow, our community in offering healthcare screening and education, our community of nursing colleagues in their professional education and our AACN community in chapter growth.