A Community of Exceptional Nurses
“Stand Tall” — Kristine Peterson’s 2010-2011 AACN’s presidential theme — means to recognize the unique and indispensible role nurses play. Recognize it, understand it, articulate it, own it, accept responsibility for it and celebrate it.
This theme has inspired pride in the board members of the Three Rivers Chapter of the AACN for the valuable time we invest in promoting critical care nursing in our area. Our leadership defined our goals for the new year of 2010-2011 to include:
We have found that the character of Stan Tall has become our unique ambassador and has opened many doors to discussing this theme and helping us realize our goals.
Thanks to the creativity and unbridled enthusiasm of our president, Jan Lemme, her two 15-year-old daughters and her husband [called into duty for some repairs], the Three Rivers Chapter has a 4-foot tall Stan that attends educational events in his scrubs and with the accoutrements of a nurse in tow.
Stan, at times, sports something special pertaining to our fine city, such as a Steeler or Penguin shirt, but this only makes him more personable and interesting to those who are curious as to the role that he plays in our chapter.
Stan Tall has been used for the introduction of the concept of “standing tall” as critical care nurses to the attendees at each of our educational endeavors in October, November and December, and he will continue to be present at our programs in 2011.
The concept of “standing tall” is reviewed by Jan as she introduces program agendas and defines the future plans for the chapter. As Stan is passed around after programs and photo ops are encouraged, the concept of what it means to “stand tall” as a critical care nurse is discussed.
Jan has even been spotted explaining the significance of Stan and his message with passersby on the street on the way to an event as they may be curious about this woman carrying the "skinny boy in scrubs."
The theme and art along with Stan are a constant in my newsletters as the board communicates chapter activities. As the newsletter editor, I actively encourage our members to let us know how someone defines the AACN theme in their daily work.
We collaborated for the second consecutive year with UPMC Shadyside to sponsor “Concepts in Critical Care II” in November. We had approximately 100 RN participants and they were introduced to “stand tall” if they were unfamiliar with its history and meaning.
In order to have some fun with the day, each participant had the opportunity to “outfit” their own Stan with crayons provided at each of the tables. We used the same Stan Tall that was distributed to attendees at NTI in D.C. with all of the information related to the theme included.
The Stans and “Anastanias” created by the nurses in attendance were fun and quite meaningful in many cases and the whole activity created a sense of camaraderie among them. “Stans” in pink were devoted to breast cancer awareness and one even sported the Texas flag, in homage to our newest TRC member from Dallas.
It created an opportunity for the nurses to connect in a relaxing environment and discuss the things that make them proud of the nursing profession and also the things that they want to address and collectively adjust.
We as a chapter incorporate the theme into our community service activities. At each of our events, we collect nonperishable food items for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and have also raised money with raffles of baskets and a Pittsburgh Steeler quilt.
We are presently working on a February educational program that highlights the work of Global Links in our area with the hopes of recruiting some more volunteers for this organization that shares surpluses of medical supplies with countries less fortunate. June Elizabeth Connolly, our community service liaison, has set up some time volunteering her services to this organization and is in the process of standing tall and recruiting TRC board members and membership at large to do the same.
As an AACN leader, Jan has revived a vigorous campaign to promote certification among the critical care nurses through our chapter and in her work environment. The TRC has sponsored CCRN and PCCN reviews in the past and we are planning another this fall in order to coordinate with other courses planned in our area.
Jan's motivation for nurses to “stand tall” through certification has been obvious as she expounds on the benefits of certification to nurses, employers and, most of all, our valuable patients.
She is mentoring younger nurses, has an “Are You Smarter than a CCRN?” contest ongoing in her unit and has been asked to speak to nurses at a neighboring hospital about the certification process. “Three Rivers” Stan and his message will be Jan’s companion on the road.
In closing, June Elizabeth and I were inspired after the last NTI and decided to apply to present a unique topic in Chicago in May. On our first attempt, our abstract was accepted for presentation: Standing Tall for the Heme-Onc Patient in the ICU! The Three Rivers Chapter and membership will be backing us as we stand tall representing our organization and our patients!
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