President's Award: Greater Johnstown Chapter

From the beginning of 2012–2013, the Greater Johnstown Chapter (GJC) has embraced the AACN theme, Dare To. Our president, Dawn Drahnak, sent a letter introducing herself and welcoming new and returning members.

She encouraged our membership to participate in educational offerings during the upcoming year. National AACN President Kathryn E. Roberts’ Dare To theme also was shared in the letter.

Drahnak dared membership by sharing a statement from the theme, “I challenge you to leave your comfort zone for our patients, for our profession, for yourself and finish the statement … Dare To.”

Members were invited to share their personal Dare To at the next meeting. An attachment was included for members to return their Dare To. 

At our first meeting, Dare To's, such as a 5K for local charities and building membership, were collected and discussed as chapter events as well as “daring to be ambassadors for our chapter.” Members were encouraged to visit the AACN website and seek opportunities to become active nationally.

Several GJC members completed volunteer applications and are new AACN volunteers: ambassadors, Beacon reviewers and panel expert reviewers.

At our all-day educational event, “GJC Presents Current Issues in Acute Care ‘12,” the colorful Dare To artwork was displayed on the podium to highlight the theme. We devoted time to promoting AACN benefits, highlighting AACN publications and the newest member benefit: AACN PEARL.

Focus shifted to presenting the Dare To theme. The “Theme Art PowerPoint Template” was easily accessed from the AACN website. It was used for the presentation, highlighting the beautiful artwork and its relationship to the theme.

Chapter Dare To's were shared during the presentation. The GJC board anticipated that this part of the presentation would inspire personal and professional Dare To's.

Our attendees were provided Dare To's with the theme’s orange butterfly adorning the top. We encouraged attendees to fill out their Dare To and to place it in a prominent place as encouragement to fulfill the Dare To. We also invited the group to fill out a duplicate Dare To with contact information and to leave it with GJC.

To follow up with the Dare To's, participants were contacted in January regarding their progress. Of the 26 Dare To's that were returned, 18 included contact information and were sent an email (one example):

“In October you attended the Greater Johnstown Chapter educational event “GJC Presents Current Issues in Acute Care ‘12.” If you recall, you completed our Dare To statement and listed “become involved in AACN.” GJC would like to inquire how you are doing with your endeavor. We hope to see you at this month’s educational event on Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:00 PM (No time like the present)! Please reply to this email with an update and let us know if we can be of support to you.
Dawn Drahnak
GJC AACN President”

One individual followed through with her Dare To, “Take Cardiac Surgery Certification.” She said she was not successful with her first attempt and will focus her efforts with the encouragement of GJC’s Dare To campaign.

Another individual’s Dare To was “Prepare for the Cardiac Medicine Certification Exam,” and she is using the AACN: Critical Care Pharmacology E-learning course to prepare for the exam.

Attendee evaluations of the Dare To portion of the event demonstrated that it was well received.

The presentation was overwhelmingly rated as “excellent” in all respects, including overall knowledge, organization, meeting objectives and most of all incorporating the Dare To content in everyday practice. The presentation was described as “stimulating” with many positive comments.

GJC values certification, as evidenced by a 75 percent chapter certification rate, and recognizes the many benefits for our members and patients in their care.

Our chapter continues to support individuals in their journey to certification. Our chapter recognizes those who pass the exam through the purchase of roster plaques, gold CCRN and PCCN pins, badge holders and lanyards.

GJC continues to exemplify the AACN theme with our Dare To provide high-quality education. Our review and all-day educational events with meals were offered at affordable rates, as much as 50 percent less than others.

We strive to continue the legacy of supporting certification by offering review courses with nationally known presenters, and it has proven successful. Importantly, we continue to offer PCCN reviews and provide individual support to this diverse group of acute care nurses.

GJC members and AACN ambassadors continue to spread the word regarding certification. We have Dared To encourage certification and have been successful in increasing the number of certified nurses by 27 since our last review in spring 2011.

GJC values support from national AACN and frequently networks with chapter leadership. This collaboration led to a conference call facilitated by our CAT, June Elizabeth Connelly, with the Rum River Chapter, regarding chapter attendance and recruitment.

As a result, our chapter took on another Dare To and put together a recruiting effort, visiting five neighboring hospitals.

Spring plans include celebrating Certified Nurses Day by hosting an event to honor certified nurses. GJC has invited specialty organizations represented at the local hospital to honor their certified nurses as well.

With tools from the AACN website, the hospital plans to use the press release to announce the event. The GJC chapter plans fun events such as honoring the nurse who has been certified the longest.

We will focus on the message “Dare To become certified.”

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