President’s Award: Greater Twin Cities Area Chapter

The Greater Twin Cities Area Chapter (GTCAC) of AACN is composed of 14 metro area hospitals. Our AACN theme for this year, “Dare To,” has provided our chapter members with inspiration for growth and learning as well as opportunity for community outreach. 

Strategic Planning
Last summer our board of directors met at our president’s home to examine the annual member needs survey and discuss incorporation of the “Dare To” theme in strategic planning. Using a SWOT analysis the following goals evolved:

  • Increase membership by 20 percent
  • Offer four educational offerings
  • Promote and celebrate certification
  • Provide meaningful recognition of our members
  • Participate in two community service events

We brainstormed ideas to integrate the “Dare To” theme, overcome barriers and engage our members through social media:

  • Include the “Dare To” logo on all chapter communication: minutes, agendas, etc.
    • This has helped keep the inspiration of daring to dream, change, act and lead at the forefront of chapter interactions.
    • In our first of the year quarterly newsletter, The Monitor, our chapter president explained the new theme to members and challenged them with daring to stretch and grow personally and professionally.
  • Provide a conference call option for those physically unable to attend monthly chapter meetings.
    • This has been an excellent tool to help keep members connected and has increased active involvement in chapter governance and planning.
  • Revise our chapter website to make it more user friendly to members and provide essential information about our chapter as well as links to pertinent AACN information; develop a Facebook page to communicate chapter events.
    • These have worked well to advertise and promote chapter events and generate enthusiasm for our chapter.
    • The “Dare To” artwork is prominently displayed on both sites.

Our membership chairperson has been active in raising awareness about the benefits of national and local membership through communication in The Monitor, flyers sent to area hospitals and our Facebook page. As perks for membership we offer:

  • Discounted fees for our conferences
  • Bulk membership
  • Four NTI scholarships for members through a drawing.
    • Their names are entered each time they attend a chapter meeting or event. 

While we have not yet met our 20 percent goal, we have increased current members’ active involvement and continue to work toward increasing new membership.

In November, we offered our 40th annual Fall Symposium, a two-day event with a variety of topics. Our president opened the conference with a “Dare To” challenge to attendees who responded by writing many personal aspirations they were “daring to” achieve.

We posted them on a wall in our exhibitor room so everyone could be inspired. Pictures were posted on our Facebook page for further viewing.

In conjunction with this conference, a national speaker gave a CCRN review. Since the course, nine local members “dared to” take the CCRN exam and passed.

In memory of one of our former chapter members, a “Critical Care Nurse of the Year” award was given in her name to a local member at the conference. To celebrate our 40th year, our chapter bought reusable cloth bags and water bottles with our logo to give to attendees.

We have had two educational offerings at our monthly chapter meetings in the fall — one on hepatic failure and another on point-of-care lab testing. Another topic is planned for the April meeting.

In February, our chapter’s Research Committee coordinated the annual Journal Club. Attendees enjoyed an interactive discussion on a current research article and learned about qualitative research.

We announced our chapter’s annual support of a nursing research grant in conjunction with the local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau and called for applications. The grant provides an excellent opportunity for bedside nurses to participate in research.

In March, we will have an educational offering with three speakers on various topics. We have “dared to” reach out to progressive care nurses by planning to have this educational session at a local long-term acute care hospital, where many of our critical care patients receive further recovery.

To celebrate our newly certified nurses, one-year local membership is awarded. For all certified nurses we are planning our third annual certification celebration dinner in April.

A speaker is invited, and the evening is a celebration and recognition of nurses who successfully challenged themselves to demonstrate their professionalism through certification.

Community Service
Each year our chapter chooses a nonprofit agency for which to raise funds; this year, the organization we chose supports victims of domestic violence.

We “dared to” stretch our efforts by visiting the organization and bringing a meal. We brought dinner to grill as well as games to play.

Some of our members even learned to make balloon animals because we were told the kids loved them, which they did. We shared a meal and fun with the families at the shelter.

For our next nonprofit group, Humor to Fight the Tumor, we have raised $780 in an ongoing collection and plan to raise more at the group’s annual gala later this year.

GTCAC “Dares To” meet its goals
As of February 2013, we have met or have plans to meet four of our five goals. By inspiring one another we will “Dare To” continue our efforts to dream, change, act and lead the nurses in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.

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