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2007 president's award for Chapters.

Greater Kansas City Chapter

Kansas City, MO

Mary Fran Tracy challenged all of us to be "Powered by Insight" by reflecting, learning and planning for excellence. Taking her challenge to heart, the Greater Kansas City Chapter began a journey to incorporate and empower the progressive care nurses in our organization. Realizing that we had left the development and expansion of our membership to chance, our chapter outlined a plan to fully integrate progressive care nurses into every aspect of our chapter, including leadership, communications, education and scholarships.

Our board is composed of a diverse group representing many different aspects of critical care nursing practice--intensive care, progressive care and academia. This diversity has allowed us the insight to look at issues and member concerns from at least three perspectives and better serve our community of critical care nurses. We purposefully chose to have at least two members of our board from progressive care practice areas. For 2007-08, our president and education chair are from progressive care. In addition, the annual spring Critical Care Symposium is chaired by one of our progressive care nursing members.

Communication is a key to the success of our chapter. We use our quarterly newsletter, our Web site and our hospital-based representatives to communicate and ideally empower the membership. Because one-on-one, relationship-based communication has proven to be the most effective method, we expanded the number of unit representatives to a minimum of two at each hospital--one representing intensive care and one representing progressive care.

Committed to empowering progressive care nurses through education, we planned three educational events. The first was a renewed commitment to the Progressive Care Consortium that offers two, five-day courses specific to progressive care practice. The second was the incorporation of progressive care content from the PCCN exam blueprint into a combined CCRN/PCCN Certification Review Course. In addition, our annual spring Critical Care Symposium now offers a track for progressive care nursing staff.

Last, we are offering, for the first time this year, a scholarship for a progressive care nurse to sit for the PCCN exam.

Greater New Orleans Area Chapter

Metairie, LA

We didn't ask, "Could we?" "Would we?" "Should we?" or "Why?" We simply knew the Greater New Orleans Chapter would have to lift itself from the aftermath of destructive forces of nature. The question was "how." The "Powered by Insight" president's theme became the answer.

We encompassed the theme in every aspect of what we did. The intention was to pay respect to everyone's individual experience and then to take the value of that experience's knowledge to help move us forward.

Gathering our members together, we started employing the theme. Although we were given challenges never experienced before, we gained new insights to work within our new world. As we started the new service year, we were nothing if we were not for our members.

We knew we had to use our energy to regain and re-energize our membership and expedite the communication process. But first, we had to find our members.

We had learned that the physical presence of leadership and community members was vital to the return of a functioning chapter. Field visits were made to every facility in our chapter's area. As face-to-face contact was made with unit staff and managers, a Critical Care Circle was being developed. This circle continues to be contacted by e-mail as the first line of communication at each site. Although the field visits were long and tedious, we received a lot back in enthusiasm, commitment and guardianship of the purpose of our chapter.

As the membership base changed, our board was taxed with many unprecedented activities, new members and growing program attendance. Many of our board members, all of whom had been impacted by the storm, had entered their new offices without much role experience.

We joined and co-sponsored a program with the local chapter of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. We had learned our nursing community needed to band together and we did have common grounds. We also opened our meetings to other local nursing chapters with similar interests.

Change is never a painless process but, if channeled and powered in the right direction, the results can be astronomical. We are still rising ... Powered by insight ... and each other.

Houston Gulf Coast Chapter

Houston, TX

The Houston Gulf Coast Chapter of AACN began its journey to build its future by using the president's theme of "Powered by Insight." As with any long voyage, we had to honestly look at ourselves and our chapter and develop insight based on the emotional and spiritual intelligence concept to help set the course of becoming a good to an authentically great chapter.

During our leadership retreat, we identified our individual and organizational strengths and weaknesses. We then set goals to continue the delivery of excellent educational programs, to develop a chapter Web site and to improve chapter operations, strategic planning and leadership transition.

Philosophically grounded in AACN's mission, the end goal for educational programming was to develop insight about our membership through these programs. Each program had consistent features, including marketing via flyers and our Web site with consistent design to facilitate brand identification, establishing a designated e-mail address where members could RSVP for meetings and producing a consistent program environment featuring the theme and monthly President's Note column from AACN News. We have seen an increase in our meeting attendance from 60 to 200 members and an increased awareness of the national theme.

We have gained the most insight through chapter operations, strategic planning and facilitating leadership transition. We looked at our current systems and asked ourselves: What have we done to show board accountability? Are we supporting the AACN values of accountability, acting with integrity, collaboration, stewardship, commitment and innovation?

Fully powered by insight, our board is working on resolving systems issues. A chapter manual that details each committee role and ideas that have worked and failed are in the works to guide future leaders. Our records are being scanned to allow for electronic retrieval of documents. We have clearly defined our advisory board's role, function and limitations. To facilitate the future direction of our chapter, we are conducting our first annual strategic planning with the incoming and outgoing board and established a goal of transfer of information as well as establishing key priorities for the next five years.

Our journey to being powered by insight has been meaningful, challenging and necessary.

The Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier Chapters

Seattle and Tacoma, WA


The president's "Powered by Insight" theme describes the journey that the Mt. Rainier and Puget Sound chapters have undertaken this past year. Insight was required to evaluate each struggling chapter's operations, membership and expectations. Insight helped both chapters discover that we wanted to thrive and expand our goals.

To succeed, we needed to look not only "outside the box," but also outside our chapters. Insight and inspiration led us to the possibility of merging two chapters that had not always been cooperative.

When the Puget Sound Chapter president approached the Mt. Rainier Chapter president for mentoring and guidance, they quickly realized that their chapters faced similar challenges. The chapters began holding joint monthly meetings, and the board members realized that a formal merger would result in a stronger and more vital group.

Over the next six months, we learned about each other's strategies, traditions and values. Consolidating our groups has allowed us to branch out in new and diverse ways to connect with our community.

Our goal is to create a "critical care community" in Seattle and Tacoma and to be one of the safest places in the world to be a critically ill patient. Our chapters are committed to providing CCRN/PCCN reviews to support the area through certification education, and currently we have nine centers that are committed to take the Beacon journey with us!

Our chapters took this year's theme to heart and lived it as we evaluated our future. We took a good look at what each chapter was contributing to our local area, who was contributing and how it could be done better with less duplication. We have increased our educational offerings, enlarged our participation in the community and expanded our outreach to new members. The drive to create a new vision of our chapters has brought us to where we are now, with a strong, unified, energized and merged chapter.
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Publication:AACN News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2008
Previous Article:2007 Sharon Connor excellence in chapter leadership development award.
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