Candidates Q&A

Candidates running in the 2019 election have answered questions about their vision for the perioperative profession and their ideas for supporting AORN’s future. The questions and answers are posted below.

President-elect

  • Many of our members, as nursing leaders, try to enforce and implement AORN best practices and guidelines in their organizations. Yet, they experience rebuttal and push back from physicians. Without physician acceptance and support, it can be very difficult for them to implement the guidelines and/or hold their staff accountable. What will you do, as President-elect of AORN, to gain the respect of our physician colleagues, and their respective organizations, so that AORN guidelines are looked upon as an authority in perioperative nursing practice as opposed to “nursing” guidelines that have very little foundational merit?

    James (Jay) W. Bowers, BSN, RN, CNOR


    Building practice consensus among varied scientific disciplines is an identified challenge. Transformational nursing leaders can be most influential by supporting the professional organization and our colleagues providing direct patient care. Evidence-based practice should not be a physician versus nursing issue. One of the best ways to execute a collaborative agreement to produce quality patient outcomes is to promote the strength of the evidence regardless of its origin. Medicine and Nursing are robust professions. Both disciplines utilize new research to foster a safe patient care environment. In Nursing there are times that emerging research findings are published before a guideline is up for review. We need to be responsive and adaptive to change as research becomes available. With new research, we need to visibly endorse the need for change and look for opportunities for futuristic interdisciplinary research to partner Medicine and Nursing expertise. Through this partnership, we share stakeholders, the quest for new knowledge, and the value of diverse perspectives. Most importantly, we engage methodologies to forge collaborative practice for our direct care providers. You have my commitment as President-Elect, I will promote collaboration that promotes patient safety and unifies the interdisciplinary healthcare team for the both AORN and the consumer.

    Jane Flowers, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, CRCST


    Gaining the respect of our physician colleagues starts with educating our members as to how our Guidelines are developed. Our members need to be able to speak with confidence when discussing and implementing our Guidelines with physician colleagues. AORN’s Guidelines are developed utilizing a multi-disciplinary team including physicians. Over the past several years our Guidelines have been rated using a five-tiered system. In 2019, this platform is being revised implementing a three-tiered platform to improve quality and user experience. AORN Guidelines will be processed through the ECRI Trust to validate them further. This improvement rates the strength of the recommendation not just rating the evidence. I would encourage the Guidelines Advisory Board to collaborate with known subject matter experts when developing the Guidelines, followed by a public commenting period. Included with each Guideline is a bibliography which provides all of the supporting data resources for the subject matter. Educating members of the process and research that goes into developing AORN’s Guidelines will enhance their confidence that our Guidelines are current, accurate, and worthy of implementation. Education will provide nursing leaders and members the tools to implement and articulate the message and strength of the Guidelines with our colleagues.

    David A. Wyatt, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNOR


    Just like taking excellent perioperative care of a single patient takes a strong team it takes a strong interdisciplinary leadership team to provide an environment that supports evidence based guidelines. It is not just a nursing leadership responsibility or a physician acceptance issue, it is a fundamental responsibility of the interdisciplinary leadership team in the perioperative setting to understand, support, implement and monitor the established best practices for the perioperative practice setting. As President-Elect, I will work with the board and AORN CEO to identify those areas of perioperative practice that produce these interdisciplinary conflicts. As with all conflicts it is wise to find common ground. Our common ground is rooted in two fundamental beliefs: putting patients at the center of our efforts and establishing and refining practice based on evidence. Within the past 10 years AORN has made tremendous progress in strengthening the evidence around our guidelines, this has had a significant impact on their credibility. This work must be prioritized and never cease. Using strong evidence to continuously refining our guidelines, along with partnering with other associations such as the ACS and ASA on their implementation is the key to a collaborative approach regarding perioperative practice guidelines.

  • With the aging population of nurses in the work force and our Association, what three key components would you implement to retain and engage our newer members?

    James (Jay) W. Bowers, BSN, RN, CNOR


    The aging population of nurses in the work force and AORN creates the significant challenge of how to attract all generations to meet patient care need. I recently read an article that states that time should not be solely spent on trying to attract the younger generation, but rather on retaining the current members. The author’s theory is that the younger nurses will join AORN once they gain experience. Strategy one is the continued provision of AORN professional benefits to new nurses. Strategy two is to focus on members leaving AORN. Seasoned mentors are an invaluable and should be managed as a scarce resource. Creating forums for experienced nurses to discuss what keeps them engaged in AORN and working could be impactful! The third strategy is one that is supported by emerging research related to training new hires. The partnering of a new nurse with a seasoned wisdom worker to carry one patient care assignment supports the movement of a novice nurse towards mastery allowing the mentor to showcase critical thinking skills acquired over many decades of care. When new nurses are supported, their quest for continued learning will lead them to professional organizations such as AORN through supportive memberships.

    Jane Flowers, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, CRCST


    Key components to retain and engage our newer members are inclusion, opportunities for career development and enhancing our digital technology. These strategies would be effective to engage and retain our newer members, but also for our long-term members’ satisfaction.

    Our members regardless of their longevity want to feel valued, respected and included. I would enhance opportunities for communication and mentorship between the generations. This would provide a voice for everyone which will strengthen AORN. Career development opportunities come through involvement with chapter and national leadership, committee work, education, writing, speaking, and volunteering. These activities strengthen members’ professional portfolios. Recognizing our members for a job well done is essential to their development and satisfaction. Trust is developed through transparent, open communication. Finally, AORN has to continue enhancing our web platform to become more robust and simple to use by all members. Ease of use and the ability to locate information is critical to our success. Utilizing our computer savvy members as project experts showcase their value to AORN and will improve our member and non-member experiences to our website and digital platforms. Combining these three strategies will retain and engage our membership improving trust and value for all.

    David A. Wyatt, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNOR


    Understanding what is important to our members, new and not so new, is the highest priority for the President-Elect of AORN. Retention and engagement of our new members requires meaningful connection. Three components to meaningful connection are; customized access, member voice and communication about vision. As President-Elect I would focus on how to connect newer members to AORN more actively. Historically, we have taken a passive approach to engagement, waiting for the member to actively reach out to seek opportunities to engage. As our society has changed to become used to more immediate access to customized information, AORN must be more active in directly connecting to members on customized topics rather than only on general communications. I believe that efficiently customizing content to our members will improve their engagement and retention. Customized access along with specific opportunities for them to express their voice in the direction and work of the association are vital. As members express their voice, the effect on the strategic work and direction of AORN should be evident. As President-Elect I will work to create simpler methods for members to speak to the vision of AORN and communicate how members have impacted the work of the association.

  • What personal qualities and skills do you possess that set you apart as a visionary and global thinker for our Association?

    James (Jay) W. Bowers, BSN, RN, CNOR


    What do the four words Communication, Quality, Innovation, and Collaboration have in common? These descriptive words reflect the core values of its Board of Directors. I am proud to be one of the Board of Director’s members showcasing these values as a national leader charting the path for excellence in perioperative nursing care. As a past AORN Co-Chair of the Task Force for Transition into Practice, I was acknowledged as a national leader by my peers when asked to run for the Board of Directors. Being elected and having the opportunity to serve on the AORN’s Board of Directors over the last four years, I have gained enhanced visionary and global thinking skills. My love of perioperative nursing is contagious when teaching nursing and medical students. As a practicing clinician, I have the opportunity to share my clinical competency with new staff nurses by providing scrub and circulating patient services. I am proud to take elements of AORN to the international patients I serve on volunteer missionary trips. I know without a doubt that I practice perioperative nursing showcasing AORN standards globally across the world. As President-Elect, I will be continue to be engaged and committed to Service Excellence!

    Jane Flowers, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, CRCST


    To be a visionary and global thinker, one has to know and respect the history of AORN before we can move forward. Versed in our history and what makes AORN work successfully, I have served AORN in leadership roles at the chapter and national levels. I am knowledgeable regarding global perioperative trends which I will incorporate into our business and practice. Understanding the issues allows me to effectively communicate with perioperative nurses who are members and to address the needs of the non-member perioperative nurses, surgeons, and industry representatives. Communication needs to be transparent, to ensure that trust is established and maintained. Focused on being detail-oriented, I follow through on commitments, issues, and projects. Recognition of our members, staff, and colleagues for their accomplishments is one of my priorities. My strengths are that I am analytical and efficient in processing information and am not afraid to make tough decisions. Our members, AORN’s mission and vision, are at the heart of all my decisions. Consequently, I am considered to be the voice of AORN’s membership. I have the passion, knowledge, skills, and vision to take AORN and perioperative nursing globally into the future.

    David A. Wyatt, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNOR


    I have served as an executive nursing leader for almost 20 years, in hospitals and boardrooms. In these roles I have learned the value of relationship building to drive performance for individuals as well as organizations. As healthcare has become more complex, so has leadership. I have learned the skill of setting vision and strategy through working together with a diverse team. Ensuring that all voices and perspectives are heard when developing strategy or decision making for an organization is vital. As a leader, I seek out opinions and ideas that are different from mine to ensure that all options are considered. When the stakes are high it is extremely important to make decisions and guide vision with a diversity of ideas. When this is the case and decisions are collaboratively made success is more certain. Development of strong networks and relationships is vital to leading in any organization. This is true for AORN as well - our leaders must exhibit the ability to foster innovation and diversity. As President-Elect, I will utilize my relationship building skills and innovative problem solving skills to guide a vision and strategy for the future of AORN.

Treasurer

  • Please describe two skills you possess that will be beneficial to your role as treasurer of AORN? Be specific.

    Vangie Dennis, BSN, RN, CNOR, CMLSO


    As your treasurer, business, behavioral and technical skills are the crucial areas relevant to serving effectively. Understanding the business of our professional practice and AORN is vital. Utilizing behavioral skills will allow me the ability to utilize my knowledge, experience and engage stakeholders to meet the organization’s financial objectives. My technical skills provide the knowledge and capability to apply the financial specialisms to shape and enhance our organization's strategy and business growth.

    The Treasurer is a pivotal position within the organization to add value and detailed understanding of the business and the implications of internal and external affairs of our association. As an Executive Director for Perioperative Services over two large hospitals, I believe I am equipped with these qualities to serve as AORN Treasurer.

    Dawn Myers Yost, MSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM


    First, I have been the business manager for perioperative services at West Virginia University Hospitals for the last eleven years. I work with a personnel budget of over $26 million and over $66 million in supply cost. Each month I work to resolve the variances that occur and present justification of their shortfall or overage and present in detail.

    Second my strengths identified by through the Don Clifton Strength finder include being a learner, developer, achiever, taking responsibility and being analytical. All of these strengths will assist me to serve as your treasurer. I will learn the processes, achieve mastery of the budget knowledge, develop a process to review each month’s budget information analytically, and take responsibility as if the budget were my own.

    Karen Y. White-Edwards, MBA, BSN, RN, CNOR


    The role of treasure is tailored to my competency which is aligned with my MBA in Healthcare management knowledge base. My relationship management skills help me to perform candidly with integrity, trustworthiness and intentionality. Leveraging relationships in everyday life, business, and in the working environment strengthens my leadership base. The second skill, persuasive influence, propels me to be an effective team member. Using my strong decision-making skills has resulted in staff retention, increased surgical volume and revenue for Perioperative Services. I have used persuasive influence, supported by data and detailed numbers to make the recommendation for replacement of a contracted management service with a permanent management team. This strategy resulted in a $150,000.00 annual savings.

  • Though the Treasurer of AORN does not have full control over the financial decisions of the organization, they do have input into the use of funds that would support the best interest of our membership. What two key components of fund use would you support as Treasurer?

    Vangie Dennis, BSN, RN, CNOR, CMLSO


    Allocations of resources and funds are critical to the sustainability of the organization. As treasurer, it is imperative that AORN has systems in place that will ensure long-term financial strength and viability. My primary focus will be to educate our members about the many benefits of their membership and to market AORN membership to non-member registered nurses and colleagues. Resources through different communication channels such as OR Nurse Link and connecting chapters globally enhances engagement within the organization based on practices and preferences. Investing in a personalized approach to member choices shows that AORN is vested in them as individuals. When our members know that AORN is interested in building connecting relationships, they will feel valued, thus sustaining the financial strength of our organization.

    Dawn Myers Yost, MSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM


    My first key component that I would support is to entertain any ideas that bring value added benefits to the membership. These benefits can be in the way of contact hours, grants to chapters, contests for free conference registrations and many others.

    In addition, other key components that I would support are ways for AORN to remain the premier perioperative organization is to continue to plan for diversification. I would be open-minded to learning of additional opportunities for diversifications similar to those we have had in aligning with Syntegrity, Pfiedler, and Outpatient Magazine.

    Karen Y. White-Edwards, MBA, BSN, RN, CNOR


    AORN members are our greatest asset. I support fund usage under membership. Focus on recruitment, reactivation, retention, and recognition. Organizations recognize their employees for the number of years of services. Likewise, AORN, can recognize nurses for the number of years of membership at the twenty-five (silver member) and fifty (golden) plus year memberships. Silver and Gold color ribbons can be displayed on their badges during events. Pendants and paraphernalia, can be made for purchase. Another fund use is to strengthen our partnership with industries that support surgical services. Industry partners can participate in co-sponsoring a silver and golden luncheon for members. Industry partners can show their business history in a presentation as it relates to surgery and their partnership with AORN.

  • The challenges and changes in the healthcare industry have affected not just AORN but all healthcare organizations. What are your recommendations for navigating AORN through these challenging times?

    Vangie Dennis, BSN, RN, CNOR, CMLSO


    Strong relationships, clear communication, and a detailed process will enable the treasurer to identify risks and evaluation methodologies. The future of organizational sustainment requires skilled leadership, and we should expect to encounter a plethora of challenges including a decrease in hospitals support, decrease in membership and an increase in cost and services. The combination of these challenges could consume and affect the viability of AORN. A shared, collective approach to address the complex problems with diverse perspectives and expertise will be needed to build a collaborative environment of involvement of strategies, staying informed and implement a plan of action. The focus must remain on continuing to engage in research, increase relationships and delivery an organizational vision that meets the needs of the membership.

    Dawn Myers Yost, MSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM


    A top priority is to stay vigilant and engaged in the changing national and state political climate as they relate to the health care issues and topics. Being aware of the changing healthcare status of the states and national agendas will enable AORN and its members to have an active voice in healthcare matters as they arise. Another priority, as healthcare needs grow and change, AORN will look for more innovative methods to engage new perioperative nurse generations in membership activities while maintaining an active retired nurse membership involvement.

    Karen Y. White-Edwards, MBA, BSN, RN, CNOR


    My recommendations for AORN to navigate through these challenging times is to remain relevant in the world of changes in healthcare. Innovative technology and surgical growth are enormous challenges for surgical services and AORN. There are many facets to our organization that have made it successful and the signature voice for surgical nursing practice. Evidence based practice and AORN Guidelines for Perioperative Practice, continue to drive our practice. The consumer expects nothing less than knowledgeable nurses whose decisions making is based on good judgement, knowledge and experience. Another recommendation is to enhance our brand through marketing the role of perioperative nurses. AORN must continue to be the resource organization for members to expand their knowledge, skills, and capabilities that enhance the quality of perioperative nursing practice.

Board of Directors

  • As a Board member, you will work alongside of your friends, colleagues and peers, each of which may offer differing ideas and have differing personalities. Describe a situation in which you have had to manage conflict amongst your peers to allow your ideas (and theirs) to be heard.

    Nakeisha M. Archer, MBA, RN, NE-BC, CNOR, CSSM


    This situation has occurred often in my career. Conflict is inevitable within diverse and unique teams, I have learned to embrace it. My approach is to ensure effective communication focusing on listening objectively for understanding, and thinking thoroughly before articulating my thoughts. I work to build relationships to become familiar with the personalities, styles, and perspectives of my colleagues to maintain respect, build trust, and to create an enriching environment. The beauty of diverse teams is the gift of varying perspectives, this leads to amazing things that one person could not otherwise arrive to. It is very important to remain unified as a team when final decisions are made for our organization to continuing thriving.

    Vicki J. Barnett, MSN, RN, CNOR


    When situations occur requiring conflict management, my approach is to reach a consensus where the group members develop and agree to support a decision that’s in the best interest of the whole. Recently, a conflict occurred between a group of my peers related to standards interpretation. Having experience in the specific subject, I guided them in establishing communication ground rules and identifying our mutual goals. Then, I gathered evidence supporting possible alternatives for resolution and influenced them to remain open to acceptable options.

    Encouraging each person to express their point of view, facilitated a frame of reference for discussion and context for productive dialogue. The group successfully arrived at an acceptable resolution that was supported by all, even if not the favorite of each individual.

    Linda K. Connelly, PhD, MSH, ARNP, CNOR


    As the Chair of APG (Admissions, Progression and Graduation) Committee I must assess topics for discussion, allowing for all members’ varying perspectives to vet issues. The most common issue: students not academically successful. Some committee members review the issues at length formulating strong opinions and come with courses of actions, while other members feel they did not have time to get up to speed on the issue before the meeting. At the meeting I need to give all members time to offer their perspective. My facilitation: frame the issue positively, define the outcome for parties involved, share clear rules that all members recognize the diverse perspectives, approach discussions with the goal of learning rather than winning and review all sides of the issue before deciding.

    William (Bill) Duffy, MJ, RN, CNOR, FAAN


    My terms on the Board involved spirited discussions. Throughout these discussions I’ve kept relationships intact by employing advocacy principles I learned in Nursing and Law. My experiences taught me that finding common ground and compromise brings the best results. My approach:

    • Debate the idea not the person. Personal attacks raise barriers.
    • Show respect– you’ll hear me call colleagues by title
    • Listen to their idea – all ideas have merit; look for common ground
    • Embrace “coopetition.” Sometimes I cooperate with a colleague and sometimes I compete with them. Coalition’s change. It’s the nature of leadership. Don’t burn bridges.
    • “No crying in baseball”: advocate vigorously but then embrace your colleague and move to the next debate. It’s not about winning or losing an argument- it’s about improving AORN.

    Connie S. Garrett, MSN, RN-BC, CNL, CNOR


    As lead planner of a Rapid Improvement project, I coached the process for a CNL student. By providing collaborative experiences with stakeholders, I provided a briefing of various situations that could be encountered both negative and positive.

    Changing the process from pulling case cart items based on procedure verses surgeon preference, required team commitment for a resolution. When the team responded with negative comments; I redirected a better process would reduce workload. Redirecting and providing rationale for a final resolution proved to be rewarding at completion of the project. The project yielded a service wide change process for all surgical procedures which is currently sustained.

    Katherine A. Halverson-Carpenter, MBA, RN, CNOR


    I co-led a multi-disciplinary team in the design, construction and implementation of a hybrid Operating Room. Conflict occurred amongst the team members on operational issues, as surgical attire, briefing/ debriefings and how the OR would be shared amongst Cardiothoracic surgery, interventional cardiology, and vascular surgery. My approach was to poise the question “How do you want to best serve your patients using the hybrid OR?” to each team member. The responses were more congruent than divergent; through dialogue we established a unified vision and identified operational guiding principles. In developing the guiding principles, I led the team in exploring pros/cons and identifying unintended consequences of each principle. By developing consensus driven guiding principles, a framework guided future conflict resolution and each team member felt valued.

    Jeffrey R. Keane, BSN, RN, CNOR


    No OR is free of staff concerns about scheduling. Talk about emotion! Several years ago I was an RN member of the Time Committee. The purpose of the committee was to enable staff concerns and suggestions regarding scheduling to be discussed with leadership leading to change. I gathered concerns/ideas and voiced them. Staff knew their voices were heard. I learned essential skills which I will bring to the Board Room if elected. These skills include the value of effective listening; the ability to function as a representative of the staff members; how to engage in conversations in a manner that removes emotion and inserts objectivity; recognizing when to speak. I also learned the value of productive conversations especially those leading to consensus.

    Cheryl L. Langford, MSN, RN, CNOR


    Over the past year many policies have been reviewed in committee. Certain policies elicit more discussion and passion than others, such as surgical block times and utilization. As co-chair of the committee it is my role to allow all sides to be heard in a respectful manner. Different personalities, perspectives and views tend to make for good thought provoking discussions.

    Our block and utilization policy was amended, and is up for review again due to changes in our organization. I don’t anticipate that all service groups will achieve what they individually desire in the end, but am looking forward to discussions around what is best for our organization, the patients, staff, and the providers. This is teamwork at its best.

    Brenda G. Larkin, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CNS-CP, CNOR


    As a board member, we rely on the diversity of our members to express the opinions of our association membership. The saying goes, ‘Two heads are better than one’, is applicable to this situation. We need each other’s diverse opinions and ideas to stimulate more ideas, leading us to the best possible answer for a situation or decision. If it were not for our differences, we would not be able to create the future our association needs to thrive. I believe that the best way to be heard in the board room is to be respectful of the other members’ voices. Only in an atmosphere of respect can any voice be heard and thoughts combined for an optimum outcome.

    Mary C. Russell, MN, RN, FNP-BC, CNOR


    As President of the Oregon State Council our team comes together all year long to plan the annual meeting. There is always a give and take of ideas as well as mutual respect for differences. Working for our common goal of providing quality perioperative education to our members is the focus. As a leader in the group of perioperative nurses from many different areas and specialties, it is vital to use active listening and respect. I value my colleagues and work well to make the program a success. I am committed to our teamwork and believe it is how our business and association has thrived and brought in new volunteers from the Ambulatory and PACU settings. It has allowed us to problem-solve for our future.

  • In what ways can AORN attract new (and retain existing) members of each generation while staying true to the Association’s mission, vision, and values, yet be innovative and cutting edge?

    Nakeisha M. Archer, MBA, RN, NE-BC, CNOR, CSSM


    This is the million dollar question. The mission, vision, and values must be used as guiding principles in discussions with multi-generational members, and potential members to create a strategic plan. This strategic plan must include innovative ideas that increase the value of being an AORN member so that it is palpable. To ensure continued success, AORN must be on the cutting edge and remain open to innovative ideas that have yet to be heard and implemented. This innovation will come from arm in arm partnerships with existing and potential members that lead to cutting edge decisions in the boardroom. This growth, and innovative spirit will aid in the continuation of the strong legacy of Perioperative nursing and the safe care that we provide.

    Vicki J. Barnett, MSN, RN, CNOR


    Innovation will require multifaceted activities and strategies that embrace the growing, generationally diverse workforce. Achieving “safe surgery together” is more than a tag line – it’s an ideal way to promote working together and learning from each other.

    Ask today’s members for their opinions and adjust membership benefits to appeal to current and potential members. Keep existing members happy by engaging them personally and following up with them regularly on an individual basis to capture feedback and encourage their ongoing participation.

    If we increase the buzz about AORN’s value in all perioperative settings, and promote mutual learning and growth, it will generate inquiry and stimulate relevant and timely conversations. In turn, we energize individuals and chapters and increase membership by encouraging teamwork, respect and professionalism.

    Linda K. Connelly, PhD, MSH, ARNP, CNOR


    AORN, a rich melting pot of diverse nurses, in the ever-changing practice of perioperative nursing. That word ever-change can trigger discomfort, sadness and fear in our membership, however it is a word we must familiarize ourselves with in order to grow. We need to remember this isn’t the first divisive time for AORN, and not the last. Digital platforms, learning and changing every day are keys to attracting and retaining members of each generation. Change needs to happen, it is the progression of life, it allows us to see the past in a new light. So, take a step back, reevaluate our organization membership and embrace change in order to move forward and strengthen our organization in the process.

    William (Bill) Duffy, MJ, RN, CNOR, FAAN


    I’m limited to 125 word answer that’ll just scratch the surface of my thoughts.

    • Embrace electronic learning system housed at Headquarters
      • Chapters can upload meetings; download education.
      • Education program database submitted by members/Expo programs.
      • Video conferencing tools
      • Chapters still meet locally yet stay connected with more members who can’t attend meeting.
    • Reinvest member involvement and leadership on committees
      • Will increase engagement in ownership (profession/association)
      • Members (not staff) present findings to the House
      • Engage members to represent AORN nursing/industry meetings and taskforces
      • Assists in leadership development
    • Create an AORN 2030 initiative
      • Comprised of next generation nurses
      • Nominated by members based on passion and potential
      • Ten year mission to envision and design association for the future

    Connie S. Garrett, MSN, RN-BC, CNL, CNOR


    Generational gaps, values, and needs should be considered and understood to recruit and retain members. Whether a “Boomer” or ”Millennial” the common theme is “Value verses ROI.” No organization can survive without addressing membership variances. Each generation’s needs vary according to “the latest gadgets” available during their reign. Understanding member demand for participation are key to recruitment and retention. Drilling down to what is valued by targeting audience increases ROI for both the organization and the members, a win-win situation.

    Value may be defined by practice members when it solves a specific challenge or time constraint they have been struggling with as an OR nurse. Leaders may be challenged with compliance changes in standards of practice.

    Katherine A. Halverson-Carpenter, MBA, RN, CNOR


    AORN’s mission, vision and values has long been recognized in the healthcare community for patient safety, practice guidelines, and healthcare policy, which is a source of pride for many AORN members. Yet, AORN must attract new members and retain multigenerational members by remaining relevant to our members’ diverse areas of perioperative practice and professional development. AORN’s investment in multiple modalities for delivering educational content and social networking must keep pace with advances in communication technology. AORN’s best source for innovative ideas, products and services is engaging the members through social media, chapters, task forces, etc. Continual environmental scanning of the profession and health care is a must to provide insights to new trends, technological developments, and regulatory and health care policy changes.

    Jeffrey R. Keane, BSN, RN, CNOR


    As an association it’s important that we provide for members of all ages. AORN needs to remain financially responsible to provide the tools necessary to keep patients safe in the operating room. These tools include the Guideline Essentials courses, Management of Surgical Smoke Tool Kit, online continuing education opportunities and the Nurse Executive Leadership Seminar. Hospitals are not able to provide the educational resources they once were able to give to nurses. As a board we need to ensure the resources are available for members to provide safe patient care at the bedside.

    Cheryl L. Langford, MSN, RN, CNOR


    AORN can retain members by continuing to listen to the current members of all generations. Ask them “why” they continue to practice as perioperative professionals and what is important to them? Support chapters and state councils.

    To attract new we need to keep abreast of current communication methods and offer more than one option as we gain more members from across the world. Network with colleagues in other professional organizations and coordinate resources when reasonable.

    For innovation and cutting edge we need to foster nurse led ideas and innovations and continue to partner with our industry leaders. Keeping safety of the patient and members at the forefront. Lead by example. Attend conferences and workshops. Encourage fellow nurses to get involved in AORN.

    Brenda G. Larkin, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CNS-CP, CNOR


    Our founding leaders saw the need for perioperative nurses to have a platform in which they could learn from each other and become stronger advocates for the patients they served. This has not changed. However, communication to the ~120,000 perioperative nurses that currently do not belong, must. We must place new tools into the hands of the local chapters to promote membership and retain those who may drift away. We must highlight the career growth and patient advocacy activities that we currently have. Our association must actively reach out to the ambulatory segment and new–to-profession nurses in communication styles that they prefer, in order to showcase our relevance today. Each member must tell their own AORN story, so others will see benefit and join.

    Mary C. Russell, MN, RN, FNP-BC, CNOR


    We first need to listen to the members, all members to continue to evolve our business plan for the future. The electronic platform must perform at a high level and continue to evolve to bring AORN to the members.

    Education must be done in ways to be available to our younger generation in a way for them to network as well as continue to maintain an in person opportunity to network and gain new knowledge. Improve access to educational programming and update the coversheet with easy to find programs, advice and networking tabs. Include our Ambulatory, Invasive procedure, PACU and all perioperative colleagues with opportunities in the organization. It has been extremely valuable at the state level and it will enrich our entire organization.

  • What do you see as the top two biggest challenges and opportunities for our Association?

    Nakeisha M. Archer, MBA, RN, NE-BC, CNOR, CSSM


    The two biggest challenges of our association are membership stability and member engagement. Many professional associations have experienced declining membership over many years, including AORN. The biggest opportunity is to expand the great work already in flight, providing all generations, and specialties of Perioperative nurses tools to carry on the mission of AORN. Aligning strategies to support and engage a highly intelligent, multi-generational workforce of nurses is paramount. It is imperative to promote patient safety, optimal outcomes, while providing professional development opportunities to all members. We must reach the masses in a way that speaks to them through fresh new solutions, tactics, strategies, and ideas. We have the assets to take us there, our most important asset, our extraordinary members.

    Vicki J. Barnett, MSN, RN, CNOR


    These are challenging times for professional associations throughout the country and AORN is no exception. Among the greatest trials are preventing membership decline and remaining technologically advanced while maintaining fiscal accountability.

    Membership continues to decline despite AORN’s efforts. Since 2014 more than 50 recruitment and retention campaigns slowed the impact but didn’t change the downward trend. Strategies are ongoing and will continue to be a major effort in 2019 with an emphasis on growth and engagement of members across generations and on retaining and attracting new members.

    Digital resources provide member value by delivering access to the clinical information nurses need to provide the safe surgery. During 2019 membership experiences will improve by the development of an app for members and by upgrading association software.

    Linda K. Connelly, PhD, MSH, ARNP, CNOR


    Challenges/opportunities for AORN exist in an environment characterized by a state of constant change and fluidity. Over the past few decades, due to social and technological changes, we have come to see information in a different light. Thanks to the Internet, information is now widely available in multiple formats, and our members expect access to it for free anytime and anywhere. At the same time, the concept of membership and belonging has taken a strong social and relational direction. Such expectations require AORN to examine how we are playing out our educational role, as well as the nature of our membership model. We must do more than deliver valuable information instead we must focus on designing subscription models that create experiential value in ever interaction.

    William (Bill) Duffy, MJ, RN, CNOR, FAAN


    Challenges: we’re moving from a member driven association to a customer driven business that’s decreasing engagement and affecting the health of our grassroots organizations. Membership thrived when we owned decisions that shaped practice. A sense of pride existed in being selected as delegate and debating our standards on the House floor. Members engaged at home because they shaped the future nationally.

    Great opportunities lie in rekindling ownership. Strengthened membership bonds and strong leaders will result if we reembrace member talent and involvement in deciding issues affecting practice. Additionally, investing in a technological infrastructure designed to help grassroots organizations and individual members connect and thrive. This initiative will provide flexibility in supporting our current models of engagement while preparing for the transition to the digital future.

    Connie S. Garrett, MSN, RN-BC, CNL, CNOR


    As the generational gaps broaden; value of membership is on the line. Whether the next generation considers attending a conference directly or through social media will be determined. Tough decisions letting go of non-producing products/venues; and supporting values that members outline to be most important. New membership models may be key to recruitment such as monthly or quarterly pay pal option verses annual. Potentially a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum AORN membership package.

    Recruitment of new OR program graduate nurses poses its challenges and a great opportunity for AORN to partner and initiate surgical pathways. Current Inpatient surgical pathways reflect improving patient outcomes while standardizing and reducing waste. A recipe for success includes standardization, improves patient outcomes, waste prevention, variance reduction, and competitive pricing.

    Katherine A. Halverson-Carpenter, MBA, RN, CNOR


    One challenge/opportunity for the Association relates to AORN’s strategic initiatives. What is the appropriate balance between sustaining incremental innovations with a disruptive innovative strategy? AORN has a strong reputation as a pro-active nursing organization. A potential threat to the Association is disruptive innovation by an unforeseen entity targeting our key stakeholders and membership.

    A second challenge/opportunity is positioning AORN for the “on-demand” member. On-demand consumerism applies to our membership, who want instant gratification through mobile devices and apps. There is an opportunity to create more services and products, use more “push” than “pull” technology, and create more micro sound bites targeting member specialty interests. AORN member preferences and expectations are changing in the on-demand economy, thus an opportunity to create an unparalleled experience for members.

    Jeffrey R. Keane, BSN, RN, CNOR


    The two biggest challenges we face as an organization is the loss of intellectual capital of our members through retirement or failure to retain novice nurses. Our most seasoned nurses have been practicing for many years and continue to support so many of us and our association. Also, we need to avoid falling into the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset. As an Association we need to support our nurses in promoting evidence based practice. Healthcare is an ever changing environment and we need to support our work through EBP. We have many nurses that are passionate about the work they do at the bedside in the operating room. It’s important to invoke this passion into a vision that leads AORN through the future.

    Cheryl L. Langford, MSN, RN, CNOR


    One challenge and opportunity is retaining & attaining membership and chapter involvement. We need to ensure that AORN continues to reach out and assist members, and build and support chapters as necessary. What might work for one area of the country might not work quite the same elsewhere.

    A second challenge, yet an opportunity is technology in the perioperative spaces. Whether this has to do with surgical instruments, equipment, sterile supplies, positioning devices, documentation, monitoring devices, or sterilization methods, as perioperative nurses we must always be open to unending education and learning opportunities. Embrace the new, read the AORN journal, utilize the instruction manual, attend simulations. AORN offers and supports numerous educational opportunities throughout the year. Maximize your membership benefits!

    Brenda G. Larkin, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CNS-CP, CNOR


    One of the biggest challenges is to make membership a priority for all Perioperative Registered Nurses. There is no critical mass in membership numbers per se, but the larger number of nurses represented, equates with an increase of power the association has. Larger number of engaged nurses will assist us in reaching our goals of one RN Circulator for every patient and help build our future perioperative environment. Issues like surgical smoke elimination, patient safety and incivility will be more easily addressed. The second biggest opportunity is to continue to being seen as the premier source of all things perioperative. Our guidelines and educational products must evolve with the surgical specialty ensuring all patients receive the best in evidence-based care no matter the technology used.

    Mary C. Russell, MN, RN, FNP-BC, CNOR


    Access for all members in all parts of the country, rural as well as urban. Provide on-line programs, chat rooms and quick response to problems. Consider not only urban instructions but rural facilities membership with a sliding scale for hospitals to have an instructional membership.

    Look for ways to decrease cost of the annual meeting to allow more members to access this resource. Many members are paying their own way and it is difficult to have chapters and individuals pay their own way to attend. Consider discounts for facilities that have facility membership to help send their employees at a reduced cost. Both of these will help increase membership and attendance. Both will be a resource to help retain and recruit new members.

Nominating Committee

  • This year the Nominating Committee was committed to thinking outside the box and removing potential "politics" from the ballot selection process, resulting in one of the largest, most diverse ballots our members have seen in some time. What will you do as a Nominating Committee member to bring fresh ideas to the election process and engage our members in the voting process?

    Jane Babela, MSN, RN, CNOR


    As an active member attending many AORN annual conferences, I have had the opportunity to speak with members from diverse perioperative backgrounds from across the country. As a member of your Nominating Committee, I will serve as a conduit between members and the Committee, presenting the membership’s perspective when selecting potential leaders. I believe listening, with an open mind, to members’ viewpoints on what characteristics they value in a leader is vital.

    In addition, I will network with former AORN leaders. They know what worked, and did not work, for AORN and what skillsets are required to consider a leadership journey with AORN. As the conduit, all information gleaned will be shared with committee members and new ideas blossom to encourage member voting.

    Sarah Bosserman, MSN, RN, CNOR


    In order to improve the election process, I believe that we need to better understand the current barriers facing the membership, by conducting surveys and one-on-one interviews, as well as reflecting on our own past experiences. The information collected from our AORN membership and self-reflection could then be utilized to develop creative and easy solutions to increase the engagement in the voting process. Some simple solutions may be to incentivize our AORN chapters to open voting polls during their meetings; assist the membership in understanding how to vote, through videos and tip sheets; and by making personal calls to the membership encouraging them to vote. Most importantly, as a Nominating Committee member, I believe it is my duty to show enthusiasm in the voting process.

    Laura A. Gayton, MHCA, BSN, CNOR, CSSM


    As a member of the Nominating Committee, I will seek out fresh ideas to the election process by starting at the chapter level. Thinking outside the box, to engage chapters, to publish its voting history along with its members voting history, NOT who they voted for, and then compare to some of their closest chapters. Make it more competitive, like a voting wager, like what chapter could have the most amounts of members vote. As a Nominating Committee member, I would follow that up with a phone call thanking chapters for their vote; this would ease any negative backlash of voting. The Nominating Committee could use social media-by putting an, I VOTED button, whereas members could see who voted, NOT who they voted for.

    Cynthia L. Kildgore, MSHA, BSN, RN, CNOR


    Knowing that it takes all types to bring forward and into fruition the strategic plan for an organization as large as AORN I would want to encourage that the nominating committee not only vets the willingness to serve applications but looks out and into the chapter leaders across our organization and mentor those who are revitalizing and inspiring their chapters. There are leaders out there who can bring tremendous input into our organization. Sometimes those who have the most to give need to be encouraged to step up to the larger platform of leadership.

    Barbara L. Nalley, MSN, RN, ANP-C, NP-C, CNOR


    As a member of the NC I believe that reaching out to the membership for input is essential. The membership has opinions and ideas to be heard. Listening to members share their ideas we as an organization may be able to garner a greater response as to what the members want to see in future changes in candidates for the ballot. With member input we can achieve a ballot of future leaders that will be able to partner, support and engage not only the members but our industry partners. We have many untapped potential leaders that need encouragement to serve our organization. True to the theme this year listening and encouraging members will allow us to harmonize the future of the organization.

    Shirley Pollard Ramsey, DNP, FNP-BC


    Engaging our membership is paramount to the voting process, therefore I would like to hold the “in office” leadership responsible for the “campaign” of each candidate thus ensuring that the membership really has an opportunity to know the candidates. The current leadership would have a presentation focusing on each candidate on the AORN web page and Facebook each day throughout Congress. This would be a short infomercial on each candidate. The infomercial could include a variety of topics starting with where the candidates work and how they really spend their days. Next, could be an infomercial highlighting the candidates and how they spend their free time. Questions could be submitted daily for discussion and presented by each candidate. Further, I would institute a “current leadership” (Candidate exceeded word limit).

    David L. Taylor, MSN, RN, CNOR


    As a Nominating Committee member I will remain proactive, keeping the end in mind to inspire our membership to the polls. It will be important to create a grass roots effort that incorporates our chapters stationed across the country. Engaging with our chapters helps national engage with its members. Each chapter could be provided with a packet that includes posters, post cards and other marketing material with the candidate’s information to distribute in all of the operating rooms throughout their cities. When the membership is engaged in a different way they become aware of the importance of voting for candidates they believe will support them in their profession.

  • What do you believe is the most important responsibility of serving on the Nominating Committee?

    Jane Babela, MSN, RN, CNOR


    Preparing a diverse ballot of qualified candidates and supporting these candidates throughout the election process are the most important responsibilities of serving on the Nominating Committee. One way to achieve such an endeavor is networking with AORN members. They can solicit qualified members to nominate for the ballot because they know firsthand each colleague’s experience and knowledge of AORN’s mission, vision, and core values. Having input from the members and knowing more about each of the candidates, the committee is better prepared to support the candidates throughout the election process. After carefully reviewing the application of each candidate, the ballot is prepared and presented to the members for consideration. Encouraging member involvement in nominating process should result in more potential candidates and more members voting.

    Sarah Bosserman, MSN, RN, CNOR


    I have a passion for and believe in upholding the values of AORN and instilling the spirit, standards, and practice of our perioperative members. In order to continue this desire for excellence, I believe the most important responsibility of serving on the Nominating Committee is to empower our fellow perioperative members to explore and embrace new leadership and professional development opportunities. Whether the endeavor is great or small, we need to offer the resources and encouragement to others.

    Laura A. Gayton, MHCA, BSN, CNOR, CSSM


    The most important responsibility in serving on the Nominating Committee is to build a ballot collaboratively as a committee to endeavor a balanced slate of candidates. The ballot needs to be diverse and inclusive and represent the “best” of AORN members. Robust and intentional collaboration by the members of the Nominating Committee will ensure this happens. In this way, the AORN membership will have ample and accurate information on each candidate, so that they can feel confident and well educated when making their decision when it is time to cast their ballot.

    Cynthia L. Kildgore, MSHA, BSN, RN, CNOR


    I believe that the greatest responsibility of the Nominating Committee is to create a ballot of candidates who are committed to the vision and mission of AORN. Candidates that are fully invested in their core beliefs that our patients are our number one priority. The decisions and recommendations that come from the leadership of AORN should be from trusted, well researched, evidence-based sources. Those who are placed onto the ballet should all be of the caliber that no one should doubt their validity. That is an extreme responsibility and one that as a member of the Nominating Committee I would take seriously.

    Barbara L. Nalley, MSN, RN, ANP-C, NP-C, CNOR


    There are many responsibilities for the NC but the most important is to be able to mentor members so that you can encourage promote and identify those who have the leadership qualities that will promote and engage the membership. As a mentor you must grow and nurture those who desire a leadership path be it within their own organizations or within AORN. Members need to be encouraged to participate in building leadership skills, they need guidance in identifying opportunities for growth. They need support once they reach their goals. Members need to understand that they can and will be the future leaders. It is with a strong program that fosters mentoring we as an organization will continue to have great leadership moving forward.

    Shirley Pollard Ramsey, DNP, FNP-BC


    The most important responsibility of serving on the Nominating Committee is to recognize that the leaders we choose today will have a tremendous impact on the future and health of AORN as a whole. Next, the hard work begins in finding, sustaining, and replacing the present day leaders of AORN. The committee must engage the members of AORN in meaningful work for the organization, as this is a critical part of the strategy to guarantee that there are knowledgeable and committed people in the membership for the top leadership positions.

    Further, succession planning requires foresight, to ensure the right person is in the right leadership position at the right time.

    Finally, it is the duty of the Nominating Committee members to ensure that we place (Candidate exceeded word limit).

    David L. Taylor, MSN, RN, CNOR


    I do not believe there is a single most important responsibility when serving in such an important capacity. I think it will be important for all the nominees who will serve to know themselves. When you know yourself, you gain insights into your talents and values as well as one’s limitations which allow those serving our membership to set realistic goals. Those serving on the nominating committee will need to paint a picture for AORN’s members that is so compelling it inspires them into action. We must enhance the organizations core commitments which will strengthen our identity while investing in partnerships that reinforce our member’s talents creating a pipeline of qualified candidates for future leadership roles. The nominating committee must mobilize a diverse group of (Candidate exceeded word limit).

  • Many times, while working in a group setting, a decision must be made in the best interest of the group at large, but may not be the decision you wanted or felt is best. Describe a time when a decision you were in favor of was in the minority of the group and how you embraced the decision.

    Jane Babela, MSN, RN, CNOR


    A manager’s position opened in the OR department. The name of the new manager was announced in our managers’ meeting. Although being mentored to become a manager, I personally felt she needed more experience to be successful. During the meeting, I expressed my concerns. Many of the other managers, in the meeting, did not share my concerns. After much discussion, she was voted as the new manager. Even though I did not agree, it was my responsibility to support and mentor this new leader. I gave her my support and told her I was always there for her should she need me for anything. Showing a unified front whenever you are on a leadership team is mandatory to keep the environment positive and engaged.

    Sarah Bosserman, MSN, RN, CNOR


    As a way to improve the patient experience of our growing pediatric population, electric cars were purchased for patients to drive themselves back to the surgical rooms, in lieu of requiring a pharmacologic anxiolytic. I was a supporter of this idea, but I recommended that staff education be performed and standard work be created, for patient and staff safety first. Unfortunately, the group did not agree and began using the cars without any formal structure or education in place. I began eliciting the concerns and recommendations of staff and brought forth their concerns and my own to a group of leaders and peers. I began working with our leadership team to create patient and staff safety focused standard work, and to educate our perioperative staff.

    Laura A. Gayton, MHCA, BSN, CNOR, CSSM


    As a perioperative services director, I was in the situation of interviewing multiple candidates for a position. Though I favored a different candidate, than administration, I went along with the decision of administration to hire this candidate with a different skill set. I realized I needed to embrace the decision, because there were other strategic initiatives involved in hiring this candidate that I did not see at the time and brought value to the organization as a whole. I am always for doing what is best together as a group and working together collectively and getting a job done. I did not agree with the decision; however, it motivated the entire group and it helped us to attain a different level of care.

    Cynthia L. Kildgore, MSHA, BSN, RN, CNOR


    Recently we completed a LEAN event concerning our first case on time starts. In the event a CRNA suggested that we completely change the workflow of the RN circulator. My first instinct was NO!! I challenged the suggestion. As we continued the discussion I listened, asked questions, listened some more and soon realized that there was a strong possibility that I may have been incorrect (I know!) in my first instinctual gut check. We worked together to ensure that our first pilot would be as detailed as possible (who wants to fail publicly?) and we now have embraced 100% of our ORs with the new workflow and have increased our FCOTS by over 30%.

    Barbara L. Nalley, MSN, RN, ANP-C, NP-C, CNOR


    I am passionate about nurses attending EXPO. Leadership advised that funding wasn’t available for Expo. I was disappointed but supported the decision. I was however able to encourage nurses to find assistance through the AORN Foundation which granted funding for them to attend EXPO supporting their practice. Another instance involved the holiday call schedule. After a heated team discussion, it was decided that call would no longer be assigned utilizing seniority but go to a lottery rotation. While this was not my choice, I supported the team’s decision and adapted this change into practice. Leadership means supporting decisions that we don’t wholeheartedly agree with. It requires the ability to find a greater purpose, a commitment to a team or objective that supersedes the decision itself.

    Shirley Pollard Ramsey, DNP, FNP-BC


    The reality of being part of a team means that sometimes we will disagree with a group decision. I serve as a board member and hiring committee member for a local association. Through this community service, I disagreed with the final decision for the hiring of a key employee. However, I embraced the decision and conceded by first determining the committee made the decision based on sound reasoning and good faith. I was able to maintain a respectful relationship with the employee and the board and continued to work together for the mission of the organization. Finally, it is important to remember that no decisions are ever “FINAL.” It is always possible to reconsider, modify or resolve decisions well after they have been made.

    David L. Taylor, MSN, RN, CNOR


    I have worked in surgical services for more than 30 years, serving in a variety of capacities; staff nurse, educator, service line leader, charge nurse, leader to name a few. In that time I have been in far too many meetings. In my role as a consultant I travel the country and work with healthcare organizations across the country. Each of those organization has very different cultures and the ideas I present, even if they are national benchmarked standards are not always accepted or received with positive feedback. I never worry if my ideas or decisions I am willing to support are in the minority or the majority. I try very hard to live by Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and believe (Candidate exceeded word limit).