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AORN Blog - The Periop Life

How to Become a Candidate for AORN National Office

Ballot Box
March 10, 2021

Are you inspired to influence the perioperative nursing profession on a national level?  Can you demonstrate leadership experience in your facility, member chapter, or state council? Have you successfully led your colleagues to perform at their highest level or contributed to new policies or procedures in your workplace?

Laura Gayton Laura Gayton, MHCA, BSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you may want to consider becoming a candidate for national office where you’ll serve the entire perioperative nursing community as you shape and recommend new policies for AORN. If you don’t feel you’re ready, you may nominate a colleague who meets the leadership criteria.

We recently asked Laura Gayton, MHCA, BSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM, chair of the AORN Nominating Committee, about the experiences and expectations that come along with nomination, election, and leadership roles.


You must get many questions about serving on the board or nominating committee. What do you hear most often?

Members usually want to know what they’ll be doing and how much time it will take. No one wants to take on too much and not be able to meet expectations. I tell them the commitment can vary depending on the role, but the nominating committee generally meets once each month by conference call and the Board of Directors have weekly or bi-weekly calls.

Prior to the pandemic, the board would meet in-person at the Denver offices four times a year for two days, a Friday and Saturday. I expect the Board will return to that schedule but, in the meantime, there is video conferencing. Whether you’re on the Board or the Nominating Committee, there are individual assignments between meetings.

It’s important for Board candidates to understand they’re working within the business of the association to guide sound decision-making that supports the members, the profession, and patient care. For the Board, there is fiscal responsibility, oversight of committees and task forces, as well the evaluation of issues and opportunities facing the association. The Nominating Committee is responsible for reviewing nominations and creating a ballot of candidates who exemplify excellence in the perioperative profession.

As chair of the Nominating Committee, what does your committee look for in the candidates you place on the ballot?

We’re looking for leadership skills, first and foremost. We want our Board and Nominating Committee members to demonstrate a true engagement in the profession, within their facility or their chapter. We like to see volunteer experience on AORN national committees or task forces or work with state councils and even publication in the AORN Journal. The Nominating Committee looks for a long-range vision to lead, educate, inspire others, and promote the mission and vision of AORN.

It’s the Nominating Committee’s goal to also present an election ballot of individuals that reflects all races, genders, physical abilities, generations, and sexual orientations. We encourage members to nominate (and self-nominate) candidates who accurately represent the composition of our membership.

Is there anything else you want candidates to know about the volunteer experience?

I can honestly say, volunteering at the national level has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I’ve heard the same sentiments from the Board and Nominating Committee members I’ve worked with. We come from different backgrounds, with different experience and, together, we share a passion for supporting our association in its mission to keep patients and healthcare workers safe. Direct patient care has its own rewards but when I think of the many contributions we’ve made to every OR in the country, and to every practitioner, I’m incredibly proud.

Register today for Periop Reset, a virtual one-day event where you’ll learn the results of this year’s elections and reenergize, refocus, and renew with inspiring keynote speakers, have fun in digital experiences and learn about new perioperative practices.

Tools and Resources 

  • Review the roles and responsibilities of each office.
  • Submit your nomination between March 29 and midnight (MT), April 17, 2021.

Periop Reset

Hit your personal and professional reset button. Register today for Periop Reset, a virtual one-day event where we’ll reflect on the past year and discuss where we go from here.