Cookeville Regional Medical Center Forms a Local Chapter of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses

Submitted on: Monday, January 16, 2012
Cookeville Regional Medical Center Forms a Local Chapter of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses

Cookeville, TN – In July 2011, after several months of research and consideration, a group of Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) staff organized a chapter called the Upper Cumberland Chapter of AACN (American Association of Critical Care Nurses).

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses has existed since 1969, and currently has over half a million nurse members and over 240 chapters nationwide. As the largest specialty nursing organization, AACN promotes the highest standards of care for acutely and critically ill patients, establishes healthy work environments and encourages certification of nurses to validate their knowledge and skills. AACN also supports a work ethic of excellence, integrity and mentoring that fits right in with the great standards of healthcare at CRMC.  The association annually sponsors The National Teaching Institute (NTI). This is a national level learning and exhibition experience attracting as many as 500 vendors and 7,000 nurses to a conference.

Cookeville Regional Medical Center’s very own Angela Craig, Clinical Nurse Specialist for ICU, has been chosen to speak this May at the 2012 National Teaching Institute Conference in Orlando, FL. She will be speaking on the SEPSIS Initiative that she oversees.

“Being a part of AACN has provided me opportunities as well as Cookeville Regional Medical Center,” Craig said. “We have a face in educating other hospitals nationally on programs that we have right here in Cookeville.”

AACN believes that chapters are vital to its plan and purpose. Local nurse members are able to network, support, learn from each other and share their professional experience and service to the community, to each other as well as recruit future members. The Upper Cumberland Chapter has over 20 members and serves the local area east to Knoxville, west to Nashville, south to Chattanooga and north to Kentucky.

“We wanted to start a chapter because the nearest chapter is either Nashville or Knoxville. We are a middle ground and there was a void here,” Phillip Newman, Night shift Clinical Care Nurse Coordinator, said. “We have a lot of national AACN members, and some mentioned they would like to have a chapter here. Now we do.”

The chapter meetings are held bi-monthly and they also plan on having bi-monthly educational programs to help inform their members on the newest trends happening in healthcare. A long-term goal for the Upper Cumberland Chapter is to host a major regional one-day conference.

There are many benefits to joining the national and local chapter of AACN. A member will have educational opportunities, learn about the latest and best practices and have a chance to network with other members.

“Networking is huge. It is a great way for nurses to grow and learn new cutting edge ideas,” Newman said. “There is always something to learn.”

Cookeville Regional Medical Center has already hosted a certification review course and several of those nurses are going past that to further their certifications. Continuing education and providing certified nurses’ with all of the support they need for their credentials, this should be an active and growing chapter. This chapter has the support of nursing administration, the directors, clinical nurse specialists in the units, and physicians.

 To become a member of the local chapter one must already be a member of the national AACN. Local dues are $20 annually, and opportunities for discounted national membership are available for groups joining or renewing. Along with the great benefits of membership are unlimited free CEU's online or in the AACN publications, this is worth hundreds of dollars of education credits.

 For more information on how to become a member, please email Phillip Newman at


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