Local Networking Groups are a great way to network and join forces with local AAACN members.
Groups can be as formal or informal as you’d like. Discuss local issues, share best practices, and establish your own unique goals for your group. LNGs provide education, professional support, and information, and can be a unique way to make a difference at the local level.
What's Happening Within Individual Local Networking Groups
In order to form a local networking group you need to develop a core group to determine the goals and focus of your Local Networking Group (LNG). Once a core group is established, potential members should be solicited. Contact other organizations in your local area that provide ambulatory care and physician practice offices.
AAACN National Office can also provide a listing of AAACN members in your local area. When you have potential members, schedule and hold an initial networking meeting. These meetings can be held at your local facility or other central location depending on where you live.
The LNG can be either an informal networking group or a more formal (conventional) group.
Both types of networking groups can provide education, professional support, and information. The education, support and information sharing should be designed to meet the needs of nurses in a variety of ambulatory settings.
In your initial networking meeting, share information about AAACN, the benefits of membership and available AAACN resources. Next the group needs to decide a schedule or frequency of meetings, as well as the types of meeting. Some ideas include a journal club, educational sessions, networking or listening to and discussion of an audio-conference.
A group 'leader' needs to be selected. The initial organizer may be the logical choice for the LNG leader. The leadership role should be defined, as should the length of that role and selection for the leader's successor. The 'leader' serves as the official spokesperson for the Local Networking Group. In that capacity, they should keep records of the LNG activities.
Additionally, they should encourage submission of articles for ViewPoint from the Local Networking Group. They also coordinate opportunities to promote AAACN membership at regional and local meetings of ambulatory nurses. Maintaining communication is important. One way to do this is via the Connected Communities (online networking community), by sharing information and keeping the group connected.
In your initial networking meeting, share information about AAACN, the benefits of membership and available AAACN resources. LNG members should be strongly encouraged to be AAACN members. The leadership core of the LNG usually includes the Local Networking Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee should establish the leadership structure and types and level of officers of the LNG, e.g. a Board of Directors. During the first two years, the officers of the Local Networking Group can be selected from the membership of the steering committee.
Thereafter, the officers should be elected by secret ballot majority vote of the members in attendance at the business meeting, or by a "mail in" system. The length of the term of office, the selection process of the officers and the delineation of duties and responsibilities should be determined by the steering committee.
The officers usually include a chairperson, a vice chairperson, a secretary, a treasurer, and a program planner or planners. Depending on the size of the Local Networking Group, these roles may be combined.
The chairperson or group 'leader' serves as the official spokesperson for the Local Networking Group. In that capacity, they should keep records of the LNG activities. They serve as the Local Networking Group in relation to the participation in conference calls, scheduled meetings. Additionally, they are responsible to encourage and coordinate submission of articles for ViewPoint from the Local Group. They also coordinate opportunities to promote AAACN membership at regional and local meetings of ambulatory nurses.
The steering group will make initial decisions regarding the establishment, assessment and collection membership dues from LNG members.
A formal LNG group should have quarterly business meetings. Business meetings can follow or precede other group activities. Minimally, one major educational offering/program should be scheduled annually. The LNG will determine the program design and content of this program and registration fees. In most formal or conventional networking groups' non-members are charged a higher registration fee than members.
The LNG may request for the educational program to be endorsed by AAACN. The LNG should remember the following:
- If endorsed, the LNG will distribute AAACN membership and product materials at registration.
- If endorsed, use of "endorsed by AAACN" can be used on conference materials and publications. There is not an exchange of goods, services or access to AAACN national resources.
- To pursue endorsement, the provider needs to submit the conference program outline and speaker list to AAACN National Office 60-90 days in advance of conference. The provider may purchase membership mailing list from AAACN for potential attendees. AAACN will provide membership materials and may also display their exhibit at the meeting.
- Evaluation feedback is required and the LNG will supply AAACN with a summary of evaluation results.
Actions requiring a vote may be decided by a simple majority of the LNG members present at the business meeting. Maintaining communication is important. One way to do this is via the Connected Communities (online networking community), by sharing information and keeping the group connected.
A Formal LNG needs to apply for individual recognition of exemption from income tax and an employee identification number if it chooses to obtain tax-exempt status.
An LNG may not use the IRS tax exemption or the employee identification number attained by the Academy's National Office. Additional information can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service.
Central Ohio Ambulatory Nursing Networking Group (COANNG)
Contact: Kimberly Primm
Cleveland Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (CAACN)
Contact: Diane Lapars
Georgia Ambulatory Care Nurses LNG
Contact: Linda Perkins
Illinois Ambulatory Nurse Practice Consortium Local Networking Group of AAACN
Contacts: Mary Smith
Kansas City AAACN LNG
Contact: Amy Nau
Middle Tennessee LNG
Contact: Cathey Hunter
Milwaukee Networking Group
Contact: Jennifer Bousman
North Carolina Association of Ambulatory Nurses
Contact: Beth Coulombe
Triangle Informal Networking Group
Contact: Janice Fortman