GPC Awards
GPC Wins THREE Circle of Excellence Awards

The GPC-AACN has been awarded 3 Circle of Excellence Awards in the following areas: 

  1. Excellence in Chapter Educational Programming

  2. Excellence in Promoting the Value of Certification

  3. Excellence in Chapter Collaboration


The awards will be presented  at NTI in New Orleans on May 15th.  Below are the nomination submissions summarizing the great work done by GPC-AACN.  Thank you to Missy and Tracey from the board for their outstanding nominations!


Excellence in Chapter Educational Programming:


A main tenet of the mission statement of the Greater Portland Chapter (GPC) of AACN is to provide quality educational offerings to the community of critical care nurses in Portland, Oregon.  Nurses from the Portland metropolitan area and beyond have looked to the GPC for relevant, evidence based continuing education since the inception of our chapter in 1972.  GPC offers a wide variety of education geared toward critical care nurses at all stages of their career, from novice to expert.

 The GPC Annual Fall Critical Care Symposium is an event looked forward to all year by our members.  We proudly host approximately 600 critical care nurses and other healthcare professionals for a two day conference that focuses on current trends in critical care.  This is truly the event of the year for our members!  We consistently are able to procure local and national experts who speak on a wide variety of topics.  GPC is proud to have both adult and pediatric tracks of learning at this event and are excited to host the AACN president and president elect as speakers.  We are further proud to have been asked to help gather information for the exciting Barriers to Practice work that is currently underway at AACN National.  The Symposium planning committee invites members to display posters highlighting the great work that happens at the bedside on a daily basis.  One of the most popular sessions of the Fall Symposium is 20, 20, 20:  Tales From the Bedside which is a podium session delivered by bedside nurses who have positively impacted the care of critically ill patients at their institution.  Additionally, to support the learning needs of GPC’s rural counterparts multiple full scholarships to this high quality educational offering are awarded to healthcare professionals from less populated areas of Oregon and Washington.  We also acknowledge Beacon award winning units, Critical Care Nurse of the Year, our GPC Lifetime Member, and Circle of Excellence awards winners.

 We also currently facilitate a Critical Care Consortium (CCC) which provides the base knowledge for RNs seeking to enter the specialty of critical care.  The planning committee is comprised of CNS and clinical educators from multiple healthcare systems.  The award winning CCC also serves to develop fledgling speakers through mentorship and provides opportunities for bedside nurses to hone their public speaking skills while exposing new critical care nurses to high quality, meaningful education. 

Our chapter greatly values the dedication it takes to become nationally certified and strives to facilitate and ease this process for our members.  We are proud to say that more than 50% of our membership is a CCRN or PCCN certified nurse.  To get there, GPC offers 2 CCRN/PCCN review courses per year with a nationally renowned speaker at the helm and have seen steady increases in the percentage of certified nurses in our chapter.  In recent courses attendance has only been limited by the size of the venue.  Evaluations of this review course have been favorable and help to identify other educational needs.

GPC hosts a biannual Advanced Preceptor Conference to celebrate the essential role of nurse preceptor.  This is a day that not only offers high quality education from nationally known experts in precepting, but also delivers enrichment to attendees through the form of world class entertainment, free massages, a Wall of Honor for recognized excellence as a preceptor, and the Preceptor of the Year award. 

Annual GPC educational offerings have grown over the course of the last couple of years.  We have added a Cardiac Surgical and Cardiac Medical (CSC/CMC) subspecialty review course based on feedback received from members.  The implementation of the CSC/CMC review course has been in the planning stages for some time, but GPC is proud to announce that we have successfully held our first review of this type and have plans to continue offering it on a biannual basis. 

Our annual Member Appreciation Dinner includes an educational component.  This year was focused on the timely, relevant topic of Social Media Use in Healthcare delivered jointly by a nurse manager with experience handling the missteps that nurses take while engaging in social media and a lawyer with case expertise.  The topic was well received by attendees whose questions went beyond the allotted time.

Content development for educational offerings is conducted in a variety of ways, including through comments on evaluations of past courses and current national trends in critical care.  Many of the topics included in our Fall Symposium and Member Dinner were identified by members of GPC and communicated through evaluations or direct communication with the GPC Board.  The Education Chair, Co-Chairs, and Symposium Chair use this information to guide development of the educational programs the GPC offers.         

Excellence in Promoting the Value of Certification:

The Greater Portland Chapter of AACN recognizes the value of certification, and has a long standing history of promoting the value of certification through the engagement of our members in a wide variety of ways.  Nationally certified nurses are instrumental in increasing patient safety, ensuring best outcomes, implementation of evidence based practice, and empowerment of nurses to provide the best possible care to critically ill patients.  The GPC has instituted a focused campaign to increase the numbers CCRN and PCCN certified nurses, and we are happy to report that the current percentage of nationally certified nurses in our chapter exceeds 50%.  GPC takes the following steps to promote certification to our members:

  • Increased Awareness:  In all GPC publications the value of certification is promoted, especially when advertising the chapter’s twice yearly CCRN/PCCN reviews, which typically occur in January and June.  Benefits to the individual, employer, and profession are addressed in the flyers and brochures for this extremely popular course.  GPC leaders and members are instrumental in increasing the awareness of the benefits of certification in the community on an everyday basis and lead by example, with the 94% of the GPC Board being nationally certified.

  • Education: In order to facilitate certification for GPC members we have held a twice yearly review course taught by a nationally renowned speaker for a number of years.  This course has steadily grown in attendance and has grown to approximately 75-100 participants at each offering.  In an effort to offset some of the cost of certification, GPC coordinates group applications for attendees to register for the exam at a reduced rate.  Evaluations of GPC’s CCRN/PCCN review are consistently high and the chapter has seen growing enthusiasm for certification among attendees who spread their newfound enthusiasm to the colleagues they work with at the bedside.  The best accolades come from our members themselves who encourage each other to attend the GPC sponsored CCRN/PCCN Review course to take the first step into the world of certification.

  • Celebration:  Accomplishments deserve celebration and national certification is certainly an accomplishment.  GPC celebrates CCRN and PCCN certified nurses annually during National Nurses’ Week by providing each certified RN gift cards to enjoy coffee on us.  This has been very well received by our members and has led to increased rates of retention and renewal of GPC membership.  Certified nurses are celebrated and acknowledged at other GPC events. 

  • Challenge Accepted:  In light of the success GPC has enjoyed in increasing rates of CCRN/PCCN certified nurses GPC members communicated a clear need and desire to take on the subspecialty certification of cardiac surgical and cardiac medical (CSC/CMC).  GPC courageously answered our members call and accepted this challenge.  The chapter Education Chair and Co-Chairs got started on the planning phase of a CSC/CMC review course and successfully held the first GPC sponsored CSC/CMC review course in October, 2015 with a inaugural attendance of approximately 60.  The chapter currently plans to continue to offer CSC/CMC review course every other year.

GPC is committed to continually contributing to a culture of certification and will continue to offer regular certification review courses, celebration of the accomplishments of our members, and spreading the word about the benefits of national certification. 

Excellence in Chapter Collaboration

The Greater Portland Chapter (GPC) of AACN mission statement includes the desire to promote education, to foster communication, to collaborate among healthcare professionals, and to significantly contribute to the national organization of AACN and the profession of nursing.   As a long standing chapter we have learned that quality education relies on, and is inextricably linked to the collaboration effort  of our dedicated team and community of critical care nurses.

The GPC was established in 1972, the longevity and success of our chapter is based on a foundation of cooperation and collaboration within our city and the surrounding communities. We are fortunate to be situated in a metropolitan area with many healthcare systems in close proximity. This geographic proximity has fostered nurses and other health care providers to work together to achieve our educational outcomes.

This November, the GPC, in collaboration with the Oregon Society of Critical Care Medicine (OSCCM), will present our 42nd Annual Critical Care Fall Symposium. Our Symposium is orchestrated by Co-Chairs from the GPC and OSCCM. Planning for the Symposium begins in January, committee members are recruited from our local institutions, and our planning meetings are held at one of our local hospitals. Institutional support is a fundamental component of our success. Our Symposium has grown in size and reputation over the span years. Our typical attendance is currently at approximately 550 participants. A symposium of this size is possible only by the collaborative efforts and unwavering support of our local healthcare systems, our co-sponsor, OSCCM, and the members of industry that value supporting AACN. Through this collaborative, rural scholarships are provided for physicians, pharmacists and nurses to attend our symposium.  Professional development is fosters by members and non-members submitting poster abstracts, an additional benefit is the opportunity to network with hundreds of AACN members in a collaborative environment.

 In 1997, the GPC board proposed and developed an educational collaborative that became known as the Critical Care Consortium. Many of the GPC Board members were Clinical Nurse Specialists and Critical Care Educators.  While serving on the GPC board they realized that they were duplicating efforts in their individual organizations and that these efforts could be shared for the benefit of all. The CCC was formed and has been a highly successful collaborative effort for nearly 20 years. The six day course is offered three times per year and is hosted at one of our area hospitals. The CCC developed and continues to update the education objectives, recruit and develop speakers, maintains a schedule and provides a course syllabus and a number of other important functions. To date, the CCC has provided entry into practice education for more than 3000 nurses, and has fourteen organizations that continue to collaborate monthly ensuring the ongoing success of the program. Through innovation, and collaboration the GPC has fostered a standardized educational program, provided for stewardship of resources, and maintained a highly reliable critical care educational for our community.

Every other year the CCC provides an Advanced Preceptor Workshop (APW) and awards preceptor scholarships to area hospitals for their preceptors to attend this educational event. The scholarships are intended to promote professional development and to celebrate the extra contribution that preceptors make for their organizations and novice critical care nurses. Through collaboration, we are able to provide this exceptional educational offering for our preceptors and community. We recruit national and local speakers to provide pertinent educational content geared toward the challenges and rewards that are often encountered while precepting adult learners. Our APW committee collaborates with a local massage therapy school to provide mini massages during breaks at the workshop. A favorite component of the Advanced Preceptor workshop is the entertainment event that is included to provide and element of fun to the day. We have collaborated with local entertainers, comedy or acting troupes, and dance teams in the past to provide this respite. To fulfill our aim to recognize the contribution that preceptors make to the organization and to their profession, we include a process for each organization to nominate their preceptors for “The Wall of Honor.”  We display photos of each of the preceptors at the workshop, from this pool, a “Preceptor of the Year” is chosen.  The Preceptor of the year is recognized with some gifts and a pin at the close of the day.  This successful collaborative is made possible by the efforts of our members and area organizations through the donation of volunteer time, funding and fund raising, and by providing resources

Through collaboration, we are able to provide high quality education for our community of critical care nurses and support AACNs mission to provide the best care possible for critically ill patients and their families.


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