Members of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) depend on the organization to keep their skills up to date, and in the dynamic world of healthcare, this translates to increased safety for patients.
Dana Woods, CEO of AACN, understands the critical role that her association plays in supporting these healthcare professionals. She knows the importance of continually engaging members to truly understand their needs as individuals.
In this episode of the Leading Learning podcast – part of our ongoing “C-Series” – Jeff talks with Dana about how her marketing background influences her as a CEO, where learning and education fit into AACN’s value proposition, as well as some current learning initiatives at AACN and the potential impact those are having on nurses.
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Read the Show Notes
00:20 –A reminder to check out the upcoming Leading Learning event, Learning • Technology • Design (LTD) to be held May 18-19, 2016 in Arlington, VA. The event is designed specifically to help professionals in the business of continuing education and professional development find new and better ways to engage learners and create lasting impact through the effective use of technology.
01:24 – A preview of what will be covered in this episode where Jeff Cobb talks with Dana Woods, CEO of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).
03:47 – An introduction to Dana Woods and some background information about AACN.
04:51 – How does your MBA and marketing/PR background inform how you approach the CEO role? Dana says that she subscribes to the broadest definition of marketing–to identify societal needs and meet them. She explains that marketing is not a department but rather it’s everyone’s job in an organization to identify and meet those needs. In the association arena she says it’s important to learn how to engage members more effectively.
07:24 – A discussion about how marketing and strategy go hand-in-hand.
07:57 – How do learning and education fit into AACN’s value proposition and how has that evolved over time? Dana says the number one reason members are with AACN is to keep up to date with their practice. She explains that the healthcare environment is so dynamic and that keeping up to date on skills is vital to keeping patients safe. She talks about how over time there has been a shift from a technical, clinical mastery focus to now something more human-centered with a focus on both the patient and the nurses.
11:50 –AACN recently launched the third generation of Essentials of Critical Care Orientation (ECCO). You were an early mover in offering this sort of on-demand, e-learning and, in particular, bringing it into institutional setting. How did you decide so early on that this was an appropriate risk to take and what have been some of the challenges along the way? Dana shares how they went from offering their orientation in binder form to this in order to change with the times. She explains that they had to learn a lot in the process about contracting with hospitals, developing the ability to direct sell, and forming distribution partnerships.
15:46 – A further discussion about ECCO and how it has high market penetration with over 1,110 hospitals using it out of roughly 5,000 that have critical care units.
16:17 – What are some of the other learning initiatives AACN has under way that you think are particularly valuable? Dana shares some new things they have been doing, particularly around their webinars, which have been effective in helping nurses to change their practice.
19:38 – Dana talks about their face-to-face initiatives including their annual conference.
20:40 – How do you know, or get a sense of the impact the various learning initiatives you offer are having on both nurses and in the field that you’re serving? Dana says the questions on their standard CE evaluations have moved beyond satisfaction. They now ask members (immediately and six months later) to rate their knowledge and level of confidence in applying the concepts (before and after), and also about their level of confidence in leading improvements based on their learning. She explains that this has yielded useful data for each program and shares an example of this.
23:47 – What advice might you offer to other organizations who aren’t as far along as ACCN? Dana emphasizes the importance of talking to people in the field you serve every chance you get. Besides co-creating resources with nurses, Dana shares that they also ask nurses what is going on in their environment to better identity their needs. She says they look at the nurse as an individual rather than a customer number.
27:00 – What are some of your own lifelong learning habits? Dana reveals that she doesn’t have as much time to engage in the amount of slow book learning that she’d like to but that she does read a lot. She says anything that gives a concentrated essence of great ideas, such as TED talks, and other short snippets of information, are what work best for her.
29:00 – Find AACN at:
29:53 – Wrap-Up
A reminder to check out the upcoming Leading Learning event, Learning • Technology • Design (LTD) to be held May 18-19, 2016 in Arlington, VA.
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31:47 – Sign off
Be sure to check out information about Learning • Technology • Design™ (LTD), an upcoming Leading Learning event to be held May 18-19, 2016 in Arlington, VA.