REGIONAL PRESDENTS' COMK/lUNICAT ONS M deast Beg on Paula Erwin-Toth, RN, MSN, CETN
The leadership meeting that was held this past January was a stimulating and thought-provoking experience. The interaction among members of the national and regional leadership led to frank discussions regarding decision-making processes, patterns of communication, and visions for the future. What we discovered is that we have a high degree of shared goals and visions about wound, ostomy, and continence nursing. Our roots in enterostomal therapy provided the foundation from which our specialty practice has grown. As noted in God's Little Instruction Book/ "The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground." Initially, Dr. Turnbull could not interest the nursing leaders of the 1950s in the nursing specialty of enterostomal therapy. It is a testimony to the tenacity of Dr. Turnbull and Norma Gill that our specialty flourished. Although it is not productive to dwell on the past, it is worth remembering because it can help guide our future. That same mighty oak will topple to the ground if its roots are destroyed. The regional infrastructure is what formed the foundation for the WOCN. There are various avenues for members to obtain information and contribute to the organization.
Opportunities for national or regional resources for information, education, networking, and leadership development can only make us stronger. Some members' needs are best served by the national ofrice, others by a strong regional alliance. It has been my privilege to serve at a regional level as an officer as well as at a national level as an ETNEP Director. There are definitely issues that are best addressed at a national level--standards, specialty education, position statements, and reimbursement and legislative issues. The regional base can help galvanize support and enhance communication among members. Regional and state legislation, reimbursement, networking, and continuing education needs can be readily and ably served by the regions. ET, wound, ostomy, and continence nurses are among the most dedicated, skilled, and versatile health care providers in existence. During this time of turmoil in health care, we cannot afford to be a house divided. The national and regional WOCN leaderships must work together to build our future.
REFERENCE 1. Anonymous. God's little instruction Tulsa, Oklahoma: Honor Books, 1993.
M dwest £egion Mickey Young, RN, BSN, CETN J WOCN 1996;23:181-90
Two years ago, the Midwest Region restructured to streamline and economize the operation of our organization. Our goals were to reduce the cost of running
the regional organization without reducing its effectiveness and to pursue financial independence from the national organization in the event that financial sup-
1996by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society. 1071-5754/96$5.00+ 0 181
JWOCN July 1996
182 Regional Presidents' Communications
port was withdrawn in the future. Our restructured organization has been successful, and we continue to work toward financial independence. Last year our sixth group, Central Illinois, received affiliate status from the WOCN. The other five affiliates in the Midwest Region are Chicago, Kansas City, Iowa, Nebraska, and St. Louis. In conjunction with the annual regional meeting in the fall, an educational program is sponsored by one of the affiliates. Responsibility for this program, which provides the financial support for the region, has traditionally alternated among the affiliates. The Midwest Region recently conducted a leadership retreat in Chicago. The issue of retaining or disbanding the region was discussed at length. Since the restructuring of the national organization, the question of the usefulness of the regional organization has resurfaced. Both times, the Midwest Region membership voiced a desire to retain the regional organization and activities. The benefits of retaining the regional organization were identified as follows: providing an avenue for networking, enhancing professional
development, promOting leadership development, education, sending participants to national leadership meetings and conferences, providing donations to other organizations (such as the United Ostomy Association), providing educational opportunities for members (such as the Nurse in Washington Internship), and providing scholarship funds for ET nurse education. The major complaint about supporting the region was the extensive work involved in sponsoring the fall educational meeting, with minimal financial benefit. The Midwest Region Leadership Group has decided to redesign the purpose and activities of the region to more effectively meet the needs of the affiliates and the membership. Activity has begun to create an organization that provides desired activities and functions not covered by the national organization. For the first time in our history, the fail regional meeting in 1996 is being coordinated by members from all six affiliates. We are excited about creating a new regional organization, and we would be thrilled to share our experience with anyone interested.
New Encj ancl Region Joyce Godin, MA, RN, CETN
New England is composed of six states in the northeast corner of the country. All six have medium-sized cities and towns as well as many small towns. The more southern states, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, are more densely populated and are considered urban; however, they still have rural areas. Although the three northern states, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, are classified as rural, they have some good-sized cities and towns, with major highways along the borders. Interstate highways make travel from one urban area to another relatively easy. In contrast, many of the cross-state roads are narrow and often winding, which makes a few miles seem like more. Historically, New Englanders have been self-reliant and independent, with a
strong work ethic. In times of need, New Englanders have always gone to the aid of their country in whatever ways were needed. This can also be said about ET nurses from New England, serving as officers and members of national committees. Some of the founding members of our national organization were from New England. We have also enjoyed a strong regional identity. One of the early ETNEPs was held at Boston University. Several ET nurses educated in that program are still employed in the area. Nurses from New England have also attended ETNEPs all over the country. Most had jobs in acute care hospitals. As health care continually changes, ET nursing practice and employment settings also change. We are excited that the hum-