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AWHONN Member of the Day

 

For the past three years AWHONN has celebrated Customer Service Week, the first week in October. Each year during a week long celebration, AWHONN showcases a member, staff, or group. AWHONN’s growth over the years is because of faithful members. Their commitment and hard work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. 

 

Today's Customer Service Week AWHONN Member of the Day is Donna Talain. Donna has been a proud member of AWHONN for 7 years.

 

 

 

Donna Talain

 

My involvement with AWHONN began in 2010 while I was a nursing student at Linfield College. Fast forward to my first job after graduation, I started in the Family Birth Center at Legacy Health System at Emanuel. Knowing the value of membership in a relevant professional organization, I continued my membership with AWHONN as a full member. My manager, the Membership Coordinator for the Oregon Section, recognized my unique set of skills and approached me one day to see if I would be interested in helping the leadership team with creating a newsletter. Always looking for ways to be more involved, I said, “Sure!”

 

And that was the beginning of years of volunteering with a bunch of amazing women with the same passion for women’s health as I have. I started as the Communications Director for the Oregon Section, designing and creating our tri-annual newsletter — now a monthly online publication at oregonawhonn.org/newsletter — and our website. Now, I’m serving as the Secretary/Treasurer of our section as well. I also serve on the Conference Committee, helping to put on Oregon AWHONN’s premier annual educational event, which we just finished at the end of September in beautiful Bend, Oregon.

 

There are so many rewarding reasons I continue to be a member and volunteer with this amazing organization. Not only do I get the latest in evidence-based practice, I have made connections with nurses that will last well beyond my time as an officer with AWHONN. Not only are my connections local or within the state of Oregon. I've met nurses and other professionals from all over the country. I've learned valuable skills that I will take with me wherever my career takes me. Even if it's just to attend a local chapter meeting, I highly recommend that every women's health, obstetric, and neonatal nurse get more involved with their local AWHONN section. You will gain up-to-date knowledge in your field and expand your network exponentially. I am certainly grateful for my experience!

 

 

 

Sandra Sperry

 

I became an AWHONN member in 2012 after 6 years of experience as an L&D RN. Although I had been interested in AWHONN prior to this date, it was at this time that I really recognized the benefit of being an AWHONN member. I was inspired to join AWHONN when I signed up to attend the National Convention for the first time in June of 2012. I had heard from other nurses how inspiring the convention was and I wanted to be a part of this growing community of obstetric and neonatal nurses that are providing exceptional care to our women and newborns. After attending convention, I have never looked back. Being an AWHONN member is part of who I am as an L&D nurse.

 

When I became the Unit Educator for Labor & Delivery in 2014 at UVM Medical Center in Burlington, VT, I became more closely in tune with the practice recommendations of AWHONN and my desire to be involved in the organization increased. In the Fall of 2014, I heard from Alan Chewning at headquarters that VT needed a section chair and that began my journey in AWHONN leadership. I attended my first AWHONN leadership conference in the Fall of 2014 and officially took over as Section Chair in January 2015. I also applied and was accepted into the 2015 class of AWHONN Emerging Leaders. My experience as an AWHONN section chair has been very rewarding. Vermont was a very dormant section with little membership involvement and no CEU opportunities within the state. Alongside my Secretary/Treasurer, we set out to plan and successfully hold our first Fall Conference in 2015 with almost 30 participants in attendance. Last year, at our second annual conference we had over 60 and are planning for about 75 participants this year. Each year, we have added to our conference with diaper drives and vendors. The energy in our Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses in Vermont is exciting and I look forward to continued work within our section. I love being involved in the great work that AWHONN is doing both at the state level and the national level. AWHONN provides resources and educational opportunities for our nurses at the bedside. Now as a Nurse Manager of Labor & Delivery, I encourage involvement and membership in AWHONN from attending convention to applying for a poster presentation at the next convention.

 

 

 

Wednesday's AWHONN Member of the Day was Lori Folken. Lori has been a proud member of AWHONN for 8 years

Lori Folken 

I have been a member of AWHONN since 2009.  I joined AWHONN after hearing a presentation by Lisa Miller CNM, JD.  She spoke of the benefits of AWHONN and that being a member of a nursing organization is important for personal and professional growth. I was so inspired by her presentation I went straight to the AWHONN table and signed up that day.  I had no idea this decision to join would lead to all of the amazing opportunities I have had with AWHONN.

 

 In 2012 I was chosen for Emerging Leader program. Through that program I found my passion for Legislative Advocacy.  The following year I applied and was chosen to be on the AWHONN Public Policy Committee, then served two terms. During my time on the Public Policy Committee I had the opportunity to co-author an article on Legislative Advocacy.   Following my Emerging Leader year, I started a local AWHONN chapter in east central Illinois.  As a chapter leader I became active on the Illinois AWHONN conference planning committee. Because of my active participation and leadership in my Section I was approached to run for the Illinois Section Chair.  I was honored to be asked and decided it would be a great opportunity to share my passion for AWHONN with the members in our state. 

 

Additional opportunities I have had in AWHONN include, in 2016 I was selected for the Nurse in Washington Internship Scholarship. This program allowed me to learn more about the Legislative process and lobby on Capitol Hill.  I am also on the 2018 AWHONN National Conference Planning Committee.  

 

When I joined AWHONN I never expected to be where I am today, leading our state section and helping plan the national conference.  I applied for these opportunities never really expecting to be chosen. I was a nurse from a rural community, what did I have to offer?  What I found is AWHONN wants to hear your voice. Every voice matters and can make a difference. 

 

 

 

Tuesday's AWHONN Member of the Day was Dodi Gauthier. Dodi has been a proud member of AWHONN for 39 years. 

Dodi Gauthier

As a new graduate nurse back in 1977, I looked for a place that I could go to for continuing education, new ideas, and “state-of-the-art” clinical practice. I found that “home” with AWHONN.   I joined AWHONN in 1978, about 7 months after graduation from my diploma program.  The journal articles inspired me and I looked for others like me who wanted to learn more.  

 

Relocating to Salt Lake City, I found a local chapter and a wonderful leader.  Unknowingly to her, she became a mentor and I followed in her footsteps becoming a section leader.  I was excited to participate in our District conference as well. I think that really wet my appetite.  When I moved to CA in 1989, I was enfolded into a very active chapter with incredible, vibrant leaders. 

 

We started talking “evidence-based practice” and how to get buy-in from the bedside nurses caring for moms and babies. We wanted them to embrace change and not just say “we’ve always done it that way.”  I started volunteering for things – reviewing symposia, helping and presenting with local and state conferences, then having my abstract chosen to present at National. By this time, I felt I had a network of nurses I could call at the drop of a hat and find a “best practice” in their facility.  I had contact information for people who wrote policy, defined “best practice” and they liked the way I thought.  I was enveloped and I was hooked.  My career has really evolved around AWHONN and being an active member has afforded me opportunities I never would have otherwise had. 

 

You might know me as a former Section Leader or a chapter coordinator, a webinar presenter, one of the original fetal monitoring instructor-trainers, a National speaker, a former Board of Directors member or the recipient of the 2014 DPS award.  I am all of those but most importantly, I am a member of the CA Section who promotes and improves the health of women and infants and works to strengthen the nursing profession. AWHONN is my home.

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Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

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