By Denise Williams | News & Views
As the accolades flowed, 2022 shaped up to be a triumphant year for Nebraska Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation Network (NCVPRN).
For starters, the organization established in 1982 observed 40 years of service to its members – an achievement in and of itself. Those who somehow missed the micro celebrations that took place over the prior months received a jubilant reminder upon arrival at NCVPRN’s annual fall conference this past October. Pride in the milestone anniversary was on bold display everywhere, from the decorations to the eye-catching red shirts – donned by so many event-goers – that heralded the occasion.
As if commemorating 40 years wasn’t enough excitement to carry NCVPRN through all of 2022, the kudos continued as the organization was named the recipient of AACVPR’s Affiliate of the Year award. The honor was announced during the Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida, in September, to the delight especially of longtime affiliate members – including NCVPRN Past President Kathy Lierman, RN, BSN.
She credits NCVPRN’s outside-the-box thinking on education delivery for putting the affiliate in a good jockeying position for the award. Faced with COVID disruptions, which kept many people from meeting in person, Lierman cites the group’s commitment to providing CECs in spite of the pandemic. The first major undertaking involved switching to a virtual format for the annual fall conference – no easy feat, she points out, considering many members didn’t even know how to use Zoom until COVID happened. “But we learned it, and we learned how to connect speakers” Lierman says, “So, we were able to continue, and it was very well attended.”
With budget cuts and COVID persisting, NCVPRN also needed a new approach for education beyond the fall conference. The solution it came up with is Quarterly Education Topics: one-hour CECs, with a new subject of focus every three months. The virtual classes take place over Zoom, and are offered at no cost to members and for a nominal fee of $15 for nonmembers. This new option also has been very well-received, according to Lierman, who says many members expressed appreciation that NCVPRN was offering “something more than we had in the past.”
The Joys of Joint Affiliation
Lierman is quick to acknowledge AACVPR’s important role as NCVPRN prepares its Quarterly Education Topics, helping the affiliate with aspects such as registration and payment management. The national association has also been instrumental, she notes, in helping NCVPRN grow in a number of other ways – like launching its own website and Facebook page. “They help with a lot of our new ideas, really,” she testifies.
But what Lierman sees as the biggest advantage of the joint affiliation with AACVPR is its ongoing contribution to NCVPRN’s mission statement: to provide support, education and awareness of cardiovascular and pulmonary health to healthcare professionals, patient and community. She points to the wealth of resources NCVPRN members are able to access through AACVPR – including regular webinars, which provide additional education to inform certification competencies.
One of Lierman’s personal favorite resources is The Pulse discussion forum on AACVPR Central, where she often finds key updates. Although she sometimes already knows the answer to questions other members ask on the discussion board, Lierman says responses may suggest a different twist or way of looking at an issue that she hadn’t considered before. “It makes you really look into making sure your process and procedures are meeting every criteria,” she explains. It doesn’t hurt, she adds, that the feeds are automatically sent to her email inbox, making it convenient to read through them regularly and share what she learns with her own staff.
And then there are the experts at AACVPR, many of whom are just an email away from getting the answer to a frustrating question. Collectively, Lierman can testify that these and other benefits help NCVPRN stay on top of the latest trends, policies and procedures. “It keeps us up to data with all the new laws and legislation and what CMS is requiring,” she says, “and it provides a good networking avenue so members can learn and grow in their profession.”
Advice from the Winner's Circle
Speaking of networking, Lierman suggests that’s the single-most important pursuit that any affiliate should have if they want to truly be of service to their membership. It’s critical, she emphasizes, to “network with other members within the state and within AACVPR to help yourself grow professionally and to help our programs be up to the current standards and guidelines.” And AACVPR, she closes, simply offers so many opportunities and resources for just that purpose.