1. Vanore, Marla L. MHA, RN

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It is difficult for me to imagine but as you read this I am winding down my 2-year term as President of the Society of Trauma Nurses (STN). My term will end on December 31, 2007. As I look back, I am amazed at how fast the time has gone and at all that we have accomplished. I cannot take sole credit for these accomplishments. The STN Board members, committee and special interest group chairs, and all of the members have contributed to these improvements.

Figure. Marla L. Van... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Marla L. Vanore, MHA, RN, President, Society of Trauma Nurses

At the beginning of my term, we were in the midst of 2 major organizational changes. We had just moved our management services to a new firm and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins had just become the publisher for our journal. In addition, we were experiencing a slow steady growth in membership, annual conference registration, demand for Advance Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN) courses, and other products and services.


I had 4 major goals that I wanted to accomplish:


[black small square] Continue the strong steady growth in membership while continuing to increase satisfaction


[black small square] Continue the STN's organizational growth and development


[black small square] Maintain and continue to develop efficient methods to run the organization


[black small square] Continue to grow the STN's span of influence



In reflecting on the last 2 years, I hope you will agree that we have made great strides in all of these 4 areas.



Every year, the STN continues to see an increase in the number of members. This is despite the fact that we no longer require joining the organization to attend our annual conference. In July 2006, there were 936 members, whereas in July 2007, we had 1,134 members. This is a gain of 198 members over 1 year, an increase of 21%!! Likewise, we continue to see a steady increase in annual conference attendance, ATCN courses, and interest in TOPIC.


As many of you know, STN started as an organization of mainly trauma coordinators. Our goal has been to diversify our membership, and I am proud to report that we have been very successful in doing so. As of July 2007 our members include the following breakdown by functional title (based on the categories on the membership application):


As you can see, trauma managers and coordinators are still the majority of our members; however, 59% of our members do not claim this as their job title. It is evident to me that the STN is now the organization of nursing leaders from across the spectrum of trauma care.

TABLE. No caption av... - Click to enlarge in new windowTABLE. No caption available.

As an organization we are always striving to increase member satisfaction. One comment that we have heard frequently over the last few years is that the STN had too few members-only benefits. We are slowly making changes to answer this challenge. First, we focused on the main member benefit, the Journal of Trauma Nursing (JTN). Under our new Editor, Kathryn Schroeter, PhD, RN, this journal continues to grow in scope and depth. Consequently, interest in the journal has become invigorated with increasing article submission and increased circulation. In addition, Lippincott's support has allowed us to ensure that the journal is mailed on a consistent date, updated the look of the journal, added CEU articles, and provided an online component.


Our other new members-only benefits include annual conference discounts, discounts on other STN products and services, and a new online newsletter. Around the time that you are reading this, the member-only section of the STN Web site is being unveiled. At its initiation, this section will contain easy access to the online version of JTN, valuable membership documents such as the bylaws, and the STN Listserv. The listserv has developed into a valuable tool to its many subscribers so this important benefit will be reserved for members only.


I hope you will agree that joining STN is now more worthwhile than ever.



Much behind the scenes work has gone on to meet this goal. We have learned many things from our management firm, The Center for Association Growth, concerning nonprofit organizational expertise in areas of accounting, legal issues, structure, and process. This has helped us continue to move the organization forward. We have also increased the communication to members and improved member services including moving to a rolling membership where members can join at any time, not just once a year.


Over the last 2 years, we have reviewed and updated the bylaws and reorganized our planning to include a 3-year strategic plan with annual operating plans. Our new planning method helps keep the Board goal directed, focused, and efficient.


In the financial arena, we have changed our accounting from a cash basis to an accrual method. The accrual method provides a more accurate picture of the organization's financial state since income is on the books when it is truly earned and expenses are on the books when they are incurred. Income earned in one period is accurately matched against the expenses that correspond to that period, which allows a better picture of net results for each period. In addition, we have initiated a finance and audit committee to oversee the finances and finance practices of the Society.


We know that to be most effective as an organization we need transparency in our operations and a steady pipeline of new leaders. We continue to strive to create and communicate opportunities for members to be more involved in the STN. With the growth of the organization and ATCN, there is more opportunity for involvement than ever before. In the past, the leadership consisted primarily of the Board of Directors. Now, perusing the Web site, with all of the committee and SIG chairs and the state and region chairs, the enlarging scope of the STN leadership is evident. Our plan is to continue in this direction, using our new Web site as a communication tool.



Over the last 2 years, one of our biggest challenges at the Board has been to grow the organization while maintaining strength and stability. As we have increased in size and invested in infrastructure, we have needed to raise some prices. Each increase has been approached conservatively and only initiated with the utmost discussion and planning. To guarantee the financial stability and longevity of the STN, the Board has remained focused on developing additional methods and products to ensure a healthy revenue flow and efficient services. In addition, the Board of Directors and other chair members have unselfishly donated time and creative energy to the organization.



Increasing the STN's span of influence is probably the area that is most fulfilling for all of us involved in the STN. Long before I started my term as President, the STN began to be recognized by many as the only trauma nursing organization that spans the continuum of trauma care. As our membership grows and expands, this concept continues to develop. We have worked collaboratively with the American College of Surgeons, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, American Trauma Society, Emergency Nurses Association, and the Alliance of Nursing Organizations, to name just a few. We share the common goal of advancing the field of trauma and trauma nursing. In addition, we continue to make progress in the legislative arena with strong collaborations and Position Statements.



As I move to my new role as immediate past president, I am confident that I am leaving the organization in wonderful hands. The next President, Amy Koestner, MSN, RN, has been involved in the STN as a member and Board member for a number of years. She has invested much time and talent to the ATCN program and to developing many facets of the organization. I am confident that she will be a wonderful president and will be supported by an equally talented and committed board. There is still much work ahead. In my inaugural President's Message, I cautioned that many of our goals would take a considerable period of time to accomplish. This has proven true and for as much as we have done, there is still much more to do.


We need to continue to focus on the fiscal growth of the organization in order to have the funds to initiate and maintain all of the services needed by our members. We know that we need to develop more for the smaller subgroups within the STN and to be able to financially support state and region chairs so that they can develop and lead state activities. International leadership in trauma nursing is something that many of us would like to see the STN more involved in. To accomplish all of this, we need to continue to ensure that our services are even more efficient and organized.


I am confident that the STN will continue to grow. There are so many strong leaders within the organization and we fill a unique role in the nursing world.


I would like to thank all of you for the privilege of serving you as President of the STN. It has been an honor to meet so many of you and to have contributed to the organization.