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Bringing ARN’s August Town Hall Meeting to You

In her October President's Message, ARN President Dr. Patricia Quigley reports on recently held ARN member town hall meetings and provides an update on ARN's membership engagement efforts, including summarizing results from ARN's recent member and CRRN engagement survey. Pat also outlines the path ahead for these efforts and how they will shape ARN for years to come.

Dear Colleagues,

In August, ARN President Elect Jill Rye, ARN Secretary-Treasurer Maria Radwanski, and I, along with Executive Director Gayle Irvin, and Senior Operations Manager Melissa Bellows, facilitated three town hall meetings. These town hall meetings were designed to update members about two major strategic plan projects: membership engagement and the learning management system. In addition, plenty of time was planned for members to ask questions, share ideas, and celebrate our community. Thank you to those who were able to join us. Because many of you may have wanted to attend but were unable, I am delighted to bring our August town hall meeting to you as I thank you for your membership in ARN. For this message, I will summarize our membership engagement efforts.

ARN's Engagement Efforts 

Our 2020–2021 Board of Directors are in your service. We are trustees of ARN and know that we must change to meet the needs of our organization today for our tomorrow. To remain mission and vision focused, our work has been driven by our strategic plan, with involvement and input of our chapter leaderships, committees and task forces, Chair of Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board, and members.

Our 2020–2023 Strategic Plan has four pillars: Engagement, Strategic Partnership, Visibility, and Knowledge and Practice. The goal of our engagement initiatives is to engage members and other stakeholders to advance ARN's mission.

In January, our board approved a charter for ARN's Engagement Task Force and sought guidance from the Bridger Consultation Group to explore membership engagement models and seek opportunities to merge belonging, expertise, and influence of our members. Our vision is to build a quality selection of membership benefits that helps ARN membership stay relevant, while keeping member satisfaction always at the core of who we are.

During the town hall, we introduced the Engagement Task Force's "Defining Engagement" activities:

  • Recruit new members
  • Provide a welcoming environment
  • Introduce members to ARN's products and services and make accessibility as easy as possible
  • Communicate with members effectively and clearly
  • Involve members in information sharing and decision making
  • Renew members as easily as possible

Each activity is interrelated because membership engagement is about ensuring that members receive as much value as they can from our professional community, various products, and services.

Engagement Survey Insights 

We also provided an overview of our 2021 Engagement Survey results. More than 1,000 rehabilitation nurses responded! Thank you to those who participated. Here are key findings, which I know will touch your pride and purpose of being members of ARN:

  • 90% of members indicated that they would recommend ARN as a great organization to their friends or colleagues.
  • 95% of members strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, "I am proud to be a member of ARN."
  • 90% of CRRNs said they would recommend CRRN certification to their friends or colleagues.
  • 90% percent of CRRNs, including both ARN member and non-ARN member CRRNs, strongly agreed or agreed that they are proud to be CRRN certified.

Members overwhelmingly commented that ARN's focus on the rehabilitation nursing specialty makes it stand apart from other organizations they belong to. "ARN is tailored to my passion for rehab nursing," shared one respondent.

Members ranked the following benefits as those they were most satisfied with in the past year:
  1. Receiving the bi-monthly Rehabilitation Nursing Journal
  2. Receiving the ARN Pulse newsletter
  3. Networking with other rehabilitation nurses
  4. Participating in live and on-demand educational events or webinars
  5. Member Circle online community

Top benefits of CRRN certification that were cited included recognition, respect, knowledge, patient care, pay increase, confidence, and personal satisfaction.

From analysis of our membership data, we learned 63% of ARN members work in a hospital/medical center with a rehab unit or work in a freestanding rehab facility; 82% of members pay for their dues themselves; 59% of members identify they work in general rehab (in current member demographics, members must identify one area of practice. ARN is looking to revise this; in the survey, respondents were able to choose all that applied); 44% of members have spent 16+ years in rehab; and 49% of members identify their primary position as staff nurse. We also learned there are opportunities for improvement: reducing costs and offering additional opportunities to earn free CEUs; increasing participation in and awareness of local chapters; and creating new networking and mentorship opportunities.

Looking Ahead 

Colleagues, all of our efforts are to secure and advance ARN's essential place in the nursing profession, the specialty of rehabilitation nursing. As we learn more through our deliberate and strategic actions, always mission and vision focused, we are guided by our strategic plan. We want to be known for our history, expertise, evidence-based practice, specialty practice, research and leadership voice, and contributions. Through this journey, we have affirmed that there is no shortage of ideas and unending passion for our specialty.

Our next steps given the new and existing data are to conduct focus groups and interviews with current and past ARN members and non-member CRRNs. The results will be presented to the Engagement Task Force, who will make recommendations to the board.

I am delighted to present to you ARN's Engagement Task Force Members: Chair Billy Kinsel, Kelly Davis, Vidette Forbes, Sarah Hopkins, Gina Martinek, Abigail Mawhirter, Julie Scott, Elizabeth Squires, Anna Ogunfusika, Christopher Allen, and Board Liaison Maureen Musto. Note that two members of this task force are current CRRN non-members for strategic outreach and inclusion.

Like all of our volunteer ARN groups, the Engagement Task Force is hard at work to advance ARN's mission and vision. Please join me in thanking our Engagement Task Force, staff, and consultants.

Each of you, your family, your friends, and your colleagues are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish for your continued health, safety, strength, and resolve, with hopes to see you and thank you virtually at our 47th ARN Rehabilitation Nursing Conference, November 10–12. While I had hoped to see many of you in person in Providence for this year's conference, last week we announced the board's decision to make the meeting a virtual-only event to ensure the health and well-being of our rehabilitation nursing community. I invite you to view a video message from me about this difficult decision as well as why I urge you to join me and hundreds of nurses from around the country online for three full days of impactful education and rejuvenating community this November.

I so look forward to hearing back from you!


President, Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

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