Countdown to the Annual Meeting

​Dennis Bless
As all of you are getting excited for the AANA Annual Meeting—just days away—I wanted to express what a great honor it is to be starting my term as your president. This year’s Annual Meeting holds a wealth of opportunities for CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists to hone their skills and gain knowledge about a variety of topics.
Please attend the Business Meeting this year (8 a.m. Sunday in the Grand Ballroom). It’s here where many important bylaw amendments and resolutions that affect all AANA members will be discussed. I hope you also plan to attend the CRNA-PAC fundraiser, “Retro Rat Pack,” Saturday evening and the AANA Foundation Fundraiser, “Vegas – The Stars Come Out at Night,” Monday evening. Both are important in continuing the progress of our profession and our Association.  In addition, I hope you get the opportunity to experience all that Las Vegas has to offer, from great entertainment to great shopping to other attractions such as Hoover Dam.
Looking forward to the year ahead, I can see many great opportunities on the horizon. One of them is the Fall Leadership Academy, Nov. 7 to 9 in Miami Beach. Attendees will get the chance to learn about the latest governance and leadership strategies and be treated to keynote speaker Sarah Sladek, a well-known author and generations expert. On Sunday morning, Donna Shalala, who served for eight years as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton, will be our special guest speaker. Dr. Shalala served as chair of the Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and will speak about the recommendations from the committee’s report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”
I’m already excited for the 2014 Nurse Anesthesia Annual Congress in Orlando, which will feature another outstanding keynote speaker, renowned author, poet, and activist Maya Angelou.
Some of my goals for the upcoming year include working on the value of AANA membership—an example of a new terrific member benefit is the supplemental liability insurance coverage for employed CRNAs which will be rolled out by AANA Insurance Services in Las Vegas (visit the Insurance session Monday morning for more information). I plan to encourage diversity in the nurse anesthesia profession and also to examine the ways that we allocate membership dues. In addition, I will continue to strengthen the relationships fostered by President Janice Izlar, CRNA, DNAP, between the AANA and our Affiliate Organizations.
In short, I’m looking forward to everything—from the speakers during the next several days to building solid, working relationships with the Board of Directors and AANA staff during the coming year. I’m excited and humbled to be serving as your president, and I know it will be a year filled with many opportunities for the Association.