Ep 86: Pro Arguments for Keeping AANA Region Director Structure in Place

As the debate over whether the AANA should make the region director positions an at-large vote or maintain the current structure, we wanted to help present both sides of the debate. On this episode, we’re joined by Sallie Poepsel. MSN, PhD, CRNA, Julie Linton, MSN, CRNA, and Nick Blank, CRNA, MSN, APN, to hear why region directors should represent the area in which they live. The issue will be voted on Saturday, August 15, 2020. 

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

The issue has been at the forefront of the AANA for some time now and discussions continue about how to proceed with the region director positions on the board. Should the geographic criteria be eliminated and open up a deeper talent pool? Or should the seven region directors continue to represent the area where they live?

A bylaw amendment was put forward last year to change those positions and allow people residing anywhere in the country to become region directors from outside their geographic location. This change hasn’t taken effect but it’s been a topic of conversation among members across the country and will be voted on in just a few weeks on August 15, 2020.

So we wanted to help CRNAs understand both sides of the argument. This is part one of a two-episode discussion on the bylaws and which path is the best for the AANA to proceed down. To help us do that, we brought on Sallie Poepsel. MSN, PhD, CRNA, Julie Linton, MSN, CRNA, and Nick Blank, CRNA, MSN, APN, each of which are very active leaders in our profession.

They helped with a couple of bylaw amendments as well (5 and 6). Amendment 5 aims to maintain the current structure where region directors represents the area where they live. Bylaw amendment 6 takes it a step further by preventing anyone from outside the region from voting on the director.

The goal for the show is to ask them the questions we have and find out their arguments for keeping the region directors structure along with the concerns they have for the changes that have been proposed.

A look at some of the additional topics we cover on the show:

  • Having multiple people from the same region on the board.
  • More people getting involved at the membership level.
  • Explanation of how at-large voting would work.
  • The unintended harm it could cause.
  • The main point of concern everyone has.

Check it out at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

2:06 – Background on what we’re talking about.

2:55 – Our guests today.

4:07 – Julie Linton provides background on the issue.

8:44 – Wouldn’t at-large directors provide better qualified candidates?

11:57 – How a change could disenfranchise smaller states.

14:14 – Explaining how at-large voting would work.

18:19 – Nick shares an example from Region 1

21:13 – The perceived problem of regional leadership development.

26:17 – If there are a lot of great leaders out there, why aren’t they running already?

29:59 – If you abolish the current system, how assignments determined?

33:32 – Recommendation for requirements and qualifications to run.

36:49 – The one point of concern for everyone working on this issue.

38:48 – Nick adds to Julie’s point about one region or state having the majority of directors.

41:53 – Why are we going back to undo something that was voted on?

44:41 – Should the AANA function more as a business than it currently does?

47:19 – Making diversity a priority.


“Leadership development is always an ongoing process. It shouldn’t be something that ever ends. There are times when you will do it better and there are times when you won’t be so good at it. But to throw the baby out with the bath water here and not address leadership development in a more comprehensive way but let’s just burn the whole system down and start over is likely to cause much more harm than good.”

-Nick Blank, CRNA, MSN, APN

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