Professional Growth and Development Achieved Through State Liaison Experience

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I became involved with ACC CV Team after a physician approached me to consider becoming state liaison for the ACC Indiana Chapter. Initially, I was overwhelmed and hesitant to add another professional responsibility on to my plate, especially one that was largely unknown to me.

However, after quick reflection, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone. I thought this would be a worthwhile learning experience, an opportunity to become involved in something new with a great deal of potential. I cannot emphasize how much I have benefitted from becoming more involved in a professional organization, both on a personal and professional level.

In the past, there have been numerous opportunities to learn, capture, organize and develop within the CV Team state liaison role. With the support of other CV Team leaders, ACC staff members, my chapter executive, fellow state liaisons and physician leaders within the ACC, many projects and visions were realized.

It was inspiring to network with other ACC CV Team members on common ventures, bring ideas back to my local chapter and focus on new methods for recruiting and engaging peers. By volunteering in a professional organization, one can see the endless opportunities for growth and development that are outside of the clinic or health care organization setting. The ACC is one of the few professional organizations that welcome nontraditional membership and values team-based care and its impact to patients with cardiovascular disease.

My professional connections in the Indianapolis community allowed me to promote ACC membership with leaders in the cardiovascular service lines of local hospitals to augment membership and participation among other nontraditional CV Team members.

For the last three years, our chapter has exceeded national expectations in regard to recruitment of CV Team members and was recognized within the ACC for this milestone. At the 2018 ACC/AHA Indiana State Legislative Conference, the amount of CV Team participants saw exceptional growth. In September, we also had several first-time attendees participating in the annual ACC Legislative Conference in Washington, DC!

While in this role, I have had the opportunity to visit congressional offices at the local and national level to advocate for patients on matters pertaining to improving quality of life and outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, I have been able to attend numerous CME and informational-based events that have allowed me to examine the potential for improvement in my own practice and service line from a process standpoint. The networking has been endless. Now when I attend a national ACC event, I feel more connected and look forward to seeing and collaborating with fellow state liaisons and ACC CV Team members. After all, we all have similar visions and goals.

While my tenure comes to a close within my state chapter in the months ahead, I look forward to staying connected within the ACC in future work groups or leadership roles. Involvement in a professional organization broadened my clinical resources, personal experiences and relationships, and clinical acumen alike.

So, the next time a fellow ACC member or leader asks you to become involved at the next level, it is my sincere hope that you will consider the invitation and limitless challenges and opportunities that will present themselves both professionally and personally. The next step to becoming more involved in a professional organization awaits!

This article was authored by Kristen Combes, MSN, ANP-BC, AACC, ACC Indiana Chapter State Liaison.