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History of ISAPN

Year 1 – The Steering Committee

Late in 2001, ten advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) met with the staff of Consulting4Biz in Springfield, Illinois, to contemplate the formation of an organization that would be devoted specifically to the issues of APRNs in Illinois. The APRNs attending that meeting included: Michelle Buck, CNS, Sharon Draper, CNP, Karen Harrer, CNP, Karen Hildreth, CNP, Peter Kale, CNP, Marie Lindsey, CNP, Rosemary Meganck, CNM, Karen Schildt, CNP and CNM, and Gail Van Kanegan, CNP. Consulting4Biz staff included: Tim Hennessey, CEO and President, Kim Carter Parker, Denise Ethington, and Sue Clark, RN. Consulting4Biz was an established lobbying firm that was beginning to offer association management services.

Using the Hoshin Kanri Method, the discussion was launched by posing the question, "By June 30, 2002 the ISAPN will be successful if we…." After a full day of discussion, it was agreed that the priorities should be that the organization:

1. Have a diversified membership base
2. Have achieved financial stability
3. Have established a legislative/political presence
4. Have established successful marketing campaign

Clearly priorities #1, 2, 4, were inextricably intertwined. Financial stability would be dependent on having a sufficient number of dues-paying members, and persuading APNs to become members would require a marketing strategy that would inspire them to join the organization. Despite the apparent overlap of these three priorities, there were unique historical events that compelled the meeting attendees to identify them separately.

"Diversified membership base" referred to the fervent desire that the new organization would be one that all certified nurse midwives (CNMs), certified nurse practitioners (CNPs), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), and clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) would want to join. As it is generally accepted tenet that there is strength in numbers, it follows that having an organization that appeals to all APRN specialties would the best way to achieve that goal. However, over the years there had been communication problems among the four specialties, for complicated reasons related to their different histories, scope of practice, and intricacies of relationships with physician organizations. Furthermore, there already were state organizations for the CRNAs, the Illinois Association of Nurse Anesthetists, and for the CNMs, with an Illinois chapter of the American College of Nurse Midwives. Appealing to all four specialties was not a new concept. In the the 1990s, the Illinois Nurses Association’s Interdivisional Council of Nurse Practitioners changed its name and became the Council of Advanced Practice Nurses, in hopes of capturing the larger APRN market. However, the peak membership for this council, 660, was during the years 1998-1990 at the time of negotiations of the Illinois Nursing Act when APRN fervor was at an all-time high. At that time the number APRNs were in Illinois was unknown, so we had no idea what a target goal for APRN membership in an organization should be. By the end of the 2001, thousands of APRN licenses had been issued, indicating a clear need for an organization with goals dedicated solely to APRNs interests. It was hoped, therefore, that if sufficient numbers of each APRN specialty became members of ISAPN, communication problems that existed in the past could be resolved, and the laudable but often elusive aspiration of speaking with one voice could become reality.

During this meeting, it was agreed that the name for the new organization should be "Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing." The word "Nursing" was chosen instead of "Nurses" to reinforce that the purpose of the organization was advancement of the profession as a whole. Furthermore, there was a vision that various types of membership would be created, including a role for nurses who weren’t APRNs themselves, but were supporters of the profession, such as nursing faculty and administrators.

At the end of the day, leadership for the fledgling organization was chosen as follows:

Officers: Marie Lindsey - President
Margaret Hickey Carroll - Vice President
Sue Braun - Treasurer
Peter Kale - Secretary
Trustees: Gail Van Kanegan
Rosemary Meganck
Karen Schildt
Judy Lidy
Sharon Draper
Karen Harrer
Michelle Buck


(By the next meeting two other trustees were added to the Steering Committee: Anita Meriwether, CNS, and Bill Vardaro, CRNA.)

Temporary bylaws were approved and groundwork was laid for three committees: Finance, Membership/Marketing, Government Relations, and Bylaws (in preparation for ratification by the dues-paying members in the Fall, 2002).


Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing
P.O. Box 636
Manteno, IL 60950