IMG 0157

Sandra Brettler, MSN RN CNRN

Palmyra, PA


BSN – Bloomsburg University - 1985        
MSN – Thomas Jefferson University – 1991; Critical Care/Trauma Track, minor in Neurosciences 


Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania Nominee – Nursing Education 2005; Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania Nominee – Clinical Nurse Specialist 2001; AACN Vision Partner Award – 1999; Excellence in Leadership Awards – Penn State Hershey Medical Center Nursing Excellence Awards – 1999; AACN Excellence in Education Award Nominee, AACN Circle of Excellence Awards – 1998; Member of Sigma Theta Tau since 1992

Vision for Neuroscience Nursing:

I strongly believe that I came into the profession of nursing to be a neuroscience nurse.  I have worked throughout my career to educate, promote, support and facilitate others to join me in my efforts to care for all types of neuroscience patients. As we develop our strong network of nurses not only nationwide, but across the globe, we gain a better understanding of patients and their disease processes, and how our care is similar, yet still different. The commitment to excellence should be sought after by each individual who crosses paths with a neuroscience patient, and we as an organization should support and promote that excellence whenever possible. We have many energetic, competent specialty nurses who have a tremendous capability for instilling their passion into what they do as a profession. We should capitalize on that as our strength, and move forward with a certainty that things can only get better, even when they are already great! I am determined to expand the depth and breadth of neuroscience nursing in as many ways as possible, as I feel so connected to these patients and the nurses that care for them. I have been blessed to be a part of such a phenomenal organization, and my desire is to share my passion with as many nurses (neuro or not) as I can.

Vision for the Association:

As a former member of the Board of Directors of AANN, both as a Director At Large and more recently as Secretary/Treasurer, I have worked to try to unify nurses in our profession, promote integrity and advance collaborative care throughout our organization and through our chapters. I believe that we can grow our professional ranks to achieve the best membership organization available for nurses in the neuroscience field, and offer quality affordable programming and products to our members. We need to focus our efforts on developing sustainable partnerships and promoting advocacy so that our members are not confused when searching for the best practices supported by evidence. I feel our organization has had some significant growth in our financial landscape during my tenure in the last several years, and I feel that we can continue on this path of stability and sustainable growth. As our vision statement indicates, we should be indispensable to nurses and neuroscience healthcare. We need to promote the value of our organization to all who work with the neurosciences in both the clinical and business aspects.

Accomplishments in Professional Positions:

My professional accomplishments are intertwined with a number of leadership positions that I have held in the past. I helped to develop the Clinical Nurse Specialist position hospital-wide as a nurse at a large community hospital in NC and assisted with the development of a collaborative model of practice in their adult ICU. I also worked with a co-worker to develop a new chapter of AANN in the mid 1990’s – a chapter that now has a large number of members, offers neuroscience nursing programming, and has developed into one of the larger chapters in our organization. I have mentored and supported many nurses through the promotion of specialty certification, and have taught several certification review courses for them on my own time. I was honored to be a chapter editor for the most recent edition of the AANN Core Curriculum, as well as a co-author in the Movement Disorders chapter. I have been on the board of directors of my local chapter of AANN as well as the local American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) chapter. I have been nominated as a Nightingale Award nominee, and though I’ve never received the award, was truly honored to be among such high caliber nurses from the state of Pennsylvania. I believe that I can support our organization at a professional level, and if elected, it would be my pleasure to serve AANN and its members.

Accomplishments in Leadership Positions:

Accomplishments in Leadership Positions – Previously as a Director-At-Large, I have worked as the facilitator for all of the Chapters. I observed that there was a large disconnect between what the association did for the chapters, and what the chapters did for the association, including benefits and membership. I developed an action plan, and with the approval of the entire board, worked with a task force to improve the benefits offered to chapters that are mutually beneficial to both the chapters and the organization as a whole. More recently, I co-lead a task force to work on the development of a virtual chapter for those members who are not physically able to be at local meetings, but still want education and networking opportunities. At a less “spectacular” level, I was the vice-president of our local midget football association as my daughter was a cheerleader. Working with a group of parents, we developed and promoted a cheering competition to support our organization. In our founding year, we had 35 teams compete and our organization profited from this function with a deposit of $17,000 in the bank. Needless to say, we were able to not only purchase new cheering uniforms, but new football uniforms for the athletes as well. Additional endeavors by this group enabled us to purchase field lighting, erect a permanent building to house equipment, put a new roof on the refreshment stand, and improve the park next to the football field.

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