Creating Chapter Bylaws
The structure of any association begins with its bylaws - they are the foundation of their organization. Each AORN Chapter approves and is governed by their Chapter bylaws. Certain parts of Chapter bylaws must be consistent with those of the AORN Bylaws. Articles II, III, and XIII of the AORN bylaws cannot be amended and must be adopted by the Chapter as stated. All other sections of the bylaws may be customized to meet individual Chapter needs.
To clarify what is required versus what can be amended for your Chapter, you may want to reorganize your Chapter bylaws as recommended in the 2013-2014 Chapter Bylaws Guidelines. This format has two separate sections - Part One includes the mandatory articles and wording that is consistent with the National bylaws, and Part Two includes the articles that your Chapter can customize to meet your individual needs.
Procedure for Chapter Bylaws Review
Take the time to review your Chapter bylaws every year - these are the rules and structure of your Chapter. If your rules are not working, change them to fit what works best for YOUR Chapter (quorum percentage for conducting business during a meeting, eligibility for elective office, etc). Remember...all bylaw changes must be sent to the membership or posted on the web at least 30 days before the changes will be voted on.
Bylaws must be updated no less than every other year, with a copy sent to AORN. The Chapter Bylaws Guidelines are updated yearly with the outcome from the House of Delegates. Contact AORN Chapter Relations Coordinator Deb Warren at 800-755-2676, Ext. 222, if you need assistance or have questions on your bylaws.
The Chapter bylaws can be supplemented by a Chapter policy and procedure manual to provide information on day-to-day operations, reimbursement, delegate duties and reimbursement, etc. To determine whether an item should be a part of the bylaws or written as a policy, think about the process. Bylaws are the rules and structure of your Chapter - policies are the general instructions, such as finances, delegate information, committee descriptions, etc. Below are a few sample Chapter policies that you can review and customize for your Chapters. Special thanks to Chapters 1004 South Florida; 1602 Dubuqeland, IA; and 2301 Metro Detroit, MI, for sharing their manuals.