Newswise — The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has appointed Dana Woods as its new CEO. Woods will serve as the top staff executive of the California-based AACN, which is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization.

As CEO, Woods will provide leadership and strategic vision to implement the work of AACN and AACN Certification Corporation, its credentialing arm.

“The societal impact that nurses make is unparalleled,” said Woods. “To have been welcomed into this community so warmly all of these years has been life changing. It is an extraordinary privilege to make supporting the vital, demanding and joyous work of nurses my life’s work.”

A member of AACN’s senior staff leadership group since 1999, Woods officially begins her new role as CEO on Jan. 1, 2014. She succeeds Wanda Johanson, past president of the association, who retires after four decades of volunteer and employee service, including 14 years as CEO.

In her 14 years with AACN, Woods has acquired broad and deep knowledge of the nursing profession and the organization, leading the teams accountable for marketing, communications, certification, membership, information technology and organizational effectiveness.

Woods has spearheaded strategy development and played a key role in developing signature initiatives, including the highly-regarded “AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments” and AACN Clinical Scene Investigator Academy, which has staff nurse participants at 42 hospitals in six American cities.

“Dana is uniquely positioned to be AACN’s CEO,” said AACN president Vicki Good, RN, MSN, CENP. “Her keen understanding and appreciation of AACN from the inside out are strengthened by her strategic insight and mission-driven business administration experience.”

Before joining AACN’s national staff, Woods held leadership positions in healthcare and nonprofit organizations on the West Coast as public relations director for Seattle Goodwill, then director of marketing and community relations for Martin Luther Hospital Anaheim and La Palma Intercommunity Hospital; at the time, both were California affiliates of Catholic Healthcare West.

Woods holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Tufts University and a master’s in business administration with highest honors from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society recognizing business excellence.

“With our more than 100,000 members, I share great optimism about the impact nurses will have on shaping the future of healthcare,” said Woods. “We are in a highly influential position to drive excellence in the care of our nation’s most vulnerable patients and their families. As our mission statement boldly declares, we believe that nothing less than excellence is acceptable.”

About AACN Certification Corporation: AACN Certification Corporation, the credentialing arm of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, develops and administers the CCRN, PCCN, CCRN-E, CCNS, ACNPC, ACNPC-AG, ACCNS-AG and ACCNS-P specialty exams, and the CMC and CSC subspecialty exams. In collaboration with the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) Credentialing Center AACN Certification Corporation also offers the CNML exam. AACN Certification Corporation promotes and enhances consumer health and safety by establishing and maintaining high standards of professional practice excellence through certification and certification renewal for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and claims more than 235 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.;;