AACN News—February 1999—Association News

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Vol. 16, No. 2, FEBRUARY 1999


Volunteer for National Positions

March 12, 1999, is the deadline to apply for opportunities to volunteer at the national level with both AACN and AACN Certification Corporation in the next fiscal year. Terms begin July 1, 1999. A wide range of volunteer activities, which can be tailored to individual expertise, interest, and time constraints, are available. All volunteer expenses are paid by AACN according to AACN policy guidelines.

For more information, call (800) 809-2273, ext. 228. Applications can be obtained by calling (800) 899-AACN (2226) or Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 (Request Document #1520), or by visiting the Volunteers area of the AACN home page at www.aacn.org.

Following is a list and brief description of the AACN volunteer opportunities:

Work Groups
These groups accomplish an ongoing body of work on a designated subject. Members generally travel to 1 to 2 face-to-face meetings and participate in 2 to 3 conference calls.
Openings are available on the Advanced Practice Work Group, NTI Work Group, Research Work Group, and Ethics Integration Work Group.

Think Tank
Openings are available on the Professional Development Think Tank, which identifies and evaluates trends and issues in education, programming, and international activities. A fall meeting requires travel. In addition, members participate in 1 to 2 conference calls.

Advisory Panels
Advisory panels provide feedback on specific issues and clinical practice. Advisory panel members work from home, participating in conference calls and responding to written requests.
Openings are available on the following advisory panels: AACN Board, Online, Advanced Practice, Pediatric, Ethics, Practice, Membership, Program, Neonatal, Progressive Care, Novice Critical Care Nurses (less than 3 years experience), and Student Nurses.

Chapter Advisory Team
Chapter advisers act as ambassadors for the association as they assist chapters and foster the development of new chapter leaders. In addition, they provide input to the National Office on chapter operations and regional issues.
Travel to 1 to 2 face-to-face meetings a year is required. Chapter advisers also travel within their assigned regions and participate in conference calls.

Review Panels
These panels review and evaluate recipients of AACN awards, grants, and scholarships. Continuing education (CE) credit is available to panel members who provide evaluation services on CE articles and products. Panel members work from home. They also participate in conference calls and respond to written materials.

Openings are available on the Chapter and Membership Awards, Research and Creative Solutions Abstracts, Continuing Education Articles, Research Grants, and Scholarships review panels.
Public Policy Advisory Team

Public policy advisers review and refine AACN’s public policy agenda and resources. They communicate and help interpret AACN initiatives to members. In addition, they support and advise chapters in their assigned regions regarding public policy and community service.

Travel to 1 to 2 meetings a year is required. Public policy advisers also travel within their regions and participate in conference calls.

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Study Tour Provides Insight Into Critical Care Nursing in Australia

A group of 68 critical care nurses participated in AACN’s South Pacific Study Tour to Australia in September 1998. The Australian tour followed a successful tour to Hong Kong and China, which AACN sponsored in February 1997.

The purpose of the study tour was to promote the exchange of ideas between critical care nurses from the United States and from Australia through interaction during hospital tours and formal and informal presentations.

Robyn Clark, past president of the Confederation of Australian Critical Care Nurses (CACCN), was the Australian hostess for the tour. Joanne Krumberger, RN, MSN, CCRN, past president of AACN, led the AACN delegation, with Barbara Mayer, director of professional development at AACN, serving as the national office liaison.

The study tour began with a visit to Cairns Base Hospital in Port Douglas, Australia. A reception hosted by nurses from Cairns the previous evening provided an opportunity not only to exchange ideas, but also to enjoy the local culture.

The visit to Cairns Base Hospital was highlighted by tours of the ICU and emergency room. Participants found the ICU design, equipment, and nursing care protocols to be similar to those in the United States. In addition, Cairns Base Hospital was undergoing reorganization, which was another concept familiar to tour participants.

Trish Smith, nurse manager of the ICU, who organized the hospital tour, reported that plans were under way to expand the ICU bed capacity. Smith noted that ICU occupancy remained at about 90%, in contrast to that found in the United States, where the total number of ICU beds is decreasing.

In addition, participants learned that specialty pediatric units are a new concept in Australia, where both adult and pediatric patients receive care in the same unit.

Both television and print media representatives interviewed Krumberger during the hospital visit.

In Port Douglas, tour participants attended lectures by Smith; Jocelyn Rogers, from the base hospital; and Gary Lopez, president of the CACCN North Queensland subbranch, on the unique challenges of providing healthcare in the tropics, as well as on Australia’s national structure for the education of nurses. Although Australia’s social structure differs from that in the United States, professional nursing is differentiated, as it is in the U.S., into role specialties such as clinical nurses, nurse educators and consultants, managers, and administrators. Whereas graduate programs for Australian nurses are proliferating, the nurse practitioner role has not yet emerged for advanced practice nurses.

Also of interest to participants were the innovative models that have emerged for distance learning to accommodate nurses who otherwise would have to travel long distances to attend school. This was particularly true for nurses wanting to practice in a specialty area such as critical care, where they are required to pay for their own internship study.

Editor’s note: Port Douglas is close to both the Tropical Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Participants enjoyed these world wonders during free time that was planned for cultural learning.

In Port Douglas, tour participants attended lectures by Smith; Jocelyn Rogers, from the base hospital; and Gary Lopez, president of the CACCN North Queensland subbranch, on the unique challenges of providing healthcare in the tropics, as well as on Australia’s national structure for the education of nurses. Although Australia’s social structure differs from that in the United States, professional nursing is differentiated, as it is in the U.S., into role specialties such as clinical nurses, nurse educators and consultants, managers, and administrators. Whereas graduate programs for Australian nurses are proliferating, the nurse practitioner role has not yet emerged for advanced practice nurses.

Suzanne Hood, nursing manager for the RFDS Queensland Base, provided an overview of the nursing services and a description of the Outpost Radio service, which links the most remote areas to a physician or nurse 24 hours per day via radio. Outback first-aid kits have been developed by the RFDS and, based on the symptoms described by the patient, medications/treatments are ordered via the radio until arrangements are made for aeromedical transfer of the patient to the nearest healthcare facility. Study tour participants were allowed to tour the aircraft.

Of interest was the fact that all flight nurses must be registered nurses with experience in critical care nursing as well as hold a midwifery certificate. In addition, nurses who manage a clinic base must hold a child health certificate.

Participants were also surprised to learn that the service is primarily funded through charitable donations.

Editors Note: Approximately two thirds of Australia or 2 million square miles, which is about two thirds the size of the U.S., is sparsely settled.

Next, the tour proceeded to Sydney, Australia's beautiful harbor capital. A highlight of the Sydney visit was a dinner cohosted by CACCN and AACN, at which participants exchanged professional information and compared the practices of Australian and American critical care nurses.

Roundtable discussion sessions were organized around critical care education, staffing issues in the ICU, critical care certification, ICU experiences in third world countries, the 2001 World Congress, and research utilization in critical care nursing. The learning experience was enriched when roundtable facilitators reported to the entire group on ideas for strategies to address the topics discussed.

A formal educational program by Ged Williams, current CACCN president, highlighted the evening. He spoke about critical care nursing and aboriginal health. This presentation complemented an optional tour to an aboriginal village.
Editors Note: The dinner was sponsored in part by an educational grant from Nellcor/Mallinckrodt Inc.

The final day of the study tour in Sydney included visits to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, The Prince Henry and Prince of Wales Hospitals, The New Children’s Hospital, and Liverpool Hospital. CACCN members Wayne Jones, Therese Clarke, Brett Abbenbroek, Jane Gregurhie, and Doug Elliott led the tours, which provided participants the opportunity to experience “state of the art” of critical care nursing in Sydney.

The units were similar to those in the U. S., both in terms of the practice of critical care nursing and the environments and technologies used to support clinical care. The tour leaders gave formal presentations on various critical care topics.

Participants learned that some of the most common reasons for ICU admission were cardiac disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation, near drowning, and road trauma, all of which are also common in the U.S. Other causes of ICU admission including tropical diseases such as wheels, scrub typhus, malaria, and meningitis, as well as crocodile and moray eel bites, were not as familiar.

Study tour participants were impressed by the Australian nurses' efforts to incorporate nursing research into their care.

Tour participants also had the option to join extension tours to New Zealand and the Fiji Islands. A unique opportunity was afforded participants who went on to Fiji, where 4 traditional healers—2 of whom are nurses—described the use of herbs that are indigenous to the islands in the treatment of illness. Filo McKay and Matron Kini Silimuana, both nurses, and Asenaca Rorakuita and Raijieli Yauvoli, both village healers,
were the copresenters.

The study tour provided an excellent opportunity to see first hand the healthcare provided in the South Pacific, as well as to enjoy Aussie colleagues and the general culture by sampling the best of sights, food, and shopping.

Vision Partners Receive Scholarships to Attend the NTI

Pairs of Vision Partners will receive continuing education scholarships to attend AACN’s 1999 National Teaching Institute™ and Critical Care Exposition in New Orleans, La., May 16 through 20. (See page 1 for more information on the NTI.)

The Vision Partners program connects an AACN member with a prospective member in a learning and networking partnership. Each pair of scholarship recipients agrees to continue to develop and strengthen the relationship following the NTI and to complete a survey at the end of 6 months on progress toward further developing the partnership.

The partner who is an AACN member introduces the nonmember to AACN’s vision, as well as to the benefits of AACN membership. The nonmember has a chance to share a different perspective in a range of areas that may include a cultural or ethnic viewpoint, the use of alternative medicine and therapies, another discipline altogether, or clinical practice in another country.

Each Vision Partners participant is awarded a scholarship to offset the expenses of attending the NTI. Partners who are not members of AACN also receive a 1-year AACN membership. They are eligible to register for the NTI at the discounted member rate.

April 9, 1999, is the deadline to apply for a Vision Partners scholarship. To obtain an application, call (800) 899-AACN (2226).


Learning Connection Experience Fosters Staff Development

Participating in a mentoring partnership at Thomason Regional Medical Center were (from left, front row) Angelica Gonzalez and Critical Care Nurse Manager Irma Estrada, and (from left, back row) AACN President-elect Anne Wojner, Cecilia Olivas, and Ruth Sagredo.

Have you ever wanted to develop a mentoring relationship with an experienced critical care clinician, but weren’t sure who to connect with or how to reach them?

AACN is currently in the process of formalizing mentoring opportunities in which you can “connect” with experts who can help you with your learning needs in a variety of critical care specialties.

Recently, the nursing staff of Thomason Regional Medical Center in El Paso, Tex., made such a connection to meet the needs of their growing neuroscience population. AACN member Kathi Barnes, RN, MS, CCRN, CNS, an outcomes manager and clinical nurse specialist (CNS) at Thomason, connected with AACN President-elect Anne Wojner, RN, MSN, CCRN, an assistant professor of clinical nursing at the University of Texas-Houston and a practicing neuroscience CNS, to provide didactic and bedside clinical teaching rounds for the hospital’s nursing staff. Over a 6-month period, Wojner provided on-site instruction to support neuroscience staff development.

“It was a valuable experience for all of us, including our patients,” Barnes said. “In fact, we plan to continue our relationship with Anne, to build our own in-house neuroscience nursing experts.”

Wojner said she found the experience to be equally rewarding.

“Traveling to different critical care units and clinical settings is in itself a rich learning opportunity that I very much value,” she said. “Being able to connect with our membership on the front lines to understand their needs, issues, and professional goals is simply an irreplaceable experience.”

Similar mentoring opportunities will be available through a database that includes online access of experts.


Reality Is What Counts in Financial Planning

In surveys on retirement and financial planning, Merrill Lynch has found that how people think about their money often differs from what they actually do with it. These surveys reveal that most Americans believe they are doing more to prepare for the future than they are.

In its latest ninth annual Merrill Lynch Retirement and Financial Planning Survey,* the consequences of this gap between perception and reality were clearly illustrated. In an attempt to determine whether Americans’ high expectations for retirement are realistic, Merrill Lynch questioned retirees about their financial expectations for the first time. It found that in many cases, retirees have scaled back their vision of the future, which should serve as a wake-up call for people whose confidence about their own future is not based in proper planning.

Workers More Optimistic than Retirees
The gap between how younger, employed people view the future and how retirees are experiencing their postcareer years is wide. The vast majority of employed respondents expected to be better off financially in the next 2 years. Retirees were more likely to say that their financial situation will stay the same or worsen.

Asked about their preparations for retirement, younger respondents were optimistic, with 77% indicating that they felt very well prepared or somewhat prepared for retirement. Two thirds of those aged 25 to 44 years indicated they felt the same level of preparation.

However, only about one third of those who had retired stated they felt very well prepared for retirement. A greater number (38%) stated they felt somewhat prepared, whereas almost 1 in 3 stated they felt not at all prepared, or didn’t know if they were prepared. Not surprisingly, retirees who had a strong orientation toward saving money were more than twice as likely as nonsavers to feel very well prepared for retirement.

Habits Could Cloud Future
Despite an optimistic view of their future, employed people seem to be developing financial habits that could quickly dampen their expectations.

Nearly half (43%) pay 20% or more of their household income toward nonmortgage debt, and close to 40% reported they carried more debt than they have in savings.

Although college expenses are increasing at a rate greater than inflation, employed people who plan to pay college expenses seem less concerned about having enough resources to do so. The proportion of people who are very concerned or somewhat concerned has dropped 10% from 1996, and the proportion that is not too concerned or not at all concerned has increased 10%.

The goal of saving for retirement also seems to be elusive. Just 16% of working people stated they felt well prepared for retirement, whereas another 54% reported feeling somewhat prepared. Although they allocated on average about 12% of their annual income to retirement, respondents felt that they should be putting away 21%.

Some people are pinning their hopes on retirement plans at work such as 401(k) plans. One in 4 stated that his or her employer is mainly responsible for providing a retirement income, a figure that climbed 10% from last year.

Respondents stated they expected employers to provide about 40% of their retirement income, up from 35%. However, some declined to use employer plans. Although 81% of employed people reported their employer offered a retirement plan, only 68% reported participating.

A Bright Tomorrow Takes Planning
Until Americans realize that the future depends on the actions of the present, their optimism will continue to be unfounded. Having a financial plan greatly increases the likelihood of achieving financial goals.

Financial planning is the process of determining what your current financial situation is, what your financial goals and objectives are, and how you are going to meet these goals. A written financial plan details your assets and liabilities, calculates the saving levels and investment returns necessary to meet your goals, and includes recommendations for the action steps you need to take to meet your goals.

For many people, a good first step is to consult a financial consultant, who can help reconcile expectations about the future with the realities of current financial situations. This person can also suggest steps for achieving financial security.

Allen N. Jones is senior vice president and director of the Merrill Lynch Private Client Marketing Group.

* Conducted in June 1997, the survey included 938 people, roughly divided between the “next generation” (aged 25-44 years), preretirees (aged 45-64 years), and retirees (not restricted by age).


Program to Educate Nurses About Organ and Tissue Donation

A comprehensive program to educate nurses about the organ and tissue donation process is being developed by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and AACN. When completed, this program will be available to help hospitals across the country respond to new federal guidelines on donation that were set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.

This new program is an extension of the “Making the Critical Difference” nursing education program, which NKF and AACN released in 1991. The original program has been used in approximately 450 workshops to educate more than 10,000 nurses about organ and tissue.

This new program is an extension of the “Making the Critical Difference” nursing education program, which NKF and AACN released in 1991. The original program has been used in approximately 450 workshops to educate more than 10,000 nurses about organ and tissue.

As with the 1991 program, the goal is to provide potential donor families with the opportunity to make an informed decision about organ and tissue donation.

In addition to NKF and AACN, the North American Transplant Coordinators Organization and the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations will be key collaborators in developing the new program.

Margaret B. Coolican, RN, MS, CDE, chairman of the NKF National Donor Family Council, noted that the process of donation begins with the incident that causes the death and continues through the bereavement.

“Every healthcare professional who interacts with the family is part of the process and every step impacts on the families’ ultimate decisions regarding donation,” she said. “This program will be designed to ensure optimal communication between the grieving families and healthcare professionals.”

Barbara Mayer, RN, MSN, director of professional development at AACN, said, “After collecting 8 years’ worth of outcomes data from participants in the original program, we are certain that this new educational and emotionally supportive training program will meet the needs of our healthcare professionals.”

The program will be developed over an 18-month period by a task force consisting of representatives from the 4 organizations.

For more information or to offer suggestions, call NKF at (800) 622-9010.


NTI 2000 Speaker Proposals Invited

March 15, 1999, is the deadline to submit speaker proposal abstracts for the 2000 National Teaching Institute,™ which is scheduled for May 21 through 25 in Orlando, Fla.

NTI speakers receive complimentary airfare and registration, and 2 nights hotel (the night before and the night after their presentations). The NTI Work Group will review proposals in June 1999.

To obtain a speaker proposal packet, call (800) 899-AACN (2226).

Check Out the New Resource Catalog Online

Are you looking for resources that will help enhance your practice or professional development? You can find these and other resources in the new AACN Resource Catalog, which was recently distributed. This catalog is also available online in the Bookstore area of the AACN home page at www.aacn.org. The online version is easy to use, allowing you to search for resources by keywords, as well as to purchase items in a secure environment. Because the catalog is “live,” it can be continually updated with new information or products.

To obtain a printed copy of the AACN Resource Catalog, call (800) 899-AACN (2226).

Clinical Nurse Specialist Role

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Role in Critical Care once again is available. AACN recently reprinted this textbook, which is useful both to the student and novice CNS, as well as to the experienced CNS who wants to further develop the role. Focusing on the various components of the role, this book addresses the critical issues affecting the CNS in a changing healthcare environment. Each chapter incorporates theoretical perspectives, related literature and research, practice implications, and critical care case studies.

Price: $45 ($55 nonmember)*
*plus shipping and handling
Product #128100

To order, call (800) 899-AACN (2226).