AACN News—February 2000—Association News

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Vol. 17, No. 2, FEBRUARY 2000

Apply for Volunteer Positions

Would you like to be involved in influencing the practice of critical care nursing? You can have a major role as a volunteer with AACN at the national level. Hundreds of volunteer opportunities are available with AACN work groups, advisory panels and review panels, as well as with AACN Certification Corporation certification exam item writer and development committees and appeal panels.

All volunteer expenses are paid by AACN, according to AACN policy guidelines. March 1, 2000, is the postmark deadline to apply for these national level positions. Terms begin July 1, 2000.

For more information, call (800) 809-2273, ext. 228, or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

AACN Joins Campaign to Recruit and Retain Nurses

AACN is among 16 nursing and healthcare organizations that have formed a coalition to combat a potentially dangerous shortage of nurses in the United States.

The Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow coalition launched a $1 million fund-raising drive in September 1999 to help underwrite an advertising campaign designed to recruit new nurses and encourage existing ones to remain in the profession. Support is being sought from health insurers, managed care companies, pharmaceutical firms and healthcare providers. In addition, the coalition is asking nursing schools and hospitals to contribute seed money to the campaign.

Other organizations that have joined the Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow coalition are the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American College of Nurse Practitioners, American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Red Cross, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses Inc., Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Department of Veterans Affairs, Emergency Nurses Association, National Association of Neonatal Nurses, National League for Nursing, National Student Nurses Association, Oncology Nursing Society and Sigma Theta Tau International.

Contributions to the campaign can be sent to Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow, 550 W. North St., Indianapolis, IN 46202. Make checks payable to Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow/STTI. For more information, contact the ANA Department of Communications at (202) 651-7028; e-mail,

Public Policy Update

The Value of Nursing
A study published in the Jan. 5, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), by Dean Mary O. Mundinger, RN, DrPH, and her colleagues at the Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, found no significant differences in patients’ health status when treated by nurse practitioners vs. physicians.

The study, titled “Primary Care Outcomes in Patients Treated by Nurse Practitioners or Physicians,” was designed to compare the effectiveness of nurse practitioners with physicians, when both were serving as primary care providers in the same environment with the same authority.

These results are in addition to previous studies indicating that nurse practitioners provide primary care that is equal in quality to that provided by physicians. However, the Columbia researchers said the earlier studies were limited and did not provide direct comparison of how patients fared in the two kinds of treatment settings. The full text of the study can be found online at jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v283n1/full/joc90696.html.

In another study published in the April 14, 1999, issue of JAMA, Peter Pronovost, MD, and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., found that high-risk abdominal aortic surgery patients experienced a decrease in mortality, shorter hospital stays and lower medical bills when hospital treatment included daily rounds by ICU physicians and a sufficient number of ICU nurses. The study, titled “Organizational Characteristics of Intensive Care Units Related to Outcomes of Abdominal Aortic Surgery,” found that a decreased ICU nurse-patient ratio (< 1:2) during the day or evening was associated with an increase in days spent in the ICU and hospital length of stay, respectively. The authors stated that findings such as these have significant implications for clinicians, hospital administrators and policy-makers who influence staffing and other organizational characteristics. “They indicate factors of care that can be adjusted and the results suggest that decreasing ICU nursing staffing below a certain level may lead to increased costs of care and length of stay,” the authors wrote. The full text of the study can be found online at jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v281n14/full/jce90004.html.

AACN believes that results such as these can be attributed to the professional care provided by critical care nurses and nurse practitioners. Their unique training and experience ensure cost-effective, quality care. AACN is committed to promoting the value of nursing and has joined 15 of the nation’s leading nursing and health care organizations to form a coalition called Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow.

For additional information on this and other public policy issues, contact AACN Public Policy Specialist Janice Weber, RN, MSN, CCRN, at (800) 394-5995 ext. 508; e-mail, Janice.weber@aacn.org.

Member-Get-A-Member Program Ends March 31, 2000

AACN’s current Member-Get-A-Member program, which offers members awards for recruiting new members, will be discontinued March 31, 2000. A new member recruitment campaign will be announced at AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ and Critical Care Exposition, May 20 through 25, 2000, in Orlando, Fla.

Under the current program, members choose from a menu of awards for every five members recruited. Members who recruit 50 or more new members receive complimentary registration to the NTI.

Results of the Member-Get-A-Member program, which began in spring 1998, will be reported in the May 2000 issue of AACN News.

For more information about the program, call (800) 394-5995, ext. 415, or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Vision Partners Share NTI Experience

Pairs of Vision Partners will receive continuing education scholarships to attend AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ and Critical Care Exposition in Orlando, Fla., May 20 through 25, 2000.

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 six 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 one-year AACN membership. They are eligible to register for the NTI at the discounted member rate.

April 1, 2000, is the deadline to apply for a Vision Partners scholarship. To obtain an application, call (800) 899-AACN (2226).

Speaker Proposals Due for NTI 2001

Speaker proposal abstracts for AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ and Critical Care Exposition in 2001 are due March 15, 2000.

The NTI is scheduled for May 19 through 24, 2001, in Anaheim, Calif. Speakers receive complimentary airfare, registration and two nights hotel accommodation (the night before and the night after their presentations).

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

Apply for an Educational Advancement Scholarship

AACN will award up to 100 Educational Advancement Scholarships to students for both undergraduate and graduate study in critical
care nursing.

The scholarships are designed to encourage nurses to make their optimal contribution in promoting AACN’s vision of a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families.

The scholarships of $1500 each will be awarded for the fall 2000 academic term. The money may be used for tuition, fees, books, and supplies, as long as the recipient is continuously enrolled in a baccalaureate program accredited by the National League for Nursing or in a master’s or doctoral program.

Eligibility requirements include membership in AACN, a current RN license, a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, and either current employment in critical care or work in critical care for at least 1 of the past 3 years. BSN students must be entering at least their junior year.

May 15, 2000, is the postmark deadline to submit applications for the AACN Educational Advancement Scholarships for fall 2000. Application materials are available by calling (800) 899-AACN (2226).

Submit Articles to be Published for CEs

AACN is seeking nurses or other healthcare professionals who are interested in submitting articles to be published as continuing education offerings in AACN News and on the AACN Web site, or for use as a monograph.

Suggested topics include domestic violence, AIDS/HIV to meet state relicensure requirements (e.g. Florida), telemetry and progressive care issues, pain management, sedation, neuromuscular blockade, case management, invasive and noninvasive monitoring and renal patient care, as well as JCAHO compliance-related articles that address competency and skill validation programs, tools or best practices.

Send abstracts to M. Martineau, Education Resource Specialist, AACN, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656. Additional information is available by calling (949) 362-2000, ext. 361.

Survey Respondents Appreciated CE Article

Thanks to everyone who returned the continuing education article survey that was published in the November 1999 issue of AACN News. We received 101 responses, and here is what you told us:

• More than 99% (n = 100) of survey respondents said that publishing a continuing education article in AACN News is an effective use of space and an effective way to earn CE credit. Nearly 86% (n = 87) requested that this CE feature be included on a monthly basis, while 13% (n = 14) suggested a quarterly offering. Although our current production schedule only allows for publication of a CE article in AACN News every three months, AACN will continue to provide educational articles and information to you in a variety of formats.

• We also asked about the topics you would recommend for future CE articles and received more than 200 individual subject suggestions. Among those requested most were articles on hemodynamic monitoring, new medications and drugs (vasopressors, antibiotics, diuretics), ventilation management, all types of trauma, acute respiratory distress syndrome, arterial blood gas interpretation, new procedures and technologies, pacemaker advancements (generators and leads), intra-aortic balloon pump, intracranial pressure monitoring ECG interpretation, mechanical ventilation, nitric oxide use/therapy and sedation.

Following are some of the additional comments offered by members who returned the survey:

Please keep the CE articles coming monthly.

Great way to earn CE credits!

Excellent idea for busy manager. I can earn CE credit at lunch!

Best use of AACN News, yet (CE tests).

I’d prefer to see more chapter highlights and more about the board members and discussions of insights into decisions made by the board.

Enjoyed the condensed, pertinent information.

Please continue. We need both the education and the CEs.

It is nice to have clinical news in the form of a CE article mixed with professional, organizational news.

Being so convenient encourages me to read article now, not later.

Those of us who are busy (and who isn’t) appreciate this way to obtain CE credit.

Women Must Turn Financial Concerns Into Action

Ten years of annual surveys by Merrill Lynch on the financial and retirement planning habits of Americans have found a significant difference in the way men and women view the future. For example, women have been consistently more concerned about many aspects of long-term financial security, such as saving, caring for children and elderly family members, and maintaining independence in retirement.

At the same time, the surveys have found that women often do not have the same opportunity to or experience in turning their thoughts into action. A wide gap surfaces when men and women discuss their current finances, their investment habits and their prospects for secure retirement.

Results of the 1998 Merrill Lynch Retirement and Financial Planning Survey of Employees, which was released in early 1999, examines some of these continuing gender differences in the financial realm.

Current Finances
Women’s insecurity about the future has roots in the present. To begin with, women still do not enjoy wage parity with men. On average, women earn 24% less than men, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Merrill Lynch survey found that more than twice as many women as men believe they are worse off than the previous year. In addition, fewer than three in 10 women but about four in 10 men thought they were better off than the previous year.

Debt is one stumbling block that continues to trip up women more frequently than men. Although more than six in 10 men said the total amount of their savings and investments exceeded their debt (excluding mortgages and home equity loans), only about half the women could claim that status. Thus, it is no wonder that women more often than men agreed with the following statement presented on the survey: “On a monthly basis, after paying the bills there is little or nothing left to save for future needs.” Forty-one percent of women said that is the case in their household, as compared to 30% of men.

Saving and Investment Habits
The surveys also found that men more often than women have acquired the habit of saving and investing to meet future goals. In the most recent survey, 90% of men said that their current approach to managing household finances will help them reach their financial goals, compared with 85% of women.

However, when asked specifically about retirement as a goal, the gap widened—72% of men versus 62% of women thought they were financially prepared for retirement. When asked about how they plan for the future, more men than women said that the best way to increase wealth is through disciplined long-term investing.

These differences may stem from how comfortable men and women feel about investing. Women more often than men (48% versus 38%, respectively) said they did not feel knowledgeable when selecting between investment options in an employer-related retirement account.

The men who responded to the survey had more resources available to them to meet future goals. Men had more than twice the mean total amount of household savings and investments, excluding savings in employer-related plans, than women ($85,190 for men versus $41,222 for women). In employer-related retirement and saving plans, the gap widened to $54,200 for men versus $23,780 for women.

Retirement Prospects
In the survey, 87% of women versus 78% of men expressed concern about maintaining financial independence in their retirement years. However, women should be more active than men for many reasons in planning for a secure retirement.

For example, women tend to live longer than men. A woman retiring in 1998 could expect to live four years longer than a man retiring in the same year. However, women tend to receive less in Social Security benefits because they earn less and, on average, spend fewer years in the workforce, often because of child-care or elder-care responsibilities. Women tend to receive lesser pension benefits than men, and many never become fully vested in employer-sponsored retirement plans, because, on the whole, they change jobs more frequently than men. Many women understand the heightened importance of taking an active role in assuring their retirement security. When asked whether it was an employer’s responsibility to provide adequate retirement benefits, only 22% agreed, as compared to 31% of men.

A substantial number of women felt they should be allocating 20% or more of their annual income to a retirement account; yet, men more often than women had allocated assets to a retirement account (82% versus 73%, respectively).

Unfortunately, 10% of women said they never expect to be able to afford to retire, and 15% said they would probably need to work until age 70 before they could retire. Only 20% said they expected to be able to retire before age 60.

Turn Thought Into Action
Women today must take an active role in planning for their financial security. Talk with your financial consultant about your individual financial goals; he or she can help you draw up a financial plan to guide you. You will enjoy the peace of mind that sound planning brings and the security of knowing that you are working toward your long-term financial security.

For more information about financial planning services provided to AACN Members by Merrill Lynch, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Maginnis Changing Name to Seabury & Smith

AACN’s group insurance administrator, Maginnis & Associates, will soon change its name to Seabury & Smith, which is a division of the world’s largest insurance broker, March & McLennan Companies.

The Seabury & Smith division specializes in designing, administering and marketing custom insurance programs and financial planning services for client organizations, such as AACN, and their members. Under the Seabury & Smith name, Maginnis will continue to provide the comprehensive group insurance programs that were designed to meet the needs of AACN members. Included are professional liability; term life; major medical and excess major medical; dental; disability income; and hospital income insurance programs.

For more information about the name transition or about any of the group insurance programs for AACN members, contact Seabury & Smith, 332 Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, Ill 60604, or call (800) 621-3008.

Vox Populi: AACN Online Quick Poll

Which of the following issues is most important to you in the upcoming year?

Violence Prevention 50%
Tobacco Prevention 5%
Health Care Reform 12%
Patients Rights 2%
Organ Donation 3%
Health Information 2%
Privacy Protections 5%
Workplace Safety 4%

Number of Responses: 1,111

The AACN Online Quick Poll surveys a variety of topics. Participate by visiting the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Order Online to Save!

Orders placed from the AACN Resource Catalog online at www.aacn.org during February 2000 will receive a 10% discount.

This offer, good only on products ordered directly from AACN, is valid through Feb. 29, 2000.

The discount can be used only once during the month.


Pediatric Critical Care
“Pediatric Critical Care: Innovations for Clinical Practice, Strategies for Today and Tomorrow” is the title of a conference April 6 and 7, 2000, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cosponsors are Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, and the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing. Keynote speakers are Marianne Chulay, RN, DNSc, FAAN, Tom Aherns, RN, DNS, CCRN, CS, and Jose Irazuzta, MD. A total of 14.5 contact hours are available. For more information, call (513) 636-4232; e-mail, clarm0@chmcc.org; Web site, http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/picuconf.

New Directions
A nursing conference, titled “New Directions: Critical Care 2000,” is scheduled for April 27 and 28, 2000, in Madison, Wis. Speakers are Anne Wojner, RN, MSN, CCRN, president of AACN; Kathleen Vollman, RN, MSN, CCRN, CS, clinical nurse specialist at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich.; and Elaine K. Daily, RN, BSN, FCCM, cardiovascular research and education consultant. For more information, call (608) 263-6490, or visit the conference Web site at .

Information printed in “Currents” is provided as a service to interested readers and does not imply endorsement by AACN or AACN Certification Corporation.

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