AACN News—June 2000—Association News

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Vol. 17, No. 6, JUNE 2000

Sept. 1, 2000, Is the Deadline to Submit Award Nominations

Sept. 1, 2000, is the deadline to nominate yourself or a colleague for a Circle of Excellence award for 2001.

The AACN Circle of Excellence recognition program honors individuals who have made a difference in healthcare, and the lives of patients and their families. Sponsored by AACN and its Partners With Industry companies, the awards applaud excellence, honor leadership and show appreciation for the dedication of nurses whose contributions and achievements exemplify AACN’s mission and vision. Deadlines are different for some awards, including grants, scholarships, fellowships and the ICU Design Citation, as well as for the Distinguished Research Lectureship and Research Abstract Awards.

The recipients of Circle of Excellence awards for 2000 were honored at an awards breakfast during AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ in May 2000, in Orlando, Fla.

Following are the awards for which the nomination deadline is Sept. 1:

Ross Products-AACN Pioneering Spirit Award
Cosponsored by the Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, this award recognizes an individual or group involved in influencing the direction of acute and critical care nursing. The contributions must be far-reaching and exemplify a pioneering spirit. Recipients will be presented a plaque and $500 honorarium, as well as complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in May 2001 in Anaheim, Calif.

AACN Honorary Member Award
This award is granted to individuals who are not eligible for active membership in AACN but who have contributed to the advancement of care for acute and critically ill patients and their families. The award honors those who have achieved national recognition for contributions in clinical practice, administration, education, research or legislation, and who have fostered and promoted a positive image for nursing. In addition to honorary AACN membership, recipients are presented a personalized plaque as well as complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in 2001.

AACN Lifetime Member Award
This award recognizes AACN members who have rendered distinguished service to the association and demonstrated potential for continuing contributions to acute and critical care nursing through AACN. In addition to lifetime AACN membership, recipients are presented a personalized plaque as well as complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in 2001.

AACN Mentoring Award
This award recognizes individuals or groups who develop and enhance another’s intellectual and technical skills, acculturating them to the professional community, and modeling a way of life and professional achievement. Recipients are presented a personalized plaque.

AACN Excellence in Caring Practices Award
Presented in honor of John Wilson Rodgers, this award recognizes nurses whose caring practices are paramount in empowering acute or critically ill patients and/or their families. Recipients will receive complimentary registration, airfare, and hotel accommodations for the NTI in 2001.

AACN Excellent Preceptor Award
This award recognizes preceptors who demonstrate the key components of the preceptor role including teacher, clinical role model, consultant and friend/advocate. Recipients will receive complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI
in 2001.

3M Health Care-AACN Excellence in Clinical Practice Award
Sponsored by 3M Health Care, this award recognizes acute and critical care nurses who embody and exemplify the principles of acute and critical care nursing practice. Recipients will receive complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in 2001.

AACN Outstanding Advanced Practice Nurse Award
This award recognizes acute and critical care advanced practice nurses who function as advanced practitioners. Recipients will receive complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in 2001.

AACN Excellence in Education Award
This award recognizes nurse educators who facilitate the acquisition and advancement of the knowledge and skills required for competent practice and positive patient outcomes in the care of acute and critically ill patients and their families. Recipients will receive complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in 2001.

AACN InnoVision Award
This award recognizes initiatives and programs that innovatively and collaboratively meet the needs of families of the acute and critically ill. Up to three awards, with $2,500 earmarked to fund projects, are granted to partnerships that include an AACN member, a healthcare provider organization and a community group. In addition, individual recipients will receive public recognition and a personalized plaque.

AACN Multidisciplinary Team Award
This award recognizes a multidisciplinary team that clearly practices key principles of collaboration and multidisciplinary practice. Up to three awards are given to multidisciplinary teams, with $2,500 earmarked to fund projects. In addition, individual recipients will be given public recognition and a personalized plaque.

Maginnis/Seabury & Smith-AACN Community Service Award
Cosponsored by Maginnis/Seabury & Smith, this award recognizes significant service by acute and critical care nurses, as individuals or in groups, who make a contribution to their community. Individuals or groups selected will receive a complimentary registration to the NTI, or they may choose up to $500 toward speaker fees for an educational symposium.

AACN Excellence in Management Award
This award recognizes managers who demonstrate excellence in coordination of available resources to efficiently and effectively care for acute or critically ill patients and their families. Recipients will receive complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in 2001.

For more information about the Circle of Excellence awards program or to obtain an awards guide, call (800) 899-AACN (2226) or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

How Does the AACN Board Represent You?

Each year, the more than 65,000 members of AACN have the opportunity through the annual election process to choose the colleagues they want to represent them on the AACN Board of Directors—who they want to speak on their behalf and represent their needs and interests. However, many may wonder exactly what these 13 board members do and what their responsibilities are as the governing body for AACN.

Guiding the board are a set of accountabilities designed to ensure that association policies and decisions are not only effective in meeting member needs, but also fiscally sound. Underlying each accountability is the desire of board members to maintain strong, two-way communication with the membership as a whole about the products and services that can best support them in their practice. To facilitate communication with members, the board has an e-mail address and each board member has a national office voice mail extension, which members are encouraged to use to share their comments, ideas and issues. (See accompanying list.)

Following are the specific accountabilities that describe the scope of the board’s function:

Define and promote the organization’s vision, mission and values
At the heart of all the board accountabilities are AACN’s vision of “a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients, where critical care nurses make their optimal contribution,” and its mission, which states: “Building on decades of clinical excellence, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses provides and inspires leadership to establish work and care environments that are respectful, healing and humane. The key to AACN’s success is through its members. Therefore, AACN is committed to providing the highest quality resources to maximize nurses’ contribution to caring for critically ill patients and their families.” Although members may be unfamiliar with the exact wording of the vision, all members share its spirit.

The board’s job is to ensure that the vision and mission remain the focus of AACN activities. Thus, all decisions are filtered through the vision and mission, with the board continually asking: “How does this affect members?” and “How will this promote a more patient-centered system and help nurses practice more effectively and professionally?”

Board members are ambassadors in making certain that the vision and mission are clearly communicated not only to the members, but also to others. When speaking at chapter and nursing education programs, board members have the opportunity to promote AACN’s vision and mission and to translate how association activities are linked to achieving these goals. Board members also visit hospitals and talk with staff to find examples of how the vision is being practiced.

Ensure effective organizational planning
One of the most important roles of the board is to develop, review and update the association’s long-range, strategic plan on an annual basis. However, the plan is monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure that it not only reflects changes in the healthcare environment, but also anticipates future changes by positioning the association to be proactive instead of reactive.

As representatives of the practice environment, board members bring diverse perspectives to their governing roles in monitoring the association’s activities to determine whether they effectively meet member needs in such areas as chapter support, programming and clinical resources. Instead of trying to fit every great idea into the larger plan, the board carefully considers which proposals can best meet the needs of the greatest number of members. In short, the board continually evaluates how to get the most “bang for the buck”—how to maximize the products, services and resources that members need and still be cost-effective with member dues. In some instances, the board may decide to discontinue or alter a program that experiences limited response and is diverting revenue from other key activities. An example is the former Leadership Institute. After reviewing the program goals, benefits to members and associated expenses, the board decided that members’ needs for leadership development could be effectively met through other approaches, including a leadership track at the annual National Teaching Institute and online CE articles. Other approaches to leadership development are also being pursued.

Determine, monitor and strengthen the organization’s programs and services
In ensuring that the strategic plan is applied to all aspects of the organization, the board uses various sources of feedback in its decision-making processes. For example, the board oversees periodic surveys of the membership to determine its satisfaction with the products, services and support provided by the association. Included are formal, scientifically based samplings; less formal opinion polls; and focus groups. Information gleaned is applied to decisions regarding the budget, as it relates to where member support should be focused.

Before reviewing the budget at its April meeting, the board focused on the core purpose of the association. These discussions, which were guided by AACN’s ethical values, centered on how the board can apply information from member surveys to best meet members’ needs, such as through promoting the value of nursing. At the same time, the board is examining AACN’s approach to public policy issues, based on a review of member survey and focus group results. Among the changes that already have been instituted is reporting in AACN News what AACN does in this arena, as an organization, on behalf of its members.

In addition, each board member is appointed as a liaison to work closely with a national committee or committees. These liaisons help ensure that committee members have a clear understanding of the work to be accomplished and how it fits into the overall plan for AACN. They also provide an important communication link by reporting committee information to the board and relaying information from board meetings back to the committees on how their suggestions will be incorporated into the strategic plan for AACN. For example, when the Advanced Practice Work Group raised concerns about the content of the Advanced Practice Institute, a representative of the group was appointed to the NTI Work Group to help review proposed topics and ensure that the content was appropriate and relevant for advanced practice.

Manage resources effectively
To ensure that the association can adequately finance current and long-term needs, the board establishes financial policies and protections and monitors the association’s budget. In addition to reviewing regular budget reports, board members oversee independent audits. Although dollars are an important component, volunteer resources and how best to utilize them must also be considered.
Just as with personal finances, the budget is predicated on projections of revenue, from sources such as dues, program registrations and product sales, and expenses, from activities such as committee meetings and providing services to members. The bottom line is whether there is enough money coming in to meet expenses. If not, some hard decisions about what to cut must be made.

The board always keeps the vision and mission in the forefront when evaluating expenses. When considering cuts, the questions that must be asked include: “How will this affect members?” and “How will this affect the ability of members to provide professional nursing care?”

Recruit and orient new board members and assess board performance
To maintain strong association leadership, board members individually participate in the annual nominating process for elected positions on the AACN Board of Directors, AACN Nominating Committee and AACN Certification Corporation Board. They actively encourage qualified individuals to consider the opportunities to be a part of the national leadership team, where they can truly influence clinical care nursing practice.

Being elected to the board tends to have a mystique associated with it. In seeking out members who are interested in national leadership, board members attempt to dispel this mystique by answering questions and encouraging participation. Whether speaking at chapter meetings, at NTI or in committee meetings, or talking with colleagues in the workplace, board members constantly look for members to nominate for board and volunteer positions. The board also reviews ways to make the leadership framework criteria understandable and accessible.

The orientation process for new board members continually evolves toward an easy and effective transition. Incumbent board members are assigned to “board buddy,” mentoring roles for new board members.

Ensure effective communication among AACN and its subsidiaries, the AACN Certification Corporation, the InnoVision Group and the Foundation for Critical Care
The AACN board is the overall governing body for all AACN entities. To ensure that policy making and planning by the respective boards is coordinated and that their efforts are synchronized, the board works collaboratively with them and their committees.

Each of these entities also has its own board, which includes members of the AACN board. However, the full AACN board reviews all decisions according to their overall impact on members, as well as AACN’s plans for growth and support.

For example, the InnoVision Group was established as a for-profit subsidiary, which generates revenue that can be used for AACN member services. The InnoVision Board of Directors makes decisions about how journals can be published most effectively and about how AACN’s printing and mailing needs can best be met, while generating revenue from outside customers. However, the AACN Board makes certain that these endeavors are accountable for the bottom line and are meeting goals for returning money to AACN members.

Act in accordance with values and ethical principles.
Any organization must act in an ethical fashion and uphold the values on which it was founded. An ethical framework is incorporated into the decision-making process to ensure that the board always takes these values into account in its decisions. The AACN board integrates accountability, advocacy, integrity, collaboration, leadership, fiscal responsibility, quality, innovation and a commitment and passion for AACN’s causes into all its actions.

In addition, the board is vigilant in adhering to the bylaws and the association’s articles of incorporation, and makes certain that the association’s activities are in compliance with state and federal laws. The board ensures that financial decisions protect AACN’s 501c3, charitable organization status.

Select, support and assess the performance of the chief executive officer (CEO)
The board is the governing body that is instrumental in planning, deciding strategic direction and evaluating progress toward goals for AACN; and the CEO is responsible for implementing the plan and meeting the goals.

For example, the board helped plan for, approved an allocation for and set goals to evaluate the feasibility and success of the National Critical Care Curriculum (NCCC). The CEO decided which staff members would work on the NCCC, who would write the content and from where the revenue support would come. In addition, the CEO evaluates the work of the assigned staff and regularly updates the board on the project. The board, in turn, evaluates the progress of the plan and the CEO’s effectiveness in its implementation.

In addition to completing written individual and group evaluations of the CEO, each board member is responsible for discussing concerns and providing performance feedback directly with the CEO.

Board members encourage members to contact them and provide feedback on existing products or services, as well as ideas for new ones. Please don’t hesitate to contact them at the voice mail extensions and e-mail addresses that follow.

How to Contact the Board

Members of the AACN Board of Directors can be contacted by either voice mail or e-mail. E-mail the board at aacn board@aacn.org. For voice mail, dial (800) 394-5995. Following are the extensions for each board member:

Anne W. Wojner, RN, MSN, CCRN
Ext. 8885

Denise Thornby, RN, MS
Ext. 8831

Elizabeth M. Nolan, RN, MS, CS
Ext. 8830

Margaret M. Ecklund, RN, MS, CCRN, CS
Ext. 8990

Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCNS, CCRN
Ext. 8929

Debra A. Byram, RN, MSN
Ext. 8872

Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN
Ext. 8865

Lori Hendrickx, RN, EdD, CCRN
Ext. 8932

Nancy L. Munro, RN, MN, CCRN, ACNP
Ext. 8804

Jessica P. Palmer, RN, MSN
Ext. 8827

Pamela T. Rudisill, RN, MSN, CCRN, ACNP
Ext. 8991

Michael L. Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN
Ext. 8861

Fay M. Wright, RN, MS, CCRN, ACNP
Ext. 8870

On the Agenda

Following are decisions and discussions that took place at the April meeting of the AACN Board of Directors.

Item: Best Practice Network
AACN and AACN Certification Corporation have assumed sole governing partner roles for the Best Practice Network, after other association partners determined that they could not continue to financially support the project. A number of scenarios for future operations are being considered and will be analyzed further at a meeting this summer. A continued focus on best practices in critical care is central to these scenarios.

Item: NCCC Update
Initial testing of the script for the National Critical Care Curriculum (NCCC) prototype module is scheduled to begin this summer, following completion of the peer review process. The NCCC Advisory Council is scheduled to meet in October 2000, after both the prototype and the online version of the Basic Orientation Program are completed. The National League for Nursing and American Association of Nurse Executives were added as liaisons to this project. The prototype is the first critical step in determining the full scope of an Internet-based education resource.

Item: Election of Treasurer and Secretary
The board approved a previously discussed change recommended by the 1999-2000 Nominating Committee to select the board secretary and treasurer from among the directors elected by the membership at large. The Nominating Committee cited concerns that, listing the secretary and treasurer positions separately on the ballot in the past, gave candidates an advantage over the candidates for director positions. All board members will participate in the selection process, with the president’s vote used as a tiebreaker only. After approving the policy to formalize the process, the board elected Jessica P. Palmer, RN, MSN, to a one-year term as treasurer, beginning July 1, 2000.

Item: Volunteer Work Group
The possibility of convening a volunteer work group to assess when and how volunteers can be used most effectively was discussed. Before making a decision, the board will identify the desired outcomes for such a group and gather data from not only chapter leaders and past volunteers, but also members who have not volunteered about their experiences and perceptions of volunteerism and participation in AACN. This step is considered essential to designing the most relevant volunteer structure for members.

Item: Public Policy
The board discussed various ways the association should improve and expand its advocacy activities on behalf of members. The board and staff validated strategic goals and focused their discussion on workplace issues of concern to members, as well as on the need to collaborate with other organizations on some issues to increase the power of advocacy efforts. Legislative priorities and associated strategies are aimed at achieving the vision. The desire is to ensure that members and chapters have the resources they need to actively and effectively influence the public policy arena.

Item: Support for Local Action
As part of its ongoing strategic planning, the board continued discussions about the essence of AACN membership and what is needed to move the association forward toward specific goals. Part of the discussion focused on chapters as a key vehicle in making AACN’s vision a reality. The need to strengthen communications between chapters and the national leadership and to provide chapters greater support for administrative needs was identified.

In Memory: First AACN President Leaves Legacy of Caring

Barbara Siebelt is pictured in 1970, when she served as the first president of AACN

Barbara Siebelt, RN, BA, died in May 2000, at her home in Silver Spring, Md.—ending a significant part of AACN’s history, but leaving a legacy that continues strong today.

Ms. Siebelt was the first president of AACN, after it was founded as the American Association of Cardiovascular Nurses in 1970. She was a lifetime member of AACN.

Although she maintained a clinical practice throughout her career in the emergency area, she was one of the first leaders to move beyond the usual nursing pathways as associate vice president of a major healthcare risk management company. Her clinical practice was at Holy Cross Hospital.

Ms. Siebelt’s family has requested that donations be made in her memory to the American Heart Association (AHA), Montgomery County Chapter, 839 Quince Orchard Blvd., Suite E, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. AACN has contributed $1,000 donation to the AHA to recognize and honor Ms. Siebelt’s enduring legacy to the association. In addition, AACN recognized Ms. Siebelt’s many contributions to the association during the annual membership meeting at its annual National Teaching Institute, which was in May 2000 in Orlando, Fla.

Public Policy Update

Public Supports Mandatory Reporting of Medical Errors
A nationwide study by TNS Intersearch revealed that 57% of Americans favor mandatory reporting of medical errors by doctors and hospitals, with limited or no immunity for those committing the errors.

The purpose of the study, which involved telephone interviews with a cross section of 1,010 people, was to assess perceptions among the public and physicians nationwide on two healthcare-related issues currently before Congress—reporting of medical errors and funding of Medicare prescription drug benefits.

A total of 71% of those responding were in favor of some form of mandatory reporting of medical errors by doctors and hospitals, with varying levels of immunity offered for those committing errors. Thirty percent favored mandatory reporting with no immunity, and 27% said immunity should be offered only to doctors and hospitals following practice guidelines. Only 14% supported mandatory reporting with blanket immunity, and another 14% supported voluntary reporting of medical errors in which the information reported would be made available to Congress and supervisory agencies, but not to the general public.

A total of 393 respondents, ages 50 and older, were asked how they thought Medicare prescription benefits should be funded. The results of this group showed no clear majority supporting any of the options currently being considered by Congress, which include federal subsidies, state block grants, use of budget surplus monies and a reduction of payments to doctors and hospitals, with the surplus used to pay for prescription benefits.

Former Surgeon General Calls for Universal Care
In the first of a series of healthcare talks, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, said that, though all Americans have the right to healthcare, the idea that it is a constitutional right is still years away.

“If we agree that there is a right to healthcare, then we are also agreeing that someone must provide these rights,” said Koop, now a professor of surgery at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., He added that the right to healthcare is different from some other constitutional rights, because it incurs a monetary cost on society.

Koop noted that, among industrialized countries, only the U.S. and South Africa deny the right to healthcare to all. According to Koop, the American public overwhelmingly supports universal healthcare. He said that in 1965, 1975 and 1978, a series of surveys found that approximately 75% of Americans believed that healthcare should be a right. By 1998, the number had risen to 90%.

Commenting on ways in which politics affects healthcare, Koop said that President Clinton’s healthcare plan failed because raising taxes was the only way that it could be financed.

“Congress has indicated that it is only interested in incremental change,” Koop said.

One of the problems associated with universal healthcare, according to Koop, is deciding who should be eligible for it. The approximately 43 million Americans who are either uninsured or under-insured are more likely than those who are insured to become ill and die earlier, he added.

Koop said that doctors must commit to upholding professionalism in the medical field. He contended that many doctors are more interested in money than doing what is good for society. Koop also encouraged all medical professionals to donate services to those in need and, thus, give something back to society.

Health Plans Outlined by Bush, Gore Officials
Responding to voters’ continued high ranking of healthcare as a priority, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush have focused their campaigns on this issue. James Havemen, Bush’s health policy coordinator, and Richard Boxer, Gore’s health policy coordinator, outlined both candidates’ plans at a healthcare reform forum at the School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Bush’s plan is centered on increased access to healthcare and more individual autonomy. Gore’s plan aims at universal coverage and more funding for Medicare. Following are highlights of each plan:

Bush’s proposal
• Provide tax credit for 90% of health insurance costs (up to $2,000 per family, $1,000 per individual) to families earning up to $60,000 a year and individuals earning up to $45,000.
• Give states flexibility under the federally funded Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expand coverage of children.
• Allow small businesses to buy more affordable multistate health insurance through trade associations.
• Eliminate the use-it-or-lose-it requirement of tax-exempt Medical Savings Accounts, and let participants roll over $500 from one year to the next.

Gore’s proposal
• Provide tax credit worth 25% of premiums paid by people who don’t get their insurance at work.
• Expand CHIP to include more children; allow families above 250% of poverty level to buy into CHIP or Medicaid.
• Enact a Patients’ Bill of Rights that guarantees access to specialists and emergency rooms, as well as the right to sue HMOs.
• Add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare and strengthen the solvency of Medicare.

Clinton Urges Congress To Pass Healthcare Bills
President Clinton has called on lawmakers to quickly pass a strong patients’ bill of rights and prescription drug coverage for seniors on Medicare. “This critical legislation is long overdue,” Clinton said.

Clinton said more than three in five older Americans still lack affordable and dependable prescription drug coverage. He called on Congress to strengthen and modernize Medicare with a voluntary prescription drug benefit for all 39 million Medicare beneficiaries, regardless of their income. For a $26 monthly premium, the plan would pay up to $1,000 in drug costs a year. Republican congressional leaders say the drug coverage should be limited to seniors who need it most.

House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts Jr. (R-Okla.) responded.

“What Republicans want to do is create a prescription drug coverage system for low-income seniors that is affordable, available and voluntary,” he said.

The GOP proposal calls for private health plans to offer drug benefits and government subsidies to pay drug costs for the neediest seniors.

Most of the $40 billion the Republicans earmarked for a five-year overhaul of Medicare would go toward the drug plan.

The Clinton administration said the GOP plan to provide subsidies to cover drug costs for seniors at the poverty level would leave out 6 million Medicare beneficiaries who have no drug coverage, but incomes above the poverty line. On getting a patients’ bill of rights, Clinton said he backed legislation the House approved in 1999.

House and Senate negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on an appeals process for patients denied care by health maintenance organizations (HMO), a major issue in legislation to define patients’ rights. Under the agreement, patients could obtain an independent medical review of any decision in which an HMO denied care or coverage on the ground that a particular service was not medically necessary or was experimental. Patients could also obtain an independent review whenever an HMO concluded that a particular item or service was not covered. Doctors would conduct the review, if it involved a medical question. Lawyers might conduct the review, if only the interpretation of an insurance contract was involved.

A number of states have laws or regulations that require managed care plans to include some type of external review procedure, which allows patients to challenge a denial of care or coverage. In general, HMOs, state officials and consumer groups say the appeal procedures have worked well. Reviewers rule in favor of patients in about half the cases, for insurers in the other half.

Although the agreement does not resolve several other contentious issues still before the conference committee negotiators, but it is the most significant agreement Democrats and Republicans have had on the patients’ rights legislation to date. The biggest such issue is whether patients should have a federal right to sue HMOs for injuries caused by the delay or denial of care. But negotiators said a well-designed appeal process, by resolving disputes promptly, could reduce the number of lawsuits.

After six weeks of negotiations, Republicans and Democrats from the House and the Senate issued a detailed summary of what they called a “bipartisan bicameral agreement’’ on the appeals process. Lawmakers are still debating over the criteria to be used in deciding whether the denial of a claim can be appealed.

Panel Approves Pain Relief Promotion Act
A substitute version of the Pain Relief Promotion Act (H.B. 2260) was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a narrow margin.

Opposed by more than 50 professional medical societies, as well as pain management and consumer advocacy organizations, no hearings have been called to clarify the highly complex issues contained in the bill.

Leaders in the field of pain management strongly oppose this bill, because they feel that, instead of promoting effective pain care, it will harm millions of Americans suffering from severe pain—particularly the elderly and those at the end of life. H.R. 2260 amends the Controlled Substances Act to promote pain management and palliative care without permitting assisted suicide and euthanasia. Although the Pain Relief Promotion Act addresses the need for education, training and research, it provides for only $5 million in funding, which could be reduced by the Senate.

Opponents of the bill explain that the Pain Relief Promotion Act would give Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) personnel explicit authority to question the intent and purpose of any physician who prescribed a controlled substance to a patient who died shortly thereafter. The DEA would then determine whether or not the physician’s course of treatment increased the risk of death (an allowable medical practice) or intentionally caused death (a crime with severe penalties). This would force law enforcement officers to make medical determinations that would be difficult for even the most experienced doctor. If the DEA found a physician guilty, he or she could lose the right to practice medicine and be imprisoned for a minimum of 20 years, the same punishment as a drug dealer.

The substitute bill introduced by Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) is intended to negate Oregon’s law permitting physician-assisted suicide. Hatch said that the substitute measure “clearly and unambiguously” states that pain management activities are protected from prosecution. The substitute requires a higher standard of evidence to establish intent to assist suicide. Opponents of the bill are expected to argue that this is meaningless because just the possibility of an accusation by an investigator that a physician intended to assist a suicide will make them shy away from aggressive pain management and would make undertreatment of pain an even worse problem.

For more information, on these and other issues, visit the “Public Policy” area of the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

AACN Web Site Cited as One of the Most Popular Links

During April 2000, AACN’s Web site ranked in the top 2% among more than 380,000 Internet domains rated by WebsMostLinked.com, an independent rating system.

The rating is based on the number of links pointing to the domain on other Web pages. The proprietary system used collects information from a wide variety of sources to determine each site’s “popularity factor.”

Aug. 15, 2000, Is the Deadline to Apply for ICU Design Citation

Aug. 15, 2000, is the deadline to submit applications for the ICU Design Citation. An award of $500 is offered for the 2001 ICU Design Citation.

This award is jointly sponsored by AACN, the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Health.

In addition to the cash award, the winner will receive complimentary registration for one person to each of the organization’s annual meetings and a plaque to display in the unit. To obtain an application, contact Dolores Curry at (800) 394-5995, ext. 377.

Materials submitted each year by winning and runner-up entries are compiled into an ICU design video and booklet, which is a valuable tool for ICU design teams as they seek ideas. Another publication, titled Critical Care Unit Design & Furnishing, is available to help team members make an optimal contribution from design conception to fruition. These resources are available from SCCM, (714) 282-6000.

Apply by July 7, 2000, for Nursing Reporter Program

Applications for the 2000-2001 class of mentors and fellows in the AACN Wyeth-Ayerst Nursing Fellows Reporter Program must be postmarked or faxed by July 7, 2000.

Mentors are experienced acute and critical care nurses, who can guide a fellow in the further development of clinical leadership skills, including professional writing. Fellows are acute and critical care nurses, at any level of experience, who have demonstrated clinical leadership potential and who are interested in developing their writing skills. In the past, select graduating nursing students also have participated as fellows.

Both mentors and fellows must have clinical expertise or interest in the care of patients with cardiorespiratory disease. The pairs of mentors and fellows will work together to produce a manuscript on a current cardiopulmonary topic. These manuscripts will be published in a supplement to the May issue of the American Journal of Nursing and showcased at the AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ and Critical Care Exposition, May 19 through 24, 2001, in Anaheim, Calif. The mentors and fellows are also honored at a convocation ceremony, reception and dinner at the NTI.

Fellows will receive registration, travel and lodging to the NTI. Mentors receive complimentary NTI registration and a $500 educational grant.

Application forms are available by calling (800) 899-2226. They can also be obtained via Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 (Request Document #2005), or the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org. For more information, contact Clinical Practice Specialist Justine Medina, RN, MS, at (800) 394-5995, ext. 401.

Member Fees Discounted for Groups of 5 or More

Join or renew your membership in AACN with four or more of your colleagues and receive a discount on the membership fee. Under the program, both new and renewing members or affiliate members can pay $69 per year instead of the regular $78 annual fee if they join in groups of five or more.

The group discount also applies to international, student and emeritus memberships. Groups of international members pay $92 per year instead of $104, and groups of student members or emeritus members pay $46 instead of $52. The group rate applies only to one-year memberships, and full payment for all members in the group must accompany orders. Membership certificates will be mailed to the individual placing the order for distribution to all members of the group.

For more information about this new program or to obtain a group membership application form, call (800) 899-AACN (2226), or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

AACN Members Inducted Into College of Critical Care Medicine

Inducted into the American College of Critical Care Medicine were (from left) Mary E. Kerr, Gladys M. Campbell and Joanne V. Hickey.

Three members of AACN were inducted into the American College of Critical Care Medicine during the Society of Critical Care Medicine meeting in February 2000 in Orlando, Fla.

The newly elected fellow are Gladys M. Campbell, RN, MSN, FCCM, past president of AACN; Joanne V. Hickey, RN, PhD, CS, FCCM; and Mary E. Kerr, RN, PhD, FCCM.

The following other AACN members were also recognized at the meeting:

Norma J. Shoemaker Grant for Critical Care Nursing Research—Carol D. Epstein, RN, PhD, CCRN, CS

Norma J. Shoemaker Award for Critical Care Excellence—Diana L. Nikas, RN, MN, FCCM

Presidential Citations-John M. Clochesy, RN, PhD, CS, FAAN, FCCM, Dorrie K. Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, Sandra K. Hanneman, RN, PhD, Richard A. Henker, RN, PhD, Patricia D. Hurn, RN, MSN, PhD, Barbara H. Ju, RN, BSN, BA, CCRN, Connie A. Jastremski, RN, MS, CNAA, FCCM, Ruth M. Kelleher, RN, MSN, Sandra D. McPherson, RN, CCRN, Nancy L. Szaflarski, RN, PhD, CS, ACNP, FCCM

Looking Ahead

June 2000

June 25-29

3rd World Congress on Pediatric Intensive Care, Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact Events International Meeting Planners, Inc., 759 Victoria Square, Suite 300, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 2J7; phone, (514) 286-0855; fax, (514) 286-6066; e-mail, info@eventsintl.com.

July 2000

July 1

Deadline for applications to be received for the Medtronics/Physio Control-AACN Small Projects Grant. To obtain application materials and instructions, call (800) 899-AACN (2226), or visit the research section of the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

July 1

Deadline for applications to be received for AACN Clinical Inquiry Grants. To obtain application materials and instructions, call (800) 899-AACN (2226), or visit the research section of the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

July 7

Postmark deadline to apply for the 2000-2001 class of mentors and fellows in the AACN Wyeth-Ayerst Nursing Fellows Reporter Program. Application forms are available by calling (800) 899-2226, via Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 (Request Document #2005) or from the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

August 2000

Aug. 15

Deadline to apply for the ICU Design Citation. To obtain an application, contact Dolores Curry at (800) 394-5995, ext. 377.

September 2000

Sept. 1

Deadline to submit nominations for Circle of Excellence recognition awards for 2001. To obtain an application, call (800) 899-AACN (2226), or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Sept. 1

Deadline to submit research and research abstracts, or creative solutions abstracts for AACN’s National Teaching Institute™ and Critical Care Exposition, May 19 through 24, 2001, in Anaheim, Calif. To obtain abstract forms, call (800) 899-AACN (2226), or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Sept. 1

Deadline for applications to be received for Agilent Technologies-AACN Critical Care Nursing Research Grant. To obtain application materials and instructions, call (800) 899-AACN (2226), or visit the research section of the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Sept. 20-30

South America Study Tour. To request a brochure, call (949) 673-3596.

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