Three Rivers Chapter Responds to Operation Safety Net Program
Operation Safety Net Director Jim Withers accepted donations collected by the Three Rivers Chapter of AACN from (from left) Karen Nave, Kathy Risa, Loretta Davis and Barbara McGurgan.
By Carol A. Puz, RN, BSN, CCRN
Region 3, Chapter Advisory Team Member
The Three Rivers Chapter of AACN in Pittsburgh, Pa., recently rallied to assist a program in which healthcare practitioners “take to the streets” to care and counsel homeless people.
The community service project was in conjunction with a presentation at the chapter’s Concepts in Critical Care conference by Jim Withers, MD, director of the Operation Safety Net program. Known as “Doc Jim,” Withers described the project and the barriers faced.
Using a team approach to treat the homeless population, Withers enlists not only healthcare volunteers, but also volunteers among the homeless themselves. When volunteering, the team of medical students, nurses, case managers and social workers are asked to dress like the homeless and develop their own sense of “home care.” Withers works closely with the county to provide tuberculosis and HIV screenings in connection with the program.
Withers noted that sleeping in the streets presents unique challenges to good health for homeless people. The conditions in which they live often deteriorate into life-threatening illnesses or traumatic injuries that may require admissions to the ICU. Operation Safety Net is a resource to manage and follow up on these patients.
Gaining the trust of the homeless, many of whom flee from the volunteers because they are afraid they will be impounded, is an important aspect of the program, Withers said.
When Withers pointed out that funding the program is a problem, the chapter stepped in. Participants at the conference
contributed both clothing and money and collected items such as blankets, coats, hats, scarves, socks and gloves. Chapter President Karen Nave, RN, BSN, CCRN, arranged to have donations of toothbrushes, combs, soap and deodorant placed in individual bags for distribution.
Students Never Too Young to Learn About Health
A request to provide health education to kindergartners required some creativity for members of the Central Minnesota Chapter of AACN, which had been working with their local school systems on a health promotion program for many years.
In contacting schools each year to determine what the teachers wanted, the chapter had always worked with older students who could read.
This year, the request came from John Clark Elementary school in Rockville, Minn., to present the program to kindergartners.
Because the literature and other information was geared to older children, chapter members set out to develop materials that could be used with the younger children. The result was a collection of items dealing with healthy lifestyles, which were placed in a large bag. Included were a bicycle helmet, soap, toothbrush, books, supportive athletic shoes, a pillow and sunscreen. Each child was asked to take an item from the bag and explain how it would help a person be healthy.
The program also provided the critical care nurses an opportunity to talk about the value of nursing and explain nursing as an occupation.
Neither cold, nor sleet, nor snow deterred members of the Adirondack Regional Chapter of AACN in Glens Falls, N.Y., from completing a 10-day “kitchen drive” to collect items to furnish a Catholic Charities shelter for victims of domestic violence. The chapter worked through Glens Falls Hospital to solicit contributions. Delivering the items during the first snowstorm of 2000 were (from left) Pam La Fontaine, Wendy Nelson, Maureen Johnson, Pat Walkup, Mary Anges Gorrie, Joan Lacroix, Cindy Holmes (behind Lacroix), Diane Johnstone (Catholic Charities’ domestic violence coordinator) and Kathy Smith.
What's on Tap
The Western Connecticut Chapter of AACN will present “Diabetes: What's In, What’s Out, What’s Coming” on June 15, 2000, in Danbury, Conn. For more information, contact Leslie Bardelli at (860) 355-1499; e-mail,
Texas: Mechanical Ventilation
“Advanced Modes of Mechanical Ventilation” will be presented by the Galveston Island Chapter of AACN on June 20, 2000, in Galveston Island, Tex. For more information, contact Glenna Tolley at (409) 772-3278; e-mail,
Illinois: Myocardial Infarction
The Northwest Chicago Area Chapter of AACN will present “New Practices in Treating Myocardial Infarction” on June 21, 2000, in Schaumberg, Ill. For more information, e-mail Jodi Gunther at
Texas: Pieces of the Puzzle
The Greater East Texas Chapter of AACN will present a two-day critical care seminar, titled “Pieces of the Puzzle,” on July 27 and 28, 2000. For more information, contact Kathrine Connor at (903) 531-4301; e-mail, Llern@aol.com.
Texas: Collaborative Care
The San Antonio Chapter of AACN will present a joint program, titled “Continuum of Care: Management of the Acute Myocardial Infarction,” with the Association of periOperative Nursing and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) on July 8, 2000, in San Antonio, Tex. For more information, contact Lisa R. Alexander at (210) 641-5633; e-mail,
Florida: Critical Care Course
The Brevard Chapter of AACN will present a critical care course on July 15, 2000, and on Sept. 25, 2000, in Cocoa Beach, Fla. For more information, contact Mary Hillberg at (321) 453-0220; e-mail,
Illinois: Pulmonary Hypertension
“Pulmonary Hypertension” will be presented by the Northwest Chicago Area Chapter of AACN on Sept. 20, 2000, in Park Ridge, Ill. For more information, contact Jodi Gunther at (847) 526-5865; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illinois: ET Tube Alternative
“An Alternative to the ET Tube” will be presented by the Northwest Chicago Area Chapter of AACN on Oct. 18, 2000, in Park Ridge, Ill. For more information, contact Jodi Gunther at (847) 526-5865; e-mail,
Florida: Wealth of Knowledge
“Wealth of Knowledge 2000” will be presented by the Gold Coast Chapter of AACN on Oct. 19 and 20, 2000, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. For more information, e-mail
Hawaii: CCRN Review
The Hawaiian Islands Chapter of AACN will present a CCRN Review Course on Nov. 4 and 5., 2000, in Honolulu, Hawaii. For more information, e-mail
The Cumberland Valley Chapter of AACN will sponsor a seminar on Nov. 8 and 9, 2000, in Chambersburg, Pa. For more information, call Cheryl Cook at (717) 530-1023.
Illinois: Advanced Hemodynamics
“Advanced Hemodynamics” will be presented by the Northwest Chicago Area Chapter of AACN on Nov. 15, 2000, in Park Ridge, Ill. For more information, contact Jodi Gunther at (847) 526-5865; e-mail,
Does your chapter have a program or special event coming up? Send the information to AACN News, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; fax, (949) 362-2049; e-mail,