AACN News—October 2000—Association News

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Vol. 17, No. 10, OCTOBER 2000


End-of-Life Series Stimulates Dialogue

The “On Our Own Terms” series, which aired in September 2000 on PBS, has stimulated discussions across the country about end-of-life issues. Much of this dialogue has been organized by groups and individuals at the grassroots level who volunteered to be part of an ongoing outreach campaign to improve care for the dying.

Theresa E. DeVeaux, RN, BSN, CCRN, a bedside nurse in the coronary care unit at North Arundel Hospital, Glen Burnie, Md., is one of these volunteers. An active AACN member who serves on the AACN Public Policy Work Group for 2000-01, DeVeaux has devoted considerable time to the campaign since she signed on as a volunteer in the Baltimore, Md., area in Spring 2000. Her involvement is continuing through follow-up forums and distribution of information.

“I believe that these programs and forums will help to create a public awareness of the deficits in our end-of-life care and, hopefully, open more dialogue between patients, families and providers of care,” DeVeaux said. “It is time as well that providers and policymakers listen to what the community really expects in end-of-life care.

“All of us need to realize that healthcare is not ‘limitless,’ and that we need to recognize the reality of dying, but death with dignity.”

Hosted by award-winning journalists Bill and Judith Moyers, the “On Our Own Terms” series reported on the movement to improve end-of-life care and explored the best models for change.

DeVeaux became involved after learning about the campaign through an announcement on the AACN Web site, which she said she routinely scans and reviews for informational highlights and updates. As a member of the ethics committee at her hospital, DeVeaux participates in patient and family consultations; helps to educate staff on advance directives and related issues; and regularly presents at educational roundtable sessions where ethics issues are discussed. She said the campaign immediately drew her interest.

She contacted the campaign, was invited to an organizational video conference and leadership meeting in her area and soon found herself participating in state-level planning committees to help organize ideas and formulate the follow-up forums.

Her commitment to the campaign also led her to write informational articles for both the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of AACN, of which she is a member, and her hospital newsletter. In addition, she has been a liaison to circulate flyers and posters.

Activities surrounding the campaign have been conducted on many levels statewide in Maryland, DeVeaux said. For example, one county organized a walk to draw attention to the issue. At DeVeaux’s own hospital, a representative from the Maryland School of Law was invited to discuss legal concerns related to end-of-life issues in the acute care setting.

Hospice organizations throughout the state geared up to respond to the questions and concerns following the broadcast.

In addition, the volunteer group has forwarded a letter encouraging Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening to form a state commission on end-of-life issues.

For more information about this campaign, visit the “On Our Own Terms” Web site at http://www.thirteen.org/onourownterms, where a bulletin board, materials that can be downloaded, a list of the outreach associates and other outreach campaign information for local organizers can be found.

AACN National Office Focuses on Member Needs

A new structure designed to improve AACN’s ability to track and meet member needs in this rapidly changing healthcare environment has resulted in several key national office staffing changes.

Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Wanda L. Johanson, RN, MN, the national office staff has been streamlined and realigned around accountabilities that address the specific and fluctuating needs of critical care nurses. New Departments of Professional Practice; Member and Constituent Affairs; Development and Strategic Alliances; and Finance and Operations have been established to work more closely together to achieve a synergy that will best enhance services, benefits and resources for members.

Johanson, a former AACN board president who was a national office executive from 1993 to 1997, returned to the top leadership role in October 1999. Since that time, she has worked with the AACN Board of Directors, the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors and staff on a strategic plan to place the association in a more prominent position of leadership and influence on behalf of its 65,000 members.

“AACN has long been a leader among professional nursing associations,” said Johanson. “The quality and integrity of its programs and products are well recognized.

“However, today’s changing and challenging healthcare environment demands that we take an even stronger lead in helping to empower our nurses to truly make a difference in their profession and in the lives of acute and critically ill patients and their families.

“Our national office team is reinvigorated by a renewed commitment and expanded focus on our members and the practice of critical care nursing.”

The restructuring accommodates a number of new initiatives, some of which will be pursued with the assistance of the nationally respected public relations firm of Burson-Marsteller. (See related article below.) Among these initiatives are promoting the value of nurse certification, advocating on behalf of members with respect to workplace issues and the nursing shortage and enhancing communications and partnerships with AACN chapters and volunteers.

As part of the restructuring, Ram�n Lavandero, RN, MSN, MA, a former member of both the AACN Board of Directors and the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors, has returned as director of development and strategic alliances. Lavandero, who served eight years as director of external affairs and development at the National Office, was instrumental in establishing the AACN Partners With Industry program and in developing and administering the AACN Nursing Fellows Reporter program, a partnership with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories and the American Journal of Nursing. Since 1997, he has been director of the International Leadership Institute for Sigma Theta Tau International.

Joining Lavandero as senior business analyst is Darval Bonelli, former chapters/volunteer specialist. However, Bonelli will continue to serve as the staff liaison to chapters during the transition period. Since joining AACN in 1991, Bonelli’s work has been concentrated in the chapters, volunteers and member services areas.

Within the Professional Practice Department, Justine Medina, RN, MS, former practice specialist, has accepted the position of practice director, and Barbara Mayer, RN, MS, former professional development director, has been named education director.

Medina joined AACN as clinical practice specialist in 1997. In her 14 years of critical care nursing experience, she has been a bedside nurse, a transport nurse, an educator and a nurse manager.

Mayer has been with AACN since 1996, working as program development specialist before serving as director of professional development in 1997. She previously practiced in critical care as a staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist and educator.

Within the Member and Constituent Affairs Department, Tracey Kane, former membership specialist, has assumed responsibility for the new position of membership/chapters/volunteers director and Carol Hartigan, RN, former certification specialist, has accepted the position of certification director.

Kane has been membership development specialist at AACN since 1998. She formerly was regional emergency cardiovascular care specialist with the American Heart Association, Irvine, Calif.

Hartigan joined AACN in 1998 as program development specialist. She then moved to AACN Certification Corporation as certification specialist in 1999. She formerly was the NCLEX contract manager for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Chicago, Ill., and was executive director of the King County Nurses Association, Seattle, Wash.

In addition, Michael Willett, CPA, who has been director of finance since 1993, is filling the new position of chief financial officer. Willett joined AACN in 1991 as controller.

These staff members not only bring expertise in their fields, but also a depth of association experience to their new roles at the National Office, Johanson said.

“These changes should be virtually unnoticed by members on a day-to-day basis,” said Johanson. “The difference in the value provided by the National Office in responding to their needs should be readily recognized.”

The accountabilities of three former executive level positions were rolled into the new organizational structure. With the shift in responsibilities, three executive directors—Phyllis Reading, RN, MN, executive director of AACN, the membership organization; Melissa Biel, RN, MSN, executive director of AACN Certification Corporation; and Donna Groh, RN, MSN, director of operations and business development—have resigned to pursue other career interests, as has former Practice and Research Director Cheri White, RN, MSN, PhD, CCRN.

Reading had been with the AACN National Office since 1993 and had also served as director of professional development; program development and meeting services director; and education specialist in program development.

Biel first joined the AACN National Office in 1981, serving as programs specialist, programs administrator and director of membership and chapters. She returned to the clinical setting in 1987, but rejoined the national office team in 1991 as senior specialist in clinical practice. She also had served as customer services director and as clinical practice director. Biel is continuing her affiliation with AACN as a consultant on certification issues.

Groh had been operations consultant for Southern California Region of Tenet HealthSystems in Irvine, Calif., before joining the AACN National Office in 1997.
White joined AACN in 1993 as a practice research specialist and had filled the positions of first research director and then director of practice and research since 1997.

“All these nursing leaders have helped guide AACN and its auxiliary businesses through a trying period for healthcare and critical care nursing practice,” said Johanson. “Their contributions are appreciated, and we wish them the best in their new endeavors.”

National Campaign to Raise Profile of Critical Care Nurses

AACN has selected the agency of Burson-Marsteller to assist with a national corporate positioning and branding campaign and communications program to raise the profile of critical care nurses.

“We are delighted to be working with Burson-Marsteller,” said Wanda Johanson, RN, MN, chief executive officer of AACN. “It became evident during our agency selection process that Burson-Marsteller, with its vast global network and resources, had the comprehensive capabilities to help us position and advance the profession, the mission of the organization and our initiatives.”

In addition, Burson-Marsteller will develop a communications program to assist in promoting AACN’s Value of Nurse Certification initiative. The program, designed to promote the value of nurse certification throughout the healthcare industry, is a collaborative effort between AACN and AACN Certification Corporation.

“As the nation’s premier association representing critical care nurses and at a time of tremendous change in healthcare, AACN is in an optimal position to advance the critical care nursing field through its programs,” said Marty Davis, managing director at Burson-Marsteller.

Leadership Lessons Learned: Be Prepared, Share in Dialogue and Respect Norms

Following is the first in a series of articles by members of the AACN Board of Directors on leadership lessons they have learned from their experiences.

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."

John F. Kennedy

By Margaret M. Ecklund, RN, MS, CCRN, CS

AACN’s leadership framework cites ambassador skills and intellectual ability as key competencies needed to be a leader. Through a process of deliberation by the AACN Nominating Committee, the candidates who are deemed best qualified for national leadership positions are recommended for placement on the ballot that is presented to the general membership.

As a member of AACN, I had always viewed national board members as talented leaders and role models. Some of them have served as my mentors, coaching me and helping me to develop my own leadership skills. I feel as if I have been provided a map for success on my leadership journey.

However, when I was first elected as secretary of the AACN Board of Directors, I experienced the “imposter syndrome.” Although I believed in my abilities, I questioned whether I belonged in this group of well-known nursing leaders.

With the support of my board colleagues, I learned the leadership processes involved and recognized that I could fill an important role in our association leadership.

Each board member brings his or her unique skills and experiences to the table. I have learned that being prepared for dialogue and keeping an open mind are more important than being an “expert.” I have learned that you must listen and contribute to the dialogue before you decide your position on an issue.

I have learned that my perspective is valuable, because it adds my experience and my view to the discussions. I have learned that we do not all have to agree and, in fact, that the result will be better if we do not all agree from the start. Although I previously had feared and dreaded controversy and disagreement, I have learned at the board table that the diverse opinions expressed by 13 leaders in debating tough choices yield rich outcomes. The board’s norms of preparedness and respect contribute to the success of this approach.

Another important element of leadership and decision making is the board norm that all discussions will take place at the table, and that, once consensus is reached, the group will move forward to unanimously support the choice. Individual preferences or opinions are to be left behind at this point. This process is critical to achieving trust as a team and strong leadership in difficult times.

Having completed two years of my three-year term on the board, I have had the opportunity not only to participate in great dialogue and decisions, but also to learn from them. I have also learned from taking part in dialogues that were not as positive.

Because I am a perfectionist, I have found it difficult to, instead of always seeking agreement, see the opportunity presented by making mistakes and in the challenges of diversity. Thanks to great board and national office staff leadership, I have been able to grow and develop as a leader.

In summary, here are some of the leadership lessons I have learned:
• Be yourself.
• Be prepared for discussions.
• Share in dialogue.
• Respect group norms.
• Support final decisions.

I hope all future AACN leaders will enjoy and learn as much as I have on their leadership journeys.

Margaret Ecklund is an advanced practice nurse in pulmonary/medicine at Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, N.Y.

On the Agenda

Agenda Item: Best Practice Network

The Best Practice Network (BPN) will be refocused on critical care as key features previously on the BPN Web site are integrated into the AACN Web site at www.aacn.org.

The shift follows approval by the boards of both AACN and AACN Certification Corporation, which are now the sole BPN governing partners.

The Best Practice Network, which was envisioned by a group of more than 40 professional nursing associations in 1996, has been a collaborative effort supported by multidisciplinary partners. However, AACN and AACN Certification Corporation have been providing the operational oversight for the project, as well as the majority of the funding.

In approving the change, the AACN and AACN Certification Corporation boards considered several benefits to members. Among these were that narrowing the focus to only critical care and reshaping the best practices concepts, such as the project incubator, everyday innovations and tools of the trade, to fit the needs of critical care nurses would enhance the scope, quality and relevance of AACN’s existing practice content.

Agenda Item: National Critical Care Curriculum
Work on the National Critical Care Curriculum (NCCC) project is being redirected, following completion of a prototype for the program. Although the project offered a unique and comprehensive approach to a standardized, research-based national curriculum, the associated costs and scope of the project make it unfeasible for AACN to undertake at this time. However, the commitment to a national critical care curriculum remains, and an alternative approach will be conceptualized in the near future. In the meantime, AACN continues to pursue development of other types of education and orientation materials related to critical care nursing practice to meet the varying needs of members.

Public Policy Agenda Tackles Concerns Confronting Nurses

Members of the Public Policy Work Group are (from left, seated) Linda Morris, Mary Holtschneider, Deri Dority, Connie Sobon Sensor, Joyce Simones and Rebecca Long (board liaison), and Pamela Rudisill (board liaison and chair), Larraine Yeager, Theresa DeVeaux, Deborah Laughon, Janice Weber (staff liaison), Janet Donoghue, Victoria Boyce, Kathryn Pecenka-Johnson and Elsie Croom. Not pictured is work group member M. Verklan.

Issues related to quality of and access to care; the workplace; and patient advocacy were the focus of discussions by the Public Policy Work Group when it met in August 2000 to outline its agenda for 2000-01.

To respond to these concerns, the group plans to develop fact sheets on specific issues during the upcoming legislative sessions on key issues such as staffing and mandatory overtime; patients’ rights; needle safety; and prescription reimbursement for patients’ medications. Throughout the year, an environmental scanning process will be used to identify and gather information on additional issues that are significant to critical care and nursing as they relate to AACN’s mission and vision.

AACN President Denise Thornby, RN, MS, President-elect Michael Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN, and Chief Executive Officer Wanda Johanson, RN, MN, joined the group on the first day of its two-day meeting to share their vision for the association and its public policy involvement. They stressed a commitment to advancing AACN’s national role as the voice for critical care nurses and to supporting an environment where critical care nurses can make their optimal contributions toward high-quality care for patients.

“Public policy is an area where we can assist members to take actions that will influence nursing practice and the healthcare environment,” said Thornby.

She also emphasized the value work group volunteers bring to the association “by contributing ideas that shape the thinking of AACN’s leadership.”

Chaired by AACN board member Pamela Rudisill, RN, MSN, CCRN, ACNP, the 15-member Public Policy Work Group is comprised of members of the former Public Policy Advisory Team, which was transitioned into the work group format following the 1999-2000 year. Other members of the group are Victoria Boyce, RN, MSN, Elsie Croom, RN, BSN, CCRN, Theresa DeVeaux, RN, BSN, CCRN, Janet Donoghue, RN, Deri Dority, RN, BSN, BS, CCRN, Mary Holtschneider, RN, BSN, Deborah Laughon, RN, BSN, MS, CCRN, Linda Morris, RN, PhD, Kathryn Pecenka-Johnson, RN, MN, Connie Sobon Sensor, RN, BSN, CCRN, Joyce Simones, RN, MS, M. Verklan, RNC, PhD, CCNS, and Larraine Yeager, RN, BSN. Along with Rudisill, Rebecca Long, RN, MS, CNS, serves as an AACN board liaison to the group.

These members, with the assistance of Public Policy Specialist Janice Weber, RN, MSN, accomplish the work outlined in the initial, face-to-face meeting through conference calls and online database discussions the rest of the year.

Other activities planned by the group for 2000-01 include publishing public policy update articles in AACN News and developing public policy sessions for the 2001 National Teaching Institute on topics such as how to become involved in public policy activities, current issues and the value of nursing.

For more information about AACN’s public policy initiatives, contact Janice Weber at (800) 394-5995, ext. 508, or visit the “Public Policy” area of the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Public Policy Update

Report Reveals Nurses’ Perceptions
The latest “Reality” report to members of the American Hospital Association (AHA) found that nurses generally do not believe that hospitals are in financial trouble and that the public generally believes that hospitals are financially well off.

“Reality Check III,” the third in a series of consumer research reports sponsored by the AHA, included focus groups of nurses for the first time. In addition to revealing how nurses feel, the public focus groups concentrated on topics such as concerns about healthcare coverage and overall perceptions of hospitals and the quality of healthcare. The report is based on findings from 71 focus groups conducted in nine states between 1998 and 1999.

According to Deanna Bellandi, writing for Modern Healthcare, “Like the previous two Reality reports, this one paints an uncomplimentary picture of how people view hospitals. For example, the report says while the concept of the not-for-profit hospital is ‘still strong’ in small towns, cities and rural areas, that standing ‘continues to evaporate’ in more urban areas. The public generally believes hospitals to be in the business of making a profit. Some of the strongest criticism in the report comes from nurses, calling the people who run hospitals and health systems ‘out of touch.’ ”

Following are some of the other findings in the report:
• Many nurses perceive some hospitals as being less concerned with patients and quality than they are.
• Many nurses more readily attribute budget cuts and staff reductions to hospitals trying “to maximize margins” or direct money to expansion and other projects.
• Nurses in smaller towns generally had a better idea of their hospitals’ financial situations than nurses who work at larger hospitals and health systems.
• Many nurses express little interest in unionization.
• Although nurses generally didn’t believe hospitals to be in tough financial straits, those working in small or rural hospitals tended to be more aware of the impact of reimbursement cuts on their facilities.

Bellandi said the report acknowledges the danger in hospitals and nurses being on opposite sides.

“The implication is that the (AHA) members have not done enough communication with the nurses to help them understand what’s happening within their organization,” she wrote.

The AHA, state hospital associations and rural providers wrote letters to Congress asking for more relief and the rollback of provisions in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Providers are hoping to get between $25 billion and $50 billion in additional reimbursement relief over five years. Nurses are seen as key to these lobbying efforts.

Healthcare Costs Expected to Continue Climb
According to a new report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization based in Washington, D.C., healthcare expenditures in the United States reached a record $1.1 trillion in 1998, and are likely to continue to climb. Expenditures increased 5.6% between 1997 and 1998, compared to a 4.7% rise between 1996 and 1997.

Compared with almost 30 years ago, consumers account for a sharply smaller share of national healthcare costs, while contributions by private insurance and the federal government have grown dramatically. Data from the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) indicate that the private sector accounted for 54.5% of national healthcare spending, while the public sector accounted for 45.5% in 1998, the latest year for which data are available. Following are highlights of the report’s key findings:
• Private sector healthcare spending amounted to $626.4 billion, an increase of $40.4 billion.

• Direct consumer payments accounted for 31.8% of all private healthcare spending, while private health insurance accounted for 60% and other private expenditures for 8.3%.
• Public-sector healthcare expenditures totaled $522.7 billion, compared with $502.2 billion in 1997 (an increase of about 4%). Increased federal spending accounted for most of the increase.
• Expenditures for Medicare totaled $216.6 billion, and for Medicaid $170.6 billion.
• Medicare accounted for 41.4% of all public spending on healthcare, while Medicaid accounted for 32.6%.
• The growth rate of Medicare spending has slowed dramatically, to the lowest recorded growth rate (2.5% in 1998).
• HCFA projects that national healthcare spending will amount to $1.23 trillion in 1999 and $2.18 trillion by 2008, and that national healthcare expenditures as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) will be 13.9% in 1999 (compared with the 1998 level of 13.5%) and will increase to 16.2% of GDP by 2008.

Recent analysis suggests that these estimates may be understating public spending for healthcare. For instance, it has been estimated that, although public-sector employers (federal, state and local governments) contributed $63.2 billion toward the purchase of employment-based health insurance by their employees, HCFA assigns this expenditure to the private sector. In addition, forgone tax revenue that was not collected because of the tax preference for healthcare spending is not counted toward national healthcare spending by HCFA. Although future national health expenditures are difficult to estimate precisely, expenditures could be affected by future legislation to ensure the solvency of Medicare, as well as by technological innovation or changes in the U.S. economy.

Poll Cites Healthcare Issues as Deciding Factors in Election
According to Gallup polling, Americans cite health as one of the issues that is of great personal concern to them on a daily basis. In fact, an analysis of the concerns mentioned shows that the prominence of health issues increases significantly with age, becoming one of the dominant concerns among Americans 65 years of age and older. Health issues also lead to concerns about related issues, such as Medicare and HMO reform.

An overwhelming majority of Americans told Gallup this year that cost, accessibility and quality of healthcare are “extremely important” or “very important” factors in deciding how they will vote in the November 2000 presidential election. People polled repeatedly said that healthcare should be a top priority for government, ranking in some surveys ahead of Social Security, taxes and education.

In 1973, Congress encouraged the expansion of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) by giving them special legal rights, including immunity from malpractice lawsuits. During the 1990s, some control of rising healthcare costs was realized, largely as a result of employers requiring workers to join HMOs and other managed care plans. However, because healthcare costs are again rising and because Congress is considering the Patients’ Bill of Rights that would remove legal immunity provisions and mandate easier patient access to specialists, Americans are now faced with additional healthcare tradeoffs.

According to Michael DeCourcy Hinds of Public Agenda, a nonpartisan public opinion and policy research organization, economists say the upward trend reflects the increasing medical needs of the nation’s aging population and the spread of costly new medical treatments and prescription drugs. Uncertainty about cost and service is driving voter concerns about the rapidly evolving healthcare system.

Although Americans generally say that they are satisfied with their HMOs, they also express concerns. In matters of confidence, HMOs and other managed care plans rank last, behind doctors, hospitals and several government programs. In 1999, only three in 10 Americans told Princeton Survey Research that they trust HMOs to do what is right for them all or most of the time. Hinds gives the following examples of the public’s ambivalence:
• Cost—Most Americans say they “worry a great deal” about problems such as the elderly not being able to afford prescription drugs or long-term care. However, more than two in five say that HMOs help keep out-of-pocket expenses reasonable.

• Access—The 1990s saw the number of Americans without health insurance swell from about 35 million to 44 million. Eight in 10 people surveyed agreed that this number is a major problem. However, most people say they would not support a 1% increase in income taxes to provide universal coverage.
• Regulations—Three out of four Americans say the government should mandate easier patient access to medical specialists and permit lawsuits against HMOs. However, this support falls by 25% when the new protections are linked to higher insurance premiums.
• Quality—Nearly four in 10 of those surveyed are concerned that their healthcare plans might deny them certain kinds of medical treatment, and most people say they worry about insurance companies making medical decisions instead of doctors. However, eight in 10 people also say they are satisfied with their managed care plan and would recommend it to other people.

“One explanation for these paradoxical findings could be cost-cutting at HMOs or, as the industry would have it, sensational media coverage of isolated problems-has badly shaken people’s trust,” Hinds said.

Morna Conway Resigns as InnoVision Board President

Morna Conway, president of the InnoVision Group Board of Directors since its inception in 1996, has resigned to devote more time to a growing client base and responsibilities related to her businesses.

The InnoVision Group, a wholly-owned, for-profit subsidiary of AACN, has provided support services in publishing, meetings management and reprographics. Its seven-member Board of Directors, which includes two AACN board members and AACN’s chief executive officer, is appointed by the AACN Board of Directors.

Conway is president of the Conway Group, which specializes in providing marketing and management consulting and implementation services to nonprofit membership organizations. She not only assisted AACN in establishing its in-house journals publishing program in 1991, but also was a member of the work group from which the InnoVision Group emerged. While president of the InnoVision Group Board of Directors, Conway also served as a member of the national CEO search committee for AACN.

“Working with the InnoVision Group team has been one of the highlights of my career,” Conway said. “It is a truly innovative company, which has made major contributions both to AACN and to knowledge dissemination in the healthcare industry.”

Conway said her tenure working with the InnoVision Group staff and board have involved “incredibly rich interactions.”

AACN President Denise Thornby, RN, MS, who served on the InnoVision Group Board of Directors with Conway until this year, said Conway’s contributions to AACN and the InnoVision Group have been invaluable.

“Morna’s gift of leadership to AACN’s nonprofit subsidiary was important in guiding it through a very critical start-up phase,” Thornby said. “Her legacy to AACN is significant, and we are fortunate to have had such a “wave maker” as a leader.”

Thornby said Conway’s contributions to the CEO search committee should not be underestimated.

“We appreciate Morna’s willingness to serve on the search committee and appreciated her knowledge of associations and business in deliberating on the best candidate to be AACN’s CEO,” Thornby said.

In addition to her role with the Conway Group, Conway is owner of Morna Conway Stables, a 23-acre horse farm in Maryland, where she raises Tennessee Walking Horses, and president of Suna Press. She is the author of Creature Comforts, a book published by Suna Press about her experiences with animals, and theirs with her.

A native of Scotland, Conway holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Edinburgh, a master’s degree from Loyola College, Baltimore, Md., and a doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has taught at all three insitutions.

Share the Benefits of AACN Membership

Share the benefits of membership in AACN with your nurse colleagues—and earn the chance to receive valuable prizes. AACN’s new Member-Get-A-Member campaign is now under way and continues through Dec. 31, 2000.

Member recruiters in both individual and chapter categories will be entered into a prize drawing each time a new member lists them on the “referred by” line of his or her membership application. Thus, the chances of winning prizes increases with each new member recruited.

However, the rewards start up front, because recruiters will receive a free gift the first time a qualified new-member application is received.

Following are the prizes that will be awarded in the drawing:
Grand Prize (one per category)—Registration, airfare and hotel for NTI 2001, May 19 through 24
First Prize(one per category)—Three-year membership to AACN (a $211 value) or an AACN gift certificate of equal value
Second Prize (two per category)—Two-year membership to AACN (a $148 value) or an AACN gift certificate of equal value

Third Prize (three per category)—One year membership to AACN (a $78 value) or an AACN gift certificate of equal value.

For more information about this new Member-Get-A-Member campaign or to receive member recruitment materials, call (800) 899-AACN (2226), or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Customers Come First

AACN’s Customer Service Department takes pride in meeting members’ needs. Senior Customer Service Representative Marie Wilson (foreground) has 14 years of experience at AACN.

“Take Action for Customer Satisfaction” was the theme of the Customer Services Week celebration, observed Oct. 2 through 6, 2000, at AACN.

Although responding to member needs is a priority for AACN year round, the national office team took advantage of the annual, national observance to reinforce the importance of good customer service.

Anchoring the celebration was AACN’s Customer Service Department. However, activities were planned to encompass the entire national office team, as well as members themselves. Members calling during the week were eligible for special giveaways.

Get Ready for the NTI in Southern California

When did you last visit Southern California? If it has been a while and if you are planning to attend AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in May 2001 in Anaheim, Calif., you are in for a pleasant surprise.

Not only has the Anaheim Convention Center expanded and upgraded, but the surrounding area also offers an array of new amenities and attractions, including hotels and restaurants. And, Southern California’s beach, cultural and entertainment attractions are easily accessible from Anaheim. Disneyland, the area’s long-standing
entertainment anchor, will complete a $1.4 million expansion onto 55 acres adjacent to the original Disneyland Park. Called Disney’s California Adventure, this theme-based park will include a boardwalk amusement zone and a Hollywood movie backlot. In addition, the new no-admission Downtown Disney area will offer a variety of dining options, theaters, shopping and nightlife.

However, Disneyland is not the only show in town. If you want to venture out, you can visit the new Legoland California in Carlsbad, Calif., or the new Aquarium of the

Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., where the Queen Mary is located. Special celebrations and features are also ongoing at other area attractions, such as Knott’s Berry Farm, SeaWorld San Diego, Universal Studios Hollywood and the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

The Anaheim Convention Center itself has a dramatic new appearance, following a 1 million-square-foot addition, which is scheduled to be completed in December 2000.

So, make plans to join your colleagues in Anaheim for AACN’s premier educational program and a lot of fun. The NTI is scheduled for May 19 through 24. Registration information is scheduled to be mailed in January 2001.

For the Record

The following member volunteers were inadvertently omitted from the list of AACN committees that was published in the August 2000 issue of AACN News:

Board Advisory Team
Jeffrey D. Allen, RN, BSN, AA

Scholarship Review Panel
Joseph M. Filakovsky, RN, MSN ,CCNS, CS

Write a CE Article for AACN News

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.

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.

New or Renewing Your Membership? Group Discount for All Member Categories

Nurses who join AACN or renew their membership as a group of five or more receive a discount on the membership fee.

The group discount program applies to members or affiliate members, as well as to international, student and emeritus memberships.

New and renewing groups of members or affiliate members pay a $69 membership fee per year instead of the $78 annual individual fee. Groups of international members pay $92 per year instead of $104, and groups of student members or of emeritus members pay $46 instead of $52.

This group rate applies only to one-year memberships, and full payment for all members in the group must accompany applications. 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.

Drawing for Free NTI Registration Tied to Orders

Order a product from the AACN Resource Catalog through November 2000 and receive both a special gift, while supplies last, and an entry into a drawing to receive free NTI 2001 registration.

You can order by calling (800) 899-AACN (2226), or online in the “Bookstore” area of the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org, or by calling (800) 899-AACN (2226). Mailed orders must be postmarked by Nov. 30, 2000, to be eligible for this special offer.

Limit one coupon per order. Not redeemable for cash. Offer good only on products ordered directly from AACN.

Currents

CHF Web site
Support and information for patients with congestive heart failure are available on the American Heart Association Web site at http://www.americanheart.org/chf. The section includes topics under the following headings: “Caregiver’s Guide,” “Understanding Heart Failure,” “Personally Speaking,” “Working With Your Doctor,” “Treatments” and “Diet, Lifestyle and Exercise.”

ACNP Conference
The ninth annual Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Conference is scheduled for March 30 to April 1, 2001, in Huntsville Ala. For more information, contact Marsha Dowell at
dowellm@email.uah.edu.

Cardiac Conference in Asia
The 4th Asian Cardiac Nursing Conference is scheduled Feb. 18 through 20, 2001, in New Delhi, India. “Critical Care Nursing at the Dawn of the Millennium: Challenges for the Cardiac Nurse” is the theme. The conference is being conducted by V. Banerjee, deputy nursing superintendent at Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre, New Delhi, and vice president of the Asian Association Of Cardiac Nurses. For more information, e-mail banerjee44@hotmail.com.

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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