AACN News—August 2002—Association News

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Vol. 19, No. 8, AUGUST 2002

NTI Participants Cite Value of Experience Positive Responses Dominate Feedback From Atlanta

Positive Responses Dominate Feedback From Atlanta

Julie C. Lau, RN, BSN, CCRN, expected to learn when she attended her first National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in Atlanta, Ga. However, she did not expect that she would be applying the knowledge she gained so soon after the NTI.

Nevertheless, shortly after the NTI, Lau was able to share what she had learned at a Sunrise Session on heparin-induced thrombocytopenia to convince the physicians to discontinue heparin for a patient whose platelet count then went from 74 to 104.

“The NTI helped me to make a difference in one life,” Lau exclaimed.

“My first NTI was a great experience! I learned so much that my head is still spinning. It was money well spent, and it went far in furthering my knowledge of critical care.”
Lau, who attended the NTI with the help of a scholarship granted by the Greater Louisville Chapter of AACN, of which she is treasurer-elect, was just one of many NTI participants who contacted AACN to share their feedback. According to preliminary evaluation data, participant responses to the 2002 NTI were overwhelmingly positive.
The NTI also attracted considerable media attention, both during and after the conference. Numerous television and radio spots, as well as articles in the print media, including those geared to the consumer, appeared.

Following is a sampling of some of the other comments AACN has heard from participants at NTI 2002:

This was my first NTI, but by no means my last. I have been a nurse for 20 years and have ridden the roller coaster of nursing, but I have not been this excited about nursing in several years. I am so pumped up right now to be a nurse. Your first general session left me in tears. I am happy to belong to an organization that knows and cares about what it is to be a nurse. The warm fuzzies I received while at NTI were immeasurable. I have come back to my unit with new enthusiasm, for both my patients and staff. I have been revived in my passion for the profession and the professionals like you who are shaping and directing nursing for us all. Thank you for the best attitude adjustment in years.
Kris Ooms, RN, CCRN
Grand Rapids, Mich.

You all do such a wonderful job with all the fine details at NTI. I am so amazed each year at how smoothly things go, the technology, the speakers, and the sponsors and vendors. You all should be so proud of yourselves!
Penny Vaughan, RN, MSN
College Grove, Tenn.

I just wanted to let you know what a great job the organization did on the Atlanta NTI. I attended many quality presentations there. The highlights for me were the keynote speakers, Dana Reeves and Susan Gordon. I am a firm believer in the press, and these two will be big promoters of nursing in this arena. The more nursing is seen in the press, particularly the “popular press,” the more visible we will be to the public. I know we can count on AACN to continue to make nursing visible! Thanks again for a wonderful experience! Belonging to AACN has been a major factor in my continued success in critical care nursing.
Debbie Pronitis-Ruotolo, RN, BSN, CCRN
Dallas, Texas

The nursing banners in the city were a beautiful touch. It was Nurses Week, I know, but the extra special notice was nice. The Gospel group that started and the Johnson & Johnson nursing campaign materials at the opening celebration were awesome. I saw so many friends, past classmates and past friends. The whole NTI was just wonderful. Thanks for a great conference!
Marthe Moseley, RN, Phd, CCNS, CCRN
San Antonio, Texas

AACN Announces Launch of Innovative, Internet-Based Basic Orientation Program

AACN has been working on an Internet-based education program designed to meet the needs for a standardized orientation curriculum for novice critical care nurses. A year in the making, Essentials of Critical Care Orientation began beta testing in July toward a mid-August completion. The program will be ready for institutional implementation by Aug. 26. GE Medical Systems is the first industry sponsor for the program. For more information about ECCO content and purchasing options, visit AACN’s Web site at http://www.aacn.org, e-mail us at ecco@aacn.org or call us at (800)-394-5995, ext. 8870.

Be an Ambassador for AACN, AACN Certification Corporation

Liaison Group Helps to Spread the Message

Critical care nurses in institutions and nursing schools across the country are spreading the word about AACN and AACN Certification Corporation as part of the AACN/CCRN Ambassadors corps.
Ambassadors, who are CCRNs, CCNSs and members of AACN, act as liaisons between their communities, institutions, medical facilities and other settings and the AACN National Office in an effort to recruit new members, to introduce AACN standards and protocols and to promote the value of certification and the value of nursing. To assist in this effort, AACN has developed an array of resources for recruiting new members and promoting the value of certification.

AACN/CCRN Ambassadors also serve as conduits for receiving and relaying up-to-date information to their coworkers, managers, administrators and units. They receive regular communication regarding AACN resources, services, positions and goals.

In addition, these volunteers are a valuable link in furthering AACN’s mission and vision by connecting with other critical care nurses in their communities and promoting the value of nursing in a range of settings, including community and school health and career fairs.

AACN/CCRN Ambassadors do not need to be AACN members or current CCRNs. AACN/CCRN Ambassadors are entitled to 5 Category O CERPs per year toward recertification of the CCRN credential (up to 15 CERPs per renewal period).

If you are interested in being part of AACN/CCRN Ambassadors, complete the form below and return it to: AACN, Attn: Ambassador Program, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; fax, (949) 448-5569. You may also sign up online at http://www.aacn.org > Membership > Volunteer Opportunities.


Make your voice—and the voice of critical care nursing—heard by participating in the Voice Project, an effort by AACN to amplify the voice of nursing in public forums. This initiative is tied to the theme of AACN President Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCNS, CCRN, “Bold Voices—Fearless and Essential”

Following are just a few of the responses contributed to date:

Q. If you had the opportunity to communicate to the world why critical care nurses are essential, what would you say?

The ICU nurse has her own radar, which is not taught in nursing school and which develops through years of clinical practice. We recognize and treat life-threatening changes in a patient’s condition. While patients never remember us, families never forget.
—Sharon Quinn, RN
Lawrenceville, Ga.

We bring the highest level of knowledge, the newest ideas, and the greatest traditions together—to be a critical care nurse is to heal, to manage, and to let go.
—Denise Gerig, RN, CCRN
New Haven, Ind.

I am the one who watches you carefully while you sleep. I am the one who observes all the vital signs for any changes that would indicate a problem. I am the one who does something to correct those problems before they are life threatening. I am the one who makes your passage from this life easier. I am not the nurse, I am your nurse.
—M. Diane Ogren, RN, BS, CCRN
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Q. What do you do to continually renew your passion for nursing?

I remain aware of the multitude of options available to nurses, and I never give up. While I may not always be pleased with the work environment, I am constantly aware that if I had to make the choice all over again, I would still be a nurse… today, tomorrow, and always.
—Rachel Rhude, RN, MSN, MBA, CCRN, CS
Chillicothe, Ohio

To participate in the Voice Project, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org > Voice Project. A variety of questions will be posed throughout the coming year, and the responses of members will be used in several ways, including as part of AACN’s messaging to the media, legislators and other key healthcare influencers. Some responses will appear in promotional materials or AACN publications, including in a new monthly feature “Soundbites” in AACN News.

Critical Links Recruitment Campaign Tops 400 Mark

Chapters, Individuals Help Build AACN Membership Numbers

Beverly C. Maloney, RN, AA, MSN, CNS, of Bay Village, Ohio, took the lead in AACN’s Critical Links member-get-a-member campaign after the recruitment numbers for June were tallied. As of July 1, Maloney had recruited 15 new members for AACN.

Close behind at 11 new members recruited was Lauretta M. Joseph, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Diane M. Casperson, RN, BSN, CCRN, of Beresford, S.D., and Kathleen M. Richuso, RN, MSN, of Chapel Hill, N.C., each had recruited 10 new members.

On the chapter side, the Lake Erie Chapter had recruited a total of 17 new members and the Greater Miami Area Chapter had recruited 14.

During June, 69 individuals recruited 125 new members and 28 chapters recruited 66 new members, bringing the total since the campaign began May 1 to 440. The campaign ends April 30.

The individual recruiting the most new members during the campaign receives a $500 American Express gift certificate, and the chapters reporting the largest increase in membership numbers or the largest percentage increase receive a $250 gift certificate toward the purchase of AACN resources.

Individual Rewards
All individual campaign participants receive an AACN pocket reference when they recruit their first new member. After that, individual recruiters receive $25 gift certificates toward the purchase of AACN resources when they recruit five new members and $50 AACN gift certificates when they recruit 10 new members. Each month, members who have recruited at least one new member during the month are also entered into a monthly drawing for a $100 American Express gift certificate.

All the recruiters need to do is make certain that their name and AACN member number are included on the new members’ application forms.

In addition to the $500 American Express gift certificate, the top individual recruiter is eligible for the first-, second- and third-place prize drawings:

1st Prize Round-trip tickets for two to anywhere in the continental U.S., including a five-day, four-night hotel stay.
2nd Prize Round-trip tickets for two to anywhere in the continental U.S.
3rd Prize Four-day, three-night hotel accommodations at a Marriott Hotel.

Chapter Rewards
In addition to the $250 gift certificate, chapters reporting the largest increase in membership numbers or the largest percentage increase will receive special recognition at NTI 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. Each month, chapters that recruit new members will also be entered into a drawing for a complimentary registration for NTI 2003.

The individuals participating in the campaign during June, as well as those who have recruited five or more total, are listed below. Cumulative totals for chapters are also listed.

Who Recruited New Members During June?

Judy D. Antonioni, RN, BSN 3
Nicole Bailey, RN, BSN 1
Joan F. Baker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNRN 5
Corazon B. Barbon, RNC, MSN, CCRN 2
Brenda K. Bartelheim, RN, CCRN 1
Philicia J. Bianco, RN 1
Nancy T. Blake, RN, MN, CCRN, CNAA 1
Betty Nash Blevins, RN, MSN, 1
Barbara A. Brown, RN, PhD, CCRN-R 1
Mary A. Bryant, RN, MSN, MBA, CCRN 2
Denise Buonocore, RN, MSN, CCRN, 6
Madeleine M. Burke, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Marilyn L. Byrne, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Yolanda W. Carilimdiliman, RN, 1
Carolyn Carter, RN, ADN, BA 2
Patricia E. Casey, RN, MSN, MS 2
Jesus M. Casida, RN, CNS, MS, CCRN 1
Diane M. Casperson, RN, BSN, CCRN 10
Michael Chalot, RN, ADN, CCRN 1
Gyl G. Corona, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS 1
Natalie J. Correll-Yoder, RN, CNS, 1
Laurie A. Dean, RN, CCRN 3
Luzviminda J. Del Rosario, RN, 1
Amy L. Delp, RN, MSN, CCRN 1
Aloysius C. Elamparo, RN, MSN, 1
Anthony E. Farmer, RN, MSN 1
Patricia Forsyth, RN, MSN, ARNP 1
Delita Glori-Feri, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN 1
Jerry A. Gronberg, RN, CCRN 2
Katherine L. Gundzik, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Lois Hamill, RN, BSN 1
Carol M. Hinkle, RN, MSN, BA, CCRN 1
Jana W. Hough, RN, BSN 1
Jane E. Jobe, RN, CCRN, CEN 1
Pamela S. Johnson, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Christy B. Johnson, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Jacqueline J. Johnson, RN, MA 5
Lauretta M. Joseph, RN, MSN, 11
Rene C. Katial, RN, MS,ANP 1
Lori E. Kennedy, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Nancy D. King, RN, MSN, CCRN, 6
Ruth J. Lee, RN 1
Lynn M. Loftis, RN, CCRN 1
Beverly C. Maloney, RN, CNS, 15
Michele L. Manning, RN, MSN, 1
Lenora M. Maze, RN, BSN, CNRN 1
Pauline J. McNeece, RN, MSN, CCRN 7
Katherine A. McWhorter, RN, MSN 1
Marlene Merdes, RN 1
Jennifer L. Miller, RN 1
Rachel E. Monday, RN 2
Dorothy Muskovin, RN 1
Paulita D. Narag, RN, ADN, CCRN 7
Colleen M. O’Leary-Kelley, RN, MS 1
Jeannette Orr, RN 2
Tracey Park, RN 1
Mary Frances D. Pate, RN, DSN 1
Anita L. Peterson, RN, BSN 4
Peggy Petri, RN, ADN, CCRN 1
Cynthia A. Phelps, RN, BSN, CCRN 7
Pam Pleiter, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Kathy Powderly, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Kimberly Radtke, RN 1
Victoria A. Ramik, RN, MS, CCRN, 1
Kathleen M. Richuso, RN, MSN 10
Donna B. Sabash, RN, BSN, CCRN 6
Lindsey Shank, RN, BSN, CCRN 5
Theresa Stevens, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS 1
Jacque H. Taylor, RN, BSN 1
Yvonne Thelwell, RN 7
Jennifer Ann Thiesen, RN, MS, 1
Irma G. Williams, RN, CCRN 2
April Yi Yu Zhuang, RN 1
Pam Zinnecker, RN, CCRN 7
Reward Winners for June

Congratulations to Philicia J. Bianco, RN, the recipient of our reward drawing for June. Each month, one individual will receive a $100 American Express gift certificate. The recipients are randomly selected.


Adirondack Regional Chapter 1
Atlanta Area Chapter 4
Brooklyn Chapter 6
Broward County Chapter 1
Central Indiana Chapter 2
Central Pennsylvania Chapter 3
Central Savannah River Chapter 1
Coastal Chapter 1
Dallas County Chapter 1
East River Mountain Chapter 1
Gate City Chapter 1
Greater Akron Area Chapter 1
Greater Birmingham Chapter 2
Greater Flint Area Chapter 1
Greater Fredericksburg Area Chapter 1
Greater Louisville Chapter 1
Greater Miami Area Chapter 14
Greater Milwaukee Area Chapter 1
Greater New Orleans Chapter 1
Greater Richmond Area Chapter 1
Jersey Shoreline Chapter 1
Lake Erie Chapter 17
Lehigh Valley Chapter 1
Los Angeles Chapter 1
Merrimack Valley Chapter 1
Mid Cumberland Chapter 2
Mobile Bay Area Chapter 2
Montana Big Sky Chapter 7
North Central Wisconsin Chapter 3
North Valley Chapter 1
Northeast Indiana Chapter 2
Piedmont Carolinas Chapter 1
Redwood Empire Chapter 2
Rochester Chapter 5
San Diego Area Chapter 1
San Fernando Valley Chapter 1
Smoky Mountain Chapter 1
South Central Connecticut Chapter 1
South Central Wisconsin Chapter 1
Southern Arizona Chapter 2
Southern Maine Chapter 2
Southern New Hampshire Chapter 1
Spokane Chapter 2
Triangle Chapter 9
West Michigan Chapter 1
White River Chapter 1

Reward Winners for June
Congratulations to the Lake Erie Chapter, which was the winner of the monthly reward drawing for June. Each month, one chapter will receive one complimentary registration for NTI 2003. The recipients are randomly selected from among chapters that recruit at least one new member during the month.

AACN Joins AARP in Search for Veterans of Korean War

AARP, in association with the City of San Diego, the Department of Defense and community-based veterans commemorative organizations, plans to honor the men and women who served in the Korean War (1950-1953) by presenting them a medal from the Republic of Korea.

In 1951, as a way to thank and honor our veterans, the Republic of Korea offered the Republic of Korea War Services Medal to United Nations forces serving in Korea and adjacent waters. However, U.S. policy prohibited its military forces from wearing medals issued by foreign governments. Although Congress changed that ruling in 1954, most U.S. service members eligible for the medal had returned home. In 1998, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the war, the Republic of Korea reiterated its original offer, and in 1999, the Department of Defense approved the acceptance and wearing of the medal. Approximately 1.8 million U.S. Korean War veterans are eligible to receive it.

AARP and its volunteer network are attempting to identify as many eligible Korean War veterans as possible to receive the commemorative medal in ceremonies scheduled the evening of Sept. 11, to coincide with the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks. AARP has obtained the support of the Department of Defense for this ceremony, which they envision as a candlelight medal-pinning event involving families and loved ones, as well as the veterans. Current plans also call for a celebrity host and musical entertainment.

AACN is assisting AARP in locating any members who may be eligible for the medal. If you served in the Korean War, contact Judy Wilkin by Aug. 25 at (949) 362-2050, ext. 353; e-mail, judy.wilkin@aacn.org, and you will receive further information about the award program.

Web Site Promotes Nursing Statistics

A new Web site featuring nursing statistics is now available. Developed by the Interagency Collaborative on Nursing Statistics, of which AACN is a member, the site can be accessed at http://www.iconsdata.org.

The group’s focus is to encourage and promote research and data collection efforts on nurses, nursing education and the nursing workforce/workplace.

The members work to:

• Promote and encourage research and data collection efforts.
• Be involved as a group in a project spearheaded by appropriate agency or group.
• Be leaders in the field and support research activities.
• Identify gaps in data and encourage the appropriate groups to collect data needed as it relates to nursing.
• Eliminate duplication of efforts.

The group is currently working with the Department of Health and Human Services on the National Nursing Sample Survey.

Endorsement Arrangement With Nursing Management Benefits AACN Members

AACN has endorsed Nursing Management, the Lippincott Williams & Wilkins publication for nurse managers, as well as the Nursing Management Congress 2002, a four-day national conference scheduled for Oct. 13 through 16 in Dallas, Texas. At the conference, AACN will sponsor educational sessions that address leadership challenges and the acute and critical care perspective.

In collaboration with AACN, Nursing Management launched a six-part progressive care series in February. These articles provide progressive caregivers and nurses in leadership positions real-life, proven strategies and solutions to use in this challenging work environment. The articles encompass the following topics: an overview of the progressive care area and the managers tool kit for leadership; cost justification for PCUs; selection and training/competency assessment of staff; selecting technology; ensuring compliance with safety and regulatory guidelines; and outcomes measures.

In connection with AACN’s endorsements of Nursing Management and the Nursing Management Congress 2002, AACN members are entitled to the following benefits:

• A discounted subscription rate of $25.95 per year to Nursing Management.
• The $100 “early-bird” discount off congress registration, regardless of when they register.

On the Agenda

Following is a report by AACN board member Rebecca Long, RN, MS, CCRN, CNS, on discussions that took place during a June 19 board conference call.

Agenda Item: NTI Report
The board received a preliminary report on NTI 2002 in Atlanta, Ga., including a summary of participant responses to a market survey and of the internal evaluation and debriefing process. The board was extremely pleased with the attendance, which exceeded projections, especially considering the uncertainties that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Participants gave positive feedback on their NTI experience, with 99% of those responding saying they would encourage their colleagues to attend. The overall program was rated as “excellent” or “good” by 98% of the respondents.

As AACN’s major annual conference and vehicle to showcase many of its educational resources and the latest research, the board has a keen interest in making certain that the NTI is the best it can be. A variety of measures, both qualitative and quantitative, are used each year to assess how the NTI can best meet the needs of the critical care nurses who attend.

Marketing Director Dana Woods also announced future NTI site selections: 2008 and 2011 in Chicago, Ill.; 2009 in New Orleans, La.; and 2010 in Washington, D.C. To secure the best possible contracts and arrangements, NTI sites are decided at least five years ahead. NTI 2003 is scheduled for May 17 through 22 in San Antonio, Texas. Other upcoming NTI locations are Orlando, Fla. in 2004; New Orleans in 2005; Anaheim, Calif., in 2006; and Atlanta in 2007.

Agenda Item: PDA Project Report
Marianne Martineau, education resources specialist, updated the board on AACN’s new PDA Center and plans to develop clinically relevant software for use with this new personal digital assistant technology. To gauge interest and gain insight into possible applications, Martineau conducted discussion groups at the NTI. She reported that interest was strong, with each of the 25 discussion groups filled to capacity.

As part of our accountability to monitor and strengthen programs and services, the board uses this type of feedback to help determine where association resources to support members should be focused. The question we continually ask is whether AACN is spending its money for the right things in the right way.

AACN continues to explore relationships with outside vendors for resources that are applicable to our members’ practice. This technology will be the future of bedside education.

Agenda Item: Updates
Michael L. Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN, 2001-02 president of AACN, reported on the American College of Chest Physicians board meeting he attended in June. At the meeting, the participants praised AACN and provided positive feedback on collaborative projects. Joint initiatives with the Society of Critical Care Medicine were also discussed.

In addition, AACN CEO Wanda Johanson, RN, MN, reported on a meeting in June of the Joint Taskforce on Workforce/Manpower Issues, which was established following the issuance of a joint position statement titled “The Aging of the U.S. Population and Increased Need for Critical Care Services.” The group is exploring ways to optimize currently scarce resources. AACN Practice and Research Director Justine Medina, RN, MS, presented an overview of the nurse staffing blueprint. The goal is to produce a “white paper” that will be reviewed at the joint leadership meeting with ACCP and SCCM.
Johanson also told the board that AACN has had preliminary discussions with the American Organization of Nurse Executives and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses concerning development of a joint leadership program for nurse managers.

Scene and Heard

AACN continues to seek visibility for our profession and the organization. Following is an update on recent outreach efforts:

In the Media
• An article by AACN Marketing Director Dana Woods appeared in the June issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration. Titled “Realizing Your Marketing Influence, Part 2: Marketing From the Inside Out,” the article addressed the importance of health systems ensuring that nursing care is optimal and the need to retain and recruit highly qualified nurses by making a commitment to creating a healthy and respectful environment. The article was the second in a series of three that will appear in the journal. The first, which was published in the April issue of JONA, addressed healthcare marketing basics and the importance of communication and collaboration among administrators, nurses and marketing staff. The final article, which will focus on certification as a marketing tool, will be published in the July/August issue.

• The June issue of RN magazine featured excerpts from the AACN News “President’s Note” column by 2001-02 AACN President Michael L. Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN, as well as information on how AACN is addressing the nursing shortage through “Nursing’s Agenda for the Future,” grants and awards.

• In an article that appeared in the May issue of RN magazine, “Critical Care Close-Up: A priceless resource,” past AACN President Joanne M. Krumberger, RN, MSN, FAAN, noted that “continuous learning may include … attending professional educational meetings such as the AACN’s National Teaching Institute.”

• The May issue of Nursing Management included an article titled “The Synergy Match-Up,” by Barbara Pope, RN, MSN, CCRN, president-elect of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of AACN. In the article, Pope advised healthcare professionals to consider implementing the Synergy Model to optimize patient outcomes in their care settings. The core concept of the Synergy Model is that the needs or characteristics of patients and families influence and drive the characteristics or competencies of nurses.

• The May/June issue of Healthcare Traveler quoted AACN in an article titled “Critical Care Nursing: Defining the Possibilities.” AACN noted that the current situation is unlike previous shortages the specialty has endured and that there was a 45% increase in travelers practicing within adult critical care units last year and a 50% increase within pediatric and neonatal intensive care units.

• “Rapid Review: Synergy,” a one-page article with three questions to help prepare candidates for the CCRN exam, appeared in the June issue of Nursing2002.

• In its June issue, Nursing Management featured the third in a six-part series on progressive care. “Avoid PCU Bottlenecks With Proper Admission and Discharge Criteria, Base Your Hospital’s Criteria on the SCCM and AACN Standards for Optimum Bed Utilization” was the title of the article by Mary N. Meyer, RN, CCRN. The series is endorsed by AACN. A sidebar to the article, titled “Nursing Community Meets Progressive Care Education Needs,” noted that the Kansas City, Mo., nursing community created a consortium forum to meet the educational needs of progressive care nurses through the I-Care Course. The forum was organized and overseen by AACN.

• The Second Quarter 2002 issue of Reflections on Nursing Leadership included an article titled “How to Implement Evidence-Based Practice: Some Tried and True Pointers,” which was written by AACN members Jane Barnsteiner, RN, PhD, FAAN, and Suzanne Prevost, RN, PhD, CNAA, a member of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors. “At the national level, associations such as the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses … are responding to the challenge to become active in developing clinical practice guidelines that can be tailored to specialty populations and local settings,” the authors stated.

• For the month of June, the StarMed Staffing Group agency featured AACN on its Web site, directing visitors to information on AACN’s background, mission, CCRN and CCNS certifications and membership opportunities.

• In June, AACN President-elect Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, was a featured guest on the Minnesota Public Radio “Midmorning” program segment on the nursing shortage. Pointing to the New England Journal of Medicine study demonstrating that a shortage of nurses leads to increased patient complications, Fontaine discussed solutions to the nursing shortage nationally and AACN’s role in supporting the Nurse Reinvestment Act and the Value of Nursing Campaign. She also discussed AACN’s partnership with Johnson & Johnson to improve the image of nursing, the importance of bringing more men and minorities into the profession, and changing the work environment to better support the professional practice of nurses.

• The June 10 issue of Advance for Nurses, Greater Philadelphia edition, noted that AACN and Philips Medical Systems had announced the Philips Medical Systems-AACN Outcomes for Clinical Excellence research grant.

Our Voice at the Table
• AACN Clinical Practice Specialist Linda Bell, RN, MSN, attended the ninth annual Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations liaison meeting in Oakbrook, Ill., in May. She was part of a multidisciplinary group representing various organizations, which met for networking opportunities and to learn about JCAHO’s current and upcoming focus. The focus of this meeting was on staffing effectiveness and disaster preparedness.

• Also in May, Justine Medina, RN, MS, AACN’s practice and research director, participated in JCAHO’s newly established Intensive Care Unit Core Measure Advisory Panel. This panel will guide the selection of standardized performance measures for use in hospital ICUs as part of the ORYX initiative. Over the next 18 months, this panel will establish an ICU measure-set framework and identify the specific well-tested, evidence-based performance measures to be included in the initial measure set. This ICU core measure set will consist of performance measures pertinent to medical, surgical, and/or medical-surgical ICUs.

• In June, AACN President Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCNS, CCRN, spoke on “Infective Endocarditis” and “Nursing in La Vida Loca” at the Broward County Chapter’s annual spring seminar in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She also attended a CCRN recognition dinner sponsored by the Orlando, Fla., Chapter of AACN and spoke about the value of certification.

• Medina was joined by AACN’s CEO Wanda Johanson, RN, MN, in June at a meeting of the Joint Taskforce on Workforce/Manpower Issues. This task force also included representatives from the American College of Chest Physicians, the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American Thoracic Society. The group is exploring new and innovative strategies to organize critical care resources and to ensure that the scarce resource of expert critical care professionals is used effectively. The group is expected to complete a “white paper” in November, with recommendations for change that can be used in discussions with key influencers and the leadership of the four participating organizations.

• At a program of the Broward County Chapter of AACN in June, Williams presented the keynote address titled “Celebrating Nursing’s Greatness Today and Every Day,” a breakout session titled “Family Crisis & Dysfunction: Drawing the Line” and the closing speech titled “Caregiver Sensitivity: Lessons From Patients and Families.”

• Woods was appointed to the advisory committee of the Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow coalition. The coalition of nursing and healthcare organizations currently has 40 members who are working together on a communications campaign to improve the image of nursing and attract people to the nursing profession.

If you or your chapter is planning to reach out to the media or other groups to promote critical care nursing, we’d like to know. E-mail your information to aacnnews@aacn.org.

On the Road

AACN frequently takes its show on the road, as representatives of the AACN National Office exhibit at conferences throughout the country. Following is the schedule of upcoming exhibits:

Sept. 18-22— Emergency Nurses Association, New Orleans, La.

If you are attending this conference, stop by the AACN exhibit to visit with your National Office team.

Public Policy Update

Patients’ Rights
Background: A heavily divided Supreme Court recently ruled that states could help patients fight their HMOs, a decision that could increase requests for second opinions. The court voted 5-4 to endorse an effort used in about 40 states to let patients bypass health-plan gatekeepers that refuse to approve payment for a treatment. The ruling also lifts the pressure on Congress, which has failed to pass a national patients’ rights plan.

The state laws are intended to allow to people to obtain second opinions and, in some instances, to force HMOs to pay when an independent review shows a surgery or other care is justified. The Supreme Court said that the state effort in trying to better arm patients in their battles with HMOs did not conflict with federal law.

The ruling comes after patients rights legislation stalled in Congress following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, putting on hold plans for a nationwide system for independent evaluations. The HMOs had argued that they were not opposed to independent review boards, but wanted one national standard instead of the hodgepodge of state laws.

Organ Donation
Status: In an attempt to increase organ donations, the American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs is urging financial incentives for cadaver organs.

CEJA is proposing a carefully designed and rigidly controlled study to determine the effect of financial incentives. Release of the recommendation at the AMA’s annual House of Delegates meeting drew protest. The opposition is concerned about using evidence from scientific studies to define ethics and argues that, even if the study found that organ donations increase when money changes hands, the underlying question is whether paying for organs is ethical. Even if the AMA House approves the recommendations, a pilot study of the practice would require a revamping of federal laws that currently ban such financial incentives.

Patient Safety
Status: The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has issued a sentinel-event alert on delays in treatment. Although hospital emergency departments are the source of a little more than half of all reported sentinel-event cases of patient death or permanent injury due to delays in treatment, JCAHO data reveal that such serious problems can occur in any hospital unit or healthcare setting.
Of the 55 reported cases of delays in treatment, 29 were ED-related, while 26 cases originated in hospital ICUs, medical-surgical units, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, freestanding and hospital-based ambulatory care services, the operating room and in the home care setting. Of the 55 cases of delays in treatment, 52 resulted in patient death.

The reported reasons for the delays in treatment are many and varied, with the most common factor being misdiagnosis (42%). Other factors include delayed test results (15%), physician availability (13%), delayed administration of ordered care (13%), incomplete treatment (11%), delayed initial assessment (7%), patient left unattended (4%), paging system malfunction (2%) and unable to locate ED entrance (2%).

Health Privacy
Background: The Health Privacy Project has released revised summaries of the health privacy statutes of nine states: Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. These updated summaries reflect changes in state health privacy statutes that have been made since their original report, titled the State of Health Privacy: An Uneven Terrain, which was published in 1999.

The summaries focus predominantly on the use and disclosure of information gathered and shared in the context of providing and paying for healthcare. How these state laws will interact with the federal health privacy rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not been analyzed.

Smallpox Vaccine
Status: A panel of scientific experts has recommended a limited vaccination plan targeting small teams of healthcare workers who would be protected in the event of an outbreak of smallpox. Arguing that the risk of serious side effects outweighed current fears of an outbreak, the panel estimated 20,000 people nationwide would be inoculated as a preventive measure. Complications could include a sore arm, low-grade fever, encephalitis (brain inflammation) and even death. The group also endorsed traditional “ring vaccinations” of isolated, infected patients and people in close contact with them to contain the outbreak.

In the meantime, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson is expected to go far beyond the panel’s position in deciding the policy. Federal health officials say they are finalizing a plan that would vaccinate hundreds of thousands of emergency medical personnel against smallpox this fall and expand to include other healthcare and rescue workers most at risk if the deadly virus is unleashed in the United States.

Eventually, as more vaccine becomes available and experts have a chance to study adverse reactions to the inoculation, administration officials expect to make it widely available on a voluntary basis. The debate over smallpox vaccination revolves around two unknowns: the likelihood of an outbreak versus the likelihood of severe, sometimes fatal, complications. Because routine immunization ended in 1972, most medical workers would need training in administering the live vaccine. In addition, immunized healthcare workers would likely be out of work for 10 days to prevent the spread of live vaccine to patients.

What began as a small, conservative approach by the government for protecting against the unlikely event of a smallpox attack is rapidly developing into a broad, aggressive proposal. Demand for the vaccine, new projections on how easily the smallpox virus could be spread in a terrorist attack and the size and scope of the U.S. medical profession have pushed the Bush administration to expand its view.

Health Policy Agenda
Status: Senate Health Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) recently outlined an ambitious agenda to expand healthcare coverage and lower costs. Kennedy, who has made the issue a priority for more than 30 years, told the National Press Club that the nation was “moving backward” on healthcare. At least 39 million Americans lack health insurance, a number that Kennedy said could reach 52 million by 2009. He said drug spending is rising, health insurance premiums are again showing double-digit inflation, and the industry has not brought its technology up to the latest standards.

Kennedy said action is needed on three major fronts: to reduce the plight of the uninsured, to bring health costs down and to enact a prescription drug benefit in Medicare. Although Kennedy helps shape the Senate agenda, it is unlikely that his legislation could pass this year, particularly with Congress devoting much of its resources to defense and homeland security. However, his proposals will probably find their way into the November congressional campaigns and then help mold the 2004 presidential race.

Some of the legislation he championed is relatively simple and has bipartisan support. For instance, a stroke prevention bill has passed the Senate and is pending in the House. Other initiatives, including a plan to provide healthcare for all Americans, are controversial and similar initiatives have floundered in the past.

Congress will probably debate some of the issues Kennedy raised. In June, two House committees were taking up a $350 billion, 10-year Medicare prescription drug plan. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats plan to bring up a bigger Medicare drug package costing $400 billion to $500 billion over seven years. Most observers believe the prospects of reconciling the two versions this year are remote.

In his remarks, Kennedy urged lawmakers to put aside past differences and renew efforts to solve lingering and, in some cases, worsening U.S. healthcare problems. He said the fight against terrorism should not supplant health legislation, but rather the nation’s post Sept. 11 spirit should encourage it. Legislation he listed included bills to expand children’s health insurance, to require big businesses to cover their employees and to give grants to the healthcare industry to reduce administrative costs through better technology.

He wants the Senate to act on several bills that could restrain costs by expanding preventive care for such diseases as diabetes and he recently unveiled legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration expanded powers to regulate tobacco. Kennedy also advocated closing loopholes in laws that drug companies use to dampen competition from cheaper generic drugs, and wants to restrict advertising of drugs to consumers.

Ergonomics Bill
Status: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the Breaux-Specter bill (SB 2184), requiring the Department of Labor to create regulations to address ergonomics in the workplace. The bill will now be presented to the House of Representatives and Congress for vote.

Although he voted with the majority of the Senate in blocking implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ergonomics standard, the Breaux-Specter legislation calls for the Labor Department to “address work-related musculoskeletal disorders and workplace ergonomic hazards” and to not have a workers’ compensation payment system that pays more than what states already offer. It also says that injuries would have to be directly related to work to be covered.

Healthier U.S. Initiative
Background: HHS Secretary Thompson joined President George W. Bush in announcing the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, as part of his new Healthier U.S. Initiative. In announcing the initiative, Bush said, “When America and Americans are healthier, our whole society benefits. And that’s important to know. If you’re interested in improving America, you can do so by taking care of your own body.”

The council is housed in the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is time to change the focus of medicine in America,” Thompson said. “Instead of just trying to heal people when they’re sick, we should promote healthier living and prevent illnesses before they happen. We can prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke by eating more fruits and vegetables, cutting down on fats, being physically active and getting screened regularly. It’s a life decision that will improve and lengthen lives.”

Public Health Risks from Pesticides
Background: Responding to a gap in health professional education and the public health risks posed by the widespread use of pesticides in the United States, the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation has launched a groundbreaking plan to integrate pesticides issues into primary healthcare education and practice. NEETF publicly released the National Strategies for Health Care Providers: Pesticides Initiative Implementation Plan, which was developed by interdisciplinary teams of primary health care providers, medical and nursing school faculty, pesticide safety educators and public health professionals.

NEETF has undertaken the initiative in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Labor and a wide range of stakeholders. During the past decade, the Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association have recommended improvements to primary healthcare providers’ education and training in the areas of environmental health and pesticides, respectively.

The initiative calls for all primary healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, nurse midwives and community health workers, to acquire a basic knowledge of the health effects of pesticides and the treatments and preventive public health strategies to address them. The initiative will serve as a model for integrating other environmental health issues into medical and nursing education and practice. The goal is to change the way primary care providers assess and respond to potential pesticide exposure cases in their daily practice.

The strategies for implementing the National Strategies for Health Care Providers: Pesticides Initiative are being developed by a wide range of experts and stakeholders. The implementation plan presents a three-pronged approach that includes specific strategies for education and practice settings, and creative resource links for primary care providers.

More than 150 healthcare providers and representatives of credentialing bodies and academic institutions, government agencies, health agencies and educational organizations will participate in the national forum to move the initiative forward through the U.S. healthcare system.

AACN position: AACN has endorsed the National Strategies for Health Care Providers: Pesticides Initiative Implementation Plan.

Status: President Bush has signed the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act (HR 3448), providing more than $4.6 million to improve readiness for bioterror attacks, including improving communications functions of hospitals and health agencies. The act also includes more than $1.6 million in funding for state and local electronic and telemedicine projects. Some of these initiatives are electronic databases already in use that collect and analyze reports on the symptoms of patients treated in emergency departments and then automatically alert public health authorities to symptom clusters.

HHS Secretary Thompson also recently approved comprehensive state plans to build stronger public health systems to better prepare for bioterror attacks, marking the first time that federal, state and local governments have created a unified plan to respond to public health emergencies from terrorism. This approval by HHS authorizes the state and local municipalities to receive the remaining 80% of their $1.1 billion in bioterrorism grants. The federal agency will also be working with the local agencies to implement their plans, asking for further progress reports on Oct. 1.

AACN position: AACN supported the inclusion of Section 106 in the bioterrorism bills, provisions that would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to take action to support additional training to alleviate workforce shortages in the event of a threat to public health.

For more information about these and other issues, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org

Public Policy Resources Now Online

Check out the new State Net database and CapWiz Legislative Action Center, available on the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org. To access this new public policy resource, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

State Net allows AACN members to download or view the status and a brief summary of pertinent nursing legislation. The database collects information on actions related to bills in Congress, as well as in all 50 states. Because the information is posted within 24 hours of public availability, members can get reliable information quickly.

The CapWiz Legislative Action Center, powered by Capitol Advantage, will allow AACN members to connect with elected officials, agencies and organizations. Users may e-mail members of Congress, the president and other government officials; find their legislators by a ZIP code or name search; and find out how their legislators voted on identified issues. Members may compose their own messages or send messages prewritten by AACN.

Searchable by ZIP code, state and name, this tool also provides an easy way to find out who is running for federal and state offices in a specific area. As primaries pass, the information will be updated to reflect the general election candidates. The system also includes information on registering to vote, election dates and more.

Liability Insurance Helps Members Protect Themselves

A malpractice claim can be costly, regardless of whether it is legitimate. The best way for nurses to protect themselves is to carry their own professional liability insurance, which is why AACN sponsors the Professional Liability Insurance Program for its members.

With liability limits up to $2 million per incident ($4 million aggregate), members can save 10% on their annual premium if they have 1) participated in an approved risk-management seminar that provided at least 4 credit hours or 2) current certification as a CCRN or CCNS, or as an ANCC, AOCN, CCCN, CNOR, CWCN, CPNP, CRFNA, CRRN, LNCC, OCN or NCSN.

Following are some of the benefits of the plan:

• When you must attend a trial, hearing or arbitration proceeding, you may lose wages. This plan offers not only loss-of-earnings coverage up to $10,000 per incident, but also reasonable expense reimbursement.

• If you do not have your own individual policy, you may have to pay legal expenses out of pocket when you are required to be deposed. This plan reimburses you up to $5,000 for legal representation in depositions related to your professional duties.

• If a suit is brought against you, legal fees and court costs incurred by the insurer on your behalf are paid for covered claims as well as the liability limits, even if the suit is groundless, false or fraudulent.

Even if you have protection through your employer, it may not be adequate. Without your own personal professional liability protection, you could end up paying attorney fees, court costs and loss of wages out of your own pocket.

The Chicago Insurance Company, a member of the Interstate National Corporation, one of the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Companies, underwrites the AACN-sponsored Professional Liability Insurance Program. Marsh Affinity Group Services, a service of Seabury & Smith, administers the plan.

For more information, contact Marsh Affinity Group Services at (800) 503-9230. Additional information and application materials are available online at http://www.aacn.org.

Coming in the September Issue of the American Journal of Critical Care

• The Synergy Model and the Role of Clinical Nurse Specialists in a Multihospital System

• Acute Care Nurse Practitioners: Creating and Implementing a Model of Care for an Inpatient General Medical Service

• Practices and Predictors of Analgesic Interventions for Adults Undergoing Painful Procedures

• Impact of a Prolonged Surgical Critical Illness on Patients’ Families

Subscriptions to Critical Care Nurse and the American Journal of Critical Care are included in AACN membership dues.

Looking Ahead

September 2002

Sept. 1 Deadline to submit research and creative solutions abstracts for NTI 2003, May 17 through 22 in San Antonio, Texas. To obtain abstract forms, call (800) 899-AACN (2226) and request Item #6007, or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org

Sept. 27-Oct. 4 AACN Study Tour to Europe. To request a brochure, contact Interport, Ltd., 510 31st Street, Suite G, Newport Beach, CA 92663; phone, (949) 673-3596; fax, (949) 673-1007;

October 2002

Oct. 1 Deadline to submit applications for AACN Clinical Practice Grant. To obtain a grants handbook, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org  or call AACN Fax-on-Demand at (800) 222-6239. Request Document #1013.

Oct. 1 Deadline to submit applications for AACN-Sigma Theta Tau Critical Care Grant. To obtain a grants handbook, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org or call AACN Fax-on-Demand at (800) 222-6239. Request Document #1013.

Oct. 1 Deadline to submit applications for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Grant. To obtain a grants handbook, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org or call AACN Fax-on-Demand at (800) 222-6239. Request Document #1013.

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