AACN News—May 2002—Opinions

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Vol. 19, No. 5, MAY 2002

President's Note: A Journey of Rediscovery: Don�t Just Think About It, Act!

By Michael L. Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN
President, AACN

Little things mean a lot. How true this sentiment is.Yesterday you helped a wandering parent find the right unit in the maze of your hospital�s critical care pavilion. This morning you put your arm around a patient�s relative, reminding her that �We�re all here to take good care of your sister.� Your kindness may have seemed a small gesture to you, as you rushed back to a bedside after a much-needed break. But it probably made the day for the person you helped.

Most of us have been surprised at some time by the results of our smallest efforts. Now think about what happens when seemingly insignificant acts are magnified by the collective action of others. Think of the impact a simple gesture can have when carried out by 65,000 people�more specifically, by 65,000 AACN members. Think about it and then �

Just Explore!
Take the time to explore http://www.aacn.org, AACN�s Web site, and http://www.certcorp.org, the AACN Certification Corporation�s Web site. Click on an unfamiliar link and discover the wealth of information and resources. You will open a door to a whole new world of opportunities and possibilities.

Just Try!
Are you the hemodynamic monitoring expert in your unit? Do you want to sharpen your expertise with state-of-the-science hemodynamic monitoring knowledge? Visit PACEP, the online pulmonary artery catheter education project developed by a partnership of AACN, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American Thoracic Society, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the American College of Chest Physicians. From www.aacn.org click on Education > Continuing Education.

Just Recruit!
The numbers are staggering. Each member recruits a new one and overnight AACN�s membership climbs to 130,000! These numbers bring incalculable clout in the world of health policy, regulation and administration. And, with more than 250,000 nurses working in America�s ICUs and thousands more caring for critically ill patients and families in other clinical areas, recruiting just one new member is only an invitation away. Recruit a new member and you�ll be rewarded. Critical Links �02, our member-get-a-member campaign, is already under way.

Just Give $1!
This is the easiest suggestion of all. If every AACN member contributes $1, the AACN Scholarship Endowment Fund will grow by $65,000, moving us closer to our $2 million goal of funding our scholarship program in perpetuity. Stop reading. Drop a dollar in an envelope (more if you like), affix a stamp and mail to AACN Scholarship Endowment Fund, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656. Thank you for supporting this scholarship endowment! Now, read on.

Just Get Involved!
Nominate someone (maybe yourself?) for an AACN Circle of Excellence recognition award. The awards deadline is July 15, 2002. (See page 16.) Or nominate yourself or a colleague to serve as a national volunteer on the AACN Board of Directors, the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors, the AACN Nominating Committee or a national work group. The deadline for nominations is June 21, 2002.

Just Tell Us!
We need your feedback. Write to aacn.info@aacn.org or send a fax to (949) 362-2020 and tell us what�s working, or what could work better. Suggest one way to improve the resources and customer service we offer. Or one way AACN can increase its impact on critically ill patients and families and the nurses who care for them. (By the way, the topic of this �President�s Note� column was suggested by a member.)

Just Share!
Tell just one school kid about the wonders of nursing. Tell them exciting stories about the drama that is your daily life. Even more real than TV. Make sure they know about our profession�s extraordinary personal and professional rewards, how nurses make a difference in the lives of others every minute of the day, and yes, that they will need to work hard and get a well-rounded education, strong in science.

Just Keep Moving!
As we shape our journeys, they also shape us. Whether this journey is professional or personal, it is essential that we keep moving. And doing the seemingly insignificant can move us miles ahead. So, just think about it and:

Just Explore!
Just Try!
Just Recruit!
Just Give!
Just Get Involved!
Just Share!
Just Keep Moving!


Scrutinize Nursing Schools
With the looming nursing shortage, many articles have been written about working conditions and loan repayments for current nurses. However, little has been written about future nursing students or changes within schools of nursing.

Although nursing is ever changing and new research is introduced, basic nursing education is stuck in a traditional system that is hard and frustrating. When I was in nursing school, I often felt that we were being asked to do outdated tasks simply because �that�s the way it�s always been.�

Many nursing instructors have not done real clinical work for many years, and their clinical teaching reflects this. As a result, the tests do not prepare you for the NCLEX nor predict who will do well in nursing.

And, why do all nursing schools have the same clinical pattern, regardless of what you want to do after graduation? You go through the motions of med-surg, pediatrics, mental health or public health. Some schools do not have a critical care clinical. Why not give the students an option of clinicals to choose from?

With all the current problems in nursing, why haven�t nursing schools been put under the microscope?

Aaron Petersen, RN
Coralville, Iowa

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