President's Note: Bold Voices: When
AACN Speaks ...
By Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCNS, CCRN
We need many bold voices to solve the challenges
facing critical care and make a difference in healthcare. The voices of
individuals. The voices of groups. Just as I have called for your individual
voice to be heard, AACN�s voice must be heard. The voice of an undisputed
leader, influencing our care for patients and their families and the environment
in which we give that care.
Which issues should we highlight? And, how do we
effectively amplify our voice? Therein lies the challenge for AACN�s leadership
team. Because the voice of AACN speaks for the members of a professional
organization, its leadership team must clearly understand the association�s core
purpose, our raison d��tre.
Driven by the clarity of AACN�s vision, mission
and values, we have no identity crisis! AACN�s work is to help nurses make their
optimal contribution to critically ill patients and their families. To set the
standard that creates excellence in care. To promote care that is based on
evidence. To create ethical, humane and healing environments for care. And to
support critical care nurses through programs, resources and certifications in
our lifelong quest for excellence.
Clear about our identity, how will AACN�s
leadership team craft our association�s voice? Without a deliberate process to
identify and develop positions, AACN becomes vulnerable to taking reactive,
knee-jerk positions that dilute the impact of our finite resources. To ensure
that issues are thoughtfully and strategically considered, the board will
develop a written framework delineating AACN�s key platforms to further focus
our bold and proactive voice. We will use this framework as a tool to hone and
optimize what we say and how we say it.
First, we need your input, as well as data from
our continuous scanning of the environment. What are the hot issues? What helps
you to provide optimal care? What stops you? Tell us, and please, don�t hold
back! Your input helps to drive AACN�s voice. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fax us at (949) 362-2020. Leave a voicemail message for any member of the board
at (800) 394-5995. You can find us in the board listing at right.
Then there�s the Voice Project we launched in
May at the 2002 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition. We
want to know: If you had the opportunity to communicate to the world why
critical care nurses are essential, what would you say? What do you do to
continually renew your passion for nursing? Share your voice by visiting the
AACN Web site at
and clicking on the Voice Project. Do it as often as you like, whenever you have
a new perspective. We will use your responses in many ways, including in AACN�s
messages to the media, legislators and other key healthcare influencers.
AACN has 65,000 members with 65,000 individual
opinions and priorities, which challenges us to stay cohesive and focused. We
may not be able to address the concerns of each individual, but we can
effectively represent what is in the best interest of critical care nurses,
patients and families. Why? Because our vision and our mission keep us focused.
They drive our decisions even when perspectives differ.
With clear and focused messages, we amplify our
voice in a variety of ways. Here are just a few:
� AACN created the standards and resources for
care of critically ill patients.
� AACN is the acknowledged source for
educational resources. The NTI is the premier event for nurses and industry.
ECCO, our new online Essentials of Critical Care Orientation, has set a new
standard for self-paced clinical education.
� AACN sets the gold standard for specialty
credentialing with CCRN certification for critical care nurses and CCNS
certification for clinical nurse specialists.
� AACN is a long-standing partner with ACCP, the
American College of Chest Physicians, and SCCM, the Society of Critical Care
� AACN is a leader in the profession�s strategic
plan, Nursing�s Agenda for the Future.
� AACN has joined nearly 100 nursing
organizations to form the new Nursing Organizations Alliance.
� AACN is sought as the acknowledged expert on
issues affecting the entire care continuum for acute and critically ill
Above all, AACN�s strongest alliance is with our
members. The power of 65,000 to amplify AACN�s voice is indisputable. We will
communicate clearly what we stand for and what our platforms are, to support you
in using your voice to speak about critical care nursing.
Faced with challenging opportunities,
individuals and organizations must take new risks and move to new levels of
courage. AACN will not shrink, recede or be silent on issues important to
critical care nurses and patients. We will continue to lead healthcare to
excellence. You can count on AACN to accept this challenge�and to be more bold
and demanding of our members and of ourselves as an organization than ever
Who Will Care for Me?
I keep reading about the nursing shortage and
what we need to draw nurses back into the fold. Consider this. When I retire, I
will leave with only my 401K benefits, which have been dropping like a rock.
Why don�t hospitals treat core staff like the
military or Kaiser and reward them with retiree medical benefits or a pension?
They could even stipulate that the medical care benefit be used at their
facilities. That would be better than standing out in the cold with every other
senior citizen looking for medical insurance.
We would stay through the bad times if, say
after 12 years, we knew that at the end of 20 years, there would be benefits
waiting. Currently, there is nothing to hold nurses to be loyal to one facility.
I have spent 30 years in my chosen profession
caring for the sick. Now who will care for me when it is my turn?
Joyce Warren, RN, BSN, CCRN
Your opinions are important! Share them with
others by contributing to the printed dialogue each month in AACN News. Send
your �Letters� to: AACN News, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; fax, (949)
362-2049; e-mail, email@example.com.
AACN News reserves the right to edit letters for style, clarity and space.