AACN News—September 2002—Association News

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Vol. 19, No. 9, SEPTEMBER 2002


New Member Numbers Rising

New member numbers continued to build as individuals and chapters stepped up recruitment activities during July. In fact, 181 new members were recruited during the month—134 by 74 individuals and 47 by 38 chapters—for a total of 621 new members since the campaign began May 1. The campaign ends April 30.

In addition to helping AACN strengthen its collective voice and sharing the myriad benefits of membership with their colleagues, member and chapter recruiters are eligible for valuable rewards. In the end, 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. But that’s not all:

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 Leaders
Beverly C. Maloney, RN, AA, MSN, CNS, of Bay Village, Ohio, continued to lead the rally among the individual recruiters, with 15 new members recruited. Close behind were Cynthia A. Phelps, RN, BSN, CCRN, of Salt Lake City, Utah, with 13 new members; Diane M. Casperson, RN, BSN, CCRN, of Beresford, S.D, with 12; Lauretta M. Joseph, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Yvonne Thelwell, RN, of Miami, Fla., both with 11; and Kathleen M. Richuso, RN, MSN, of Chapel Hill, N.C., with 10.

Among the chapters, the Greater Miami Chapter skyrocketed into the lead, with a total of 25 new members recruited. The Lake Erie Chapter was at 18 new members, and the Brooklyn Chapter was at 11.
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 July?
 
Mary Alford, RN, BSN, CCRN 2
Joan Baker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNRN 5
Marion Beaufait, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Stacy Bennett, RN, ADN, AA 1
Michael Beshel, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN 8
Philicia Bianco, RN 1
Nancy Blake, RN, MN, CCRN, CNAA 2
Michael Blanchard, RN 1
Amy Brower, RN, ADN 2
Denise Buonocore, RN, MSN, CCRN, 6
CS BSN, APRN
Michele Caballer, RN, BSN 1
Luz Carilimdiliman, RN 1
Patricia Casey, RN, MSN, MS 5
Diane Casperson, RN, BSN, CCRN 12
Lydia Chamberlain, RN, BSN 1
Susan Cline, RN, BSN 1
Michelle Collins, RN, BSN 3
Elizabeth Conboy, RN, BSN 1
Damon Cottrell, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS, 1
CS, CEN
Therisa Davis, RN 4
Anne Dunn, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Anthony Farmer, RN, MSN 1
Mary Beth Flynn, RN, CNS, MS, CCRN 1
Virginia Forshee, RN 1
Lynda Francis 1
Carla Freeman, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Becki L. Fuzi, RN, MSN 1
Julianne Gerstbrein, RN, MSN, BA, CCRN 1
Sylvia Gomez, RNC, BSN, CCRN 1
Chris Hilbish, RN, BSN, CCRN 2
Carol Hinkle, RN, MSN, BA, CCRN 1
Simone Hughes, RN, MSN 3
Erin Hutchison, RN 7
Rosa Jaranilla, RN, BSN, BS 1
Jacqueline Johnson, RN, MA 5
Lauretta Joseph, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP 11
Patricia Juarez, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS 1
Frances Kenney, RN, BSN 1
Nancy King, RN, MSN, CCRN, ANP, NP 8
Diana Kizer, RN, MA 4
Anne Klahre, RN 9
Paul Ladwig, BSN, EMT-P 1
Julie Lau, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Victoria Lindgren, RN, MSN, CCRN 1
Louise Lowe, RN, ADN, AA 1
Rosita Maley, RN, MN, CCRN 2
Karen Malik, RN 1
Beverly Maloney, RN, CNS, MSN, AA 15
Catherine Maloney, RN, CCRN 1
Angela Martin, RN, MS 1
Julie McCorkle, RN, BSN, MS BSN 2
Pauline McNeece, RN, MSN, CCRN 7
Ruth Melvin, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Inocencia Mendoza, RN, BSN 4
Shirley Mercier 1
Carla Morning, RN 1
Dorothea Murphy, RN, CCRN, CNRN 6
Jennifer Nagtalon, RN, BSN 1
Paulita Narag, RN, ADN, CCRN 7
Kathleen Peavy, RN, MS, CCRN 1
Leonard Pettyjohn, RN 1
Cynthia Phelps, RN, BSN, CCRN 13
Hurd Pittman, RN, MSN, CCRN 1
Kevin Reed, RN, MSN, CNA 4
Kathleen Richuso, RN, MSN 10
Kathryn Roberts, RN, MSN, CCRN 1
Barbara Rogers, RN, BSN 1
Donna Sabash, RN, BSN, CCRN 6
Dennis Samson, RN, BSN 1
Lindsey Shank, RN, BSN, CCRN 6
Beverly Shelton, RN 2
Margaret Silberger, RN, MSN, CEN 1
Debra Sipes-Fears, RN, ADN 1
Ruth Smelter, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Marcia Strow, RN, MS, AA, CCRN 1
Maria Suarez, RN 1
Mildred Swan, RN, CCRN 1
Yvonne Thelwell, RN 11
Karen Thomason, RN, MSN, CCRN 1
Annella Trent, RN, ADN 1
Karen Vrabel, RN 1
Irma Williams, RN, CCRN 1
Pam Zinnecker, RN, CCRN 7

Rewards for July
Congratulations to Amy Brower, RN, ADN, the recipient of our reward drawing for July. Each month, one individual will receive a $100 American Express gift certificate. The recipients are randomly selected.

Chapters
 
Atlanta Area Chapter 9
Brooklyn Chapter 11
Broward County Chapter 6
Central Pennsylvania Chapter 6
Chesapeake Bay Chapter 1
Dallas County Chapter 1
Emerald Coast Chapter 1
Greater Birmingham Chapter 1
Greater East Texas Chapter 1
Greater Miami Area Chapter 25
Greater Washington Area Chapter 7
Indiana Hoosier South Central Chapter 1
Lake Erie Chapter 18
Los Angeles Chapter 1
Mobile Bay Area Chapter 1
Montana Big Sky Chapter 7
Northwest Georgia Chapter 5
Peninsula Chapter 6
Piedmont Carolinas Chapter 1
Rochester Chapter 5
South Central Connecticut Chapter 1
Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter 9
Three Rivers Chapter 1
Triangle Chapter 9
West Michigan Chapter 1
West Texas Chapter 1
White River Chapter 1


Reward Winners for July
Congratulations to the White River Chapter, the winner of the monthly reward drawing for July. 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.

ECCO Provides Solid Orientation for Novice Nurses in Critical Care


An Internet-based educational program designed to provide a strong foundation in the fundamentals of critical care nursing to novice nurses who want to care for critically ill patients was unveiled last month by AACN.

Called Essentials of Critical Care Orientation, the program consists of modules that present a detailed review of each body system’s anatomy and physiology, along with the normal state for that system and a discussion of the most common disorders that would cause a patient to become critically ill.

Built around sound educational principles, the program provides a variety of opportunities to enrich the experience of learning the concepts presented. The program’s management tools enable the nurse manager or educator to track a student’s progress through each module and to review a variety of module test-score reports.

The program, which has completed a successful beta test cycle, is now available for institutional purchase.

Helping to make this new educational resource possible were content reviewers, exam item writers and institutional beta test sites that partnered with AACN to ensure the highest level of quality for this program. We would like to thank the following individuals and institutions for their contributions during the various stages of program development:

Beta Test Sites
Banner Health System
Baystate Medical Center
CareAlliance Health Services
DuBois Regional Medical Center
Lancaster Regional Medical Center
Medflight of Ohio
Naval Medical Hospital San Diego
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Content Reviewers
Lee Albanese, RN, MSN, CNN, CNS, FNP
Andee Alsip, RN, MSN, AA, CNRN
Jacqueline Banasik, RN, MSN, PhD
Deborah Barnes, RN, MSN, CCRN
Beverly Carlson, RN, CNS, MS, CCRN
Roberta Emerson, RN, MN, PhD, CCRN
Margo Lundh, RN, MSN, MBA, NP
Kathleen Stacy, RN, CNS, MSN, CCRN

Exam Item Writers
Dawn Blake-Holmes, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNS
Kim Brown, RN, MSN, CS-FNP, CEN
Donna Caretti, RN, MSN
Diane DePew, RN, DSN
Deborah Drummonds, RN, MS, CCRN, CEN
Anna Easter, RN, PhD, CS
E. Coleen Fritsche, RN, MS, CCRN, ACNP
Ruth Kleinpel-Nowell, RN, PhD, CCRN, CS
Sharon Kumm, RN, MN, MS, CCRN
Margo Lundh, RN, MSN, MBA, NP
Karen March, RN, MSN, CCRN, CS
Beth Martin, RN, MSN, CCNS, CS, CNRN
Barbara Ogden, RN, MSN, CCRN
Theresa Posani, RN, CNS, MS, CCRN, CCNS
Elliot Stetson, RN, BS, MSN, CCRN
Therese Verklan, RNC, PhD, CCNS
Lovetta Wargo, RRT

For more information about this program, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org and click on the Essentials of Critical Care Orientation icon, call (800) 394-5995, ext. 8870 or e-mail ecco@aacn.org.

Added Convenience—Conduct Your AACN Business Online


Conducting business with AACN is about to get easier. The convenience of online “e-business” will be available this month at http://www.aacn.org.

In addition to ordering products, registering for conferences, and ordering and renewing subscriptions online, members and customers can update their personal demographic information and check on the status of their orders.

Here’s what you need:
• An ID number—AACN will assign each user an ID number that, along with a password, allows access to the system. For members, the ID number is the same as their membership number. Nonmembers who have purchased products or registered for conferences have also been assigned a number, which appears on materials they have received. New nonmember users will be assigned an identification number the first time they order or register.

• A password—This is up to the first 15 characters of the user’s last name.

For assistance with problems logging on, call (800) 899-2226 or e-mail info@aacn.org

Practice Resources Available for Your PDA

Visit AACN’s new PDA Center online at http://www.aacn.org to find out about the latest in AACN resources and educational tutorials for personal digital assistant devices.

Tutorials
AACN has developed three tutorials to help you understand the usefulness and convenience of the PDA in your nursing practice. Each tutorial contains actual screen images from PDA software applications and depicts detailed information on numerous clinical nursing software programs that will complement and enhance your efficiency in caring for patients at the bedside.

• “Choosing a PDA for Nursing Practice” presents information on selecting the PDA that is right for you.

• “PDA Software for Clinical Nursing Practice” explores the abundance of nursing software programs specific to critical care and advanced nursing practice.

• “Griffith’s 5-Minute Clinical Consult and Davis’ Drug Guide for Nurses” takes you through a clinical scenario and demonstrates the comprehensive content contained in these PDA applications.

Practice for the CCRN Exam
And, you can now purchase the Practice CCRN Adult, Neonatal and Pediatric Exam Questions for PDA. Designed for devices using Palm OS operating systems, these programs allow you to tailor your learning in a variety of ways. You may customize your test by selecting a specific category, such as cardiovascular, renal, pulmonary and Synergy, or take the entire practice exam in sequential or random order. Your results are not only depicted as both a percentage and number of correct answers, but also sorted by clinical category to provide immediate feedback on your performance and areas for further study.

Each practice exam PDA software program is $22 and is immediately downloadable from the AACN PDA Center.


Get Updated Legislative News

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, click on the AACN Public Policy icon > Legislative Information > State Net or Legislative Action Center.

State Net allows AACN members to download or view the status and a brief summary of pertinent nursing legislation. The CapWiz Legislative Action Center, powered by Capitol Advantage, allows 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.


In Commemoration of Sept. 11: AACN Pays Tribute to Nurses Who Care Every Day in Every Way

Keenly aware of the unique contribution that nurses make every day, and especially in extreme circumstances, AACN has sought ways to honor the noble work that our members do. At the Opening Session of the National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in May, AACN paid tribute to those whose lives were forever affected by the events of Sept. 11. The poem that appears below was written by AACN Marketing Specialist Kris Pleimann and presented to a full house of more than 8,000 NTI participants.

To extend this tribute beyond NTI, AACN purchased advertising space for this month in leading nursing journals to commemorate the anniversary of Sept. 11. The ad will reach an estimated audience of half a million nurses. This heartfelt message was created to honor the strength and depth of caring that our members demonstrated then as always.

What Do You Do?

What do you do?
When you wake up on a
September morning,
and your world is rocked,
peace and hope
are threatened.
What do you do?

You
grieve,
give of your time,
nurse,
share your life blood,
care,
honor your fellow nurses.
You live.

When tragedy strikes,
what survives?

Hope
Compassion
Community
Nurses
You

The American Association of
Critical-Care Nurses is proud to
honor you, the nurses.

For all that you give, and for being one constant in
a world of change.

Together we honor
those whose lives were lost,
those whose lives were changed
forever, and those who continue
to defend our freedom.

Never forget.

—Kris Pleimann


Soundbites

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?

There are moments in life when everything you love and value is threatened, and your life is totally out of control. You are at a crossroad between what was and what will possibly never be again. The death of dreams. Those moments can happen at the bedside. Everyone needs a savior personified to bring you back from the abyss or to help you transition to the other side. This is a nurse.
Belinda Heisler, RN, BSN, AA, CCRN
Jupiter, Fla.

With the current technology advancing at such an astounding rate, the ability to render healthcare in the more acute phases of an accident or illness is impacted significantly. The broad base of knowledge and the experience that comes with the critical care nurse is essential in the administration of such technology. Without these specially trained nurses, advanced practice skills and technologies would have little impact on the future of patients’ outcome. I am proud to be one of those nurses.
Lea Lineberry, RN, CCRN, CNRN
Roanoke, Va.

Critical care nurses are essential because they are uniquely positioned to apply the art and science of nursing to patients and families dealing with crisis. What an honor it is to have this life work.
Linder Bucher, RN, DNSc
Marlton, N.J.

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.


AACN/CCRN Ambassadors Provide Important Links

AACN/CCRN Ambassadors act as liaisons between their communities, institutions, medical facilities and other settings and AACN’s 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. This group also receives and relays up-to-date information to their coworkers, managers, administrators and units.
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).

Sign up online at http://www.aacn.org > Membership > Volunteer Opportunities to become part of the AACN/CCRN Ambassadors network.


Public Policy Update

The Issues

1. Nursing Shortage: JCAHO Panel Offers Solutions to the Nursing Shortage
2. Nursing Shortage: State Policymakers Call for Studies On Nursing Shortage in 2002 Laws
3. Patients’ Rights: White House Patients’ Rights Compromise Fails
4. Pain Management: Improving Care for the Dying Through Public Policy

AACN seeks to proactively influence healthcare decisions by promoting healthy, healing, humane and ethical environments to positively impact the health of the public and the advancement of quality critical care. The course of action for AACN’s public policy agenda is to have direct influence on policymakers through our members and to educate the public and professionals to influence policy and policymakers. Following are some of the public policy issues AACN is following:

JCAHO Panel Offers Solutions to the Nursing Shortage
Status: A special expert roundtable of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has concluded that the healthcare industry must implement solutions to the nursing shortage before patient care is further compromised. The panel identified three strategies to fight the problems causing the shortage:

1. Transform the workplace to give nurses the independence and support they need to do their work well, thereby creating a culture of professional satisfaction and encouraging retention. Set staffing levels that take into account the complexities of patients’ needs and nurses’ skills must also be part of the solution. Adopt zero-tolerance policies for abusive behaviors by physicians and other providers.

2. Bolster nursing education to ensure that new graduates are better prepared to care for fragile patients. This means reinvigoration of nursing schools by funding new faculty positions and giving incentives to nurses to seek advanced degrees. It also means creating standardized postgraduate nursing residency programs. Increased federal funding for nursing education is also needed to encourage greater interest in the profession.

3. Make new federal money available as an incentive to hospitals to invest in nursing services. Continued receipt of these monies should be conditioned on achievement of evidence-based, nursing-sensitive goals, including patient outcomes.

According to the panel, inadequate nurse staffing has been a factor in 24% of the 1,609 cases reported since 1997 that involved death, injury or permanent loss of function.

More optimistically, the report cites 50 hospitals nationwide that have avoided or overcome shortages and are considered nursing “magnets.” More federal money and improving the work environment for nurses can help other hospitals follow suit, the report adds.

AACN’s Position: AACN believes that this report strengthens AACN’s recommendations and that of the nursing community by further validating the threat the nursing shortage poses to patient safety and the quality of healthcare. In addition, the report underscores the need to address all of the fundamental causes of the shortage.

State Policymakers Call for Studies on Nursing Shortage
Status: Instead of enacting new nurse education funding programs, state legislators are seeking additional information on solutions to the nursing shortage during their current legislative sessions, according to report by the National Conference of State Legislatures Health Policy Tracking Service. The increased focus on research into the nursing shortage is aimed partly at more appropriately targeting state funding.

The approach is in contrast to 2001, when scholarship and loan repayment programs topped the list of legislative action, the report says. The focus has now shifted from nursing education incentives to conducting studies and creating workforce centers to collect and analyze data on the nursing workforce. Five states have enacted legislation establishing these centers or directing state agencies to carry out the research. However, eight states have adopted legislation setting up or expanding scholarship, grant, loan and loan repayment programs during 2002. In total, 19 bills designed to address the problem have been enacted in 14 states, and 28 bills have passed at least one legislative chamber in various states.

Implications: Although education incentives appear to be effective tools to attract people to the profession, the long-term effect will be minimal if new nurses become dissatisfied with their work and pursue other careers because the work place environment is unattractive. If hospitals and other employers are to retain current workers and attract those who have left nursing back into the profession, workplace reforms are needed.

For more information on AACN’s recommendations for workplace reform, refer to AACN’s “Nursing Shortage Backgrounder” statement at http://www.aacn.org.

White House Compromise on Patients’ Rights Fails
Status: Patients’ rights legislation passed in the House and Senate last year will move to conference committee this month, following a breakdown in compromise negotiations with the White House. Many of those involved in the debate now believe that a patients’ bill of rights will not be enacted in the current session.

Administration and Senate negotiators primarily were at odds over setting an acceptable economic damages cap. The House bill, passed in August 2001, includes a $1.5 million cap on both punitive damages and noneconomic damages. Senate-passed legislation caps punitive awards at $5 million, but leaves noneconomic damage awards open.

In addition to the damages issue, White House and Senate negotiators failed to reach agreement on the issue of “rebuttable presumption,” where a decision against the patient by an external review panel would prevent the patient from pursuing a court case. Preemption of state laws in the Republican bill also proved to be a sticking point in the negotiations, as was the prevention of class action suits against insurers.

AACN’s Position: AACN has endorsed the bipartisan Patients’ Bill of Rights.

Pain Management Improves Care for the Dying
Status: The State Initiatives in End-of-Life Care policy brief series has released an audiotape program that explains current challenges in pain management. Titled “Heart-to-Heart: Improving Care for the Dying through Public Policy: Part I—Pain Management,” the program offers concrete policy solutions to overcome the challenges. The program features leading experts in a convenient audiotape format. The price is $12, plus shipping and handling. Three additional audio programs on policy leadership, pediatric end-of-life care and diversity are planned. For more information or to order, visit the Partnership for Caring Web site at > Store Products > Order Form > Audio Heart-to-Heart or call (800) 989-9455.

Latest Reports Available Online

• HRSA – “Projected Supply, Demand and Shortages of Nurses: 2002 –2020” bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnproject

• JCAHO – “Healthcare at the Crossroads” http://www.jcaho.org/News+Room/Press+Kits/

• California Healthcare Foundation—“The Nursing Shortage—Can Technology Help?” http://www.chcf.org/documents/ihealth/NursingShortageTechnology.pdf


Are Nurse-to-Patient Ratios Headed Your Way?

Which states are considering legislation regarding nurse staffing levels?

• Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey and Rhode Island are considering legislation that would require nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

• Virginia is considering ratios for nurses in operating rooms.

• Connecticut is considering a nurse-to-radiological technologist ratio.

• Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia are looking at legislation to address nurse-to-pupil ratios in schools.
Source: ANA

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


The Janus View

Editor’s note: All that we do is rooted in our past, and we have much to learn from the leaders who have gone before us, paved the way and laid the foundation. To strengthen this connection, current members of the AACN Board of Directors are interviewing some of our past leaders. For this month, board member Rebecca E. Long, RN, MS, CCRN, CNS, interviewed Joan Vitello-Cicciu, RN, PhD, FAAN, who was president of AACN during its 25th silver anniversary year in 1994-95. Vitello-Cicciu, who also served on the AACN Board of Directors from 1991 through 1993, is now vice president of patient care services at St. Ann’s Hospital, Fall River, Mass.

Long: What are some of the lessons you learned from your experience as a member of the AACN Board of Directors and subsequently as association president?

Vitello-Cicciu: I learned many lessons on this awesome and inspired journey.

For instance, I learned to view healthcare in new ways. I truly lived the belief of the French philosopher who stated that the real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in looking through new eyes. I was able to see nursing as part of a larger system, not merely a body part. I saw the differences between an illness model and a wellness model.

I also learned how to be a successful leader within a volunteer organization. For example, I learned how to work effectively with diverse groups of individuals and organizations from across the nation. Working effectively with AACN committees was also an important lesson. At the same time, I learned a great deal about our members and how I could help to motivate others.

Long: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments during your tenure on the board?

Vitello-Cicciu: I was pleased to be a part of the development of the Alternative Therapies journal. I learned a great deal about the role of complementary therapies and how important this aspect of ‘medicine’ is to nursing. I believe I played a role in helping others understand how integral it was to patient care. Later, I was able to introduce massage therapy and music therapy into my own work environment.

I also believe I was successful in helping members understand how to put our vision into action. My presidential-year theme revolved around the patient being a beacon of light. Applying that same beacon to various realms, both professional and personal, results in a vision-driven life with the patient at the center. I promoted AACN as a “lighthouse” in the professional realm. Through involvement, knowledge is shared and connections are made to help provide a light to those voyaging. In the personal realm, the values of caring, commitment, collaboration, and communication helped to provide that beacon of light to promote safe passage for all.

Long: What was the most challenging aspect of serving as president?

Vitello-Cicciu: Certainly, balancing my responsibilities to AACN and maintaining my professional role as a CNS was challenging. Because my institution was downsizing at the time, I had to do a lot of juggling. I applied an adage that I have heard Charles Swindoll speak of—that 90% of your attitude is how you respond to things. Although I could not change external forces in healthcare, I could adjust my attitude toward them.

Understanding the difference between governance and operations was essential within a large organization. To help, I tried to maintain a strong connection with the members, national office staff and board members.

Long: What was the most exciting aspect of serving in this role?

Vitello-Cicciu: As president of a large, not-for-profit organization, I was challenged to learn about nursing as a system at an international level. I was able to share critical care nursing with people from all over the world. I also learned about public policy and the role that AACN has within this forum.

Long: What was the most rewarding aspect of serving in this role?

Vitello-Cicciu: Being a spokesperson for the organization in many different forums was a wonderful opportunity. Meeting and being energized for members was also incredible. I found myself encouraging others to stay focused on values. To encourage this, I placed providing a safe and peaceful voyage for patients at the center of many of my messages. Leaving a legacy of creativity and vision was extremely important to me.

Long: Describe your current role.

Vitello-Cicciu: I am the vice president for patient care services in a community hospital. In this position for less than a year, I find that I enjoy working within a smaller community system. I am proud to be associated with a hospital that provides excellent nursing care, which was an important consideration when I decided to enter this hospital administration after receiving my PhD last July.

I’m also teaching a course titled “Managing Teams for the 21st Century” in the School of Management at Bentley College, Waltham, Mass. In addition, I taught a thesis seminar the past two semesters at the School of Nursing at Regis College, Westin, Mass., and was a visiting faculty member for a leadership course sponsored by the University of Southern Maine, Portland. Teaching is an important part of my professional career. and I hope to continue to teach in my present leadership role.

Long: How do you balance your volunteer and leadership activities with the rest of your life?

Vitello-Cicciu: I constantly strive to stay focused on what’s important. Family and friendships mean a great deal.

Each year, I participate in a weekend reunion of a group of other professional women. It’s a network and think tank, truly is like the Big Chill! Many of them are past leaders within AACN. We have shared our celebrations, as well as our tragedies. I cannot put a price on these relationships and the incredible network of friends that I have through this group.

Long: In these unsettled times in healthcare, do you still think it is important for nurses to belong to organizations such as AACN?

Vitello-Cicciu: I think it’s more important now than ever. Volunteerism can help to set standards of practice and help a nurse to become more professionally developed. AACN can give a profound sense of meaning to those nurses who are struggling with who they are as critical care nurses. Some of the relationships formed through chapter or national participation can evolve into lifelong friendships. I believe AACN can provide safe refuge to nurses who are out there struggling in these challenging times.


Joan Vitello-Cicciu’s graduation was a family affair. Here she
s surrounded by her husband, daughter and son-in-law,
grandchildren, aunt, sisters, nieces, and brothers and sisters
in law, as well as long-time friends.



Scene and Heard

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

Media Highlights
• On July 20, AACN President-elect Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, was the guest on “Viewpoint,” a one-hour, morning program on KWMR-AM radio in Marin County, Calif. She was interviewed about the nursing shortage and AACN’s involvement in promoting a resolution.

• An article in the June 24 issue of PR Week quoted Chris Foster, vice president of healthcare practice for AACN’s public relations agency of Fleishman-Hillard, about the coverage his firm obtained for critical care nurses working in burn units following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In the article, titled “Media Roundup—Managed Care Presents Healthy Challenge for Media,” Foster noted that the nursing shortage is also receiving significant media attention.

• As part of its “AACN Update” section, the July issue of RN magazine featured excerpts from the AACN News “President’s Note” column by 2001-02 AACN President Michael Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN. The section also listed incoming President Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCNS, CCRN, and other new board members for the 2002-03 terms that began July 1. Information on grants and awards, and CNS standards also appeared.

• An article titled “Working Together to Meet Patient and Family Needs: Learn How You Can Use the Synergy Model to Match Nursing Skills with Patient Skills” appeared in the July issue of Nursing2002. The article was written by Barbara Pope, RN, CCN, MSN, critical care clinical nurse specialist at Presbyterian Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pa., and president of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of AACN. The Synergy Model, which was developed by AACN Certification Corporation as a foundation for critical care nursing certification, seeks to match patient and family characteristics with the nurse’s skills.

• The announcement of AACN’s new president and board members for 2002-03 appeared in the July 1 edition of Nurses.com and in the July 22 issue of Advance for Nurses. The “Faces & Places” section of the July 15 issue of NurseWeek noted Fontaine’s election as AACN president-elect and highlighted her work experience.

• In the “President’s Message” that appeared in the July issue of Clinical Nurse Specialist, Sue Davidson, RN, MSN, president of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, said her organization plans to enhance their relationship with AACN. In the May issue, Dave Hanson, RN, BSN, CCRN, EMT-P, was recognized for achieving a position on the AACN Board of Directors.

• The “Perspectives in Leadership” section of the July 15 issue of Nursing Spectrum included excerpts from the speech delivered by Barden at NTI 2002 in Atlanta, Ga. In the same issue, past AACN president Denise Thornby, RN, MS, was quoted in an article titled “A Right Brain Approach to Critical Thinking.” Thornby said, “If we are to truly create environments where every critical care nurse can make his or her optimal contribution, all of us must be skilled in interpersonal relationships and have a degree of emotional intelligence.”

• The July 21 issue of the Knoxville News Sentinel included a letter to the editor by Jackie W. Palmer, RN, CEN, the Region 11 Chapter Advisory Team representative. Palmer’s letter, which responded to an article about the nursing shortage that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on June 9, described working conditions as the issue at the center of the shortage and stressed the importance of retaining experienced nurses, not just attracting new ones. She also reiterated AACN’s mission statement and noted that AACN “works tirelessly to ensure that nursing is represented at the tables where decisions impacting our patients and our workplace are made.”

• The last of three articles that AACN Marketing Director Dana Woods wrote for the Journal of Nursing Administration was published in the July/August issue. Titled “Realizing Your Marketing Influence, Part 3: Using Certification as a Marketing Tool,” the article offered dialogue around how certification is an integral part of a system’s recruitment and retention plan, as well as a point of differentiation for hospitals in this competitive environment.

Our Voice at the Table
• On June 18, Barden attended a CCRN celebration dinner sponsored by the Metropolitan Orlando Chapter and spoke about “Certification: Achieving Excellence in Nursing Practice.”

• June 19 through 21, AACN Clinical Practice Specialist Katie Schatz, RN, MSN, NP-C, attended the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium’s “train the trainer program” in Chapel Hill, N.C. AACN will use that information to produce articles and educational offerings to promote end-of life care.

• Barden and Williams were joined by AACN CEO Wanda Johanson, RN, MN, in attending the American Nurses Association House of Delegates and Annual Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., June 28 through July 2. Major areas of interest for AACN were proposals to allow organizational affiliate members, such as AACN, to have a vote in the House of Delegates and an item addressing the possibility of separating from ANA the labor entities of the United American Nurses and the Committee on Workplace Advocacy. Neither issue was resolved, and discussion will continue throughout the year. During the educational portion of the conference, Williams and Barden presented two sessions on “Clinical Practice Trends Affecting Acute and Critical Care Nursing.” They also met with leaders from other specialty nursing organizations.

• On July 18 and 19, Ramón Lavandero, RN, MSN, MA, AACN’s director of development and strategic alliances, attended the National Association of Hispanic Nurses annual Conference in Miami, Fla. Lavandero spoke about “Synergy: A Universal Model Where Patients’ Characteristics Drive Nurses’ Competencies.”

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.

Oct. 10-12 American College of Nurse Practitioners, Albuquerque, N.M.

Oct. 13-16 Nursing Management Congress, Dallas, Texas

If you are attending one of these conferences, stop by the AACN exhibit to visit with your National Office team.


Coming in October in Critical Care Nurse


• Anthrax as a Biological Weapon: An Old Disease That Poses a New Threat

• Listeria Endocarditis: Using Antibiotic Desensitization

• Beating-Heart CABG Surgery

• Developing an Educational Consortium


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


Order From the AACN Resource Catalog During September and Receive a Calculator Free


Receive a free AACN pocket calculator with any purchase from the AACN Resource Catalog during September. However, only telephone or mail orders are eligible. Online orders are exempt. To receive this gift, you must mention that you read about this special offer in AACN News when ordering your items by telephone at (800) 899-2226. If you are ordering by mail, simply add Item #001613 to your order to have this free gift included with your merchandise. Don’t delay. This offer expires on Sept. 30, or while supplies last.


Looking Ahead

September 2002

Sept. 30 Deadline to apply for special 3-Person Discount to take the CCRN examination. The flyer, which must accompany the group application, can be printed from the AACN
Certification Corporation Web site at
http://www.certcorp.org, or requested by calling (800) 899-2226 or e-mailing certcorp@aacn.org.

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) 222-6329. 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) 222-6329. 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 or call AACN Fax-on-Demand at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #1013.


December 2002

Dec. 1 Deadline to apply for the AACN Distinguished Research Lecture Award for 2004. For more information, contact Clinical Practice Associate Dolores Curry at (800) 394-5995, ext.
377; e-mail,
dolores.curry@aacn.org.

January 2003

Jan. 15 Deadline to apply for the Philips Medical Systems-AACN Outcomes for Clinical Excellence Research Grant. To obtain a grants handbook, visit the AACN Web site at
http://www.aacn.org or call AACN Fax-on-Demand at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #1013.