AACN News—May 2003—Association News

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Vol. 20, No. 5, MAY 2003

The Road to AACN Leadership Presents Numerous Routes

By Celeste Smith, RN, BSN, CCRN
AACN Nominating Committee
and Rebecca Long, RN, MS, CNS, CCRN,
AACN Board of Directors

As the undisputed leader in critical care nursing, AACN is a beacon of light for potential leaders. Critical care nurses often express interest in developing their leadership skills, inquiring about leadership roles within the organization and what would help them to become good leaders.

There are many leadership opportunities not only within AACN, but also within the greater healthcare arena. The current Call for Nominations for leadership positions on the AACN Board of Directors, AACN Nominating Committee and AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors is just one example of where leadership skills can lead.

There are also many nontraditional paths in the community that can assist in developing future leaders. We believe that leadership is not defined by a role, but by actions and encourage acute and critical care nurses to think both within AACN and "outside the box" when seeking to acquire leadership skills. Just think of how acquiring these skills can assist you in using your bold voice!

Resources to Help Develop Skills
AACN defines leadership as the ability to influence oneself and others to interdependently accomplish work and reach defined outcomes. The AACN Leadership Framework identifies Ambassador and Intellectual skills as the two competencies required to be effective leaders. This framework is available online at www.aacn.org or by calling AACN Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #1073.

In addition, It's All About You � A Blueprint for Influencing Practice is an AACN publication compiled by the Leadership Development Work Group to identify key skills needed for leadership. As part of AACN's commitment to the ongoing needs of nurses who care for patients who are acutely and critically ill, this valuable resource is designed to inspire and promote leadership development. It was created to help nurses to understand their ability to influence both their personal and professional lives, which will then support them in making their optimal contribution. Based on a comprehensive literature review and a survey of more than 700 critical care nurses, four skills were identified that are essential in influencing nursing practice:
� Self-awareness
� Dialogue
� Conflict resolution
� Navigating change

This leadership blueprint answers frequently asked questions about how these skills apply to working with patients and families, in the practice environment, as well as within a chapter. It also includes articles, self-ratings and toolboxes to help nurses to understand how they can influence practice. This publication is available online at www.aacn.org > Bookstore or by calling (800) 899-2226 and requesting Item #120635. The price is $10 ($12) for nonmembers.

Leadership Opportunities Within Healthcare
There are many options within AACN to acquire and demonstrate leadership skills. Opportunities include chapter leadership roles, work groups, advisory teams, review panels, learning partners, AACN Ambassadors, AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors or appeals panel, AACN Nominating Committee, AACN Board of Directors, speaker and author. Of course, matching the level of commitment required with personal and professional demands is important to support growth and to feel good, not guilty, about one's contribution.

A wide range of opportunities also exist in the healthcare arena. For example, volunteer organizations, such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Cancer Society, are closely aligned to many of AACN's core causes related to care of the critically ill patient. Providing lectures to community groups about end-of-life care or advanced directives and prevention of cardiovascular disease are among the topics that can be addressed. Providing education not only is a wonderful service to the community, but also helps to enhance knowledge and presentation skills. Speaking at schools or fairs about nursing as a career is another way to hone communication skills. Participating on a committee within a society is yet another way to learn skills, such as dialogue and self-awareness.

Leadership Opportunities Beyond AACN
Consider also the vast array of opportunities in your community or region. Denise Thornby, a past AACN president, was a Girl Scout leader and often recounted the leadership skills she learned through her involvement. For example, she noted, camping with a group of energetic teenagers assists in developing the skills of conflict resolution and navigating change! In addition, settings such as PTAs, places of worship, school boards or neighborhood associations can support refinement of leadership skills.

One of the authors of this article is a member of Toastmasters International, an organization with clubs in practically every community that provides both public speaking and leadership tracks to facilitate effective communication in a nonthreatening environment. In addition to being fun, Toastmasters provide a vast array of educational materials related to AACN's leadership skills.

Member Recruitment Campaign Near 4,000 Mark in March

AACN's Critical Links membership recruitment campaign had neared the 4,000 new-member mark when it entered its final month in April. Final results of the campaign, which ended April 30, will be announced in June. The top recruiter in the campaign, as well as the winners of prize drawings were to be announced at AACN's National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition this month in San Antonio, Texas.

At the end of March, 319 new members had been recruited by 236 individual members and 120 new members had been recruited by 36 chapters. The total of 439 new members recruited during March boosted the total to 3,881 since the campaign began May 1, 2002.

Two recruiters-Carolyn Axt, RN, MS, of Oakland Calif., and Cynthia A. Noe, RN, BSN, of Albany, Ga., were neck-and-neck at the end of March in the race to recruit the most members. Axt had recruited 51 new members and Noe 50 new members.

Others who had recruited 20 or more new members by the end of March were Becki L. Fuzi, RN, MSN, CCRN, (38) of Warrenton, Va.; Julie N. Liberio, RN, MSN, CCRN, (37) of Naperville, Ill.; Kathleen M. Richuso, RN, MSN, (36) of Chapel Hill, N.C.; Yvonne Thelwell, RN, (31) of Miami, Fla.; Lauretta M. Joseph, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP, (29) of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Lydia C. Bautista, RN, BSN, CCRN, (29) of Jacksonville, Fla.; Diane M. Casperson, RN, BSN, CCRN, (24) of Beresford, S.D.; and Elaine B. Boseman, RN, CCRN, CLNC, (23) of Williamsburg, Va.

The individual recruiting the most new members in the campaign will receive a $500 American Express gift certificate. In addition, the top individual recruiter is eligible for the first-, second- and third-place prize drawings. Each month, members who recruited at least one new member during the month were also entered into a monthly drawing for a $100 American Express gift certificate. The individual winner in the monthly drawing for March was Catherine Rochford, RN, MA, of Atkinson, N.H.

Following are those who recruited new members during the month of March:

Charlotte Abercrombie, RN, BSN, CCRN, Mary Adams, RNC, BS, Pam Adkins, RN, ADN, Gladys Alarva, RN, MS, CCRN, Althea Alder-Brown, RN, BSN, Pamela Almandinger, RN, ADN, Mary Altman, RN, ADN, Dian Anderson, Armi Elena Aragon, RN, BSN, AA, CCRN, Kristina Arrington-Cherry, RN, DSN, CCRN, NP, Ann Austin, RN, BSN, BA, Jeanette Babbitt, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN, Stephanie Baker, RN, Patricia Balzano, RN, BS, CCRN, Nancy Baranello, RN, ADN, BS, Kupiri Barger, RN, BSN, CCRN, Katherine Barlow, RN, BS, BSN, Jill Barrow, RN, CNS, CCRN, Risa Barton, RN, BS, BSN, Kimberly Basil, RN, BS, BSN, Danilo Beltran, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN, Michael Beshel, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN, Martha Biddle, RN, MSN, Barbara Blanchard, RN, ADN, BA, Lynn Booher, RN, BSN, Elaine Boseman, RN, CCRN, CLNC, Sherry Braden, RN, ADN, Marylee Bressie, RN, CNS, MSN, CCRN, CEN, Dot Brosig, RN, ADN, Tracey Brown, RN, ADN, Mary Lynn Brown, RN, BSN, MSN, PhD, Kathleen Burton, RN, BSN, CCRN, Debbi Bush, RN, BS, BSN, Mary Calderon, RN, BS, BSN, Anita Campbell, RN, BSN, CCRN, Karen Campf, BSN, CCRN, Beverly Carlson, RN, CNS, MS, CCRN, Cynthia Carroll, ADN, Deborah Caruso, RN, BSN, AA, CCRN, Nancy Case, RN, Deborah Cassidy, RN, Lydia Casteel, RN, ADN, CCRN, Bonnie Cerrato, RN, ADN, AA, Pamela Chapman, RN, MSN, CCRN, Karen Chirumbolo, RN, BSN, Evelyn Cioletti, RN, BSN, Nanette Clark, RN, MS, CCRN, Joan Cook, RN, Doyle Coons, RN, BS, BSN, Kim Coons, RN, BS, BSN, Patrice Crawford, RN, BSN, Sue Crisp, RN, BSN, Vickie Custer, RN, BS, CCRN, Mary Davis, RN, BS, BSN, Susan Davis, RN, CNS, MSN, CCRN, Jeannine Davis, RN, Yanira De Jesus, RN, BS, BSN, Cynthia Desierto , Cynthia Dickerson, RN, BSN, Nan Diefendorf, RN, CNS, MS, MSN, Sophia Donaldson, RN, ADN, Carol Dugan, RN, BSN, BA, Janelle Eanes, RN, ADN, Barbara Economou-Morris, RN, MA, Jana Edney-Poole, RN, BSN, Ross Ehrmantraut, RN, ADN, BA, CCRN, CEN, Marie Eidam, RN, MS, Ronald Estrella, RN, BSN, CCRN, Bridget Everhart, RN, MSN, CCRN, Sherry Fayer-Burns, RN, CEN, Joi Fernelius, RN, BA, Laura Fieg, RN, BS, BSN, Nathalie Fleureau, RN, Dorothy Flowers, RN, BSN, Cheree Fontenot, RN, BS, BSN, Helena Francis, RN, ADN, Candace Furio, RN, BS, BSN, Becki L. Fuzi, RN, MSN, CCRN, Noreen Gallagher, RN, ADN, Lisa Gingerich, RN, BS, BSN, Shelly Glaze, RN, ADN, Pamela Gordon, RN, BS, BSN, Mary Gossett, RN, MSN, CCRN, Maureen Gough, RN, ADN, Kim Green, RN, Karen Greenawald, RN, MS, MPH, CCRN, ARNP, Christa Guidry, RN, BS, BSN, Lois Hamill, RN, BSN, Jeffrey Hamilton, Gail Hannay, RN, BS, BSN, Mary Hanvey, RN, MS, MSN, NP, Kathy Hartley, RN, ADN, Jane Hartman, RN, MS, CCRN, Kerrie Hayton, RN, BS, BSN, Jacquelyn Hemperly, RN, CCRN, Stephanie Herbert, RN, BS, BSN, Lucille Hicks, RN, BS, CCRN, Carol Hinkle, RN, MSN, BA, CCRN, Anni Hinson, RN, BS, BSN, Jeannette Hoenig, RN, ADN, AA, Susie Hood, RN, BSN, CNRN, Jana Hough, RN, BSN, CCRN, Jerry Hubbard, RN, BSN, Alfie Ignacio, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN, Dorothy Ingram, RN, Deborah Jackson, RN, BS, BSN, Mary Jaco, RN, MSN, Kathryn Jajich, RN, ADN, Barbara Johnson, Lauretta Joseph, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP, Patricia Juarez, RN, MS, BA, CCRN, CCNS, Nicole Judice, RN, BSN, Jaclyn Kaiser, RN, BS, BSN, Louisa Kamatuka, RN, MSN, BA, CCRN, CS, Beryl Keegan, Deborah Keim, RN, BS, BSN, CEN, Lynn Kelso, RN, MSN, NP, Lori Kennedy, RN, BSN, CCRN, Donna Kerner, RN, MS, CCRN, Linda King, RN, ADN, Tony Kloft, RN, BS, BSN, Debra Kunicki, RN, Lixieleen Labrador, RN, Francine Latourette, RN, Que Le, RN, BSN, Nanda Lerchbaum-Nwokocha, RN, ADN, AA, CCRN, CEN, Michael Loga, RN, BSN, CCRN, Elizabeth Lopez, RN, BS, BSN, Paula Lusardi, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, Karen Lutter, RN, Carolyn Madison, RN, ADN, AA, Rosita Maley, RN, MN, CCRN, Michele Manning, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, Lily May Marifosque, RN, BSN, CCRN, Ellen Marsh, RN, BSN, CCRN, Timothy Martin, RN, BS, BSN, Elaine Mayo, RN, MSN, Beth McCarthy, RN, BSN, CCRN, Susan Mcfarland, RN, Pauline McNeece, RN, MSN, CCRN, Marlene Merdes, RN, Pamela Mikesell, RN, BS, BSN, Nicolette Mininni, RN, MEd, CCRN, Patricia Moncman, RN, MS, MSN, CNRN, Susan Moore, RN, ADN, Debra Moroney, RN, MSN, Theresa Morris, RN, ADN, Carol Morris, RN, MSN, CCRN, Kelly Murphy, RN, BSN, TNCC, Patricia Musso, RN, Denise Nelson, RN, BS, BSN, Linda Nicholson, RN, BSN, AA, CCRN, Brenda Obleada, RN, BSN, BS, Mandy O'Brien, RN, BSN, AA, Mary O'Connor, RN, MSN, Donna O'Neill, RN, ADN, CCRN, Kristen Oster, RN, BS, BSN, Suzanne O'Sullivan, RN, BSN, Jacqueline Pajkowski, RN, ADN, Sarah Pataluna, RN, Linda Payne, RN, ADN, June Pearson, RN, Kathleen Peavy, RN, MS, CCRN, Douglas Peterson, RN, ADN, MS, Kathryn Pettett, RN, BSN, CCRN, Sheryl Pierce, RN, BSN, CCRN, Stephanie Pike, RN, ADN, Barbara Pope, RN, MSN, CCRN, Debra Potempa, RN, BS, BSN, Paz Pradhan, RN, BSN, CCRN, Debra Pronitis-Ruotolo, RN, BSN, CCRN, Deborah Provost, RN, ADN, Sofia Puerto, RN, MSN, PhD, CCRN, Maria Jocelyn Quinto, RN, LPN, BS, BSN, Dee Ann Radcliffe, RN, BS, CCRN, Esther Rathjen, RN, BS, BSN, Nancy Reyes, RN, BS, BSN, Irma Richardson, RN, BS, CCRN, Kathleen Richuso, RN, MSN, Catherine Rochford, RN, MA, Linda Ross, RN, BS, BSN, Nancy Russ, RN, ADN, AA, CCRN, Catherine Saniuk, RN, MS, CCRN, Paul Scherer, RN, ADN, Gisela Schmidt, RN, BSN, Paula Schmidt, RN, BSN, CCRN, Margaret Schuch, RN, MSN, AA, CCRN, Pamela Scott, RN, BSN, MBA, Donna Sellars, RN, BSN, CCRN, Roderick Serrano, RN, Patrick Shane, RN, ADN, BS, Eunice Simmons, RN, MSN, CCRN, Lynn Smith Schnautz, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, Jovita Solomon-Duarte, RN, BSN, CCRN, Lynn Sonderman, RN, ADN, Linda Spoelma, RN, BSN, CCRN, Cynthia Spradlin, RN, BSN, Susan Stahl, RN, BSN, Joel Stanfill, RN, ADN, BS, Carolyn Steed, RN, MN, CCRN, Elaine Steinke, RN, MN, PhD, Janice Stevens, RN, BSN, CCRN, CNRN, Elaine Stevens, RN, BS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, Kerri Stevenson, RN, BSN, CCRN, Marie Stokes, RN, BS, BSN, CNRN, Mary Strickland, RN, BSN, AA, CCRN, Laura Strood, RN, ADN, Doris Strother, RN, MSN, CRNP, Debra Sunderland, RN, BS, BSN, Mary Surgalski, RN, BSN, CCRN, Rosanna Tangredi, RN, BSN, CCRN, Yvonne Thelwell, RN, Lilienne Thomas, RN, MS, Rebecca Thompson, RN, AA, Alexis Turner, RN, BSN, AA, Scott Varner, RT, ADN, Amelia Veltman, BS, Pam Wagers, RN, BSN, CCRN, Anne Walker, RN, RT, ADN, BS, Patricia Walker, RN, ADN, Maria Wallace, RN, BSN, CCRN, Kristin Wallach, RN, BSN, CCRN, Yolanda Walls, RN, BS, CCRN, Pamela Walsh, RN, Tina Walters, RN, BS, CCRN, Rebecca Webb, RN, Judith Whitlock, RN, MSN, Mary Wilson, RN, MSN, CS, Joan Wilson, RN, BSN, CCRN, Erin Wittenberger, BA, Gloria Young, RN, BS, BSN, Michael Young, RN, BS, BSN, Chin Yu, RN, MN, MS, Elizabeth Zewe, RN, BSN, CCRN, Penny Zimmerman, RN, BSN.

Nominations Invited for National Leadership Posts

Do you want to help lead AACN in achieving its mission and vision or do you know someone you think would provide strong and effective leadership?

Consider the national leadership positions that are available on the AACN Board of Directors, AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors and the AACN Nominating Committee. Terms begin July 1, 2004.

Simply complete the nomination form, which is available online at http://www.aacn.org. The AACN Leadership Framework is also available online or via Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 (#1073).

Following are the positions for which nominations are being sought. Reimbursement for travel as well as other expenses are provided for all of these national volunteer positions.
Nominations close June 13, 2003.

AACN Board of Directors
(3 positions open, 3-year terms)

� Establish the vision, mission and values statements for the association.
� Ensure effective organizational planning.
� Effectively manage the association's resources.
� Determine, monitor and strengthen the association's programs and services.
� Uphold legal requirements and ethical integrity.
� Recruit and orient new board members and assess board performance.
� Ensure effective communication between AACN and AACN Certification Corporation and other subsidiaries of the association.

� Active membership in AACN
� Active commitment to and understanding of AACN and its mission, vision and values
� Demonstrated leadership skills as defined in the AACN Leadership Framework

AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors
(2 positions open, 3-year terms)

� Define and support the corporation's vision, mission and values.
� Ensure effective planning that is based on the corporation's mission, vision and values.
� Ensure effective strategic planning.
� Effectively manage the corporation's resources.
� Determine, monitor, evaluate and strengthen the corporation's programs and services.
� Act with integrity and uphold all legal requirements of the corporation.
� Assess board performance and ensure board succession.
� Ensure effective communication between AACN and the corporation.

� Nurses certified by the corporation, other nurses and consumer representatives are eligible.
� Demonstrated leadership skills as defined in the AACN Leadership Framework
� Commitment to and understanding of AACN Certification Corporation and its mission, vision and values
� AACN membership not required

Nominating Committee
(3 positions open, 1-year terms)

� Ensure the election process is in accordance with established procedures, policies and bylaws.
� Conduct comprehensive interviews of nominees.
� Review, synthesize and analyze nominee applications, references and interview transcripts.
� Through group process, select candidates.
� Communicate the committee's decisions and feedback to the nominees.

Celebrate in May

Although critical care nurses are special year round, May is set aside for special recognition. Again this year, AACN has joined with the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American College of Chest Physicians in sponsoring National Critical Care Awareness and Recognition Month this month.

Also being recognized this month are National Nurses Week (May 6 through 12), National Nurses Day (May 6) and National Student Nurses Day (May 8).
AACN applauds all nurses and recognizes them for their contributions to the profession and to patient care.

Circle of Excellence Embraces Those Making a Difference

Application Materials Due July 15

How have you made a difference in healthcare? In the lives of patients and their families? In your communities? Share your stories, and you might find yourself in AACN's Circle of Excellence, an awards program that recognizes outstanding contributions by critical care nurses and others who exemplify AACN's mission, vision, values and ethic of care.

Nominations and applications for these awards for 2004 are due July 15. Awards will be announced in AACN publications and at AACN's 2004 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, May 15-20 in Orlando, Fla.

All recipients are presented a personalized plaque. Some also receive honorariums, monetary awards or complimentary registration, airfare and accommodations to the NTI.

Two new awards have been added to the prestigious list of honors that are available in 2004: Excellence in Collaboration Awards and AACN Certification Corporation-Value of Certification Award.
To obtain a Circle of Excellence awards application, call (800) 899-2226 or visit the AACN Web site. The application is also available on Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #1011.

Following is information about the awards that are available:

AACN Lifetime Member Award
This award recognizes AACN members who have rendered distinguished service to the association and demonstrated potential for continued contributions to acute and critical care nursing through AACN. In addition to lifetime AACN membership, the recipients are presented a crystal replica of the AACN vision icon.

Honorary Member Award
This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. In addition to honorary membership in AACN, the recipients are presented a crystal replica of the AACN vision icon.

AACN-Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career
Named in honor of AACN Past President Marguerite R. Kinney, RN, DNSc, FAAN, this award recognizes individuals who are completing or have completed an extraordinary and distinguished professional career that has enhanced the care of acutely and critically ill patients and their families by furthering the mission and vision of AACN. Honorees receive a gift of $1,000 to a charitable cause of their choice, as well as lifetime AACN membership and a replica of the crystal.

Ross Products-AACN Pioneering Spirit Award
Cosponsored by the Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, this award recognizes timely and far-reaching contributions that exemplify a pioneering spirit and influence the direction of acute and critical care nursing regionally or nationally. Recipients are presented a $500 honorarium and a crystal replica of the AACN vision icon.

Distinguished Research Lectureship Award
The award honors a nationally known researcher who will present the annual Distinguished Research Lecture at the 2005 NTI in New Orleans, La. The lecturer receives an honorarium of $1,000, an additional $1,000 toward NTI expenses and a crystal replica of the AACN vision icon, funded by a grant by Philips Medical Systems.
Note: The deadline to submit nominations for this award is Dec. 1.

Excellence in Caring Practices Award
Presented in honor of John Wilson Rodgers, this award recognizes nurses whose caring practices embody AACN's vision of a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families. Recipients demonstrate how they have encompassed AACN's values and ethic of care in their practice.

3M Health Care Excellence in Clinical Practice Award
Sponsored by 3M Health Care, this award recognizes acute and critical care nurses who embody, exemplify and excel at the clinical skills and principles that are required in their practice.

Excellence in Clinical Practice-Non-Traditional Setting
This award is designed to recognize excellence in the care of critically ill patients in environments outside of the traditional ICU/CCU setting. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to nurses working in home healthcare, progressive care, telemetry, catheterization labs and emergency departments.

Oridion Capnography Excellent Clinical Nurse Specialist Award
Sponsored by Oridion Capnography, this award recognizes acute and critical care nurses who function as clinical nurse specialists. Applicants must be CCNS certified and, in addition to demonstrating the key components of advanced practice nursing, illustrate how they have been a catalyst for successful change.

Excellent Nurse Practitioner Award
This award recognizes acute and critical care nurses who function as nurse practitioners. Applicants must be ACNP certified. In addition to demonstrating the key components of advanced practice nursing, recipients illustrate how they have served as a catalyst for successful change.

Excellent Nursing Student Award
This award recognizes nursing students whose activities during nursing school have promoted the value of nursing and reflect the AACN vision of creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families, where critical care nurses can make their optimal contribution. Individual students or groups of students are eligible to apply. Recipients receive a complimentary three-year AACN membership.

Excellence in Research Award
This award recognizes nurse researchers who are furthering the mission, vision and research priorities of AACN. Recipients of AACN research grants or NTI research abstract award recipients are not eligible for this award.

Research Abstract Award
This award recognizes research abstracts that display outstanding merit and particular relevance to critical care nursing. Recipients are selected from among the research and research utilization abstracts submitted for the NTI. Abstract submissions must be received by Sept. 1. Successful applicants receive $1,000 toward NTI expenses.

Excellent Nurse Manager Award
This award recognizes nurse managers who demonstrate excellence in coordination of available resources to efficiently and effectively care for acute or critically ill patients and families.

Eli Lilly & Company Excellent Preceptor Award
Sponsored by Eli Lilly & Company, this award recognizes preceptors who demonstrate the key components of the preceptor role, including teacher, clinical role model, consultant and friend/advocate.

Mentoring Award
This award recognizes individuals or groups who develop and enhance another's intellectual and technical skills, acculturating them to the professional community, and modeling a way of life and professional achievement.

Excellence in Leadership Award
This award recognizes nurses who demonstrate the leadership competencies of empowerment, effective communication and continuous learning, and the effective management of change.

Excellence in Education Award
This award recognizes nurse educators who facilitate the acquisition and advancement of the knowledge and skills required for competent practice and positive patient outcomes in the care of acute and critically ill patients and their families.

Marsh-AACN Community Service Award
Cosponsored by Marsh Affinity Group Services, a service of Seabury and Smith, this award recognizes significant service by acute and critical care nurses, as individuals or in groups, in making a contribution to their communities that also projects a positive image of critical care nursing. Individuals or groups selected for this award may also choose to receive either one complimentary NTI registration or up to $500 toward speaker fees for an educational symposium.

Media Award
This award recognizes broadcast and Web-based media excellence in the portrayal of healthcare providers, especially acute and critical care nurses, contributing to a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families. Successful entries present relevant nursing and healthcare topics to large audiences of consumers, including the general public, patients and families.

AACN Certification Corporation-Value of Certification Award
Sponsored by AACN Certification Corporation, this award recognizes contributions that support and foster the advancement of certified nursing practice in critical care. Recipients are also presented a $500 honorarium.

Excellence in Collaboration Awards
These awards honor innovative contributions to collaborative practice by nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Applications can be submitted in four categories:
� Nurse-Physician Collaboration
� Nurse-Administration Collaboration
� Nurse-Family Collaboration
� Multidisciplinary Team Collaboration.
At least one of the collaborators must be an active AACN member. Each recipient will also be presented a $1,500 honorarium.

Scene and Heard

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

Our Voice in the Media
- The Feb. 24. 2003, issue of Nursing Spectrum featured an article titled "Newly Released Report Promotes Value of Critical Care Certification," by Ruth M. Kleinpell, RN, PhD, FAAN, CCRN. As part of the article, several nurses were interviewed about the benefits of certification. Tom Gutchewsky, RN, MSN, CANP, of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Melrose Park, Illinois, said, "Certification gives nurses confidence in their abilities. It makes them better nurses overall." Keith Harmon, RN, BSN, CCRN, of Rockford Memorial Hospital, Rockford, Ill., said, "Having specialty certification adds to the ability of nursing staff to handle complex situations. In studying for the critical care nursing certification exam myself, I realized the amount of information nurses are required to know is phenomenal."

- In her editorial for the March 2003 issue of Nursing Management, Editor in Chief Melissa A. Fitzpatrick, RN, MSN, FAAN, a past AACN president, discussed the importance of certification in an era of nursing shortages and cost cutting. She referenced AACN's white paper, "Safeguarding the Patient and the Profession: The Value of Critical Care Nurse Certification," noting that "while licensure measures entry-level competence, certification validates specialty knowledge, experience, and clinical judgment."
- The March 2003 issue of RN magazine featured excerpts from the "President's Note" column by AACN President Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCNS, CCRN. In the column, which appeared in its entirety in the February 2003 issue of AACN News, Barden discussed the importance of certification as presented in AACN's landmark report, "Safeguarding the Patient and the Profession: The Value of Critical Care Certification." The "Update" section also included information on the keynote speakers at AACN's 2003 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, May 17 through 22 in San Antonio, Texas.

- An article in the March 3, 2003, issue of Kansas City Nursing News noted that the Surgical Cardiovascular Quality Improvement Team at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Shawnee Mission, Kan., was the recipient of a 2003 AACN Circle of Excellence Award. The AACN Multidisciplinary Team award will be presented at the NTI in San Antonio.
- In an article in March, titled "AACN in San Antonio, Texas � Bold Voices," StarMed.com featured the 2003 NTI and Critical Care Exposition, including the benefits of attending and background information on the speakers.

Our Voice at the Table
- Suzanne Prevost, RN, PhD, chair-elect of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors, and Carol Hartigan, RN, certification director, attended the American Board of Nursing Specialties spring meeting in Arlington, Va. Prevost chaired the second meeting of the ABNS Research Committee, which worked on three initiatives during the meeting: analysis and reporting of data collected from nurse managers regarding their perceptions of certified staff; continued work on development of an annotated bibliography of nursing certification research; and design of a second phase study of nurse managers using a qualitative method.

- AACN President-Elect Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, attended the Valley Nursing Education Council's ninth annual meeting and conference of the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Area Advisory Board in Van Nuys, Calif. She and Mary Jane Engsberg, RN, MS, director of nursing education at Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, Calif., facilitated a dialogue on managing workplace relationships between academia and service.

- Suzanne Burns, RN, MSN, RRT, ACNP-CS, CCRN, FAAN, a member of the AACN Board of Directors, was a keynote speaker at the 12th annual Critical Care Concepts Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Symposium, sponsored by Sentara Healthcare, in Norfolk, Va. Her topic was "Bold Voices: We have �em, we need �em, let's use �em." Burns spoke on the factors that affect the current healthcare environment and critical care nurses' ability to contribute optimally to care of patients and their families. She described ways that we can have a bold voice in our work environments and beyond and the importance of each individual's efforts to make a difference.

- Janie Heath, RN, MS, CS, CCRN, ANP, ACNP, represented AACN at a Capitol Hill roundtable on "Safeguarding the Public's Health: Educating the Nation's Nurses." The discussion focused on efforts by U.S. Rep. Lois Capp, RN, (D-Calif.) in support of the Nurse Reinvestment Act and formation of a nursing caucus to educate Congress about the nursing profession and how nursing issues affect the delivery of quality patient care. The roundtable, which brought together nursing school deans from across the country, was hosted by the Friends of the Division of Nursing at George Mason University, Washington, D.C., where Heath is a doctoral student.

- Ramon Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN, AACN director of development and strategic alliances, participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Board of Advisors of the Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis. In discussing key nursing issues, the panel gave Indiana business and healthcare leaders access to the ideas of national nursing leaders. Lavandero serves on the Board of Advisors and is a clinical associate professor at the school.

- Justine Medina, RN, MS, AACN practice and research director, presented the keynote speech at the Certification Recognition dinner sponsored by the South Bay Chapter of AACN, San Jose, Calif. Her presentation, titled "Voice of Nursing and Effective Message Delivery," gave the attendees practical tools to amplify their voice and share the commitment of certification. The dinner, which honored 20 CCRNs and CCNSs, was sponsored in part by Lilly Critical Care, Pio Travel and Stryker Medical.

- Medina presented a hands-on educational session titled "Writing an Exemplar to Truly Reflect Nurse's Contributions" at UCI Medical Center, Irvine, Calif. The session was in connection with the UCI Nurse's Recognition Awards program.

- Rebecca Long, RN, MS, CNS, CCRN, a member of the AACN and AACN Certification Corporation boards of directors, spoke at the Critical Care Trends conference, sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Chapter, St. Louis, Mo. Long presented an overview of aromatherapy, pet therapy and music therapy in a talk titled "Lavender, Lassie, and Brahms: A New Look at Old Therapies." She also delivered the closing message, "Bold Voices: In Search of a Rainbow."

- Several AACN leaders spoke at a leadership workshop sponsored by the Three Rivers Chapter, Pittsburgh, Pa. Carol Puz, RN, BSN, MS, CCRN, an AACN board member, presented the opening session, titled "Leadership, the Nursing Shortage, the Challenges, Today and Tomorrow." Mary McKinley, RN, MSN, CCRN, spoke on "Mentoring Matters: Creating, Connecting, Empowering"; Denise Thornby, RN, MS, presented "Leadership Challenges: Make It So"; and Gladys Campbell, RN, MSN, spoke on "Nursing Research as Part of Everyday Nursing Practice: Creating an Environment for Clinical Excellence." All are past presidents of AACN.

If you or your chapter has reached out to the media or other groups to promote critical care nursing, we'd like to know. E-mail your information to Judy.Wilkin@aacn.org.

In the Circle: Award Recognizes Excellence in Caring Practice

Editor's note: The Excellence in Caring Practices Award, which is presented in honor of John Wilson Rodgers, recognizes nurses whose caring practices embody AACN's vision of creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families. Recipients for 2002 were provided complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in Atlanta, Ga. July 15 is the deadline to submit application materials for the 2004 awards. Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with the 2002 awards.

Megan Rehwoldt, RN, BSN
Foothill Ranch, Calif.
Mission Hospital

On her 30th birthday, Carrie found herself lying beside her brain-dead husband Steve. The mother of two had found out about his brain tumor only after he completed a triathlon the weekend prior. I had the privilege of meeting this family, providing support and attempting to help them through the death of a young man.

I asked Carrie if she wanted to spend some time alone with her husband. She readily agreed. A coworker helped to move Steve to one side of the bed, where Carrie joined him, and we covered them both with a warm blanket. Later, Carrie said she felt Steve's presence leave during those few moments they shared together.

The day that Steve died is a constant reminder to me that nursing is more than merely providing physical care. It means providing for all aspects of the patient, as well as the family. Steve's death reinforced the importance of creating an environment that allows patients and families a safe outlet to express their thoughts, fears and desires. We should all be so lucky to have a chance to say goodbye.

Cindy Damboise, RN, BSN, CCRN
Stevenson Ranch, Calif.
Providence Holy Cross Medical Center
As a critical care nurse for 20 years, my commitment to meeting the needs of patients and families has been the driving force of my duties. Two years ago, I implemented a family-centered care model in our 24-bed combined ICU, CCU, trauma, cardiac and surgical unit. The focus of our interdisciplinary team was to improve patient care and customer satisfaction. The project was highly valued by the organization, as evidenced by the immediate acceptance as a performance improvement initiative. As the role model, I welcomed the challenges in the culture change in our unit. The team provided the staff the necessary tools to support families.

However, John and his family presented a challenge. He had been admitted in critical condition with multisystem failure. The family had received minimal information and had many questions. In a family conference, the physicians presented the condition to the family, enabling them to cope with the situation. Although they felt it was in their father's best interest to have no heroic measures taken, they felt tremendous guilt over their decision. I assured them that their father would receive compassionate care.

As John's condition deteriorated over the next 24 hours, the family's fear and despair were minimal. John died in his wife's arms the following morning. After the family had seen their father, they thanked every nurse who had cared for him. How different things had been just 24 hours earlier.

Family-centered care is a main focus in our unit. It has raised our nursing standards in regard to excellence, compassion and patient advocacy. As a critical care nurse, I am honored to deliver this care to my patients and families.

Manassas, Va.
Aeromedical Transport Specialists, Inc.
A critical care nurse with 28 years experience, who is now chief flight nurse and program director for Aeromedical Transport Specialists, Inc., Karen Hamilton specializes in transporting patients over long distances by fixed-wing aircraft. Karen has found a way to use her passion and love of teddy bears to bring joy and comfort to her patients over the years and in many unique situations. Karen often uses teddy bears as a distraction for elderly and young patients alike.

The story of 5-year-old Citlatti, who suffered from a terminal Wilm's tumor, warms the heart. This young child named the teddy bear after herself as a special gift to be left to her parents. Another special memory involves the use of a teddy bear during the international repatriation of an elderly Alzheimer's patient. This special "friend" served as a distraction that allowed Karen to complete all necessary flight tasks with the patient's full cooperation. A long flight back to the U.S. was much easier for all involved thanks to "Teddy."

Karen had been diagnosed with the connective tissue disorder Scleroderma 15 years earlier and was told that she had only seven years to live. She beat the odds and soon combined her love of long-distance bicycling and critical care nursing with teddy bears to form a nonprofit company called Care Bears Team, Inc. As part of the official bicycle team for the Scleroderma Research Foundation, Karen has bicycled over 17,000 miles to raise awareness and research funds. In March 2002, Enesco Group, Inc., produced the Karen and Jeff Cherished Teddies, donating a portion of the sale proceeds to the Scleroderma Research Foundation. A soft and cuddly teddy bear along with a gentle nurse's touch can help ease the pain and suffering of many patients.

Maureen A. Seckel, RN, MSN, CS, CCRN
Newark, Del.
Christiana Care Health Services
Anna was a petite, feisty 81-year-old woman I had the pleasure to meet as the clinical nurse specialist in my ventilator weaning unit. Her goals of regaining independence and weaning off ventilator support were becoming increasingly more unattainable after several weeks of working with her and her family.

Anna was firm in her request not to be maintained on a ventilator if there was no hope of coming off and just as firm that she wanted an 82nd birthday party in two weeks with a party dress, food, family and friends. The plans were put into motion, though Anna began to deteriorate, and there was concern whether she would make her birthday. Thankfully, the big day arrived. The lounge was decorated; the food started to arrive; and Anna's party began. Family and friends entertained her; pictures were passed around; and stories were told.

The hours passed and the mood changed from one of resolve to sorrow. The immediate family, physician, nurses and I had one last meeting, and around dinnertime, Anna was removed from the ventilator. Anna died in the presence of gentle singing, close family and praying. We hugged, we cried and even though it was incredibly sad, it was so meaningful to be able to honor her wishes.

I have been in contact with Anna's family over the past year. The experience has left me emotionally stirred that what we do as nurses in life (and death) does make a difference. Nurses can give gifts to their patients by caring for and recognizing the true individual. Working with Anna rejuvenated my soul and spirit in working with the chronically critically ill population that comprises a ventilator weaning unit. Anna was a gift.

Michele J. Young, RN
Richmond, Va.
VA Commonwealth University Health Systems/MCV Hospitals and Physicians
B. was an 87-year-old woman who had been admitted for respiratory distress from pneumonia. Once a sprite and strong-willed woman, she was now lethargic and quickly deteriorating. Prior to surgery, she said she never wanted to be kept alive on a ventilator. Because she could not consent, B.'s family agreed to what we hoped would be a brief intubation.

After many weeks, B. could not be weaned. She needed a tracheostomy or extubation and comfort care. B. was alert now and more like herself, often obstinate in her interactions with others. Many questioned her mental status and ability to make sound decisions. Through my relationship with B., I learned that she reconsidered her prior wishes and wanted a tracheostomy. Did she really understand? Her family feared she didn't.

My philosophy in nursing has always been to treat patients and families as I would my own, with the utmost dignity, respect and best care possible. My goal was to ensure that B.'s wishes be heard, while instilling confidence in the family's decision making. I suggested a psych consult to determine competence, performed much teaching, and coordinated family and physician meetings with B. at the bedside. To try to grasp each perspective, I often spent a few extra minutes talking with B. or her family.

Although B. was trached and rallied briefly, she went into multiple organ failure and was dying. I guided B.'s family in the withdrawal process and stayed with them to the end. There were many difficult decisions made during B.'s stay, none of which we could be certain about. However, B.'s family needed and were thankful for the extra effort that I took to help assure them that they were doing the right things. Likened to family, they, too, considered me family. Just by being there, I made a difference.

In the Circle: Awards Honors Excellence in Mentoring

Editor's note: This award recognizes individuals or groups who develop and enhance another's intellectual and technical skills, acculturating them to the professional community, and modeling a way of life and professional achievement. Recipients are presented a personalized plaque. July 15 is the deadline to submit application materials for 2004 awards. Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with the 2002 awards.

DaiWai Olson, RN, BSN, CCRN
Durham, N.C.
Duke University Hospital
"I will never nurse again." Tired and frustrated with my job, I wanted nothing to do with the profession. So, when we moved, I decided to stay home with my family.

However, after nine months, I missed the personal connection I had with patients and accepted a position as a staff nurse in the neuroscience critical care unit at Duke University Hospital. I wanted to work again, but only my scheduled 36 hours per week. It is hard to believe how my career has changed in the last four years.

DaiWai Olson, RN, BSN, CCRN, had been working in the neuro ICU for six months, with 10 years prior ICU experience. I immediately noticed his knowledge and enthusiasm for nursing. His passion for high-quality nursing care is evident by watching his interactions with patients, families, staff and extra projects.

I needed a resource to increase my knowledge base after not working for nine months. DaiWai set aside time at work for hands-on instruction, educational insight and motivation to change my career. With the guidance, instruction and continuous constructive feedback from DaiWai in all areas of my career, I have advanced in my profession.

DaiWai promotes AACN and encouraged me to join and become involved. With his help and encouragement, I am now CCRN certified. After attending my first NTI, I was hooked and, after deciding to increase my professional involvement, I again sought DaiWai's guidance. He encouraged and supported my clinical ladder advancement, research projects, poster presentations and work as a CCRN liaison.

This past year I realized that DaiWai was not just a teacher and a good friend. He was my mentor. It is due to his dedication that nursing has become my profession not just my job.

Linda A. Sullivan, RN
Placitas, N.M.
Linda Sullivan is one of the finest nurses at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. For more that 20 years, she has personified the meaning of being a nurse. I am proud to share some of the many ways that she is a mentor for me.

When I think of a mentor, I think of teacher, role model, leader, coach and friend. I think of someone who is wise, prudent, insightful and smart. I think of Linda Sullivan. As a preceptor, Linda gladly accepts the responsibility of teaching a new nurse or medical student "just one more way" to look at a critical situation.

She can enter a room and in a soft-spoken voice encourage us to do what is right. She never makes anyone feel incompetent. Instead, she empowers others to make the right decision. She has inspired all of the nurses in our unit to make a difference in the lives of their patients and, even in the darkest moments of her life, her leadership and compassion for others has brought tears to my eyes.

No words can describe the amount of love that the people in our unit have for this seasoned, dedicated nurse. Her smile radiates from her face, and it is a real smile, because there is no pretending with Linda. She is simply who she is, and she is a great nurse, strong, dedicated, hard working, pensive. She has a magic. Something about her just won't let you forget her. She is not flashy. She is not loud. She doesn't have to be in the center of things; she is not needy. She is simply a great nurse in an eloquent, soft-spoken, gentle way.

Damon B. Cottrell, MS, RN, CS, CCNS, CCRN, CEN
Denton, Texas
Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas
My journey as a critical care nurse began in June 1992. I was nearing the completion of a rigorous critical care nurse internship program and met a special person who would later become my best friend, professional colleague and mentor.

Over the last nine years, our professional paths have continued to cross. My mentor has encouraged me to take that extra step and has helped me look within myself to find the resources I needed to both achieve my goals and contribute to nursing. His encouragement and support have challenged me to continue my education. In fact, he has been instrumental in my dream to become a clinical nurse specialist.

My mentor has never acknowledged the greatness in any of his work or actions. He is someone who does what he does because he wants to, not because of what he stands to gain. I have been witness to his unselfish commitment toward helping others less fortunate, even if it meant giving up something of himself.

As a role model, he balances the art of bedside nursing, teaching responsibilities and community leader with great dignity and humility. He is the first to advocate for nursing and the last to complain about the time commitment. My mentor's achievements can be measured by looking at the people who have grown both personally and professionally through his unwavering guidance and support.

ECCO Accommodates Range of Orientation Needs

University of Kentucky Hospital is a Level 1 trauma center with seven different critical care units. Of the hospital's 414 beds, 21% are devoted to critically ill patients. Although the hospital provides clinical training for the university's College of Nursing and five other area nursing programs, it also needs to provide orientation to new nurses hired for its own critical care units.

To meet this need and build flexibility into the education process to accommodate shifts, the hospital recently implemented AACN's Internet-based Essentials of Critical Care Orientation program. As a result, according to Karen Hall, RN, MSN, the critical care staff development specialist, the hospital could hire staff when needed instead of waiting until the next critical care course was scheduled.
"We started students in January knowing the system was coming online," she said "Last year, we would have waited to hire them until the next course was available."

The feedback from the first group of 19 students being oriented with the new ECCO tool has been positive.

"The education that occurs during orientation can be overwhelming at times, due to the amount of content the students are expected to learn," Hall said. "Being able to go back into the program to review content before taking a test, or if something is unclear, is really helpful."

She added that the students like the convenience of being able to use ECCO from their homes.

To implement the program, Hall said the original structure or timeframe of the hospital's orientation courses was altered. The students spend the first two weeks of the 12-week process "getting their feet wet" in the unit to understand basic patient care principles. They then follow a prescribed schedule to complete modules in preparation for weekly meetings with their preceptors. With this structure, the clinical experience matches the content required for that week.

"For example, after completing the neurologic module, the students spent a 12-hour shift in the neuro ICU to apply what they learned about good neurologic assessments, ICP measurements, etc.," Hall explained. "We also gave a copy of the Instructor's Manual to the preceptors so they would know the specific content being covered by the students in a given week. This way, the preceptors are better prepared to reinforce content and answer questions."

Over a 12-month period, Hall and her colleagues will be evaluating this e-learning tool against a set of metrics to determine the program's efficacy as compared to their previous orientation courses. They are specifically interested in quantifying increases in organizational effectiveness and efficiency that may occur as a result of using this kind of enabling technology. The evaluation will focus on recruitment and retention rates, and on determining whether the orientation training time can be constricted while maintaining the same or better student learning outcomes that result in a cost savings to the institution.

An online demo of ECCO is available arientation. For additional information, call (800) 394-5995, ext. 8870, or e-mail ecco@aacn.org.

Who Is Using ECCO?

California Naval Medical Center San Diego
Regional Health Occupations Resource Center-Butte College
Stanford University Hospital
Sutter Coast Hospital

Colorado Memorial Hospital Colorado Springs

Florida Broward Community College
Lee Memorial Health System
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Palm Beach

Illinois Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center
Sherman Hospital
Scott Air Force Base (375th Medical Group)

Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Indianapolis

Kentucky University of Kentucky

Maine Maine General Medical Center

Maryland Suburban Hospital

Massachusetts Good Samaritan Medical Center

Minnesota Allina Hospitals & Clinics

Missouri CoxHealth System

Montana Benefis Healthcare
Frances Mahon Deaconness Hospitals

Nebraska Good Samaritan Health System

New Hampshire Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital

New Jersey Atlantic City Medical Center

Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cincinnati

Oregon Oregon Health and Science University

Pennsylvania Dubois Regional Medical Center

Texas Denton Regional Medical Center
Harris Methodist Fort Worth
Presbyterian Hospital
University Hospital
Hendrick Medical Center

Utah St. Mark's Hospital

Virginia Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center
Martha Jefferson Hospital
Northern Virginia Community College

Washington Capital Medical Center
Kadlec Medical Center
Northwest MedStar
Sacred Heart Medical Center
Sunnyside Community Hospital
Northwest Workforce Development Council
Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital

West Virginia Princeton Community Hospital

Wyoming Campbell County Memorial Hospital

Canada Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Grand Prairie, Alberta

Japan U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan

In the Circle: Award Recognizes Excellence in Leadership

Editor's note: The Excellence in Leadership Award recognizes nurses who demonstrate the leadership competencies of empowerment, effective communication and continuous learning, and the effective management of change. Recipients for 2002 were provided complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in Atlanta, Ga. July 15 is the deadline to submit application materials for the 2004 awards.Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with the 2002 awards.

Elsie B. Croom, RN, BSN, CCRN
Lafayette, La.
Lafayette General Medical Center
The word leadership brings to mind numerous images of style. To me, leading by example works best.

When I moved to Lafayette in 1985, I was the only nurse who had achieved CCRN certification. I encouraged my peers to apply and soon there were three certified nurses. I learned at the NTI that some hospitals paid for certification, so I made a proposal to our administrators. Although I initially met with opposition, they eventually agreed that certification had merit, and certified nurses were approved for a $1,000 bonus. With this incentive, more than 90% of our staff became certified. This certification has now been incorporated into our clinical ladder.

I also missed having an AACN chapter. I encouraged three colleagues to join me, and we formed the Heart of Acadiana Chapter of AACN. I served for two terms as its president and have remained active in many capacities.

I have had wonderful experiences through AACN and have encouraged others to join, to work on committees, attend NTI and submit nominations for awards. I believe high morale can be achieved by recognizing the efforts and contributions of others and by acknowledging that people are vital to the team. I am very committed to the Value of Nursing initiative and speak on it in many venues. In this time of crisis for the nursing profession, we need to be proud of what we do, understand why it is important and speak with one voice for nursing. I hope by my small initiatives and examples, I can instill in others the love of the profession that I feel. If I can do this, I feel it will be the greatest leadership role I will ever have.

Capt. Elizabeth C. Shaw, RN, MSN
Scott AFB, Ill.
As the new chief of aircrew training, I was charged with revitalizing training, revamping programs, renewing continuity books and overhauling the flight instructor workshop. Fortunately, I had a wonderful group to work with. We had to work quickly, because aerovac's equivalent to a Joint Commission visit was approaching. We avoided distractions, focusing on process improvement and building camaraderie. We set long- and short-term goals for the office. Individuals volunteered to take ownership and accountability for the success of their programs. I felt their sense of empowerment growing. The more they succeeded, the more responsibility I shared. I showed the more senior officers the importance of nominating others for awards and recognition. I pushed enrollment in degree programs or military education courses. Several unique training challenges occurred. I helped instructors develop training plans, how to deal with the student and their own needs as well. I wanted to make sure they had the tools to be successful.

What made my job different than any other nurse? Not only do aerovac nurses have to be proficient in clinical skills and the flying environment, we also have to train in war-fighting skills. The Air Force requires that officers be leaders. I believe leaders are born to lead, but becoming a good leader takes practice and training. After being appointed as the senior nurse evaluator, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride. I was able to leave the training office knowing that the crew had taken ownership, learned to do their job better, shared the rewards of a job well done and were learning to be better leaders themselves.

Validation? Two months went by before my replacement arrived. The crew pulled together and kept all the programs and training running smoothly in the absence of a supervisor.

Maria R. Shirey, RN, MS, MBA, CHE, CNAA
Evansville, Ind.
Deaconess Hospital
Promoting nursing services is my passion. My vision for nursing involves creating a workplace where nurses practice within a professional model in a competent, collaborative and collegial manner. I support lifelong learning as a mechanism to promote clinical competency and professional certification. As a leader, I encourage nurses to dream and I empower them to make their dreams reality.

Through reintroduction of the clinical nurse specialist role, we improved our critical care orientation and nurse competency. Our successful CCRN drive funded 28 nurses, 15 of whom passed the CCRN exam. Prior to the drive, there were few CCRN-certified staff nurses at the bedside in our intensive care units. CCRN certification is now contagious. Nurses are already preparing for our fall drive. Enhancing creativity, I empowered nurses to plan a unique Nurses' Week celebration that culminated in a well-received variety show featuring our talented nurses and their children. This event ended with awarding the Nurse of the Year and the newly created Physicians' Choice Awards. To promote clinical nursing practice, I initiated Cardiovascular Surgery Teaching Grand Rounds. To enhance communication and improve nurse-physician collaboration, I supported creation of a Cardiovascular Surgery Clinical Issues Committee. As director, I contributed to three major change-related efforts. First, I led a hospital-wide planning team through organizational expansion in anticipation of a competitor's emergency department closure. Second, I served as a team leader for our new customer service initiative, Deaconess FIRST: Fantastic people, Increasing quality, Result in growth, Superior service, and Top financial performance. During the first nine months of the initiative, we increased inpatient satisfaction scores from the 75th to the 98th percentile. I also served as leader on a hospital census task force whose efforts filled numerous nurse vacancies.

In the Circle: Award Recognizes Media Portrayals

Editor's note: The Media Award recognizes print, broadcast and Web-based media excellence in the portrayal of healthcare providers, especially acute and critical care nurses contributing to a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families. A personalized plaque was presented to the recipients. July 15 is the deadline to submit application materials for the 2004 awards. Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with the 2002 awards.

Southern New Hampshire Chapter
Manchester, N.H.
Our chapter organized a seminar night to give the public an opportunity to learn about and complete Advance Directives. The event was successful, but we wondered if there were perhaps another way to reach our target audience, like the elderly in their homes. We contacted our local television station and proposed taping a one-minute public service announcement on Advance Directives. In January 2001, we taped our first 30-minute educational program.

Before we knew it, our chapter had its own show and was offered a permanent time slot. We decided to call our show "Critical Causes," a reference to critical care nurses with the purpose of educating the public about a variety of topics or causes. It is truly a chapter effort. Many members of our chapter have participated by interviewing physicians or other distinguished guests, and by sharing their own expertise on a certain topic. Our show is done with the primary goal of community education and a secondary goal of promoting critical care nursing. If even part of the potential viewing audience of 10,000 people watches our show, we will have met our initial community educational goal for our chapter.

Jon Tevlin
Minneapolis, Minn.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Jon Tevlin, a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, chronicled the experience of watching his wife enter the hospital for routine surgery, only to be stricken with adult respiratory distress syndrome. Ellen Hatfield was on a respirator and in a drug-induced coma for nearly a month, during which time Tevlin witnessed and later described how a team of nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists tirelessly worked to keep her alive. Hatfield survived, in large part because of the diligence of the nursing team. Tevlin's five-part series on the ordeal drew thousands of letters and calls, many from former patients who thanked him for showcasing the essential role of nursing in patient care. The Minneapolis Star Tribune nominated the series for several major awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.

ePocrates Software Saves Time, Helps Improve Patient Care

Periodically, AACN will publish an independent review of a PDA software program for nurses. The following review of the new ePocrates Rx Pro Drug Reference Guide was written by Tess Weaver, RN, MSN, APRN, BC.

By Tess Weaver, RN, MSN, APRN, BC, CNS, FNP
Audie Murphy VA Hospital
San Antonio, Texas

ePocrates Rx feels like an old friend I have known and trusted for years. This evidence-based drug reference guide for Palm OS handheld devices has helped to get me through an MSN, a critical care clinical nurse specialist program, and a family nurse practitioner program. So much handy information and no need to search the nurses' station for an outdated Physicians' Desk Reference or nursing drug book. And the price was certainly right-free!

So, I was skeptical when a colleague raved about the new and improved version, ePocrates Rx Pro. In addition to the comprehensive drug and interaction information that is included in the free version, this premium version includes alternative medicines, tables and guidelines, the ePocrates ID infectious disease guide and a medical calculator. Initially, I did not want to pay $49.99 per year for an upgrade when I was comfortable with the free version. However, once I got the opportunity to use the new version in clinical practice, I quickly found out that the additional information included in ePocrates Rx Pro made upgrading very worthwhile.

Recently, while working an extra shift in the emergency department, I received a patient via ambulance. The 23-year-old female body builder complained of heart palpitations. EMS also brought in a basket of 20 bottles of the patient's herbal supplements. The patient checked out medically and, in the absence of any other probable cause, the ED physician advised her to stop taking all of the supplements. She agreed, though I could tell by the look on her face that she probably would not comply with those instructions. So I pulled out my trusty PDA and tried out ePocrates Rx Pro. After looking up each of the supplements individually, I found nothing significant. Although ginseng she takes can cause palpitations, she had been taking the same dose for six months with no problem. Then, using the MultiCheck feature, I ran a multiple drug interaction check on all of the supplements and found that the green tea the patient had just started reacts with the ginseng and may potentiate stimulant effects. Now we had something to work with. Both the physician and patient were very interested in what I had been able to look up in a matter of minutes. The patient agreed to stop using the green tea and the physician promptly bought his own copy of ePocrates Rx Pro.

The ePocrates Rx Pro Drug Reference Guide is now compatible for Pocket PC and Mac users, in addition to Palm OS users. AACN members will receive a 10% discount off the $49.99 price by entering coupon code AACNRxPRO100731. This offer expires July 31, 2003. Visit http://www.epocrates.com to purchase and download the software.

New AACN e-Reference Package for Palm OS
AACN has bundled its popular pocket e-references for Palm OS into one cohesive package. Included are Cardiac Medications, Laboratory Values, Cardiovascular Assessment, Pulmonary Management, Infectious Diseases, Critical Care Assessment, Pediatric Critical Care and Hemodynamic Management. You get all eight of these references for the price of seven when you purchase this complete package for $49, plus shipping and handling. The eighth is FREE! Visit the AACN PDA Center.

Palm Tungsten T Promotion: While Supplies Last
Visit the AACN PDA Center and order the new Palm Tungsten T handheld device for just $379-and receive either the Lexi-Drugs Platinum Drug Guide, Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, or Pocket Medicine-Internal Medicine at no extra charge. Save up to $100 with this limited time offer. Order online.

In the Circle: Joint Award Recognizes Outstanding ICU Design

Cosponsored by AACN, the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Health, this award recognizes ICU designs that enhance the critical care environment for patients, families and clinicians. The recipients of this award for 2002 were the pediatric and infant ICUs at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.

In addition to the 17-bed pediatric ICU and 19-bed infant ICU, the design project included a 12-bed unit that can be used for future ICU expansion. All the units are located on the same floor as the emergency department, radiology and surgical suites.

The goals of the project were to maximize single rooms, accommodate advanced state-of-the-art technology, individualize space to support the needs of each patient and to improve family space. Care is delivered in single or double rooms. Infant ICU rooms are designed to optimize developmentally supportive care by including features such as sound absorptive wall panels and ceiling tiles, minimized traffic flow patterns and a variety of lighting options. Pediatric ICU rooms are large enough to provide areas for parents to sleep at the bedside, as well as a "parent zone" with phone, reading light and closet.

To accommodate variations in patient acuity, ages and need for technologies, a ceiling-mounted, gas power delivery system was chosen. This allows for flexibility in room set-up, frees up wall space for access between rooms and maximizes windows for natural light and views. Each room has sliding glass breakaway doors. Some areas have sliding doors between rooms. Staff work stations are strategically placed.

Family spaces outside the patient care area include a large waiting room with play space, parent conference areas and family space directly above the units with sleep rooms, showers and laundry facilities. However, the most valuable outcome of this project is perhaps the integration of a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing environment that creates a supportive workspace for staff providing excellent critical care.

Note: The deadline to submit awards for the 2003 ICU Design Citation is Aug. 15. In addition to a $1,500 cash award-$500 from each of the sponsoring organizations-the recipient is provided complimentary registration for one person to attend the organization's annual meeting and a plaque to display in the unit. For more information, contact the Society of Critical Care Medicine at (847) 827-7659.

Myth vs. Fact: Setting the Record Straight About Liability Insurance

Myth: Purchasing coverage now won't help me if I am sued years later.

Fact: The AACN Professional Liability Insurance Plan is "occurrence form," which means you will be covered for any incidence that occurred during your policy period, regardless of when a lawsuit is filed.

This type of coverage is beneficial when a suit involves an incident that occurred years earlier. You are covered during the term of the insurance certificate. You are protected now and in the future for any claims resulting from covered services performed while the insurance certificate was in force.

To make obtaining individual coverage easier, AACN sponsors a professional liability insurance plan for its members. For additional information, contact Marsh Affinity Group Services, 1440 Renaissance Dr., Park Ridge, Ill. 60068-1400; phone, (800) 503-9230. Or, visit the AACN Web site.

With Appreciation: AACN Thanks Its Industry Partners and NTI Sponsors

The support of our sponsors and industry partners is a valued force in the continued success of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

We thank them for their generosity and collaboration.

Partners With Industry

Partners with Industry is the corporate giving circle of companies that are committed to year-round support of the association's work. Partner companies support a wide range of special initiatives usually not associated with product promotion. These include scholarships, awards, research grants, fellowships and many customized projects.

$500,000 and More
Eli Lilly & Company

$100,000 to $499,999
Philips Medical Systems

$10,000 to $29,999
Nellcor/Tyco Healthcare
Ross Products�Division of Abbott Laboratories
Siemens Medical Solutions
Stryker Medical
3M Healthcare
Wyeth Laboratories

$4,500 to $9,999
Atrium Medical Corp.
Dale Medical
Genzyme Biosurgery
Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International
Nabi Biopharmaceuticals
Oridion Capnography

$1,500 and Less
Marsh Affinity Group Services, a service of Seabury & Smith, Inc.
Medtronic Physio-Control

American Journal of Nursing/
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Clarian Health Partners
The Freeman Companies
Hyundai Motor America
Indiana University School of Nursing

Affinity Partners
Alamo Rent-a-Car
First USA/Bank One Card Services
John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company
Marsh Affinity Group Services, a service of Seabury & Smith, Inc.
Merrill Lynch

NTI Sponsors

Educational sessions, events and select participant items sponsored at the 2003 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition.

NTI Champions
Valued at $100,000 and more
Philips Medical Systems

NTI Heroes
Valued between $50,000 and $99,999
Medtronic Inc.

NTI Advocates
Valued between $30,000 and $49,999
Aspect Medical Systems
Atrium Medical Corp.
Baxter Healthcare Corp.
Edwards Lifesciences
Eli Lilly & Company
GE Medical Systems Information Technologies
Nellcor/Tyco Healthcare
Ortho Biotech Inc.
Siemens Medical Solutions

NTI Benefactors
Valued between $15,000 and $29,999
Alaris Medical Systems
Aventis Pharmaceuticals
B. Braun Medical
CardioDynamics International
Cross Country TravCorps
GMP Wireless Medicine
Healthcare Purchasing News
Hyundai Motor America
The Medicines Company
Millennium Pharmaceuticals/Schering ACS
NurseWeek Publishing
Nursing Spectrum
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals
Zoll Corp.

NTI Contributors
Valued between $7,500 and $14,999
3M Healthcare
Abbott Laboratories
Clarian Health Partners
Marsh Affinity Group Services, a Service of Seabury & Smith
Stryker Medical

NTI Supporters
Valued below $7,500
Advance Newsmagazine
American Heart Association
Arlen Med. Ed./PocketReferences.com
BD Medical Systems
Biosite Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim
Dale Medical
Dallas County Chapter-AACN
Datascope Corporation
eProcrates, Inc.
Fain & Company
Franklin Electronic Publishers
The Freeman Companies
Guidant Corporation
Indiana University School of Nursing
Integra NeuroSciences
Johnson & Johnson/Campaign for Nursing's Future
Kendall/Tyco Healthcare
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Nabi Biopharmaceuticals
Pepid, LLC
R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
Sage Products
Skyscape, Inc.
Slack, Inc.
Smith & Nephew Wound Management Division
Spacelabs Medical, a division of Instrumentarium
Thoratec Corp.
Today's Nurse

Special Recognition: Circle of Excellence Awards Honor Visionary Leaders

Each year, AACN's Circle of Excellence awards honor individuals and groups who have made a difference in critical care nursing. Some awards applaud exceptional practice in the most intimate of settings. Others recognize extraordinary and sustained accomplishments that are in step with AACN's vision.

This year's awards recipients will be honored during AACN's National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, May 17 through 22 in San Antonio, Texas.

July 15 is the deadline to submit application materials for the 2004 awards.

The following Visionary Leader awards represent AACN's highest and most prestigious recognition of far-reaching contributions.

AACN-Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career
This award recognizes individuals who are completing or have completed an extraordinary and distinguished professional career.

The award was first presented in 1997 to its namesake, Marguerite R. Kinney, a past AACN president and past chair of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors.

In addition to lifetime AACN membership and a crystal replica of the AACN presidential Vision icon, recipients choose a charity to which AACN contributes $1,000 in their honor.
Receiving this award for 2003 is:

Clara L. Adams-Ender, Brigadier General, US Army, Retired, RN, BS, MS, FAAN, PhD (hon.)
Willow Springs, N.C.

The capstone of Adams-Ender's 34-year military career was her appointment as commanding officer of Fort Belvoir in Virginia, the first nurse to serve in this capacity at a major military installation. During her career, she filled diverse assignments and held high-level leadership positions as a nurse and officer in the United States Army, directly influencing the recruitment, training, and career path development of thousands of nurses.

From the beginning, critical care was part of her career. Adams-Ender is known for initiating critical care nursing units, actively recruiting nurses and effecting policy changes that resulted in enhanced compensation for critical care nurses. She was a clinical nurse in surgical ICUs at Army hospitals in New Jersey and Korea and later chief nurse in Germany, where she staffed four ICUs and established the country's first neonatal ICU. As chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Adams-Ender proposed that ICU nurses should receive bonus pay because of their specialty practice.

Her medals and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with Oakleaf Cluster, the Cross of Honor in Gold from the German Army, the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oakleaf Clusters and the coveted Surgeon General's "A" professional designator for excellence in nursing administration.

Since retiring in 1993, Adams-Ender heads her own management consulting firm called CAPE Associates-Cares About People with Enthusiasm.

Ross Products-AACN Pioneering Spirit Award
This award recognizes significant contributions that influence acute and critical care nursing. Recipients have made far-reaching contributions that exemplify a pioneering spirit and influence the direction of acute and critical care nursing.

In addition to travel, lodging and conference registration, each recipient receives a plaque and $500 honorarium.

Receiving the award for 2003 are:

Peter Buerhaus, RN, PhD, FAAN
Nashville, Tenn.
Buerhaus' experience as a critical care staff nurse and manager in both small hospitals and university medical centers helped prepare him to become the individual who is most credited with bringing the nursing shortage to the attention of the American public.

As an economist and researcher, he is skilled at producing and reporting scholarly work of high quality. He has become an eloquent spokesperson and advocate of nursing as he ensures that the public, legislators and policymakers all recognize the nursing shortage as a public health crisis of major proportions. He is currently the Valere Potter professor of nursing and senior associate dean of research at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

As founding director of an institute for nursing research within the Harvard School of Public Health, he brought nursings' voice to an academic institution where healthcare is traditionally equated with physicians.

Buerhaus' research interests have focused on the nursing workforce, with studies that have included employment and earnings, the effects of managed care, the relationship between quality of patient care and changes in nurse staffing and the slow growth in the number of minorities in the nursing profession.

Although best known and recognized for his pioneering work regarding the nursing shortage, Buerhaus has made other important contributions to nursing and healthcare. At the University of Michigan he guided a national coalition of major teaching hospitals to promote federal legislation and regulations governing how Medicare pays for hospitals' capital-related costs. The coalition saved its members several hundred million dollars in Federal payment shortfalls. He also served on a Blue Cross/Blue Shield team to design a health delivery system for General Motors' Saturn assembly plant. He often advises and testifies before major policymaking groups, including the Institute of Medicine, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Tennessee Health Commission on Nursing. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and currently serves on the board of directors of Sigma Theta Tau International.

Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson's nationwide Campaign for Nursing's Future pioneered a bold new standard for partnerships between industry and healthcare professions. The campaign embodies the company's credo, which starts with the belief that our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services.

Driven by the personal values and energy of company president James Lenehan, whose mother was a nurse, the campaign raises this commitment to a new level. In addition to committing financial resources to help bring more people into nursing, develop more nurse educators to teach them and retain the nurses already in the profession, Johnson & Johnson has tapped the public respect and experience of its nearly 200-company family to leverage nursing to enhanced prominence in major metropolitan areas across the United States.

To date, the initiatives of Johnson & Johnson's Campaign for Nursing's Future include television advertising to celebrate nurses and their contributions; recruitment brochures, posters and videos; www.discovernursing.com, a Web site with information about nursing careers and scholarships; and scholarships for nurse educators and nursing students. The newest initiative provides planning expertise and underwrites regional fund-raising events.

Diana Mason, RN, PhD, FAAN
New York, N.Y.
Although Diana Mason is best known as editor in chief of the American Journal of Nursing, her professional contributions reflect much broader advocacy on behalf of nurses and the health of communities.
Mason started her clinical career in a U.S. Army medical-coronary ICU. Later, as a graduate student in community health nursing at St. Louis University, she studied at the University of Oslo, where she gained first-hand knowledge of Norway's public health services and medical care.

This combination of critical care and community health set the stage for Mason's active involvement in the policy and politics of nursing and healthcare for more than 25 years. She is senior editor of Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care, an award-winning book that is a practical guide for nurses to health policy and the subtleties of political action. She is also a frequent speaker who helps nurses learn the importance of the media as a tool for advocacy.

Since 1985, she has been a producer and moderator of Healthstyles, an award-winning weekly radio program on health and health policy on WBAI-FM in New York City. For five years, Mason served as director of Youth Pulse, a program funded by the Benton Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of a national initiative called Sound Partners for Community Health. The program trained New York City youth in radio production on health and social issues.

She has been a long-standing member and leader of numerous professional and community associations since the start of her career. These include organizations as diverse as the American Public Health Association, National Women's Political Caucus, New York State Nurses Association, National Organization for Women, Alliance for Education in Public Policy, New York State Nurses for Political Action, Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and Y'All of New York.

In the Circle: Award Honors Excellent Nurse Managers

Editor's note: This award recognizes nurse managers who have demonstrated excellence in coordination of available resources to efficiently and effectively care for acute or critically ill patients and families. The recipients were provided complimentary registration, airfare and hotel accommodations for the NTI in Atlanta, Ga. July 15 is the deadline to submit application materials for the 2004 awards. Following are exemplars submitted in connection with the awards for 2002.

Carol Fevurly Cleek, RN, CS, MSN, CCRN
Olathe, Kan.
Olathe Medical Center
When I came to Olathe Medical Center three years ago, I envisioned this small hospital becoming a full-service tertiary care center. Included would be a major transformation of the ICU staff in competencies and ability to respond to a higher acuity patient population with more sophisticated technological needs.

Since that time, we have successfully implemented an open-heart program, a comprehensive cardiac product line, a comprehensive neurosurgical program and continuous renal replacement therapies. These new programs have resulted in increased technological demands. The staff has been through a number of training competencies, including intra-aortic balloon pumping, bi-ventricular assist devices, continuous and SVo2 hemodynamic monitoring, intracranial pressure monitoring and continuous renal replacement therapy. Advanced assessment techniques and conceptual programs to enhance critical thinking with new and different data and technology also had to be developed and implemented.

Throughout this transition, the entire organization had to undergo a change in philosophy, from viewing itself as a small community hospital to being a major player in the highly competitive Kansas City market. Processes and structures had to be put in place to make that happen.

All of these things had to happen with someone driving the units and the organization toward the vision. The leadership team-the cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist, my clinical resource nurse and I-played an important role in helping that transition to occur. I believe in transformational leadership, intellectual stimulation, individual consideration, values-based leadership, the importance of setting a social architecture and a collective purpose to what we are doing. I am proud of the way in which the staff in the critical care unit at Olathe Medical Center has responded to the challenge.

Ray Quintero, RN, MSN, CCRN
Yorktown, Va.
Virginia Commonwealth University Health System
I call my approach to management "servanthood management." I am a builder of an organization and people, and I totally invest myself in the outcome of patients, staff and the organization. We are TEAM-Totally Effective and Efficient Action Management.

I have come to understand that no one person can reach goals without a team, a unified body of people who have a guiding vision. Initially, I attended to immediate needs, such as nurse recruitment, staff training and education, staff morale, retention, increased number of patient care technician support, and improved care delivery, as well as quality-of-life issues for staff.

The overall vision was a three-pronged approach, beginning with leadership recruitment and development. This "shared leadership concept" involved a leadership council. The second phase would be team building and development, which would take the form of accepted vision, goals, values and norms. The third phase would be introduction of the "coaching model" in which everyone would partake in the development of each other.

Within the first 10 months, we reached many milestones. The leadership council made unit decisions and provided a process where staff had a voice in change, direction and improvement. I observed the leadership council members acting as role models, teachers and coaches. One hundred percent of the staff was competency trained; payroll was being processed without any glitches; and 60% of the staff had at least one formal training class or seminar. All of this was positively impacting the satisfaction, morale and retention of the staff.

It wasn't long before healthcare providers and administrators recognized us for our quality care, and our reputation soared. We now routinely hear positive comments about our accomplishments from patients, families, caregivers and visitors. I continue to credit those responsible for the improvements-our unit TEAM.

Kay Clevenger, RN, MSN
Indianapolis, Ind.
Clarian Health
As technology and time change the landscape of the nursing profession, the clich�, "good help is hard to find," remains. The true challenge today is retention, with creativity being an essential tool in today's competitive marketplace.

Our cardiovascular surgical unit gained the reputation for teamwork, compatibility and dedication with fun. This was accomplished by staging ongoing activities that nourish a positive morale despite the stressful workplace.

An annual team-building retreat has made a significant impact. The purpose of the retreat is to have a fun, productive day that rewards and thanks all staff for the tremendous effort and hard work over the past year. A motif theme is determined, along with speakers and topics, while follow-up work is completed at staff meetings. The initial retreat resulted in the development of a unit mission statement, along with the kickoff of the Celebration Committee. Members of this committee collected and posted photos monthly on the morale board. Goal setting, reflecting upon our accomplishments for the past year, recognition of team members and the creation of a team manual have kept the retreat focused on results, while sharing creative and productive ideas. Popular team activities that have evolved include camping trips, themed events on the unit, such as a Hawaiian luau, and birthday celebrations. Also noteworthy are a thank you board and monthly "Targeting Service Excellence" awards.
The retreats are directly responsible for the cohesiveness of the unit today. They create an informed, yet comfortable setting in which each individual can talk, learn and share, ultimately creating unique bonding experiences. Evidence of our success has been measured in many ways, with the individual measuring stick being the satisfaction consistently expressed in letters from patients and families reassuring the staff they are the perennial winning team.

Coming in the June issue of Critical Care Nurse

� Treating Patients With Severe Sepsis

� Managing Hypertension in Patients With Stroke

� Preventing Effects of Contrast Nephrotoxicity

� Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy and Septal Ablation

� Pulsus Alternans

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

Looking Ahead

May 2003

May 15 Deadline to submit speaker proposal abstracts for NTI 2004 Orlando, Fla. To obtain a speaker proposal packet, call AACN Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 (Request
Document #6019) or visit the AACN Web site

May 17-22 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. For more information, call (800) 899-2226 or visit the NTI Web site
May 20 AACN Annual Meeting and Forum, noon (EDT) Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center San Antonio, Texas.

June 2003

June 13 Deadline to submit nominations for leadership positions on the AACN Board of Directors, AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors and AACN Nominating Committee.
The nomination form is tavailable online at http://www.aacn.org.

July 2003

July 15 Deadline to submit nomination materials for AACN Circle of Excellence recognition awards. To obtain an awards application, call (800) 899-2226 or visit the AACN Web site. The application is also available on Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #1011.

September 2003

September 1 Deadline to submit research and creative solutions abstracts for AACN's 2004 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition May 15 through 20 in Orlando, Fla. To
obtain abstract forms, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #6007 or visit the AACN Web site.

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