AACN News—November 2003—Association News

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Vol. 20, No. 11, NOVEMBER 2003

Speakers Selected for NTI 2004 in Florida
Diversity Guides Topic Review

By Diane Byrum, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, Chair
and Mary Frances Pate, RN, CNS, DSN
NTI Work Group

When it comes to critical care nursing, leadership and advanced practice education, AACN's National Teaching Institute is considered by many to be the best of the best. And, according to participant responses, NTI 2003 in San Antonio, Texas, was the best yet.
Have you ever wondered how such quality programming is planned? The planning process is actually a journey that begins as soon as the NTI ends each year.

Abstract Review
The NTI Work Group meets over the summer to review the abstracts submitted for oral presentation. Represented on the volunteer group are various practice roles, including educators, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, managers and staff nurses. Group members bring diverse clinical expertise, as well as adult and pediatric-focused experience to the table.
After abstracts are submitted each year, they undergo a "blind" review that uses a criteria-based scoring system. The reviewers are looking for concise and comprehensive content descriptions, and clearly stated session purposes, key concepts and expected outcomes. The individual criterion scores are then calculated for an overall abstract score.

Scoring the Abstracts
The recommendations for abstract selection are forwarded to the NTI Work Group, which also conducts a blind review of the abstracts. All the information is collated to provide a list of abstracts sorted by scores, from highest to lowest. For NTI 2004, 749 abstracts were submitted for review, with 150 chosen for oral presentation.
The final selection process starts with a framework of topics, including adult and pediatric clinical, leadership, education, ethical/legal, research and advanced practice. A set number of topics are chosen in each area, with clinical topics receiving the most slots. In addition to the concurrent sessions, preconference, mastery, and professional enrichment topics must be chosen. The abstracts receiving the highest scores are then placed within the framework.

Tips on Content
There are a variety of reasons an abstract may not be chosen for presentation at the NTI. For example, the abstract may be poorly written. Although the review panelists and NTI Work Group members may think a topic is excellent, the information provided might not describe sufficiently what will be presented in the session. Clearly stating the purpose, key ideas and expected outcomes is important.

Another consideration is whether the topic is appropriate for the NTI. To meet the expectations of the diverse audience, the content must include clinical topics, such as cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine and trauma; leadership development; computer-related topics; personal growth; and pediatric and adult offerings.
The NTI program must be balanced. Therefore, the number of abstracts that can be chosen within each topic area is limited. If seven abstracts are submitted on traumatic brain injury, not all can be chosen for presentation.

Because NTI participants come from a variety of hospitals, geographical locations, practice areas and experience levels, abstracts that have a more general, broad appeal are chosen to meet the needs of the larger audience. For example, though interesting, highly specialized abstracts, such as complications in the liver transplant patient, do not have a broad audience base.

What's New
New at NTI 2004 will be a number of concentrated "pathways" that recognize specific areas of professional development interest. In addition to adult critical care, advanced practice, CCRN preparation and review, chapter sessions and learning connections, these pathways will target in progressive care, emergency department, pediatrics and leadership development.

Work Group Members
Members of the 2004 NTI Work Group are Diane Byrum, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS (chair), Marian Altman, RN, MS, CCRN, ANP, Lee Ann Haygood, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNA, NP, Marla De Jong, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS, CEN, Mary Frances Pate, RN, CNS, DSN, and Katie Schatz, RN, MSN, NPC. Susan Yeager, RN, MS, CCRN, is the AACN board liaison. Marcia Chorba, RN, MSN, was a member until her death. National office liaisons are Program Development Specialist Bonnie Baker, RN, MHA, and Clinical Practice Specialist Linda Bell, RN, MS, MSN.

For those interested in submitting an abstract, the 2004 NTI Work Group will present a session in Orlando on "How to Be an AACN Speaker."

Chair Diane Byrum (standing, left) and AACN
Program Development Specialist Bonnie Baker
(standing, right) facilitate the discussion as
members of the NTI Work Group select speaker
abstracts for NTI 2004 in Orlando, Fla.

Members of the 2004 NTI Work Group were joined
by national office staff when they met in Costa Mesa
in August. Pictured are (from left, seated) Susan Yeager,
Diane Byrum and Paula Lusardi and (from left, standing)
Edie Carpenter, Mary Frances Pate, Bonnie Baker,
the late Marcia Chorba, Marla De Jong, Lee Ann Haygood,
Marian Altman, Wendy Berke, Katie Schatz and Linda Bell.

In Memory

Marcia L. Chorba, a critical care nurse from Pittsburgh, Pa., and a member of the 2004 NTI Work Group, died Oct. 28, following a brief illness. She was a member of the Three Rivers Chapter of AACN.

Her family has requested memorial contributions to the chapter, which has set up a scholarship fund in her honor. Donations may be sent to the Three Rivers Chapter AACN, Marcia Chorba Scholarship, PO Box 12000, Pittsburgh, PA 15240.

2004 NTI Art Takes ‘Rising Above' to New Heights

Capturing the "Rising Above" theme for NTI 2004 is the work of Canadian artist Tracy Walker. The original artwork was commissioned by AACN to set the stage for its annual conference May 15 through 20 in Orlando, Fla.

Interpreting the Art
AACN President Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, chose the "Rising Above" theme to reflect the opportunities that are presented when different perspectives are considered. The art represents the relationship and the connection between disparate elements.

By rising above, one can see more than the movement of lines and shapes represented by the initial chaotic impression of this illustration-or the stressful workplace nurses find themselves in today. To rise above is to see the harmony in the art (and in the hospital setting).

Rising above to seek out the connections that reveal solutions is symbolized by the bird in flight (the nurse), surveying the landscape while being an integral part of it.
The ability to move within and around the environment is powerful. Like the bird, the nurse can see the smallest details from the greatest vantage point, the bedside.

Rising above is subtle, like the color palette of the illustration. The action takes place in the fray, where nurses are called upon to use their voice. The solutions occur when rising above. The illustration is a useful metaphor in that there is a prismatic quality to the boundaries, creating both depth and transparency. Although these images seem to be solid and separate, like many of the issues the nursing profession faces today, the reality is, they are not.

Rising above is to become part of the whole. In rising above the chaos, individuals can objectively understand the situation and craft solutions. By rising above, nurses are not afraid to move confidently within their environments, positively influencing and affecting the surroundings-the patients, their families and themselves.

About the Artist
Walker was born in England, but grew up in Canada. She studied both fine art and illustration, and worked as a graphic designer before settling into a career as a freelance illustrator. Her work appears regularly in magazines and publications throughout Canada and the U.S.

2004 NTI Housing Bureau Now Open

You can now reserve your hotel for NTI 2004 in Orlando, Fla. In response to participant requests, the NTI Housing Bureau opened early this year. The list of available hotels, as well as rates and descriptions of the properties, are available on the NTI Web site.

NTI 2004 is scheduled for May 15 through 20 in Orlando, Fla.

Online Neonatal and Pediatric Critical Care Courses Available

New Internet-based courses to prepare for neonatal and pediatric critical care nursing roles will be offered beginning in January 2004 by Indiana University School of Nursing.

Earn Up to 6 Academic Credits
The three-credit didactic component consists of 10 online modules that may be taken from any location. The optional three-credit clinical practicum requires an on-site preceptor at an approved facility accessible to the learner. The courses include access to the virtual center of best practices, a resource area with links to practice standards, nurse researchers and learning resources.

Electives Ideal for Undergraduates
"With these innovative courses, any nursing school can now offer electives in these hard-to-find specialty areas," said Diane Billings, RN, EdD, FAAN, project codirector and IUSON associate dean for teaching, learning and information resources. "They also enrich RN-BSN programs for students seeking new skills and knowledge in these areas," Billings noted. Although individual students can enroll through IUSON and transfer credit to their home school, any school can offer the courses through an institutional pricing option.

The courses are ideal for last semester "capstone" courses where students choose an interest area where they may seek future employment. "The course pilot showed us that students who took the courses were better prepared for their capstone experience, so our health system now requires that they take them to work in our PICU" noted Dawn Daniels, RN, MSN, CCRN, clinical nurse specialist at Clarian Health Partners who is pediatric course codeveloper and facilitator.

AACN Partners to Develop Courses
The project is funded in part by a grant of nearly $1 million from the "Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnership," a project of FIPSE, the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. AACN, Clarian Health Partners and IUSON have provided additional support for the $2.1 million project. Courses were developed by national content experts directed by IUSON.

Commit to Healthy Work Environments

Are you committed to healthy work environments? Join the growing number of critical care nurses who have pledged to help achieve just that by signing the "Act Boldly" commitment card online.

In the Circle: AACN Award Recognizes Excellent Nurse Managers

Editor's note: Part of the AACN Circle of Excellence recognition programs, the Excellent Nurse Manager Award recognizes nurse managers who demonstrate excellence in coordination of available resources to efficiently and effectively care for acutely or critically ill patients and families. Following are exemplars submitted in connection with this award for 2003.

Richard M. Carpenter, RN, BSN
Charlottesville, Va.
University of Virginia
One of the first steps in the process of rebuilding the medical ICU when I became manager was to help the remaining clinical leadership realize that they were a part of the solution to addressing the nurses' dissatisfaction with long hours and frustrating lack of career options.

The staff and I decided that one solution was to build in fewer "off-shifts" for the more senior staff by using critical care pool staff for these shifts. We also made sure that we maintained a minimum of unit-based staff on the shifts for consistency and safety. In addition, we reinstituted the practice of using a "floating" charge nurse. By helping the staff realize we could change the way assignments were made, the unit was able to free up one staff member per shift to act as floating charge.

Together we determined that our orientation program needed a total overhaul. I presented the idea to a core group of current and potential clinical leaders and gave them the groundwork and support to develop the program. I insisted that the staff in the MICU be involved in both interviews and active recruiting.

I have learned that, if you teach your staff how to do the job and then find a way to support them, you might find a way to survive the nursing shortage that plagues our efforts to provide quality care for our patients and their families.

Joyce E. Fullwood, RN, BSN, CCRN
Durham, N.C.
Duke University Health System
As nurse manager of operations for our cardiac ICU, my responsibilities include fiscal and personnel management, clinical quality, and staff development and growth. I have been a change agent, patient and staff advocate, and mentor.

I encourage staff members to assume responsibility for their practice and set standards and expectations to meet their goals, whether in the staff or charge nurse role. They participate on unit and hospital-based committees and have initiated and implemented hospitalwide policies and protocols.

I ensure that patient-care standards are consistent and that nurses are held accountable to those standards in a nonpunitive, nonthreatening manner. Previously, if a staff nurse committed a medication error, we would discuss the incident, and then I began the disciplinary process. Because of the negative impact, I attempted another approach. When an error was committed, I discussed the incident with the nurse, who then developed a personal action plan to prevent future errors. This nursing responsibility changed the process from punitive to a learning opportunity. I also assisted in developing a Heart Center Medication Error Action Plan for the Clinical Service Unit.

I am involved in performance improvement and have been an active participant in determining the root cause analysis for sentinel events. I maintain an open-door policy and encourage staff to approach me with any issues. Being visible and available to my staff is important to me. I believe in promoting not only staff satisfaction but patient and family satisfaction as well.

Cheryl Lynn Wolverton, RN, MSN, CCRN
Indianapolis, Ind.
Clarian Health, Indiana
University Hospital

Imagine, as a manager, seeing your critical care unit staff becoming increasingly frustrated and tense. Their sense of powerlessness was immense. I witnessed patients and their families being anxious because our nurses did not appear to have time to care for them. As I evaluated the situation I asked myself, "Who was responsible for this?" The answer was me. The unit looked out of control; I felt out of control. I have been a critical care nurse for 22 years as a staff nurse, educator, clinical nurse specialist, and now in my most challenging role as clinical manager.

A friend once said to me, "A crisis can be good." Not exactly what you want to hear in a crisis, but it was very true. I needed to look at this "crisis" as an opportunity. "Process, process, process," I recalled one of my graduate school mentors saying. Therefore, I needed to collect data, review the literature, and seek mentorship and collegial support.

The most important action I took was to carefully listen to the staff. Our staff needed to give significant input regarding solutions to our "crisis," while I carefully considered their personal needs. I felt strongly that nursing needed to focus on the science of nursing. Our healthcare organization had faced what virtually every hospital across the United States had encountered: restructuring and reallocation of resources. In addition, we experienced the consolidation of three hospitals. The nursing shortage amplified these painful realities. Staff was feeling a lack of trust, loss of identity, and overall powerlessness.

Fortunately, our organization's senior leadership supported key recommendations that would start the positive transition. As a leadership group, we developed a plan to quickly stabilize our work environment.

Fast forward to four years later. I can say I am proud to be the manager. We have zero percent vacancy. We implemented a unit-based educator role and developed a multidisciplinary collaborative care team. Seventy-two percent of the staff degrees are BSN or higher. Fourteen percent are CCRNs. Eleven percent are pursuing educational advancement. Staff and patient satisfaction is high, with the staff essentially on "auto-pilot." We seized the opportunity to become an excellent team of nursing professionals.

ECCO Strengthened Orientation Process
New York Hospital Designed Course to Address Staffing Issues

Seton Health is a comprehensive healthcare system providing services from more than 20 locations in New York's capitol region. It is anchored by St. Mary's Hospital, a 200-bed community hospital in Troy.

The hospital decided to redesign its entire critical care orientation course, initially as a result of high vacancy rates and inability to retain staff. In addition, the hospital realized that, because new graduates would be participating in this redesigned course, basic skills would need to be provided prior to entering the critical care environment.

The nurse recruiter requested suggestions from staff and formed a committee to develop a new course. Jean Endryck, RN, MS, FNP, project director for the critical care program, explained that adopting the ECCO program fit nicely with the new course design and enabled the hospital to create a stronger orientation process.

"Novices need to go from simple to more complex concepts," Endryck said. "ECCO starts at the novice nurse's level. It covers basic anatomy and physiology and builds from there to give the new nurse success with the overwhelming nature of critical care nursing."

Endryck indicated that nurses are able to speak knowledgeably to patients and their families about types of care and services that may be not provided directly in a unit.

"We don't do interventional cardiology in our unit, but patients are still sent out for it. The benefit is that nurses can talk to the patient and family and let them know what to expect since the information is covered in the program," she said.

Pace Builds Confidence
Endryck reported that the nurses like using the ECCO program and particularly appreciate learning at their own pace and reviewing the content when necessary. According to Endryck, this builds confidence for new nurses because they know if they didn't assimilate the concepts the first time through the program, they can review a second or third time as necessary.

The versatility of the ECCO program has helped Endryck capitalize on "teachable moments."

"If something particularly good is happening in the unit, I can pull the nurses into the unit to be a part of it rather than having them hidden away in a classroom," she said. Conversely, if there is unexpected downtime in the critical care area, the nurse can spend an hour or two on the computer. This extra, unscheduled learning would not be possible if students were waiting for a classroom course.

The students appreciate the testing results that provide instant feedback, whether a nurse passed or failed.

"The nurse gets to see exactly what they got wrong at the moment the test is submitted, rather than a week later. This also enables me to correct their thinking right away. It's a very sound educational principal," Endryck shared.

The randomization of test questions for each objective is a feature Endryck likes as well. It can be used as a pre- and post-test for more experienced nurses. Endryck does not currently use this method with new nurses, because she wants them to experience success right away with the content, rather than frustration with taking an initial pre-test that they won't pass.

The hospital believed strongly that incorporating national standards into the curriculum was important. Because the ECCO program was an AACN product, they knew the program would be of high quality and the materials and development process would be excellent. They also used the program as a recruitment tool for new nurses.

"With the program we could say we have a state of the art orientation program from AACN that is setting national standards. The contact hours for it will be recognized throughout the country," Endryck said.

Fit Right for Progressive Care
When Seton Hall/St. Mary's Hospital chose to use the ECCO program, the educators decided it would also be an integral part of the education process in progressive care.

"The progressive care unit treats more cardiovascular patients than the critical care unit, so it makes sense to give them the most current information," Endryck said. "The cardiovascular module is such a big piece of the program and its components are key to the PCU staff."

ECCO may also be a retention tool for progressive care unit staff, Endryck continued.

"Sometimes we'll have PCU staff float to critical care to take care of stable critical care patients. Moving these experienced nurses into higher level content will definitely be a benefit to them."

Recruitment Campaign Tops 1,800 New Members

Caroline Axt, RN, MS, of Oakland, Calif., recruited 18 new members during September to take the lead in AACN's Critical Links membership drive.

The 39 members Axt has recruited since the campaign began May 1 puts her 11 members ahead the previous month's leader, Delmar Imperial-Aubin, RN, BSN, of Houston, Texas, whose recruitment total of 28 new members kept her in second place.

Close behind as the campaign nears the half-way point are Ngozi I. Moneke, RN-BC, BSN, CCRN, who has recruited 25 members; Stephanie C. Westbrook, RN, who has recruited 24; and Kathleen M. Richuso, RN, MS, MSN, and Catherine P. Rodgers, RN, ADN, CCRN, who have both recruited 20 each.

The 504 new members recruited by individuals and chapters during September bring the campaign total to 1,814 new members. (See page 11 for chapter totals.)

Rewards Await Recruiters
The top individual recruiter when the campaign ends March 31 will receive a $500 American Express gift certificate. 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 drawing for a $100 American Express gift certificate. Receiving the American Express gift certificate in the drawing for September was Carolyn Axt.

In addition, all recruiters are eligible for prize drawings that offer round-trip tickets for two to anywhere in the continental United States, including a five-day, four-nights hotel stay; round-trip tickets for two to anywhere in the continental United States; and four-day-three-night hotel accommodations in the continental U.S.

Note: To participate, recruiters must include their membership numbers on the referral line of the membership application. Individuals who also want their chapters to receive credit must include the chapter name.

Others who have recruited more than five members in the campaign to date are:

More than 10
Lori Ann Cox, RN, MSN, CCRN, ACNP, NP, Mary Karen Sands, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP, Carol A. Grube, RN, Victor A. Duarte, RN, Rachelle M. King, RN, BSN, Irma N. Richardson, RN, BS, CCRN, Marisue Rowe, RN, ADN, Linda J. Lopazanski, RN, CCRN, Christina McCarter Cantey, RN, BSN, Paulita D. Narag, RN, CCRN, Joseph R. Newsome, RN, CNS, MN, CCNS, Stephanie A. Baker, RN, Diane M. Casperson, RN, BSN, CCRN, Jean A. Endryck, RN, BS, BSN, MN, MS, FNP, NP, Kathleen L. Finn, RN, MS, EdD, Kirsten F. Fritz, RN, Rhonda Lanclos, RN, ADN, Maureen Wood, RN, BSN, Lydia C. Bautista, RN, BSN, CCRN, Barbara M. Eachus, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN, Melanie Jane Leepers, RN, ADN, BS, CCRN, TNCC, Julie S. Miller, RN, BSN, CCRN, Cynthia L. Zaletel, RN, BSN, CCRN, Megan E. Brunson, RN, BSN, Sharon V. Grupp, RN, BSN, Judith A. Ascenzi, RN, MN, MSN, Jeanne Ann Bolton, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN, Becki L. Fuzi, RN, MSN, CCRN, Dawn Kregel, RN, BS, BSN, Maria A. Laxina, RN, MA, MS, CCRN, Dawn LeQuatte, RN, BSN, Teresa J. Seright, RN, ADN, CCRN, Cathy L. Blonski, RN, Cynthia L. Bond, RN, T. Lynn Brown, RN, Beverly Ann Carlson, RN, CNS, MS, CCRN, Janis D. King, RN, ADN, CCRN, Betty C. King, RN, MSN, AA Rachel Banks, RN, Marylee R. Bressie, RN, CNS, MS, MSN, CCRN, CEN, Barbara M. Bundage, RN, MSN, Evelyn C. Coen, RN, BSN, CCRN, Kathleen M. Johnson, RN, Pauline J. McNeece, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, Ann L. Mercer, RN, CCRN, Lynn M. Purcel, RN, BSN, Donna B. Sabash, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN, Lynn Smith Schnautz, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, Doris J. Strother, RN, MN, MS, NP, Deborah L. Erickson, RN, MA, MS, CCRN, Kathleen B. Wright, RN, BSN, MBA, CCRN.

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
Wall Street Journal (Sept. 26, 2003)-A letter to the editor written by AACN President-elect Kathleen McCauley, RN, PhD, CS, FAAN, was published in response to the first in a series of articles titled "The Big Secret in Health Care: Rationing Is Here: Workers Who Are on the Front Lines Decide Who Gets What Treatment." The letter was headlined "Caregivers Need Better Resources to Make Better Decisions." An online version appeared under the collective heading "The ‘Moral Authority' to Ration Health Care." McCauley's responses stressed the crucial role nurses play in ensuring safe, compassionate care of patients and their families. "Called on every day to deal with the difficult issues raised in the article, nurses have unique, firsthand knowledge of systems that can work," McCauley wrote. "Yet, they can't do it alone; collaborative leadership is imperative."

NBC's Today Show (Sept. 5, 2003)-AACN President Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, was interviewed for a segment on NBC's Today show on the nursing shortage. Fontaine, who is associate dean for academic programs in the School of Nursing at the University of California at San Francisco, where footage for the segment was filmed in the neonatal ICU at the University of California Hospital.

RN Magazine (September 2003)-Excerpts from the AACN News "President's Note" column that Fontaine writes were featured. In the column, Fontaine encouraged nurses to obtain their CCRN certification and referred them to "Safeguarding the Patient and the Profession: The Value of Critical Care Nurse Certification," AACN's white paper on the benefits of certification. The white paper can be accessed online at www.aacn.org > Certification > Benefits of Certification.

NurseWeek (Sept. 23, 2003)-An article titled "Do the Write Thing" highlighted the career of Judy Lee Graham-Garcia, RN, MN, FNP, ACNP, CRNA, who has written articles for the American Journal of Critical Care, as well as other journals. The article noted that Graham-Garcia often consults AACN board member Janie Heath, RN, PhD, ANP, ACNP, as a mentor and occasional coauthor.

Nursing Management (September 2003)-An article titled "Provide Safe Passage for Patients: Learn to prevent problems during the intrahospital transport of critical care patients" referred to the "Guidelines for the Transfer of Critically Ill Patients" booklet that AACN developed in collaboration with the Society of Critical Care Medicine. The article concluded that using the AACN/SCCM guidelines can optimize patient outcomes and decrease staff stress when transporting patients within the hospital, a period of potential instability.

Critical Care Clinics of North America (September 2003)-Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, a member of the AACN Board of Directors, was one of two guest editors. Tracy cowrote the preface and an article titled "Nursing's Role in Contemporary and Alternative Therapy Use in Critical Care." Suzanne Prevost, RN, PhD, chair of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors, is consulting editor of this quarterly journal.

NurseWeek (Sept. 8, 2003)-AACN board member Nancy Blake, RN, MN, CCRN, was quoted in an article titled "Tag Team: Hospital team nurses and pharmacists in collaborative med administration programs that improve delivery and reduce errors." Blake, the PCS Critical Care Services director at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, said the complexity of drugs that nurses now dispense has made the hospital's decade-old integration model of establishing satellite pharmacies for the ICU and OR units to place pharmacists in real-time consultation roles even more critical in recent years.

Nursing Spectrum, New England Edition (July 14, 2003)-Barbara Phelan, RN, DNSc, CCRN, APRN-BC, was author of an article titled "Critical Care Education: Where You Want It, When You Want It" about AACN's Web-based Essentials of Critical Care Orientation program. Phelan, who is the clinical nurse educator at Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Conn., is immediate past president and current chair of the nominating committee for the South Central Connecticut Chapter of AACN. Yale-New Haven was one of the first hospitals in New England to offer the Web-based classes.

KATC-TV, Lafayette, La. (September 2003)-Fontaine was interviewed in conjunction with the Currents symposium, an educational program cosponsored by the AACN Region 12 chapters. More than 100 critical care nurses from Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi attended the symposium to learn new critical care information to optimize patient outcomes. Fontaine also gave a speech about the nursing shortage.

Our Voice at the Table
McCauley attended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's healthcare stakeholder meeting on its Workplace Violence Research and Prevention Initiative. The meeting, an opportunity for stakeholders to identify research gaps and suggest potential collaborative efforts, focused on workplace violence issues affecting healthcare workers. The institute is interested in partnering with healthcare facilities and services to collect data.

Heath and Public Policy Specialist Janice Weber, RN, MSN, attended a reception in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Americans for Nursing Shortage Relief Alliance. AACN, which is a member of the alliance, cosponsored the event with other member organizations, including the Emergency Nurses Association and the American Organization of Nurse Executives. CNN senior correspondent Judy Woodruff was master of ceremonies for the event, which honored nurses in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Public Health Service, Department of Veterans Affairs and American Red Cross for their service in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Ramón Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN, AACN director of Development and Strategic Alliances, attended the fall meeting of the advisory board of the Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis. During the meeting, IUSON dean-designate Marion Broome, currently associate dean for research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was welcomed. The board is an external group that advises the dean on fulfilling the school's mission and ensures ongoing strategic planning and program evaluation.

AACN Exhibits and Sponsorships Director Randy Bauler, CEM, attended the International Association for Exhibition Management Board of Directors meeting and strategic planning session in New York City. In addition to approving the 2004 budget, the board met with the IAEM Services Board and Future Strategies Committee to help map the association's strategic direction. Bauler was elected to a three-year term on the board, beginning in January 2004, and was selected to receive the IAEM Merit Award for 2003. One of IAEM's highest honors, the award is presented for outstanding achievement, dedication and contribution to the association and the exhibition industry.

AACN Board Treasurer M. Dave Hanson, RN, MSN, CCRN, EMT-P, represented AACN at the Sepsis Survivors Coalition inaugural steering committee meeting in Chicago. The goal of the coalition is to formalize a broad-based group of key constituents and community leaders, who will work together to increase consumer and healthcare provider awareness about sepsis; improve quality of care and access to treatment options; and enhance patient outcomes.

Annual Audit Shows Solid Financial Position

AACN's annual Financial Report to the Membership for 2002-03 is presented below. This annual report, audited by Deloitte & Touche, reflects that the association remains on sound financial footing.

As a result, AACN was able to continue to pursue its goals, which include:

• Validate and develop the highest quality education and practice resources, programs and services to fulfill the professional and affiliation needs of members and other key customer segments.
• Implement strategies to boldly promote vital strategic platforms and issues to influence critical care nursing, the environments in which it is practiced and the care of patients and families.
• Create comprehensive knowledge bases of critical care nursing practice using current data and generating new information to establish AACN as the knowledge source for critical care nurses.
• Ensure that organizational operating systems and infrastructure effectively support the changing business needs, mission, vision and strategic plans of the association.
• Develop and effectively manage financial resources to ensure health and progress of the organization.
Following are highlights of the 2002-03 fiscal year that ended June 30:

Electronic Support
AACN made significant progress in taking advantage of electronic and online tools to provide just-in-time clinical resources:

• The AACN Web-site features a growing number of clinical practice resources and CE articles, which have attracted more users. Compared to the previous fiscal year, hits to the AACN Web-site increased by 37%, and unique visitors by 33% this year.
• The PDA Center sold more than 2,000 products and developed 11 PDA programs since its inception in May 2002.
• The Essentials of Critical Care Orientation, launched in August 2002, has been embraced by a growing number of institutions, including international sites. The mix of organizations using the program is diverse, including both individual sites and health systems with multiple sites, and midsize hospitals, small rural hospitals, consortia, community colleges, military and VA sites.

Using Our Voice
AACN initiated strategies to bring the association's voice to the forefront on issues of staffing, the nursing shortage and patient safety. As a result, AACN achieved an increased presence at decision-making tables and in the media.

• Decision-making tables: AACN was asked to represent critical care nurses with key organizations, such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the Institute of Medicine. In January 2003, AACN submitted written testimony to the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Work Environment for Nurses and Patient Safety. Testimony highlighted existing AACN and AACN Certification Corporation initiatives that support the committee's charge of bringing forward potential improvements in healthcare working conditions.
• Media: With the nursing shortage attracting significant media attention, AACN has seized the opportunity to promote the strength and importance of the profession and nurses' critical contribution to positive patient outcomes. As of April 1, AACN had achieved 458 mentions in the media during the fiscal year, a 197% increase over the prior year.

Volunteer Group Accomplishments
Advanced Practice Work Group-Wrote monthly articles for AACN News; reviewed and recommended updates to Web, print and catalog resources; reviewed abstracts and provided recommendations for Advanced Practice Institute sessions.

Education Work Group-Continued the work outlined by the AACN Education Process Improvement Plan; developed and implemented a long-term plan to evaluate continuing education programs and their application to practice; and developed and implemented a tool for NTI session evaluation.

Ethics Work Group-Identified, analyzed and disseminated information regarding the top ethical issues, using a variety of mechanisms that included journal articles, reviews of books with ethics content and presentation of ethics posters.

Leadership Development Work Group-Published It's All About You: A Blueprint for Influencing Practice and developed recommendations related to AACN's continued work on leadership competencies.

NTI Work Group-Reviewed abstracts selected by the Abstract Review Panel and made program topic and session decisions for NTI 2003; responded to the "Ask the NTI Work Group" question and answer forum; and served as part of the NTI on-site team.

Public Policy Work Group-Developed presentations for members' use, developed recommendations for a future Health Policy Conference and Capitol Hill Day and developed a proposal for a Grassroots Advisory Team.

Research Work Group-Wrote articles for the Myth vs. Reality series in AACN News and prioritized nursing interventions referenced in the Protocols for Practice Series for further nursing research.

NTI Audio Tapes and CDs Offer CE Credit

AACN has released more than 50 cutting-edge topics from NTI 2003 as CE-approved audio tapes and audio CDs. Choose from an assortment of cardiovascular, pulmonary, ethics, leadership, neurology, pediatrics and multisystem selections. By purchasing a "bundle" of the selections, you can save 20%.

To obtain the list of topics and an order form, call AACN FAX on Demand at (800) 222-6329 and request Document #6052. The form is also available online.

PDA Center

AACN Special Bundles on New Palm Devices
For a limited time, order the new Palm Tungsten E or Palm Tungsten T2 and receive free software!

AACN Palm Tungsten E Bundle-includes the Tungsten E device, featuring 32 MB of RAM, high resolution color display and multimedia capability. You also receive the AACN Critical Care Assessment and Cardiovascular Assessment e-references, Med Rules and Med Calc-all for $199. Offer expires Dec. 15, 2003.

AACN Palm Tungsten T2 Bundle-includes the Tungsten T2 device (reduced in price by $70), plus Epocrates RxPro Drug Guide, AACN's Critical Care Assessment e-reference, Med Rules and Med Calc-all for $329. Offer expires Nov. 30, 2003.

More Multimedia Presentations Now Available
Visit the AACN PDA tutorials Web site to explore three multimedia PDA tutorials, featuring actual devices and nursing software. Watch, listen and learn about the abundant drug guides, clinical references, calculators and patient management programs, and enjoy a case study application using various nursing software programs. All presentations are approved for continuing education credit.

Experience the AACN Fleet of CE Online Articles
Invest in the new CE Passport Program!

Are you looking for an efficient and inexpensive way to earn your continuing education contact hours? Then look no further than AACN's new Continuing Education Passport, your ticket to CE credit.

We know how busy you are, and we also understand how important your continuing education is to you. AACN is there to provide you with a convenient, economical and flexible solution, offering abundant online CE activities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Experience the cutting-edge AACN fleet of CE activities, and allow us to be your vessel for ongoing education in acute and critical care.

Over 500 contact hours available
(95% Category A)

More than 20
clinical specialties represented

The new AACN CE Passport program offers you:

Convenience: You earn CE credits whenever you wish.
Cost savings: Because you prepay, you save over individual CE credit costs.
Flexibility: You choose the content most appealing to you.
Variety: More than 125 critical care topics from AACN publications are available.
Time savings: Your CE certificates are delivered immediately, via e-mail.

For a limited time, you can purchase your CE credits online in advance at a specially discounted price. You can choose either of two CE Passport options:
CE Passport 25: 25 contact hours for $129 (just $5.16 per hour), item #CEPass25
CE Passport 50: 50 contact hours for $250 (just $5 per hour), item#CEPass50

So, pick up your passport and come aboard the AACN Online CE Center. And, if you are one of the first 100 to purchase the CE Passport, you'll receive an AACN CE Passport tote-bag, valued at $20.

To preview CE content, visit AACN Website. To order, visit the AACN Website. Or, call (800) 899-2226 to place your order by phone. Welcome aboard!

This is a limited-time offer and expires Jan. 31, 2004. Special terms apply; this is a single-user program (passport codes are non-transferable). This offer applies to AACN Online CE Center programs only; no mail-in applications will be accepted. You must have an e-mail address to receive your CE certificates. Within 48 hours of receipt of your order, you will receive an e-mail with your personal CE Passport prepaid code. Your CE passport is valid for two years from date of purchase.

Do You Receive AACN's New Electronic Newsletter?

In an effort to provide the most up-to-date information in the timeliest manner, AACN now offers an electronic newsletter. Called Critical Care Newsline, this communication vehicle will be delivered weekly to the inboxes of members and others interested in the issues and concerns that affect nurses and the nursing profession.

If you have not received Critical Care Newsline, it's probably because we don't have your current e-mail address. You can update your profile yourself by visiting the AACN Website. If you are a member or have conducted business with AACN in the past, you already have the ID number and the password you need. Here's how it works:
(Note: Please use your existing number. Logging on with a different number will result in duplicate records. If you don't have your number, call (800) 899-2226 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (PST) or e-mail info@aacn.org, including your name and address for verification.)
Your password will be the first 15 characters of your last name.

For more information, e-mail enewsletter@aacn.org.

Save 5% on AACN Catalog Products During November

Purchase any AACN Resource Catalog product by Nov. 30 and receive a 5% discount. You can purchase items online.

Note: AACN PDA Center purchases are excluded from this offer.

Promote Your Company to Critical Care Nurses
NTI 2004 Exhibit Information Now Available

The NTI 2004 Exhibit Prospectus is now available to companies and healthcare systems interested in exhibiting at the Critical Care Exposition in Orlando, Fla., May 18 through 20. Exhibit space is available in the Career Opportunities nurse recruitment section, as well as in the Technical products and Educational Resources sections of the show.
More than 400 exhibitors are expected to participate in NTI 2004, displaying their products and services in more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. Many exhibitors plan to offer Exhibits/CE sessions in connection with their displays. More than 5,000 critical care nurses are expected to attend NTI 2004, which runs May 15 through 20.

To reserve exhibit space, contact the AACN exhibits team at (800) 394-5995, ext. 366, 373 or 509; e-mail, exhibits@aacn.org. The NTI 2004 Exhibit Prospectus and Corporate Support Catalog are also available online.

What's Coming Up in the December Issue of Critical Care Nurse?

• Rhabdomyolysis

• Blood Management Strategies for Critical Care Patients

• Nutrition Support in the ICU

• Anaphylactoid Syndrome of Pregnancy

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

Looking Ahead

December 2003

December 1 Deadline to submit nominations for the 2005 AACN Distinguished Research Lecturer Award. For
more information, contact Research Associate Dolores Curry at (800) 394-5995, ext. 377; e-mail,


January 2004

January 15 Deadline to submit nominations for the AACN Clinical Inquiry Grant. For more information, visit the
AACN Web site. The grants handbook is also available from AACN Fax on Demand
at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #1013.

January 15 Deadline to submit nominations for the AACN End-of-Life Palliative Care Small Projects Grant. For
more information, visit the AACN Web site. The grants handbook is also available
from AACN Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #1013.

May 2004

May 15-20  National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit the NTI Web site

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