AACN News—February 2004—Association News

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Vol. 21, No. 2, FEBRUARY 2004

Member Recruitment Campaign Tops 1,500 Mark at Year's End

Drive for Rewards Ends April 1

From Oregon to Texas to Georgia, some AACN members and chapters have more than taken to heart the concept that they can truly make a difference by strengthening their association�one member at a time. They are building impressive numbers in AACN�s Critical Links Member-Get-a-Member campaign, which ends April 1, 2002.

Between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2001, a total of 1,541 new members had been recruited�1,049 by individual recruiters and 492 by chapters. Four of the individual recruiters had already recruited more than 20 new members each by the end of 2001.

Leading the individual totals with 29 new members recruited was Melissa Drain, RN, DNSc, CCRN, from Wellstar Paulding Hospital in Dallas, Ga. She is also president of the newly formed North/West Georgia Chapter.

Drain was formerly the assistant manager of critical care nursing at Wellstar Cobb Hospital in Austell, Ga., where another member recruiter, Michele Quinlan, RN, BSN, had chalked up 20 members. Quinlan, who is treasurer of the Atlanta Area Chapter of AACN, attributed her recruitment success partly to a concerted chapter effort to �beef up� membership. She said the fact that hers is the host chapter for AACN�s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, May 4 through 9, 2002, in Atlanta, was an added plus in the recruitment effort.

Halfway across the country in Dallas, Texas, Darlene Legge, RN, BSN, CCRN, had recruited 26 new members by the end of the year�and is actively pursuing others. Her success actually represents the fruits of a two-year effort to bring telemetry nurses at her institution into the critical care fold.

Legge, who is manager of pacemaker and electrophysiology for the Heart Center at Baylor University Medical Center, explained that, though the five telemetry floors are like mini-ICUs, the telemetry nurses felt that they really didn�t fit anywhere.

�I wanted to give them an additional sense of belonging,� she said.

Legge said the Dallas County Chapter of AACN, of which she is president, has scheduled a CCRN review course for April to encourage these telemetry nurses to become certified.

And, in Medford, Ore., Peggy Lynn Ennis, RN, has recruited 26 new members.

In the process, these recruiters are enhancing their chances to earn valuable rewards, because they are entered into a drawing each time their names and AACN membership numbers appear on the new member application forms. In fact, everyone who is participating in this membership drive received an AACN pocket reference when they recruited just one new member.

Following is additional information about the rewards that await member recruiters.

Individual Rewards
The reward for the top individual recruiter overall is $500 or an American Express gift certificate. The top recruiter is also eligible for the first-, second- and third-place prize drawings:
1st Prize�Round-trip tickets for two to anywhere in the continental U.S., including a five-day, four-night hotel stay.
2nd Prize�Round-trip tickets for two to anywhere in the continental U.S.
3rd Prize�Four-days, three-nights hotel accommodations at a Marriott Hotel.

In addition to the pocket reference members receive for recruiting their first new member, recruiting five new members earns them a $25 gift certificate toward the purchase of AACN resources. They receive a $50 AACN gift certificate for recruiting 10 new members.

Each month, members who have recruited at least one new member in the month are also entered into a monthly drawing for a $100 American Express gift certificate.

Chapter Rewards
In addition to a $250 gift certificate toward the purchase of AACN resources, chapters reporting the largest increase in membership numbers or the largest percentage increase will receive special recognition at NTI 2002 in Atlanta, Ga. Each month, chapters that recruit new members are also entered into a drawing for one complimentary registration for NTI 2002.

Adding Up
In December alone, a total of 67 individual members recruited a total of 156 new members, and 17 chapters recruited 84 new members.

The top recruiters, both individuals and chapters, will be recognized at NTI 2002, May 4 through 9 in Atlanta, Ga.

Following are the cumulative totals for members recruiting new members during December, as well as those who have accumulated five or more new members, and cumulative totals for chapters since the campaign began in May 2001.

Who Has Added a Critical Link?

Recruiter # Recruited
Ismael J. Abregonde, RN, BSN 5
Carlen Abernethy, RN, BSN 1
Kathleen Arnold, RN, MS, CNA 2
Judith Ascenzi, RN, MSN 6
Perrilynn A. Baldelli, RN, MSN, CCRN 5
Kimberly L. Barrett, RN, BSN, CCRN 2
Patricia L. Bellamy, RN, ADN, BS, CCRN 1
Angela J. Bentley, RN, MS, BA, CCRN 2
Michael Beshel, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN 14
Michael C. Blanchard, RN 6
Lisa M. Boldrighini 5
Sheryl A. Burke, RN, ADN, AA, CCRN 2
Ann Marie Carpenter, RN, BSN, CCRN 10
Diane M. Casperson, RN, BSN, CCRN 2
Michael Chalot, RN, ADN, CCRN 7
Susan Chamness, RN 1
Sasipa Charnchaichujit, RN 8
Katherine Colbert, RN, ADN, CCRN 6
Claire A. Collins, RN, BSN, BS 1
Kathleen Corban, RN, BSN, CCRN 5
Bonnie J. Corcoran, RN, MS, CCRN 2
Cynthia G. Cox, RN, BSN 7
Sue Ann Crisp, RN, BSN, BS 8
Eva M. Crosby, RN 9
Judith C. Dobke 4
Melissa L. Drain, RN, DNSc, CCRN 29
Karen A. Droter, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Deborah J. Duncan, RN, MSN 1
Anne C. Dunn, RN, BSN, CCRN 7
Peggy Lynn Ennis, RN 26
Patricia A. Fischer, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Dorrie K. Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN 2
Myrna Fontillas-Boehm 6
Carla J. Freeman, RN, BSN, CCRN 10
Dorcas O. Giwa, RN 1
Lita T. Gorman, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN 6
Mary Kathryn Graham, RN, BSN 1
Greg R. Grainger 1
Lisa C. Gregory, RN, BSN 1
Jackie Grigg, RN, ADN, CCRN 8
Carol Guyette, RN, BSN, CCRN 13
Charlene A. Haley-Moyer,
Margaret B. Harvey, RN, ACNP, CS 1
Michelle L. Henrickson, RN, BSN 5
Judi Hensley, RN 1
Dinah Mullinax High, RN, BSN, BS 1
Mary Holtschneider, RN, BSN, MPA 5
Carol A. Hughes, RN, MS, AA, CCRN 1
Zondra Hull, RN 6
Mary H. Jansson, RN 4
Patricia Jennings, RN, ADN, CCRN 5
Kimmith M. Jones, RN, MS, CCRN 1
Deanna Jones, RN, BSN, BA, CCRN 1
Lauretta M. Joseph, RN, CCRN 6
Recruiter # RecruitedLouisa K. Kamatuka,
Mary Kearney, RN, BS 1
Sharon N. Kearney,
Lori E. Kennedy, RN, BSN, CCRN 7
Nancy D. King, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP 18
Deborah J. Laughlin, RN, MSN 2
Virginia Ledbetter, RN, MSN 1
Darlene Legge, RN, BSN, CCRN 26
Gayle A. Lucas, RN, BS, CCRN 2
Rachelle D. Lyons, RN, CCRN 1
Beth Macioce-Quinn, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Michele L. Manning,
Loretta Anne Marcantonio,
Lily May V. Marifosque,
Martie C. Mattson 7
James Mears, RN 6
Marlene Merdes, RN 3
Arlene Messina, RN, ADN 5
Katherine H. Miller, RN, ADN 10
Steven Mooney, RN, MSN, CCRN, RCIS 1
Annette M. Mtangi, RN, ADN, CCRN 21
Fran E. Myers, RN, PhD, CCRN 1
Paulita D. Narag, RN, ADN, CCRN 7
Linda L. Nesheim,
Amanda L. Newman 5
Susan D. Parsons, RN, MN, PhD 1
Renee N. Perkins, RN 3
Dorothy Rose Phelps, RN, BS, CCRN 9
Barbara B. Pope, RN, MSN, CCRN 1
Michele Quinlan, RN, BSN 20
Jeff Reece, RN, BSN 7
Carol Reitz-Barlow 5
Margaret Riley, RN, BSN, CCRN 19
Carol Samsel, RN, BS 1
Kimberli L. Sandberg,
Cherry Schilling, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Barbara Schnakenberg, RN 5
Lynn Schnautz, RN, MSN, CCRN 16
Karen Selman, RN 2
Lindsey Shank, RN, BSN, CCRN 3
J. D. Sharma, RN, BSN 1
Janet R. Silke, RN 4
Cynthia Steinbach, RN, BSN, CCRN 5
Janice Stevens,
Mary C. Stewart, RN, BSN, MBA 12
Marjorie A. Stock, RN, ADN, CCRN 5
Mary L. Surgalski, RN, BSN, CCRN 1
Recruiter #Recruited
Yvonne Thelwell, RN 16
Linda S. Thomas, RN, MSN, CCRN 6
Joan M. Tome, RN, BSN 1
Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCRN 1
Ryan M. Vincenzo, RN 1
Holly L. Weber-Johnson, RN, BSN 11
Barbara Wiles, RN, BSN, CCRN 5
Vicky Willis, RN 2
Jana Woller Hough, RN, BSN 9
Pam Zinnecker, RN, CCRN 5
Tina I. Zito, RN, BSN 1

Albemarkle Area Chapter 6
Anchorage Chapter 5
Atlanta Area Chapter 59
Brooklyn Chapter 11
Broward County Chapter 5
Carolina Dogwood Chapter 7
Central New York Chapter 1
Fairbanks North Star Chapter 3
First Coast Chapter 3
Chesapeake Bay Chapter 1
Greater Akron Area Chapter 1
Greater Birmingham Chapter 5
Greater Austin Area Chapter 12
Greater Chicago Area Chapter 1
Greater East Texas Chapter 13
Greater Evansville Chapter 28
Greater Flint Area Chapter 8
Greater Louisville Chapter 21
Greater Miami Area Chapter 19
Greater Mid Cities Chapter 1
Greater Milwaukee Area Chapter 22
Greater Phoenix Area Chapter 5
Greater Raleigh Area Chapter 5
Greater Tulsa Area Chapter 16
Head of the Lakes Chapter 5
Heart of Acadiana Chapter 8
Heart of the Piedmont Chapter 32
Minot Roughrider Chapter 11
Mobile Bay Area Chapter 5
Montana Big Sky Chapter 7
North Central Florida Chapter 24
North Central Wisconsin Chapter 5
North/West Georgia Chapter 14
Northeast Indiana Chapter 7
Pacific Crest Regional Chapter 35
Palmetto Chapter 8
Pennisula Chapter 12
Piedmont Carolinas Chapter 2
Siouxland Chapter 5
Smoky Hill Chapter 5
South Carolina Mid State Chapter 10
Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter 15
Southern Maine Chapter 1
Spokane Chapter 5
Vermont Green Mountain 13
White River Chapter 1

December Rewards
Congratulations to the reward recipients in our monthly membership campaign drawings for December. Each month, one chapter will receive a complimentary registration to NTI 2002, and one individual will receive a $100 American Express gift certificate. The recipients are randomly selected from those who recruited at least one new member during the month.

The recipients in December were:
� Chapter�Greater Flint Area Chapter
� Individual�Jackie Grigg, RN, ADN, CCRN

To obtain Critical Links recruitment forms, call (800) 899-2226. Request Item #1316.

Specialty Nursing Organizations Unite to Strengthen Voice

NFSNO and NOLF Formally Pursue Collaborative Efforts

Two long-standing coalitions of nursing organizations have united to create an even stronger voice for nurses in addressing vital practice and health policy issues.

Called the Nursing Organizations Alliance, the new group represents the merging of the National Federation for Specialty Nursing Organizations and the Nursing Organizations Liaison Forum, an entity of the American Nurses Association. Its mission is �to increase nursing�s visibility and impact on health through communication, collaboration and advocacy.�

As a long-standing member of both NOLF and NFSNO, AACN supports the creation of this alliance and its mission. In fact, AACN, which headed the first NFSNO meeting in 1973, has remained an active leader in developing and promoting specialty nursing practice. In maintaining a leadership role in NOLF, several past presidents of AACN have served on the NOLF Board.

�Bringing these two powerful associations together will further strengthen the role and contributions specialty nursing practice can have in improving and protecting patient care,� said AACN President Michael L. Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN, who was joined by President-elect Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCNS, CCRN, and CEO Wanda Johanson, RN, MN, at the Nov. 17, 2001, meeting where the vote to create the alliance was taken.

�It was inspiring to watch the collaboration and synergy in the room as the process evolved and the organizations arrived at the final decision to merge,� Barden added. �The opportunities for the future with this unified approach are awesome.

NOLF and NFSNO have been holding joint meetings for a few years and working together to advance many key issues, including healthcare reform and funding of the federal Nurse Education Act.

ANA President Mary Foley, RN, MS, said the merger is a natural evolution of this partnership.

�We look forward to being part of a strong and effective alliance,� she said.

Specifically, NFSNO members agreed to dissolve their organization. Although NOLF members also signed on to the alliance, NOLF will continue to operate until the ANA House of Delegates meets in June 2002 to revise its bylaws. The Nursing Organizations Alliance seeks to work with the ANA to identify opportunities to strengthen specialty nursing and to promote partnerships that enhance the public�s well-being.

A group of specialty organizations established NFSNO in 1973 to address practice and leadership issues specific to specialty nursing. ANA created NOLF in 1982 to provide a formal structure in which national nursing specialty organizations and ANA could discuss professional and national health policy concerns and promote concerted action on key issues. Many specialty organizations belonged to both groups.

Membership in the alliance is open to any nursing organization whose focus is to address current and emerging nursing and healthcare issues. Structural nursing components of a multidisciplinary organization are also welcome to join.

Patricia Seifert, RN, MSN, CNOR, CRNFA, FAAN, a member of AACN and a past president of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, was elected to serve as leader of the coordinating team that will operationalize the alliance structure.

�Given the nursing shortage and other crucial issues facing the profession today, we need a united approach to ensure there are enough skilled specialty nurses to provide the kind of care patients need now and in the future.� Seifert said. �By working together more effectively, the Alliance will achieve its mission to increase nursing�s visibility and impact on health.�

In addition to Seifert, six other individuals representing a diverse group of organizations were elected to serve on the coordinating team. They include: Susan Shelander, RN, CPAN, treasurer of the coordinating team; American Society of Peri Anesthesia Nurses Belinda Puetz, RN, PhD, secretary of the coordinating team; Puetz & Associates, Inc. Michael Desjardins, RN, president, National Student Nurses Association Brenda Dugger, RN, MA, CRNI, CNA, president, Infusion Nurses Society Mary Jagim, RN, BSN, CEN, president, Emergency Nurses Association; and Edward Latham, RN, past president, National Gerontological Nursing Association.

To ensure continuity, Anne Manton, RN, PhD, FAAN, co-chairperson of NOLF and a past president or the Emergency Nurses Association, will participate on the team as the ANA/NOLF liaison.

The coordinating team will provide leadership for the programs of the alliance including the Nurse in Washington Internship program. ANA will staff the organization during this transition phase. It is expected that the alliance will convene its first official meeting in fall 2002.

New Membership Category for Retired or Disabled Members

A new membership category is now available to AACN members who are no longer practicing because they are permanently retired or disabled. The one-year fee for a membership in this category is $52.

Retired or disabled members will continue to receive the standard discounts, publications and other benefits associated with regular AACN membership. However, they will not be eligible to vote, hold office or serve on committees.

This new membership category was approved by the AACN Board of Directors following surveys of past AACN members who indicated that the reason they had not renewed their memberships was because they were retired.

Adding the disabled or retired option brings the AACN membership categories to six. In addition to the regular, active membership, which is open to any RN who is in good standing with his or her licensing agency, AACN offers affiliate, student, emeritus and international memberships.

For more information about membership in AACN, including special group and multiyear discounts and the easy-pay plan, call (800) 899-2226

International Study Tour Set for Europe

Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland are on the itinerary for AACN�s Study Tour to Europe, scheduled for Sept. 27 through Oct. 8, 2002. This cross-cultural learning experience promotes collaborative learning, professional sharing and networking.

Participants can earn up to 14 hours of continuing education credit during the tour.

In addition, sight-seeing sidetrips are planned in Brussels, Belgium; Heidelberg, Germany; Strasbourg, France; and Geneva, Switzerland.

Departures to Brussels on Sept. 27 are available from New York, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

For more information about this Study Tour to Europe, call (949) 673-3596; fax, (949) 673-1007; e-mail, interportltd@msn.com.

Seeking Visibility? NTI Sponsorships Still Available

Is your employer seeking greater visibility in a nationwide network of critical care nurses? Suggest sponsorship of an educational program or event at AACN�s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition as a good way to attract attention and greater awareness of products or services.

A number of sponsorship opportunities in a variety of cost ranges are still available for NTI 2002, May 4 through 9 in Atlanta, Ga. For example, sponsorships of two general session speakers and the Certification Luncheon speaker are open. Each of these sessions attracts audiences of between 2,000 and 4,000 NTI participants. Organizations can also sponsor one of three new Red Cross Disaster Training preconferences or cosponsor the popular public policy sunrise session.

For more information about these or other NTI sponsorship opportunities, contact AACN Exhibit and Sponsorship Director Randy Bauler at (800) 394-5995, ext. 366.

On the Road

AACN frequently takes its show on the road, as representatives of the AACN National Office exhibit at conferences throughout the country. Following is the schedule of upcoming exhibits:

April 3-7, 2002�National Student Nurses Association 50th Anniversary Con vetnion Philadelphia, Pa.

April 7-10, 2002�Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter Trends Conference Philadelphia, Pa.

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


A Place for Volunteers

The hundreds of AACN members who volunteer each year to serve on national committees play major roles in influencing the practice of critical care nursing. This �Timeshare� feature is designed to highlight the significant contributions these volunteers make and to keep you up to date on what�s going on in the world of AACN advisory teams, work groups, review panels, appeals panels, think tanks and task forces.

AACN invites all its volunteers�past and present�to share their experiences, to describe what volunteering means to them.

AACN has also enhanced the volunteer section of its Web site. Visit this area frequently to find out what your colleagues are saying about their volunteer opportunities.

In the meantime, send your stories and comments to AACN, Attn: Volunteer Services, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; fax, (949) 448-5541; e-mail, stephanie.demiris@aacn.org.

March 14 Deadline to Submit NTI 2003 Speaker Proposals

March 14, 2002, is the deadline to submit speaker proposal abstracts for AACN�s National Teaching Institute in 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to clinical and other educational topics, proposals that address the skills critical care nurses need to influence their practice and the care of critically ill patients are encouraged. NTI 2003 is scheduled for May 17 through 22, 2003.

Learning Connections Mentor Sessions
Nurses interested in presenting at NTI 2003 can get some help through Learning Connections speaker mentor opportunities that pair novice and experienced speakers.

Five special Learning Connection NTI sessions are scheduled each year. The novice and mentor must be identified in the submitted speaker proposal abstracts.

Speaker proposal packets, including Learning Connection forms, can be obtained by calling AACN Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 (Request Document #6019) or by visiting the AACN Web site.

Make a Difference! Volunteer Opportunities Abound

March 1, 2002, is the deadline to apply for volunteer opportunities with AACN and AACN Certification Corporation, for terms effective from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003.

To apply, simply complete and return the application online. Include a cover letter addressing the contributions you believe would enhance the work of the volunteer group to which you are applying. If you are applying for more than one volunteer position, include a cover letter for each volunteer group. In addition, submit a copy of your curriculum vitae and/or resume.

Return the application and all required documents to: AACN, Attn: Volunteer Services, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; fax, (949) 448-5541.

Don�t Miss Out on AACN�s Second Silent Auction

Plan to be a part of the fun-filled Silent Auction to raise funds for the AACN Scholarship Fund. The auction is scheduled during AACN�s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, May 4 through 9, 2002, in Atlanta, Ga.

In addition to bidding on the unique array of auction items, you may want to donate a product, service or special item yourself. If you are uncertain about what you could donate, consider simply making a financial contribution, and AACN will purchase a distinctive auction gift on your behalf.

Because AACN is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization, contributions to the Silent Auction may be tax deductible to the extent provided by law. All donations are recognized in the auction catalog, which is distributed to NTI participants.

For more information, contact Darval Bonelli at (800) 394-5995, ext. 531; e-mail, development@aacn.org.

Support Nursing Education Through Scholarships

Long before the growing nursing shortage that faces healthcare today, AACN was in the forefront to support the educational endeavors of critical care nurses through scholarship funds. This initiative, which began with five scholarships in 1983, awarded 100 scholarships to nurses at 68 colleges or universities in 30 states and Canada during the past year.
In addition to providing academic scholarships for nursing students who are not yet licensed and for undergraduate and graduate nursing students, the fund supports continuing education scholarships for nurses to attend AACN�s annual National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition.

Although money to support these scholarships has come from AACN operating funds, offset by gifts from individuals or industry partners, the AACN Board of Directors has now approved establishing a separate reserve fund. The goal is to build this endowment to the level at which it could be fully sustained by investment revenue, thus protecting it from economic fluctuations.

The fund was created with the transfer of approximately $46,000 in contributions received during FY01. Included in this amount are funds raised in AACN�s first Silent Auction and in a contest to win a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, both in conjunction with NTI 2001 in Anaheim, Calif., as well as individual and corporate gifts. Both fund-raising events are scheduled to continue at NTI 2002, May 4 through 9 in Atlanta, Ga.

In addition, individual gifts are being invited to help AACN achieve its $2 million, self-sustaining Scholarship Fund goal. If you would like to contribute to this scholarship effort, call (800) 394-5995, ext. 531; e-mail, development@aacn.org.

Apply by April 1 for BSN or Graduate Scholarships

April 1 is the deadline to apply for BSN and Graduate Completion Educational Advancement Scholarships of $1,500 per academic year.

The funds may be applied toward tuition, fees, books and supplies, as long as the recipient is continuously enrolled in a baccalaureate or graduate program accredited by the state board of nursing in the recipient�s state.

Applicants for these scholarships must be RNs, be members of AACN and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. They must be currently working in critical care or have worked in critical care for at least one year in the last three years. At least 20% of the awards are allocated to qualified ethnic minority applicants.

Applicants for the BSN Completion Scholarship must have junior- or upper-division status for the fall semester. Applicants for the Graduate Completion Scholarship must be currently enrolled in a planned course of graduate study that leads to a master�s or doctoral degree.

For more information or to obtain an application for an Educational Advancement Scholarship, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #1017.

Public Policy Update

Nursing Shortage
Issue: Legislation proposed regarding the nationwide nursing shortage.

Background: The U.S. House and Senate have passed different versions of legislation to address nursing shortage and retention issues. A joint conference committee was scheduled to work out the differences and return a consensus bill to both chambers for final approval. Because the differences were not great, they were expected to be reconciled quickly.

H.R. 3487 would authorize public service announcements, as well as grants to state and local campaigns, that advertise and promote the nursing profession. This bill also would provide scholarships and loan forgiveness to nursing students who commit to serving in certain health facilities. In addition, the bill would provide for a General Accounting Office study to determine if there is a shortage of nursing school faculty. If the report found that a shortage exists, the GAO would study methods to address this shortage. Finally, the House bill would require the GAO to conduct a study to determine differences in the hiring of nurses between nonprofit, private entities and for-profit, private entities.

S. 1864 would authorize $136 million in nursing scholarships and �other incentives.� The bill would allocate $40 million for a National Nurse Service Corps, which would offer tuition and living expenses for nursing students who agree to work �in areas where the shortage is most critical�; $57 million for �mid-career training� and for grants to improve nurses� working conditions; $20 million for scholarships, loans and stipends for nursing school faculty; and $18 million to begin recruiting high school students. The Senate bill would also establish incentives for nurses to pursue training and education to help them move up the professional ladder. The bill would provide grants for internships and residency programs and loan forgiveness for nurses who agree to teach. Instead of the study called for in the House bill, the Senate version would allot $750,000 to create a national commission to assist Congress in finding ways to address nursing recruitment and retention problems. It would also award grants to entities to carry out and evaluate best practices in nursing care.

Both the House and Senate have also passed bills to expand the nursing programs at Veterans Administration hospitals. In addition, the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bill for fiscal year 2002, already approved by both the House and Senate, includes $10.2 million for nursing loan repayments for nurses practicing in critical shortage areas or facilities.

AACN Position: AACN supports this legislation and continues collaborative efforts with other nursing organizations to advocate for reconciliation of these bills in committee. For information on how to contact your U.S. senator or representative, visit www.thomas.loc.gov online. This government site lists e-mail addresses and telephone numbers, as well as information about bills and the legislative process. When writing or calling, include bill names and numbers.

Vacancy Rates
Issue: Survey finds high turnover and vacancy rates among U.S. nurses.

Background: More than 100,000 nursing professionals are needed to fill vacant positions in nursing homes across the United States, according to survey findings recently released by the American Health Care Association. As U.S. unemployment continues to rise, these findings present �real positive issues: we have a pool of jobs that are available,�� AHCA President Charles H. Roadman, told Reuters Health. In a Dec. 22, 2001, article, the Baltimore Sun reported that 125,000 nursing positions remain unfilled nationwide.

According to the survey findings, the highest average national vacancy rate, 18%, was reported among registered nurses. However, this rate varied widely between states, from a low of 12% in North Dakota to a high of 24% in Utah. Next in demand, with a vacancy rate of 14%, were licensed practical nurses (and licensed vocational nurses, followed by certified nurse assistants, with a 12% vacancy rate. Vacancy rates for LPNs/LVNs varied from as low as 7% in North Dakota to a high of 21% in New Mexico, while rates for CNAs varied from 4% in Hawaii to 18% in Nevada.

Although demand for CNAs is lowest, they have the highest annual turnover rate, at 76%. The turnover rate among RNs is 55.5% and for LPNs 52%. Again, turnover rates for all of the positions varied widely between states, from a 21% turnover rate for nurse assistants in Hawaii, for example, to a 133.5% turnover rate for nurse assistants in Oklahoma.
A number of factors may be responsible for lower vacancy rates and higher turnover rates among nursing assistants in comparison to the other nursing positions, the survey indicates. These factors may include the larger pool of nursing assistants in comparison to LPNs and RNs, and the fact that nurse assistants need only two to four weeks of schooling in comparison to one or two years for LPNs and two to four years for RNs. In addition, many nurse assistants are trained by nursing facilities, whereas LPNs and RNs require outside training.

However, nurses overall are leaving one facility for another because of the increasing hours of overtime they are expected to work, the difficulty of the job and the inadequate pay rate. It has also become more difficult to recruit RNs and LPNs in comparison to a year ago, according to reports from approximately three-quarters of the survey respondents. About 60% said that recruiting nurse assistants has become more difficult.

�It is a multifaceted problem, but one that is a public policy problem,�� Roadman said. As the baby-boomer generation ages, the U.S. needs to debate the issue of �how to take care of both our elderly and our young,�� he added.

The findings are based on a survey of nearly 6,000 U.S. nursing homes.

Nurse Mentors
Issue: High patient acuity and the shortage of nurse mentors contribute to an increased probability that new nurses will leave their first professional nursing position within the first year.

Background: To address this concern, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses has launched a mentorship program to guide new nurses in their professional, personal and interpersonal growth. The ultimate goals are to support the new nurse during the transition from student to professional nurse and foster job satisfaction and retention. The �Nurses Nurturing Nurses� program is designed for experienced nurses to pass along their wisdom, caring and confidence to new nurses. To promote open dialogue between mentor and mentee, experienced nurse mentors who are not working in the same clinical environment as the new nurse are selected to guide the new nurse�s transition to professional nursing over a 12-month period. The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses is seeking healthcare agencies or inpatient facilities interested in participating in this project. For more information, call (856) 256-2323 or visit the academy Web site at www.medsurgnurse.org.

Issue: As part of a strategy to ease the nursing shortage, the U.S. Department of Labor plans to re-train unemployed workers for healthcare jobs.

Background: To ease the shortage of healthcare workers and aid people who have recently lost their jobs, hospital operator HCA and the U.S. Department of Labor are sponsoring a $10 million initiative that will provide financial assistance to those willing to seek a career in healthcare.

Initially, the program will be offered in six areas�Dallas, Houston, Denver, Tampa/St. Petersburg and southern Florida�where HCA has a large presence and where significant numbers of people have lost their jobs since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The initiative will provide scholarships and financial assistance for people who want to become registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, surgical technicians, radiology technologists or certified nursing assistants. Warren May, a spokesperson for the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, said that participants who successfully complete training will be guaranteed a job in an HCA hospital. Loans will be forgiven for participants who work in the facility for a length of time equivalent to their training period. Although the program is aimed at people who lost jobs as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks, HCA CEO Jack Bovender said, �anyone can apply� for the assistance. HCA and the government will evenly split the cost of the effort.

Issue: New Jersey legislation bans mandatory overtime.

Background: Acting New Jersey Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco has signed a measure (S. 2093) banning healthcare facilities from requiring nurses and other hourly healthcare employees from working overtime except in emergencies, beginning in 2003. The legislation will prohibit healthcare facilities from requiring hourly employees to work more than 40 hours a week except in emergency situations. The bill pertains to employees involved in direct patient care or clinical services, with the exception of physicians.

Andrea Aughenbaugh, RN, CEO for the New Jersey State Nurses Association, said that NJSNA and many other organizations involved in healthcare have worked hard to see that this legislation was passed to ensure that patient care and nursing care are at their optimum levels.

According to Aughenbaugh, a key factor of the legislation gives nurses an opportunity to make the decision as to whether they can safely deliver quality patient care. New Jersey Hospital Association spokesperson Ron Czajkowski said the final bill was an improvement over earlier versions because it allows mandatory overtime if facilities can show they exhausted reasonable efforts to obtain staffing through available volunteers, per diem or temporary staffing sources, and more flexibly defines the exemption for emergencies.
AACN�s Position: AACN opposes mandatory overtime and supports both federal and state legislation to ban this practice and will continue to work to educate the public on the negative impact that mandatory overtime can have on patient safety.

Issue: A recently reported increase in nursing enrollments at U.S. colleges and universities is insufficient to meet the projected need for new nurses.

Background: According to the results of an annual survey released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, enrollments in entry-level baccalaureate programs in nursing increased in fall 2001. Although this increase ends a six-year period of decline, the number of students in the educational pipeline is still insufficient to meet the projected demand for a million new nurses over the next 10 years. The survey found that total enrollment in all nursing programs leading to the baccalaureate degree was 106,557 in 2001. By comparison, total enrollment in 1995, the year enrollments began to dip, was 127,683 for all baccalaureate programs.

Although generic baccalaureate programs experienced enrollment increases this year, programs that enable registered nurses prepared with a diploma or associate�s degree to earn a bachelor�s degree continued to decline. From 2000 to 2001, enrollments in RN-to-baccalaureate programs declined 3.9%, continuing the downward slide identified last year when enrollments fell 7.2% from 1999 to 2000. Enrollment levels in graduate and higher degree programs in nursing are struggling to remain at current levels, with master�s degree programs down 0.1% and doctoral programs up 1.5% from 2000 to 2001. Conversely, post-doctoral programs saw a significant increase of 39.2%, representing a jump from 51 to 71 students.

AACN�s Position: AACN will continue to direct its efforts toward recruitment into the profession by advocating for legislation that benefits nursing education and continuing to seek solutions to this healthcare crisis through our collaborative involvement in the �Call to the Professions,� the Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow Coalition and the ANSR alliance.

Issue: Federal bioterrorism bill passed.

Background: The House of Representatives has passed The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Response Act (H.R. 3448) by a 418-2 vote, which will, among other things, provide funding and assistance to local hospitals and healthcare facilities in preparing for and responding to bioterrorist attacks. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., and ranking minority member John Dingell, D-Mich., introduced the bill. The bill includes provisions that will educate and train healthcare personnel; establish grants addressing shortages of health professional emergency responders; create a national system of verification of credentials for volunteers; enhance preparedness through grants allowing local facilities to purchase supplies; and remove certain Medicare, Medicaid and State Children�s Health Insurance Program requirements during emergencies. President Bush praised the measure and called on the Senate to reach a bipartisan agreement on a stalled bioterrorism measure offered by Sens. Bill
Frist (R-Tenn.), and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)

AACN Position: AACN supports this legislation and other efforts to provide funding for hospitals and healthcare facilities in preparing for, and responding to, bioterrorist attacks.

For more information about these and other issues, visit the AACN Web site.

Seabury & Smith Adds Marsh Name

Seabury & Smith, AACN's insurance program administrator, is adopting a new name, Marsh Affinity Group Services, a service of Seabury & Smith. The company will notify AACN members as correspondence begins bearing the Marsh name. However, members will not be affected by the change. All telephone numbers will remain the same.


Palliative Care Presentations
The Center for the Advancement of Palliative Care has posted presentations from its Management Seminar Training Series, �Planning a Hospital-Based Palliative Care Program� on its Web site (http://www.capcmssm.org). The presentations include �Palliative Care in Hospitals: Making the Case,� �Creating a Compelling Business Case for Palliative Care� and �Program Development: Needs Assessment.�

Nurses House on the Web
Nurses House has revised its Web site (http://www.NursesHouse.org) to improve communications with nurses in need and individuals who want to help their colleagues in nursing throughout the nation. Now, nurses facing dire financial circumstances can apply for assistance on the Web site and receive application materials via e-mail. In addition, individuals wanting to send personal gifts and memorials to Nurses House can use their credit cards to make secure contributions on the Web site.

American Cancer Society Grants
Several research and training grants are available for beginning and senior investigators through the American Cancer Society. The following Research Scholar Grants are available: Psychosocial and Behavioral Research and Health Services and Health Services and Health Policy and Outcomes Research. Annual application deadlines for these grants are April 1 and Oct. 15. In addition, Clinical Research Training Grants for Junior Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellowships are available. Annual application deadlines are March 1 and Oct. 1. For additional information or application materials, call (404) 329-7558; e-mail, grants@cancer.org; Web site, http://www.cancer.org.

Information printed in �Currents� is provided as a service to interested readers and does not imply endorsement by AACN or AACN Certification Corporation.

Coming in the March Issue of the American Journal of Critical Care

� Nursing, public deaths, and the tobacco industry.

� Family presence in the trauma/resuscitation room.

� Hospital experiences of young adults with congenital heart disease.

� Case Study: Accidental carbon monoxide poisoning with severe cardiorespiratory compromise in two pediatric patients.

� Bacterial growth in secretions and suctioning equipment of orally intubated patients.

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

Looking Ahead

March 2002

March 1 Deadline to apply to serve on national AACN volunteer committees for 2002-03. To apply, visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org .

March 1 Deadline to submit applications for the Circle of Excellence President�s Award for Chapters. To obtain an award application, call (800) 899-2226.
Request Item #1011. Or, visit the AACN Web site.

March 1 Deadline to submit applications for the AACN Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Grant. To obtain an application, call (800) 899-2226 and request
Item #1013, or visit the AACN Web site.

March 14 Deadline to submit speaker proposal abstracts for NTI 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. To obtain a speaker proposal packet, call AACN Fax on Demand
at (800) 222-6329 (Request Document #6019), or visit the AACN Web site.

March 11 Deadline to apply to take the paper-and-pencil version of the CCRN or CCNS certification exam on May 6, 2002, in Atlanta, Ga. For more
information or to obtain application materials, call (800) 899-2226.

March 26 Early bird deadline to receive discount on NTI registration. To register, call (800) 899-2226.

April 2002

April 1 The Critical Links Member-Get-A-Member campaign ends. To obtain recruitment campaign forms, call (800) 899-2226. Request Item #1316. Or,
visit the AACN Web site.

April 1 Deadline to apply for BSN and Graduate Completion Educational Advancement Scholarships. To obtain an application, call (800) 899-2226 and
request Item #1017, or visit the AACN Web site.

May 2002

May 4-9 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, Atlanta, Ga., To register, call (800) 899-2226.

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