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Vol. 23, No. 12, DECEMBER 2006


NTI Comes to Atlanta in 2007

Next spring, those who attend the AACN National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition will experience the charm and hospitality that is unique to Atlanta. As the “New Capital of the South,” Atlanta has much to offer NTI attendees, with fine dining, museums, theater, entertainment, attractions and world-class shopping.
This premier event will be held May 19 through 24 at the Georgia World Congress Center, one of the nation’s largest convention centers, where more than a million guests attend functions each year. The center is so massive that one of its entrance lobbies measures over 1,000 feet long, 80 feet wide and over 90 feet high—large enough to contain the Titanic from the waterline to its main deck. NTI is the world’s largest educational conference and exposition focused on acute and critical care nurses, including bedside nurses, nurse educators, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners who care for patients who are acutely or critically ill. Attendees will find comprehensive resources to maximize their contribution to patient care. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to network with your peers while earning CE credits from myriad educational presentations. You can also take review courses and sit for exams for your specialty (CCNS, CCRN, PCCN) or subspecialty (CMC, CSC) certifications. Make your plans now to attend NTI 2007. Start by checking out a list of hotel accommodations and book your room online by going to www.aacn.org/nti.

Visit this site regularly for updated information about programs and speakers for NTI 2007, the most exciting NTI yet! See you in Atlanta!

Insightful Art Depicts President’s Theme

The “Powered by Insight” theme for NTI 2007 was introduced by AACN President Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, FAAN, in her president-elect speech at NTI 2006. Tracy called upon nurses to be constantly seeking new insights – seeing things in new ways and using discovered insights to bring positive change to their workplaces and provide the best possible care for patients and their families.
The theme art, created by Toronto artist Helen D’Souza, is a vibrant, conceptual interpretation of the insight each person has within, represented by the image of an eye in the center of the main figure. The illustration conveys how insights can have positive impacts on relationships and environments.
To download and print a poster-sized version of the theme art, visit www.aacn.org and click on “Powered by Insight.” Here, you’ll also find downloadable print and video versions of Tracy’s speech.

15 Units Achieve Beacon Status

Fifteen critical care units at 12 hospitals are the latest to earn the AACN Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence, a designation that recognizes the nation’s top units.
Achieving Beacon Award status are:
• Aultman Hospital Coronary
Care/Stepdown, Aultman Hospital
CSICU, Aultman Hospital Surgical
Intensive Care Unit
Canton, Ohio
• Baystate Medical Center
Adult Intensive Care Unit
Springfield, Mass.
A three-time Beacon Award recipient

• Good Samaritan Hospital
Combined ICU/CCU
Baltimore, Md.
• Hartford Hospital B10I-CCU
Hartford, Conn.
A two-time Beacon Award recipient
• Indian River Memorial
Critical Care Unit
Vero Beach, Fla.
• LSUHSC-Shreveport Medical ICU
Shreveport, La.
• Lynchburg General Hospital
Cardiovascular Recovery Unit
Lynchburg, Va.
A two-time Beacon Award recipient
• Mercy Hospital ICU
Coon Rapids, Minn.
• Morristown Memorial
Intensive Care Unit
Morristown, N.J. Approaching 3,000 New Members

October Was a Good Month for the Member-Get-A-Member Campaign

During October, Diane Lane, RN, MSN, of Hermitage, Tenn., added three more to her commanding overall lead of 49 new members recruited during the MGAM campaign. However, others also produced some impressive numbers. Ann Brorsen, RN, MSN, CCRN, CEN, of Sun City, Calif., brought in an impressive 16 new members to put her in second place overall with a total of 29. Kathleen Richusa, RN, MSN, Chapel Hill, N.C., added eight for a total of 27 and third place overall.
But the most impressive performance came from Kara Bader, RN, from Burleson, Texas, who debuted in the MGAM campaign with 21 new members recruited, good for a tie for fourth place overall with Diana Pryer, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, of St. Louis, Mo. The Greater Richmond Area Chapter added six new members to bring its overall lead to 45, and the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter climbed into second place with 14 new members recruited for a total of 38. Maintaining its third place position with 36 overall was the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter, and the Greater Cincinnati Chapter held onto fourth place with a solid October performance adding 11 new members. Also notable was the White River Chapter, with 13 new members recruited. They are among the 806 individuals and chapters that have recruited 2,832 new members since the campaign began May 1. The campaign ends Aug. 31, 2007. The recruitment period was extended for this year’s campaign to move the program to a 12-month cycle in the future. Participation in the Member-Get-A-Member drive offers the opportunity for recruiters to receive valuable rewards, including a $1,000 American Express gift check that will be awarded to the top individual recruiter. The top recruiter is also eligible for three Grand Prize drawings for $500 gift certificates. Every recruiter who enrolls five new members during the program will be entered into the drawing. In addition, as individuals recruit new members, they are entered into a drawing for a $100 American Express gift check each month they recruit. Sandra Cornish, RN, BSN, CCRN, from Concord, Calif., won the gift certificate in October. After recruiting their first five new members, participants will receive a $25 gift certificate toward AACN products and
services, and $50 after recruiting a total of 10 new members. The chapter recruiting the most new members during the campaign will receive a $1,000 honorarium check. The winning chapter is also eligible for Grand Prize drawings for three $500 honorarium checks for their chapter treasuries. In addition, chapters are eligible for monthly drawings for a free NTI registration any month they recruit a new member. The winner for October was the Broward County Chapter.

To see the full list of recruiters and their totals through October, visit the AACN Web site at www.aacn.org > Membership.

Is Your Unit a Beacon of Excellence?

The AACN Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence shines national recognition on units that attain high standards for quality, exceptional care of patients, and healthy, humane and healing work environments.
The Web-based application process asks you to evaluate your
critical care unit in six areas:
• Recruitment and retention
• Education, training and mentoring
• Evidence-based practices
• Patient outcomes
• Healing environments
• Leadership and organizational ethics
Applications, which may be submitted at any time, are evaluated on a quarterly basis. Awards are granted twice a year. The application fee is $1,000 per unit.
For more information, visit the AACN Web site at www.aacn.org.

CE Online Center Redesigned for Fast, Convenient Credit Card Processing

Now when you use our CE Online Center, you can make a one-time “prepaid code” purchase and eliminate repetitive entering of credit card information. Each CE passport is valid for three years, so you can use it and store your balance. You will receive your prepaid code within 24 hours of your order submission.
Choose from the following:
• CE Passport 5 (5 CE credits): member, $24; nonmember, $28
• CE Passport 10 (10 CE credits): member, $45; nonmember, $49
• CE Passport 25 (25 CE credits): member, $109; nonmember, $115
• CE Passport 50 (50 CE credits): member, $210; nonmember, $215

To access CE articles online, go to www.aacn.org > Education > Continuing Education > AACN’s Premier CE Selections.

Free CE for Members

AACN members can now receive free CE contact hour credit FREE. There are a variety of topics, including audiovisual reproductions of popular NTI sessions. To take advantage of this great member benefit, visit www.aacn.org > Continuing Education.

Submit Abstracts Online for NTI 2008 in Chicago

June 1, 2007, is the deadline to submit education program speaker proposals, including chapter-related proposals, for NTI 2008, May 3 through 8 in Chicago, Ill. Abstracts can be submitted online at www.aacn.org > Education > NTI Education and Speaker Information.

Scene and Heard

AACN continues to seek visibility for our profession and the organization. Following is an update on recent outreach efforts.
MarketWatch (Aug. 10, 2006)—“Collaboration Between NHPCO and Promoting Excellence Will Keep Valuable Resources Online.” “Promoting Excellence, a program initiated by the Robert Wood Foundation in 1997, was created to examine ways that the healthcare system cares for people during their final days.” The program itself ended but the reports and additional information are online at www.promotingexcellence.org. The article noted that “work has [also] been done with AACN to house the valuable tools and resources from the Promoting Excellence initiatives.” This article appeared on many other outlets, including Yahoo Finance, KGW.com, Las Vegas Business Press, ABC7.com, Los Angeles Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Dallas Morning News (July 17, 2006)—“Niche for Nurses: Cardiac Telemetry.” Mary Pat Aust, RN, MS, AACN clinical practice specialist, was quoted as saying, “As technology has become more advanced and sophisticated, the need for continuous training is greater.” The article also included references from the AACN Web site, such as: “Progressive care nursing has expanded beyond the basic cardiac telemetry that marked its beginning and now encompasses many of the same technologies and therapies that were once limited to critical care units.”

McLeod Health News (Aug. 9, 2006)—“McLeod Nurses Complete ECCO Program” was the title of an article congratulating the first two RNs at McLeod Regional Medical Center in South Carolina to complete the ECCO program. “Although Patricia and Stacie are experienced nurses in the Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit, because they will serve as preceptors for the new nurses being recruited for TSCU’s expansion into the McLeod Pavilion, it was important that their knowledge base with the program was sound and correct,” said Bonnie Wiggins, RN, McLeod critical care educator. “McLeod’s goal is to orient/educate critical care nurses so they are confident in their knowledge and skills, Wiggins added. “The patient benefits by having a nurse armed with the latest evidence-based practice guidelines.”

Nursing Spectrum (Aug. 14, 2006)—“Beacons of Best Practices.” The critical care unit at Regional Medical Center, Vineland, N.J., was the first unit in South Jersey to earn the AACN Beacon Award. Michele Zucconi, RN, CCRN, CCU, clinical director, said, “Beacon standards inspire you to look at what is in place and what you are going to do to achieve more.” The Rhoads 5 Surgical Critical Care Unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia also received the award. “It’s important to maintain and continue to improve our standards of patient/family care and to continue to foster a healthy work environment. That’s what the Beacon Award is all about,” said George Iyoob, RN, Rhoads’ clinical nurse manager.

American Journal of Nursing (Aug. 2006)—“AJN Reports: Protecting Patients or Turf? The AMA aims to limit nonphysician healthcare professionals.” The ANA initiated the Coalition for Patients’ Rights (CPR), to “counter what its members see as a move by the AMA to limit the scope and practice of nonphysician practitioners and to hinder patients from seeking care from advanced practice nurses, nurse midwives, psychologists and chiropractors.” The CPR also opposes “legislation at the state level that would reduce provider options for patients.” AACN is a member of the CPR, which consists of “25 organizations representing over 3 million licensed healthcare professionals.”

Our Voice at the Table
Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, FAAN, AACN board president, participated in a Region 6 Collaborative meeting with more than 60 participants from the Alabama and Georgia chapters. Leading and also presenting at the meeting were Cindi Noe, RN, BS, BSN, Region 6 chapter adviser team leader, and Kathy Peavy, RN, MS, CCRN, CRN, co-leader. Tracy presented her keynote, “Powered by Insight,” at the corresponding conference, Critical Care Nursing: Visioning Beyond the Basics, which attracted more than 250 attendees.

Beth Hammer, RN, MSN, APRN-BC, AACN board member, presented “Identification and Treatment of Atrial Arrhythmias” at Critical Care Updates 2006, sponsored by the Greater Milwaukee Area Chapter. Tracy presented a keynote on her presidential theme, “Powered by Insight,” and a breakout session on glycemic control. Tom Ahrens, RN, DNS, CS, FAAN, gave a keynote on sepsis and a breakout session on hemodynamics.

Dave Hanson, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNS, AACN president-elect, presented the keynote address, “Igniting the Power Within: The Art of Mentoring,” at the 12th annual Bridges Symposium, sponsored by the San Francisco Chapter. Hanson also moderated a panel discussion, “Mentoring: It Takes a Village.” Following the program, the chapter hosted a reception where Hanson discussed current AACN initiatives.
Hanson presented “Differential Diagnosis of Chest Pain: No Time for Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda,” at the annual Excellence in Cardiovascular Nursing 2006 Conference in Kalamazoo, Mich. The program was sponsored by Bronson Methodist Hospital, a 2005 recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Hanson presented “Powered by Insight: The Unique Contributions of Acute & Critical Care Nurses,” at the Fall Dinner meeting of the South Central Connecticut Chapter. Following the program, Hanson was joined by Denise Buonocore, RN, MSN, CCRN, APRN, BC, AACN board member, to discuss current AACN initiatives with the participants.


Hanson and Buonocore visited Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Conn. They toured the ICU and stepdown unit, met with frontline staff nurses and Colleen Smith, RN, MSN, vice president of nursing.

Hanson and Bertie Chuong, RN, MS, CCRN, former AACN board member, visited Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn. They toured the ICUs and spoke with frontline staff nurses.

John Dixon, RN, MSN, immediate past AACN board member, represented AACN as the organizational affiliate liaison at the ANA Congress on Nursing Practice and Economics, held at ANA headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.
Dixon presented a keynote on healthy work environments at Advocate Christ Medical Center’s Critical Care Symposium in Oaklawn, Ill.
Dixon gave a presentation on AACN’s Synergy Model at a Region 15 Chapter meeting in Dallas, Texas.


Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, immediate past AACN president, spoke about pediatric trauma case studies at a Bitteroot Chapter meeting in Missoula, Mont. She also toured St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula.
Brinker attended a meeting of Joint Commission International as an AACN liaison to the Communication Advisory Group, addressing issues related to communication and patient safety as part of a WHO collaborative. The meeting was held at JCAHO headquarters in Oakbrook, Ill. Of the 18 participants, AACN was the only nursing organization represented.
Brinker also gave a presentation on the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments.


Kristine Peterson, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS, AACN board member, attended the MOLN (Minnesota Organization of Leaders in Nursing) State Conference and Annual Meeting: Nursing Leadership: Transforming the Culture of Safety, in Brainerd, Minn. Pam Thompson, CEO of AONE, was one of the speakers. She and Peterson met and spoke briefly about healthy work environments and the AACN/AONE partnership.

Roberta Kaplow, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, AOCNS, AACN Certification Corporation board member, presented the “AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care” at an evening program sponsored by the West Michigan Chapter. The program was attended by more than 100 nurses.

In the Circle

Excellence in Education Award

Editor’s note: The Excellence in Education 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 acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with this award for 2006.

Robin Y. Minchhoff, RN, BSN, CCRN
Mohrsville, Pa.
Reading Hospital
and Medical Center

Last year, hospital administrators increased the number of ICU beds and subsequently hired 14 new graduates who entered an internship program. Because the same orientation manual was used for all nurses entering the ICU regardless of their experience or education, the preceptors and interns expressed concern.
A core group of interns and preceptors was assembled to revise the orientation process to reflect the needs of interns and experienced nurses starting work in our ICUs. We divided the issues into three categories: person, environment and process. The preceptors and interns identified barriers in the orientation process and proposed potential solutions. Our intensive care nurses have used the “AACN Competency Based Orientation Tool” to orient new employees.
The core group and I revised the tool to reflect the different educational needs of new and experienced ICU nurses. I worked with the group to develop learning outcomes for basic, intermediate and advanced skills. We concurred that the expectations for skills mastery for interns and experienced nurses would be different. A calendar was added to the orientation manual to incorporate time to address individual learning needs. Preceptors and orientees now write mutual goals on the calendar each week. These goals coincide with the individual’s need for clinical experiences to successfully complete the orientation process.
Orientation to the ICU remains a challenging and evolving process. Having created a positive learning environment for new ICU nurses, I feel successful in my role as team leader. Special thanks to Susan O’Brien, Nelson Lamborn, Chris Mackereth, Sherry Williams-Gonzales and Agnes Gentile who were part of the orientation revision team.


Debra L. Siela, RN, DNSc, CCRN, CCNS, RRT, APRN, BC
Bluffton, Ind.
Ball State University
One of the joys of teaching undergraduate nursing students is seeing the “lightbulb” go on as they “put it all together.” I teach a senior-level adult health course. The course concepts are based on complex acute and critical care illness and clinical experiences that occur in critical care nursing units. The clinical experiences create opportunities for utilizing the skills of compassion, empathy and critical thinking to see the big picture. Many students are in the beginning process of being able to see the big picture of their patient and his or her illness and to make sound clinical judgments.
At the beginning of one recent semester, I asked Jason, a nursing student, these questions: “Why do we care about what is happening and what does it mean to you,” so he would use his critical thinking capabilities to see the big picture. As the semester progressed, Jason was able to begin answering these questions. I could see his lightbulb beaming brightly. Jason graduated and oriented as a new ICU night nurse. He still threatens to call me in the middle of the night to help him think through patient care situations.
I believe that nurse educators must elicit critical thinking from students so that they can articulate it, see the big picture of their patients and nursing care, and demonstrate compassion and empathy. I’m proud to see my former students performing as expert-thinking, compassionate nurses who share their abilities with nursing students. It makes me feel I have really succeeded as a nurse educator.


Michael L. Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNE
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Eastern Michigan University
“If you can’t help her, I’ll have to let her go.” Those were the words from the nurse manager about a new hire who just wasn’t working out. P.A. was at the end of orientation and wasn’t cutting it.On my first day of working with P.A., I agreed to observe her performance and intervene only if I felt something was unsafe. P.A. began her assessment and noted significant tracheal deviation. She wanted to contact the physician immediately to avert a tension pneumothorax. What P.A. failed to notice was the absence of any other symptom related to that condition. We debriefed and developed a plan that included a timetable for her shift, strategies to cluster data, reinforcement of positive characteristics, establishing boundaries with others and completing the job on time. The next day, P.A. used the timetable, noted orders, gave medications, performed physical care and called physicians. I did almost nothing. Many years later, P.A. continues to work in critical care. I have gone on to teaching nursing school, but the lessons from P.A. continue. Some students need help with scheduling, others with repeated practice or encouraging words and still others with a gentle nudge. Perhaps the most important lesson is to focus on helping students be successful. Indeed, some people have to be “let go,” but not P.A. We all learned a valuable lesson.