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Vol. 23, No. 1, JANUARY 2006


Follow the Sun to NTI in 2006!


Southern California will be the place to soak up the sun, fun and CE credits at AACN’s 2006 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, the world’s largest educational conference for nurses who care for critically and acutely ill patients.

NTI is known for offering the most comprehensive curriculum of formal, self-paced and interactive sessions covering a wide spectrum of clinical content and pro-fessional enrichment. And, in 2006, it’s all going to happen in the land of theme parks, beaches, dining, entertainment, professional sports, hiking, biking, golf and shopping. Orange County is essential California fusion. From orange groves to ocean to opera, you’ll find it here.

Did you know that every plant in Tomorrowland at Disneyland is edible?

Within minutes of the convention center, you can experience the newly renovated Space Mountain at Disneyland, dare to enter the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s California Adventure or ride the heart-stopping Silver Bullet roller coaster at Knott’s Theme Park.

If you’re a little less daring but still adventurous, you can indulge in big-city fun in an area alive with excitement, unique shops, restaurants and entertainment. It’s Downtown Disney, home of the House of Blues, the ESPN Zone and many other interesting places to eat, shop and have fun. There’s something for everyone, so plan on spending at least some time (perhaps an evening) to see what’s there. You can always return for more later after you’ve scoped it out.

Did you know that the Matterhorn at Disneyland is actually an exact 1/100 model of the real Matterhorn in Switzerland?

If you prefer to bring along your beach toys, you can head a little farther down the road to Surf City U.S.A., more formally known as Huntington Beach, or to any of the other sun-drenched, white-sand beaches that extend along the Orange County coastline. Anyone up for working on a tan, swimming, volleyball or rollerblading? What about body surfing at the Wedge in Newport Beach, people watching at Main Beach in Laguna or boating excursions from Dana Point Harbor?

Did you know that Orange County has 42 miles of coastline and beaches—some the most famous in the world?

It’s time to start making plans to follow the sun to NTI 2006! Book your reservations now for the best hotel spots through the AACN Housing Bureau. You can also now register online or call (800) 899-2226.



First Critical Care Survey Available


A groundbreaking, nationwide study focusing specifically on critical care units and critical care nurses was released earlier this month by AACN.

Although other studies have surveyed nurses in hospitals in general, the 2004 National Critical Care Survey Findings Report is the first to break down the results at the specialty level. In addition to traditional ICUs, the study covered other hospital areas where acutely and critically ill patients are cared for, including progressive care, telemetry units and step-down units.

The results provide important benchmarks against which hospitals and critical care units can compare care. Topics included questions related to staffing, operations, acuity systems, visitation policies, end-of-life care, professional advancement, vacancy rates, orientation programs and compensation. The data define the scope and intensity of services offered and provide more specific information on staffing issues and unit practices than has previously been available.

The findings can be used to inform institutions about the unmet needs in critical care units as well as to help critical care nurses and others influence changes in the workplace, in clinical practice and in regulations affecting healthcare providers and the care of patients.

The profile of the facilities and units surveyed was published in the January 2006 issue of the American Journal of Critical Care, which is available online at ajcc.aacnjournals.org. The full report is downloadable and available for purchase online at www.aacn.org.


Put Yourself or a Colleague in the Circle of Excellence



Nominations open Jan. 15, 2006, for AACN Circle of Excellence Awards for 2007. The recognition program honors those who have made a difference for their patients, their patients’ families and their colleagues. Information about these awards appears below. Nominations must be submitted by July 15.

Be a Part of the Circle of Excellence
Annual Award Nominations Open Jan. 15


July 15, 2006, is the deadline to nominate yourself or a colleague for an AACN Circle of Excellence Award for 2007. The nomination process opens Jan. 15.

Recipients of these prestigious recognition awards will be recognized at AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in May 2007 in Atlanta, Ga. In addition, personalized plaques are presented to all recipients.

Some also receive honoraria, monetary awards or complimentary registration to the NTI.

Following is brief information about these awards. To obtain a Circle of Excellence awards application, call (800) 899-2226 or visit the AACN Web site.


PRACTICE AND RESEARCH AWARDS

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

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

Baxter Excellence in Patient Safety Award
Sponsored by Baxter Healthcare, this award recognizes patient-care teams that have made significant contributions toward patient and caregiver safety in acute and critical care. Recipients describe innovative approaches used to develop new and revised processes that encompass safety and improve the quality of care at the unit, hospital or health system level. They show clear evidence of active collaboration among team members validating their success by presenting evidence-based outcomes.

Dale Medical Products Excellent Clinical Nurse Specialist Award
The award recognizes CCNS-certified clinical nurse specialists in acute and critical care. Applicants also must demonstrate the key components of advanced practice nursing and illustrate how they have been a catalyst for successful change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

LEADERSHIP AWARDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Program for Critical Care Nurses Targets Patient Safety Communication Issue



AACN has partnered with VitalSmarts, a consulting company specializing in organizational performance, to provide healthcare institutions and critical care nurses training to help them tackle communication breakdowns that can jeopardize patient safety.

The agreement with VitalSmarts calls for the development of two-day training sessions that include content promoted in the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments. VitalSmarts trainers will facilitate the courses.

The first two-day educational course under this partnership will be in March 2006 with the Greater Washington Area Chapter of AACN.

AACN President Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, noted that Crucial Conversations training has been the definitive course of action for many organizations and hospitals trying to combat patient safety errors as they relate to communication breakdowns.

“AACN has embraced Crucial Conversations as the foundation for the skilled communication that is necessary to ensure patient safety and quality care,” she said. “Through this joint program, both parties will be able to extend the reach of this important concept in healthcare.”

The training, called “Healthy Work Environments through Crucial Conversations,” continues the collaboration of AACN and VitalSmarts related to the research study and publication of Silence Kills: The Seven Crucial Conversations for Healthcare. The study, released jointly by AACN and VitalSmarts in January 2005, found more than 90 percent of doctors and half of nurses have seen colleagues make mistakes, but only 10 percent speak up in a way that solves the problem.

VitalSmarts President Joseph Grenny said learning the skills taught in this joint training venture is an essential first step in helping healthcare professionals talk candidly and safely about issues the Silence Kills study pinpointed, which include rule-breaking, incompetence and disrespect.

“Healthcare practitioners frequently see problems, but too often they fail to talk about them,” said Grenny, who is also co-author of VitalSmarts’ best-sellers Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations. “We found those who embrace these skills will find outcomes like patient safety can improve dramatically.”

Additional information about these joint training courses is available online at www.aacn.org.


Volunteering With AACN
Hard Work Leads to a Rewarding Payoff


By Karen A. McQuillan, RN, MS, CCRN, CNRN
2005 NTI Work Group

Last year, I decided to fulfill a longtime desire to become more involved in AACN at the national level. I applied online and was accepted to serve as a member of the NTI Work Group for the 2005 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in New Orleans, La. My hope was that I would have a rewarding experience networking with AACN members from across the country and helping to plan and carry out the prestigious NTI.

Initially, the group members participated in a number of conference calls where we had the opportunity to learn about the demands of the job before us as well as about each other. Our task was to read more than 1,000 abstracts and select a mere 200 of them for presentation at the NTI. This was no easy task! Hours of time and energy went into reading, prioritizing and then grading the abstracts to narrow the focus to 200 submissions. At times, I was skeptical about whether the blinded selection process would yield a group of speakers and topics that could be used to develop an NTI that would make us proud.

Near the end of August 2004, our work group convened with numerous other work groups in California to come to a consensus on the top abstracts that would be used for the NTI. For two long days, we worked hard and made many tough choices about which abstracts to select. During our work time, we had the opportunity to get to know each other and to meet and interact with numerous AACN leaders. At the end of our weekend together, we were pleased with the results and hopeful that our hard work had paid off and that the NTI would truly be judged as successful by the participants. The work group members left California with new friendships and lots of fond memories of our time together.

When we arrived in New Orleans for the 2005 NTI, we were told to prepare for more hard work as a work group member. From early morning until evening, we greeted and directed participants, gave out badge ribbons, assisted with CE computer entry, collected evaluation forms and, as with all jobs, performed other tasks as requested. A number of work group members presented a First-Timers’ NTI session and some presented on How to Become an NTI Speaker.

Despite the long hours and hard work, serving as an NTI Work Group member proved to be by far one of the most rewarding experiences in my nursing career. It truly made me appreciate the opportunity to engage with other nurses from around the country to accomplish a task that at times seemed insurmountable. I developed friendships with my fellow work group members (Chair Dennis Cheek, AACN Board Liaison Carol Goodyear-Bruch, Lisa Gingerich, Marcheta Lynn Rodgers, Shawn McCabe, Nancy Munro, Kristine Peterson, Alisa Shackelford, Bonnie Baker, Justine Medina and Linda Bell), which are sure to be rekindled during future NTIs. Serving on the work group also provided opportunities to interact and get to know members of AACN’s leadership group.

During NTI, the work group was honored by AACN onstage with introductions of the members during a general session and offstage in numerous NTI News articles with brief bio sketches on each of us. One of the most rewarding aspects of serving as a work group member was assisting fellow nursing colleagues in advancing their knowledge by being an integral part of the design and implementation of NTI. Perhaps most satisfying of all was the overwhelming positive feedback and thanks provided by participants, which truly made all the hard work worthwhile and incredibly rewarding.


Patient Safety Goals Topic for February JCR Audio Conference


Implementing the 2006 National Patient Safety Goals in Acute and Critical Care” is the topic for the second in a series of yearlong audio conferences offered by Joint Commission Resources in collaboration with AACN. The presentation is scheduled from 12:30 to 2 p.m. (ET) Feb. 9.

Representing AACN is Kathryn G. Rapala, RN, JD, director of Risk Management and Patient Safety at Clarian Health Partners, Indianapolis, Ind. Each of the 90-minute audio conferences will feature two expert presenters, one representing AACN and the other representing JCR.

Rapala previously served in Risk Management, Quality Improvement and staff nursing positions at Clarian hospitals in downtown Indianapolis. She was a fellow in the National Patient Safety Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2002-2003. In addition, she was the first recipient of the Todd Pickett National Patient Safety Award from the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management in 2004 in recognition of her role in establishing the Safe Passage Program at Clarian.

Throughout the year, the audio conference topics will include the six essential skills put forth in the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments and patient safety and quality of care issues.

All sessions are scheduled from 12:30 to 2 p.m. (ET) the second Thursday of each month.

A moderated question-and-answer period will follow the presentations. Participants can sign up to participate in the audio conference as individuals or with multiple attendees using one telephone line in a conference room.

For more information about this audio conference, call (877) 223-6866 or visit the JCR Web site.


New Magazine Not Affiliated With AACN


AACN has received inquiries about a new magazine with a name that is very similar to Critical Care Nurse. The new publication is not affiliated with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses or Critical Care Nurse, the association’s official clinical journal. AACN is seeking to eliminate this confusion.


In the Circle: Marsh-AACN Community Service Award

Editor’s note: Cosponsored by Marsh Affinity Group Services, a service of Seabury & Smith, this Community Service Award honors significant service by acute and critical care nurses, as individuals or in groups, in making a contribution to their communities that also projects a positive image of critical care nursing. Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with the award, part of the AACN Circle of Excellence recognition program, for 2005.

Jeanne M. Cinotti, RN, BS
Newport, R.I.
Hasbro Children’s Hospital
Our pediatric ICU has a population of patients who were mostly premature infants. These children are often transferred to the PICU as very young infants from neonatal intensive care for tracheostomies and feeding tube placements. This is the start of a very long road for these children and their families.

The transition to home usually takes a year, but sometimes longer. The families are often young and inexperienced at raising a child, and even experienced parents are faced with new challenges and situations on a daily basis. Jeanne often has taken on these children as her primary assignment and worked with the family teaching them how to care for their ventilator-dependent, medically fragile child at home. With this responsibility comes the need to help the family with community resources, housing, home nursing and many other challenges.

In working with these children Jeanne has headed a group of medical professionals (physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists and case managers) to address the community and hospital issues that face the staff and the families. Jeanne has advocated for these children and their families. She leads a group of nurses developing learning modules to help train nurses and families to care for the children. These modules help to set the standard of care for everyone. She has included families in the work groups to help learn what they experience as issues, challenges and concerns. She has been talking to state child advocates and workers to increase community awareness of these children and to find ways to make navigating the system of social services and support in the community easier. She is also helping with outreach education by arranging ventilator lectures for nurses and pediatricians in the hospital and the community.

Sheree Schroeder, RN, BSN, RDCS, FASE
Kokomo, Ind.
Howard Regional Health System
I have been a registered nurse for 26 years and a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer for 10 years. I currently serve as executive director of Howard Regional Health System’s Cardiovascular Service Line. One of my main areas of concern is raising community awareness of the number one killer, cardiovascular disease. Community education is critical to mitigate the risk factors associated with this disease.

My first community outreach program came as a result of a preventable tragedy in a neighboring community. A high school basketball player suffered a heart attack related to hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy on the court and died.

This incident sparked public concern for the health of high school athletes and as a result, our Cardiovascular Service Line partnered with high schools to perform free ultrasound screenings for the detection of HOCM during countywide high school athletic physicals. I coordinated the screening and worked with our Legal Department to develop the necessary parental consent, and secure the staff as well as the ultrasound equipment. I contacted our ultrasound vendors to provide additional equipment the day of the free countywide physicals. I recruited several of our department's registered diagnostic cardiac sonographers to perform the tests. To ensure that each test was expertly read, I worked with community cardiologists to provide interpretations.

We have completed our third year of testing and to date have done 1,081 free cardiac ultrasound screenings for athletes. Applying this concept to another population, we instituted carotid artery screenings to detect stroke warning signs. We identified at-risk individuals with high blood pressure and high cholesterol and invited them to the screenings. Through the local newspaper, we invited all other interested members of the community, as well. After four sessions, we have screened 412 individuals, 160 of whom had positive studies.

Note: The Greater Reading Chapter also received this award. Its exemplar will appear on the Chapter Connection page of a future issue of AACN News.


Do You Receive Critical Care Newsline?
AACN’s Electronic Newsletter Delivered Weekly


Each week, Critical Care Newsline delivers updates on the latest news and important information via e-mail. You’ll find links to articles and Web sites on a variety of topics to keep you informed on issues that affect nurses and the nursing profession.

If you are not receiving Critical Care Newsline, simply e-mail your name, street address and e-mail address to enewsletter@aacn.org. Please indicate whether the street address is for home or work and, if for work, the name of your employer.

Already Signed Up?
Have you provided your e-mail address, but are still not receiving the enewsletter? Check to determine if your Internet provider is inadvertently filtering it into a junk mail folder. For example, Yahoo users, click on “Mail Options” and “Filters”; Hotmail and MSN users on “Contacts,” then “Safe Lists.”


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


Barden McCauley

Health Progress (November-December 2005)—“Toward a Healthy Work Environment: Patient care is better in a workplace in which nurses are treated as respected colleagues” was cowritten by past AACN president Connie Barden, RN, MSN. The authors examined the links among work environment factors, their impact on patient safety and the important role that leaders have in creating change. The article quotes immediate past president Kathy McCauley, RN, PhD, BC, FAAN, FAHA: “There is mounting evidence that unhealthy work environments contribute to medical errors, ineffective delivery of care, and conflict and stress among health professionals … The creation of healthy work environments is imperative to ensure patient safety, enhance staff recruitment and retention, and maintain an organization’s financial viability.”

Nursing Administration Quarterly (July 2005)—“Celebrating Certification in Nursing: Forces of Magnetism in Action” explained that “professional certification in nursing is a measure of distinctive nursing practice.” The article, written by AACN member Maria R. Shirey, RN, MS, MBA, FACHE, CNAA, BC, described the development and implementation of a successful CCRN drive at Deaconess Hospital, Evansville, Ind. “Through relentless pursuit of a predominantly certified nurse workforce, the hospital was able not only to increase the number of certified critical care nurses, but also to galvanize an entire institution’s commitment to certification in nursing and to lead its region in the number of certified nurses it employs.”

Advance for Nurses (Oct. 24, 2005)—“Support From the Top” announced the Best Nurse Leaders for 2005. One of the winners was Gretchen Wolf, RN, MSN, a nurse manager at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn. The article noted, “There is a very real sense of pride and accomplishment among the nursing staff when they look back at how far they’ve come under Wolf’s leadership … She recently mentored a team of staff nurses who prepared a comprehensive application, which won the prestigious Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence from AACN.”

Yahoo News (Nov. 1, 2005)—“Patient Communication Board to Be Featured on TV Series ‘ER’” was the title of an article about the Vidatak EZ board, a lightweight communication board for patients who are either intubated or have difficulty communicating. The board was featured on a then-upcoming episode of the NBC television show ER. The article noted that the device ( product #128510) can be purchased through AACN (www.aacn.org > Bookstore) and included contact information. This article appeared in several other outlets, including Finance Times, News Cycles and eMediawire.

Nursing Spectrum—Critical Care Specialty E-Zine (October 2005)—“AACN Issues Call to Action for Healthy Work Environments” included a link to the article, which originally appeared in the magazine’s March 1, 2005 issue.

Nursing2005 Supplement (October 2005)—“Photo Guide: Help your patient’s ET tube stay put” was written by Jan Foster, RN, CNS, CCRN, PhD, immediate past chair of AACN Certification Corporation. The article detailed how a commercial endotracheal tube holder can improve patient safety and comfort.

PR Week US (Oct. 31, 2005)—“Campaigns: Healthcare PR—VitalSmarts looks to remedy failures in medical comms” reviewed AACN’s collaboration with VitalSmarts, as well as marketing strategy, results and future plans. The article stated, “To help present its research on communications failures plaguing the healthcare industry, VitalSmarts teamed with AACN, which in turn brought in its PR agency, Fleishman-Hillard. The partnership with AACN would give VitalSmarts greater credibility and present the company with the faces and voices of nurses who deal with such communications breakdowns.”

Pantagraph (Sept. 16, 2005)– “Names and Faces” announced that Alexander Johnson of Normal, Ill., received a $1,500 AACN Educational Advancement Scholarship for 2005-2006.

Our Voice at the Table


Johanson Brinker

CEO Wanda Johanson, RN, MN, and AACN President Debbie Brinker, RN, MNS, CCRN, CCNS, represented AACN at a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) stakeholders' meeting in Washington, D.C., with other organizational affiliates. They discussed the importance of encouraging members who are in clinical practice to attend regional stakeholder meetings to share their voices. AACN’s primary role is to provide information to its members and create forums (such as the one at last year’s NTI) to share the perspectives of academicians and advanced practice nurses.

AACN board member John Dixon, RN, MS, MSN, CNA, presented the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments at a Region 15 meeting in Houston, Texas, which was hosted by the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter. He participated in a panel discussion about the standards with two physicians and a nurse administrator, and later presented an AACN update.

AACN board member Roberta Kaplow, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, presented a Webinar on “Creating a Healthy Work Environment” for the Georgia Hospital Association. She gave a historical perspective of AACN’s Healthy Work Environment Initiative, discussed each of the standards and presented strategies for implementation.

Mary Holtschneider, RN, BSN, BC, MPA, NREMT-P, AACN board member, volunteered to staff the North Carolina Center for Nursing booth at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, N.C. She handed out information on nursing programs in North Carolina, scholarship information and general information on how to become a nurse, along with pencils and stickers for children and English/Spanish quick guides with common medical terms for nurses. She also fielded questions from those interested in pursuing a career in nursing.

Mary Holtschneider (left) and Laura Stout
oversaw the North Carolina Center for Nursing
Booth at the North Carolina State Fair.



Judy Verger, RN, MSN, CCRN, CRNP, AACN Certification Corporation chair, and Brinker represented AACN at a Town Hall meeting at Trends in Philadelphia, Pa., with Rose Schaeffer, president of the sponsoring Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter. An AACN update as well as information on new certification initiatives was presented. In addition, McCauley shared information from a recent JCAHO conference. At the Trends conference, Brinker presented the “Engage and Transform” keynote and a clinical session on congenital heart disease in adults. She also toured Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to discuss AACN with neonatal and pediatric colleagues. She conducted a session on collaboration for PICU teams, and answered many questions regarding AACN's support of pediatric practice.

Brinker presented the keynote and a certification talk at the Puget Sound Chapter Symposium in Seattle, Wash.



Hendrickx Schatz

Brinker attended a Hawaiian Islands Chapter conference and Region 16 and 18 meeting. It was a collaborative meeting, with Lori Hendrickx, RN, MS, CCRN, (Region 16 Chapter Advisory Team member) and Katie Schatz, RN, MS, MSN, APRN, CNP, (Region 18 Chapter Advisory Team member) in attendance. Brinker gave the keynote, “Engage and Transform,” as well as a national AACN update.

Brinker attended a meeting of the Siouxland Chapter in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she presented “Engage and Transform” as a keynote and spoke on pediatric trauma case studies. She also toured Heart Hospital.

Brinker spoke at a Northwest Pediatric Critical Care Cooperative meeting in Spokane, Wash. She facilitated a dialogue on team collaboration and discussed ways nurses can optimize patient care by improving communication and collaboration.



Long Reed Woods Hartigan

AACN Certification Corporation Chair-elect Rebecca E. Long, RN, MS, CCRN, CMSRN, and board member Kevin D. Reed, RN-BC, MSN, CNA, attended the National Organization for Competence Assurance Annual Educational Conference in Long Beach, Calif. Also representing AACN were Dana Woods, director of marketing and strategy integration, Patty Uy, certification manager, and Carol Hartigan, RN, certification programs strategist, who also serves as a member of the NOCA Board of Directors for 2005-2007. The conference focused on future trends in nurse credentialing, and featured sessions related to new test delivery methods, enhancing assessment of continued competence and developing new certification programs.


2,668 Recruited in Critical Links Membership Campaign
Participation Offers Opportunities for Rewards at Multiple Levels


Ann J. Brorsen, RN, MSN, AAS, CCRN, of Sun City, Calif., held on to her lead in AACN’s Critical Links membership campaign, but Sonia M. Astle, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, of Burke, Va., and Marianne E. Kraemer, RN, BSN, MPA, CCRN, of Marlton, N.J., both debuted in November with impressive recruitment totals. In fact, the 32 new members recruited by Astle and the 31 new members recruited by Kraemer put them in second and third place, respectively. Brorsen’s total remained at 45.

Other top recruiters and their totals include Mary Beth Reid, RN, CNS, PhD, CCRN, CEN, of Little Elk, Texas, (30); Lydia C. Bautista, RN, BN, BS, CCRN, ACNP-C, of Jacksonville, Fla., (24); Matthew Choate, RN, BSN, CEN, EMT, of Lebanon, N.H., (21); and Caroline Axt, RN, MS, of Oakland, Calif., (20).

Their totals contributed to the 2,668 new members recruited by individuals and chapters since the campaign began May 1. (See chapter totals below.) The campaign ends March 31.

The Rewards
Participation offers recruiters the opportunity to receive valuable rewards, including a $100 American Express gift check awarded in a monthly drawing to members who have recruited five or more members during that month. Todd Douglas Ray, RN, BS, BSN, of Issaquah, Wash., won the gift certificate in the November drawing.

All individual recruiters receive a $25 AACN gift check when they reach the five-new-member level and a $50 AACN gift certificate when they reach the 10-new-member level. They are also eligible for a monthly drawing to receive a $100 American Express gift check in any month they recruit at least one new member.

The top recruiter at the end of the campaign receives a $1,000 American Express gift check. He or she is also eligible for the Grand Prize drawing for a $500 American Express gift check. A total of three grand prizes will be drawn, with anyone recruiting five or more new members during the campaign entered into all three drawings.

Note: For the recruiter to qualify for prizes and drawings, new members must include the recruiter’s name on the “referred by” line of the application.

Other Recruiters
Following are the other members who have recruited five or more new members:

Philip Abenojar, Angela J. Bentley, Laura Jean Bergman, Betty Nash Blevins, Cheryl L. Bond, Jeannine Brennan, Marylee R. Bressie, Deborah H. Brown, Yolanda W. Carilimdiliman, Kathryn V. Clark, Lucy A. Clevenger, Phyllis B. Coley, Bettielou Conerly, Carmen R. Davis, Elizabeth S. Dunning, Deborah L. Erickson, Dorothy J. Flowers, Melinda Foster, Deslin Francois, Carla J. Freeman, Barbara S. Frey, Ariana G. Gross, Lisa S. Guy, Karen T. Haigh, Debbie Jean Hansen, Susan M. Huber, Karen A. Jeffries, Amy L. Jones, Alex Koutsos, Cristine P. Kramer, Cynthia M. LaFond, Camia M. Las Dulce, Maria A. Laxina, Paula A. Lusardi, Christina R. MacLean, Laura L. Madden, Jill C. Markle, Kathleen A. McCarthy, L. Jennifer McFarlane, Vicki McKimmey, Julie S. Miller, Ngozi I. Moneke, Alice B. Moulton, Paulita D. Narag, Nancy Lee Neal, Maria A. Nicasio, Vivian F. Norman, Linda Ann Novak, Linda Nylander-Housholder, Benilda M. Oliquino, Phillip Y. Parcon, Ellen Peller, Iveline J. Pennie, Emma L. Pounders, Coleen K. Rakers, Kathleen M. Richuso, Susan M. Roberti, Elin Roberts, Cheryl Rockwell, Kimberly T. Rupp, Donna B. Sabash, Joyce M. Schmaltz, Cathy H. Schuster, Charlene Schwinne, Jamie M. Sicard, Linda G. Smiley, Cheryl A. Stacy, Christine Stinson, Leslie A. Swadener-Culpepper, Linda S. Thomas, Bonnie W. Wiggins, Maria Amor Wild, Jackie S. Yon, Faith Y. Young-Gouda, Cynthia L. Zaletel, Pam Zinnecker.

To see the complete list of campaign recruiters and their totals, visit the AACN Web site.


On the Agenda


Agenda Item: Operations Report
The board discussed and approved the Operations Report that details the status of various initiatives to develop education and evidenced-based practice resources, programs and services that acute and critical care nurses need to provide optimal care to patients.

Highlights of the report included the fact that, following extensive review, the NTI Work Group selected 225 speakers to present at NTI 2006 in Anaheim, Calif. (See page 1.) The speakers were chosen from among 1,150 abstracts submitted for consideration. Several new learning opportunities were added, including topics related to disaster preparedness and Hurricane Katrina, and sessions focusing on healthy work environments and the AACN Standards for a Healthy Work Environment.

Agenda Item: Strategic Market Research Findings Report
The board reviewed the results of recent market research, conducted to help the association plan for meeting the needs of a broadening base of nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients. The research seeks feedback from a variety of perspectives, including current members and past members and their perceptions of and satisfaction with AACN. The findings are also helpful to AACN in determining the association’s relevance to acute and critical care nurses in various roles.

Agenda Item: Strategic Plan and Operating Plan
The multiyear AACN Strategic Plan is evaluated each year in November to determine whether it is still on track to advance the mission of the association. If not, changes are made. At the same time, the board undertakes a midyear review of the more tactical AACN Operating Plan to determine if it is still on an appropriate course to meet the needs of acute and critical care nurses or whether any initiatives warrant reframing. Each 18-month Operating Plan and, in turn, the annual budget, are framed around the Strategic Plan.

Agenda Item: Audit and Finance Reports
The audit report by the accounting firm of Langan Associates was presented and approved. According to the firm, the statements for FY05 fairly present the financial positions of AACN and its subsidiaries. The auditors also noted that changes in net assets and cash flows conform to generally accepted accounting principles.

For the first time, the audit was overseen by the newly established Audit Committee, which was formed to comply with the California Nonprofit Integrity Act of 2004. Serving on the committee for 2005-2006 are AACN President-elect Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, FAAN, AACN Treasurer Nancy Blake, RN, MN, CCRN, CNAA, AACN Certification Corporation Chair-elect Rebecca E. Long, RN, MS, CCRN, CMSRN, AACN Certification Corporation Secretary-Treasurer Kevin D. Reed, RN, MSN, CNA, BC, and immediate past AACN Treasurer Deb Laughon, RN, BSN, MSN, PhD, CCRN.

The board also approved the finance report as of Aug. 31, 2005. The board monitors financials on a regular basis to ensure that the association can adequately fund long-term activities and needs. The association remains strong financially.

Agenda Item: Strategic Thinking Committee Report
The Strategic Thinking Committee (formerly Strategic Planning Committee) is a subgroup of the board that meets twice a year with key national office staff to take a more in-depth look at major insights and issues that surface during board discussions throughout the year. Expanded applications for the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care as an organizing framework and how to best meet the needs of and tap the expertise of advanced practice nurses were the focus of the September Strategic Thinking Committee meeting reported to the board in November.

Agenda Item: Work Groups
The board approved volunteer work groups for 2006-2007. Continuing for the year are the Advanced Practice, Ethics, NTI, Healthy Work Environment Work Group and Research work groups. In addition, the board discussed the selection of chairs for each group, focusing on the leadership competencies that will be needed.

Agenda Item: National Office Visit
The board members also had the opportunity to visit the AACN National Office in Aliso Viejo, Calif., and to meet with staff members. This was a great opportunity to observe the National Office operations in action and further the important partnership between the board and staff.

Advance Your Learning With an Educational Advancement Scholarship


Applications for AACN’s BSN Completion and Graduate Completion Educational Advancement Scholarships for the 2006-2007 academic year are now being accepted. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2006.

AACN awards the scholarships to help advance the art and science of critical care nursing and to promote nursing professionalism. AACN members who are registered nurses completing a baccalaureate or graduate degree program in nursing are eligible to apply.

Each recipient receives $1,500 for the academic year. Scholarship funds may be applied toward tuition, fees, books and supplies, as long as the recipient is continuously enrolled in a program accredited by the state board of nursing in the recipient’s state.

Applicants must be members of AACN and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. They must be currently working in critical care or have previously worked in critical care for at least one of the last three years.

In addition, applicants for the BSN Completion Scholarship must have junior or upper division status for the fall semester; Graduate Completion Scholarship applicants must be currently enrolled in a planned course of graduate study that leads to a master’s or doctoral degree or in the clinical practicum. At least 20% of the scholarships are allocated to qualified, ethnic minority applicants.

For more information or to obtain an application for a BSN Completion or Graduate Completion Educational Advancement Scholarship, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #1017, or visit the AACN Web.


Submit Abstracts Online for NTI 2007 in Atlanta, Ga.



June 1, 2006, is the deadline to submit educational program speaker proposals, including chapter-related proposals, for NTI 2007, May 19 through 24 in Atlanta, Ga. Abstracts can be submitted online at www.aacn.org > Education > Speaker Materials/Information.


What’s Coming in February in Critical Care Nurse?


• Stress Ulcer Prophylaxis in Critically Ill Patients

• Drawing Activated PTT from Peripheral Venous Access Devices

• Nesiritide: The New Kid on the Block for Heart Failure

• Amiodarone as Prophylaxis Against Atrial Fibrillation

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


Looking Ahead


February 2006

Feb. 9 Joint Commission Resources audio conference in collaboration with AACN scheduled from 12:30 to 2 p.m. (EST). “Implementing the 2006 National Patient Safety
Goals in Acute and Critical Care” is the topic. For more information, call (877) 223-6866 or visit the JCR Web site.


March 2006

March 16 Deadline to apply to take the paper-and-pencil version of the CCRN, PCCN, CMC and CSC certification exams on April 27 at Trends in Trauma and Cardiovascular
Nursing in Philadelphia, Pa. The special Trends Exam Handbook and Application as well as study resources are now available online at
www.certcorp.org > What’s New.

March 31 Critical Links member recruitment campaign ends. To see the complete list of campaign recruiters and totals, visit the AACN Web site.

April 2006

April 1 Deadline to apply for AACN BSN Completion and Graduate Completion Educational Advancement Scholarships for the 2006-2007 academic year. For more information
or to obtain an application for a BSN Completion or Graduate Completion Educational Advancement Scholarship, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #1017, or visit
the AACN Web site.

April 4 Deadline to apply to take the paper-and-pencil version of the CCRN, CCNS, PCCN, CMC and CSC certification exams on May 22 at the NTI in Anaheim, Calif.

May 2006

May 20-25 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, Anaheim, Calif. For more information, visit the AACN Web site.
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