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Vol. 23, No. 3, MARCH 2006


Engage and Transform: Help Decide the Future of AACN


By Beverly George-Gay, RN, MSN, and Traci Hoiting, RN, MS, ACNP-BC
AACN Nominating Committee

Throughout the year, AACN President Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, has challenged us to make a difference. Have you?

The annual election of members of the AACN Board of Directors and AACN Nominating Committee is one way you can. Voting is now under way online at www.aacn.org/Vote.

You may ask, however, “How important is one vote?”

Too often, we assume that an individual vote is meaningless in an organization the size of AACN. In reality, the power of one may be the determining factor in deciding our future leadership. The question is, are you that one?

Some of us may overlook the opportunity

to vote because we don’t know the candidates personally. Be assured that the slate of candidates presented by the AACN Nominating Committee represent extremely talented individuals who have undergone a rigorous evaluation process to assess their leadership capabilities.

The Nominating Committee has completed its charge and presented the candidates. Information about the candidates appears below and is also available online (www.aacn.org).

The rest is up to you. Engage. Take the time to review the candidate statements, experiences and activities. Then, make the effort to Transform by voting.
AACN currently has approximately 65,000 members, a number that is growing. Our goal is to achieve at least 15% participation in the 2006 election. Please help us meet this goal by casting your vote today. Voting will close at 11:59 p.m. (CST) April 16.

Always vote for a principle, though you vote alone, and you may cherish the sweet reflection that your vote is never lost.
—John Quincy Adams

Members of the AACN Nominating Committee for
2005-2006 are (from left, seated) Roberta Kaplow,
Traci Hoiting, JoAnne Phillips and Paula Lusardi
and (from left, standing) Beverly George-Gay,
Caryl Goodyear-Bruch, Kathy McCauley, Jan Foster,
Jackie Yon, Wanda Johanson, Kathryn Roberts,
Dana Woods and Beth Martin.


Brinker
McCauley

Dear Fellow AACN Members:

We encourage each of you to make your voice heard and VOTE in the annual AACN election. Please take the time to review the candidate information presented here and participate in this important process.

Voting means more than simply checking the ballot boxes. It is a fundamental membership benefit that allows you to help choose the future leaders of your professional organization.
hese individuals will be responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization and will speak on your behalf in a wide range of settings to ensure the voice of acute and critical care nurses influences the future of healthcare.

As nursing leaders within AACN, we don’t need to tell you how important it is to ensure a strong future leadership for AACN. Today, we ask you—our most committed AACN colleagues—to exercise your leadership by evaluating the candidates and using your voice to vote in the election. Your vote will make a difference in the future of AACN.

Engage and transform.

Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS
AACN President

Kathy McCauley, RN, PhD, BC, FAAN, FAHA
AACN Immediate Past President
Chair, AACN Nominating Committee

Voting Is Easy!

Simply visit www.aacn.org to vote for members of the AACN Board of Directors and AACN Nominating Committee. Click on “Vote” icon and log in, using your eight-digit member number (including leading zeros) and password (your last name). Online ballots must be completed by 11:59 p.m. (CST) April 16.

No Web access? No problem. Simply contact AACN at (800) 394-5995, ext. 331, or e-mail pat.mallette@aacn.org to obtain a paper ballot.

Additional candidate information is available online and can also be accessed directly from the ballot.

Meet the Candidates

Candidate for President-Elect

M. Dave Hanson, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNS
Cardiovascular Surgery
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clarian Health Partners—Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, Ind.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Member since 1992
• Board of Directors, Treasurer, 2002-04
• Board of Directors, 2001-02

Dallas County Chapter:
• Member since 1992
• Past-President, 2000-01
Central Indiana Chapter:
• Member since 2005

Indiana University Alumni Association, 1992-present
Association of Nurses Endorsing Transplantation, 1997-05
Dallas Clinical Nurse Specialist Council, 2000-03
American Society for Training and Development, 2000-03
Emergency Nurses Association, 2001-04
Emergency Nurses Association, Dallas County Chapter, 2001-04
National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, 2001-present

Issues Statement
Nurses must be as proficient in communication skills as we are in clinical skills. Some might find it unusual that, in the Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments, AACN chose to differentiate communication from other clinical skills. I find it reassuring. In much of healthcare today, skilled communication is in very short supply. Even more disturbing is that it is often pigeonholed as “nice if you have it,” not as the essential skill that it is.

We provide healthcare through human interactions making communication the oxygen of those interactions. Without it, patient and caregiver safety is at serious risk. Quality care becomes nearly impossible to deliver. Achieving goals becomes hit-and-miss and even if we succeed, the odds of sustaining it are stacked against us.

I see AACN’s future as one of endless possibility and opportunity, with the ultimate power of transforming lives—of patients, their families and our own. I also detect a tremendous gap between today’s communication inadequacies and those communication skills we must acquire. Without them, we cannot fulfill our social responsibility to speak up, for and about what we know to be right and wrong in healthcare.

In his book, Awakening the Leader Within, Kevin Cashman tells the compelling story of a man facing a deluge of personal, professional and ethical crises. I recognize myself in that story and realize that my conscious decision to learn how to communicate more effectively was the turning point in confronting my own defining moments.

We can make educated predictions about defining moments that lie ahead, but predicting when those moments might happen is more difficult. We have but one choice—to channel our talent, energy and resources toward closing the communications gap. We will know it is closing when our communication becomes more frequent and respectful, and when the art of dialogue becomes second nature. AACN stands ready to support us in preparing ourselves to answer the call for our bold voice, and I stand ready to lead AACN in doing so.

Candidates for AACN Board of Directors
Vote for 4

Julie Miller, RN, BSN, CCRN
Staff Development Educator
Critical Care
Trinity Mother Frances Health System, Tyler, Texas

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Nominating Committee, 2003-04
• AACN/CCRN Ambassador, 1999-present
• Member since 1986

Greater East Texas Chapter:
• Nominating Committee Chair, 2005-present
• Education Committee Co-Chair, 2002-05
• Board Member, 2002-05
• Member, 1995-present

Prince of Peace Catholic Church
• Parish Council Past President, 2005-06;
• Parish Council President, 2002-05

Issues Statement
We are a scientific, innovative profession that stands on compassionate and caring values. Yet in our own institutions, we often tolerate unprofessional, demoralizing and unhealthy work environments. I believe the work environment is the key issue impacting the critical care nurse's ability to meet patient and family needs. Healthy work environments empower nurses to provide healing and humane care. At the same time, unhealthy work environments contribute to the nursing shortage. As a profession we must be willing to stand together, step outside the box and empower ourselves with the tools to create and maintain healthy work environments.

As individuals we can partner with one another, be accountable for changing our own behavior, and utilize the AACN position statements on Zero Tolerance for Abuse, Moral Distress and Workplace Violence Prevention, and the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments. We can stand together to meet patient and family needs, while remaining empowered to care for ourselves. As the voice for critical care nursing, we must focus on solutions that empower the bedside nurse to guarantee safe passage for our patients. We can partner with other nursing and healthcare organizations that are studying, developing and implementing solutions. We must join together and work tirelessly to ensure the work environment is healthy so that nurses want to remain at the bedside and so that our youth are attracted to nursing for generations to come. If we do not implement change now, there will be devastating consequences for nurses, patients and families.

If we are to guide our own destiny, then we must be a part of the solution. If we do not engage and strive for transformation, then we as a profession are at great risk for unhealthy, demoralizing behaviors that stand to threaten the very essence of our profession.

Marian Altman, RN, MS, CCRN, ANP
Clinical Nurse Specialist in CCU
VCU Health System, Richmond, Va.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• NTI Work Group Chair, 2005-06
• Board Advisory Team, 2000-03, 2004-05
• NTI Work Group, 2003-04
• Advanced Practice Advisory Group, 2000-01
• Membership Advisory Panel, 1999-00

Greater Richmond Area Chapter:
• Odyssey Symposium Co-chair, 2004-06
• Treasurer, 2002-04
• Flowsheet Publisher, 2000-02
• Certification Dinner Co-chair, 2000

International Transplant Nurses Society Board of
Directors, 2002-05
Editorial Review Board Member for Progress in
Transplantation, September 2002-05

Issues Statement
One key issue affecting critical care nurses today and in the future is a projected shortage of registered nurses unlike any shortage experienced in the past. The current registered nurse workforce is aging, and the number of students who choose nursing as a career is decreasing. Dr. Peter Buerhaus, a noted nursing economist, projects that the number of nurses per capita will peak in 2007 and decline steadily thereafter. I believe it is critical to develop strategies to recruit potential nurses and retain our current workforce.

There is no one formula for success, but quality patient care and quality workplaces improve nurse satisfaction and job embeddedness. In 2001, AACN made a commitment to actively promote the creation of healthy work environments that support and foster excellence in patient care wherever acute and critical care nurses practice. This commitment is based upon AACN’s dedication to optimal patient care and the recognition that the deepening nurse shortage cannot be reversed without healthy work environments that support excellence in nursing practice.

AACN recognizes the link between the quality of the work environment, excellent nursing practice and patient care outcomes. Six standards have been identified. The standards are skilled communication, true collaboration, effective decision-making, appropriate staffing, meaningful recognition and authentic leadership. Critical elements for successful implementation accompany each standard. These elements coupled with other strategies such as recruitment of nursing students through part time employment and through hiring incentives, and community outreach encouraging youth, teens and adults to enter nursing will enhance nursing staff recruitment and retention. AACN has provided a template for action.
Commitment and action are required of all acute care and critical care nurses to ensure an environment that meets the needs of our patients and their families.

Karen Stutzer-Treimel, RN, MS, CCRN, APN,C
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Cardiac
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, N.J.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Member since 1985
• Healthy Work Environment Work Group, 2005
• Nominating Committee, 2003
• Excellence in Leadership Award, 2001

Northern New Jersey Chapter
• Member since 1988
• Board of Directors, 2001, 2003-05
• Treasurer, 2002

Issues Statement
Moral distress has been described as the psychological disequilibrium that occurs when a person knows the correct moral action to take but is unable to follow through due to organizational constraints. Events occur daily in intensive care units around the country that cause personal and professional anguish to critical care nurses. I believe that it is possible to change the experience of moral distress by committing to the creation of healthy work environments.

Bold and courageous leaders have identified the standards that will create environments that are safe for patients, satisfy nurses professionally and result in improved clinical outcomes. AACN’s Healthy Work Environment Work Group identified that the existence of skilled communication, authentic leadership, meaningful recognition, appropriate staffing, effective decision making and true collaboration are required to support and sustain environments that would result in all of us being able to live the AACN vision, making our optimal contribution toward the care of critically ill patients and their families.

I picture critical care settings in which discussions regarding the benefits and risks of treatments are carefully and clearly communicated so that patients and families are able to make informed decisions. These discussions would be truly collaborative and always take place with the family and all of the members of the healthcare team at the table. I imagine an environment in which staffing is such that nurses do not feel that they are forced to make choices that leave them with little time to truly meet patient and family needs.

Clear and respectful communication, collaboration and time to address the needs of patients would diminish the level of moral distress experienced by critical care nurses. I am committed to working relentlessly toward the creation and support of organizations that embody the standards identified as crucial to a healthy work environment.

Joy Speciale, RN, MBA, CCRN
Asst Director Cardiology Services, CVICU, CCU, Cardiac Intermediate Care
Hinsdale Hospital, Hinsdale, Ill.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Chapter Advisory Team Member, Region 11, 2005-06
• Spring Board Advisory Team, 2005
• Fall Board Advisory Team, 2005
• Spring Board Community Liaison, 2005
• Co-chair, Multi-Region Meeting (Region 8, 10 and 13), September 2005
• Co-Chapter Advisory Team Member, Region 11, 2004-05
• Fall Board Advisory Team, 2004
• Chapter Advisory Team Member, Region 10, 2003-05
• AACN/CCRN Ambassador Program, 2000-present

Northwest Chicago Area Chapter:
• Past President, 2004-05
• President, 2003-04
• Board Member, 1998-present

Greater Chicago Area Chapter:
• Board of Directors member, 2000-02
• Chapter member since 1991

Chicago West Suburban Chapter:
• Member since 2001

AACN Midwest Conference:
• Hotel Liaison, 2005-06
• Conference Chair, 2002 and 2005
• Co-Conference Chair, 2003
• Special Projects, 2004
• Hospitality and Marketing Chair, 2001
• Program Committee, 1999-2005

Community Activities:
• National Catholic Nurses Association, member since 2000
• Chairperson, American Heart Association Heart Walk Team, Hinsdale Hospital, 2001
• Chairperson, American Heart Association Heart Walk Team, Westlake Hospital, 1998-2000
• American Red Cross 5-year service pin, 2000
• CO-Chair, Resurrection Health Care Cardiac Symposium, 2000

Issues Statement
A major issue affecting not only critical care, but also the entire healthcare industry is the prevalence of medical errors. According to the November 1999 report of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” as many as 44,000 to 98,000 people die in hospitals each year as the result of medical errors. Patient safety has become first and foremost in the minds of patients, families, healthcare workers, hospital administrators and the general public.

In today’s fast-paced, high-acuity environment, the potential for error is always present. Issues like staffing shortages, longer working hours and higher patient acuity have been associated with an increased risk of medical errors. The IOM report stated “The key to reducing medical errors is to focus on improving the systems of delivering care and not to blame individuals … research has shown that system improvements can reduce the error rates and improve the quality of health care.”

As critical care nurses, we must take leadership in the solution to this growing issue. Because not all errors can be prevented, it is necessary to focus on systems that diminish the risk of failure. We need to create an environment that is looking for system breakdowns without continually looking for blame. We need to reduce the consequences of error in the medical setting by continuing to pursue evidence-based practice. Our patients deserve a culture of safety. AACN will continue to be a leader in education for its members and the public. We must maintain high standards of professional practice excellence to ensure patient health and safety. I believe we must be a leader to maintain a culture that focuses on patient safety, fail-safe systems, and credibility with accountability for our own actions.

Kristine J. Peterson, RN, MS, CCNS, CCRN
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Methodist Hospital Park Nicollet Health Services
Plymouth, Minn.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Advanced Practice Work Group Chair, 2005-06; member, 2003-04
• NTI Work Group, 2004-05
• Research Work Group, 1998-2000
• Chapter Adviser, 2000-02

Greater Twin Cities Area Chapter:
• Past President
• Member and Past Chair, Research Committee
• Past Program Chair
• Past Treasurer

Issues Statement
The nursing shortage looms. It is complex and multifactorial. At least a part of the solution lies within nursing itself. As nurses, we can do much to promote our challenging and rewarding profession. We can, according to the Act Boldly and Healthy Work Environments initiatives, take action to improve the health of our workplaces. We can commit to being an active part of the solution. We can commit to evidence-based practice.

Considering the depth and complexity of patient assignments, the critical care nurse’s time is precious. We need to be sure that the interventions we use are effective and based on science. There are numerous examples of patient outcomes that are directly related to nursing actions. For example, the relationship between HOB elevation, oral care and ventilator-associated pneumonia; the relationship between movement and pressure ulcers; the importance of optimal sedation to ventilator days; and the importance of using tools to identify alcohol withdrawal or delirium early so that they can be optimally managed.

All of these, and more, are examples of nursing interventions that have a direct effect on patient outcomes, and therefore patient length of stay and hospital costs. When we apply the evidence-based interventions to these situations, we can demonstrate in concrete terms what nursing care does for patients and for an institution. One of our most important challenges is for us to create the work environments we need and demonstrate the value of nursing care. Critical care nurses are in the best position for both of these.

Mary Stahl, RN, MSN, APRN, BC, CCNS, CCRN
Clinical Nurse Specialist
St. Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City, Mo.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• CCNS Exam Development Committee, 2006
• NTI or API presenter in 2001-05
• NTI Work Group, 2005
• PCCN Item Writer, 2004
• PCCN SAE Committee, 2004
• Scholarship Review Panel & Awards Review Panel, 2004
• Research & Creative Solutions Abstract Review Panel, 2004

Kansas City Chapter:
• Panel member, “How to Write a Winning NTI Abstract,” 2004
• Presenter, “Handheld Computers (PDAs) for the Bedside Nurse,” 2004
• Presenter, “Acute Coronary Syndromes—IIb or Not IIb?,” 2001

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists:
• Affiliate Advisory Committee, 2003-present
• Abstract reviewer for national conference, 2004-05

Greater Kansas City CNS Group:
• Member, 1996-present
• President-Elect, 2002
• President, 2003
• Presenter, “Expanding Charlotte’s Web: The APN Role with Multi-Site Responsibilities,” 2002

Issues Statement
Maintaining a workforce of qualified nurses in acute and critical care is essential to the health of our nation and includes retention of a diverse pool of nurses. One area of diversity needing attention is generational differences.

Without waving the paintbrush of stereotypes, it is concerning that many nurses entering the profession gain new knowledge and skills, then quickly move to new employment opportunities seeking additional variety in experiences. This “came, conquered, moving on” approach serves to diversify their abilities, rather than reflecting a desire to escape an unsatisfactory environment. This leaves employers scrambling to refill positions and other staff in a perpetual cycle of precepting new nurses, draining energy for other endeavors to improve their workplace. Long orientations in critical care intensify this problem. Short employments exacerbate the challenge of engaging nurses in transforming their environment, when they don’t expect to stay in that environment over the time needed to realize benefits from that change. If newer nurses don’t engage in enhancing our work environments, we are shut off from fresh, innovative ideas, their energy and passion. Short employment nurses face consequences of not being exposed to varied learning opportunities that occur when one has a stable workplace and support group to reach out from and grow.

Innovative solutions are needed to optimize the contributions of all nurses. This may include new patterns for orientation that don’t rely on long timeframes and new methods of engaging nurses so personal growth is stimulated and peers and environments benefit from all their talents. Fresh approaches are needed to integrate this participation to achieve needed outcomes without sacrificing work-life balance or devastating budgets. AACN is uniquely positioned to lead efforts in this regard, with an extensive membership representing key stakeholders, and a history of transformational and innovative leadership for our profession.

Candidates for AACN Nominating Committee
Vote for 3

Mary Bylone, RN, BS, CCRN
Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services
William W. Backus Hospital, Norwich, Conn.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Fall Board Advisory Team, 2005
• Awards Review Panel, 2004
• Fall Board Advisory Team, 2004
• Ambassador, 2002-present

Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter:
• Member of the following committees:
—Financial Oversight, Education, Informatics, TRENDS sub-committee, Research
• Immediate Past-President, 2005-06
• President, 2004-05
• President-elect, 2003-04
• Board of Directors, 2002-03

Southern Shore Chapter member
Vineland Breakfast Rotary, Past Secretary and Publicity Chair, 1998-2002
East Vineland Little League, Coach, Board Member, Secretary, Vice President 1997-2004
Boy Scouts of America, Den Leader, Unit Commissioner, Cub Scout Day Camp Director, New Leader, Trainer 1995-2002

Issues Statement
The publishing of the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments set the stage for every critical care nurse to look closely at their workplace to find evidence of these standards or identify opportunities for improvement. When I read the standards, I realize that a key factor to their success starts with the leadership of the unit.
espite the obvious importance of this key position, nurses are promoted every day into management positions because of their clinical competence alone. Many are left to figure out a management style and some are set up to fail. Why then aren’t we paying more attention to this process of selection and development? Why aren’t we insisting that resources be available for the new leader to utilize as they move into their new role? When will we step in and establish standards for “management competence”?

The work done on the Healthy Work Environment Standards clearly spells out the need to commit to the development of nursing leaders, yet healthcare organizations are not adequately addressing this situation. As I travel around speaking to nurse leaders, I hear consistently of the lack of management development that is available to them. Internal development programs are missing; time away from the job is discouraged; and financial reimbursement is minimal. As a professional organization, we need to ensure the opportunity for management growth through mentoring and continued education. At the end of the AACN publication on the healthy work environment is a “call to action.” That call is addressed to all of us to “fulfill our obligation … where excellence is the goal.” My goal is to bridge the gap utilizing the resources and credibility of AACN. We cannot have a healthy work environment without excellence in management. Every nurse deserves to work for a competent manager.

Linda Griego Martinez, MSN, RN, CCRN, APRN-BC
Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nursing Supervisor
Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque, N.M.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Awards & Scholarship Committee, 2003-05
• PCCN Exam Item Writer, 2004
• Board Advisory Team, 2003-04
• Ambassador, 2003-present
• Advanced Practice Work Group, 2002-03

Albuquerque Chapter:
• Secretary, 2003-04

American College of Cardiology
• Nurse liaison for the state of New Mexico chapter

American Heart Association
• Council on Cardiovascular Nursing, 1990 to present

Issues Statement
One issue facing critical care nursing today is that of improving the transition of patients with chronic conditions to end-of-life care. This is important for three reasons. One reason is that it is the right thing to do for patients. Most people want to die at home and be kept comfortable. Most do not want to die in the hospital. The truth is that most people are afraid to die and often panic when the end comes. It is very hard for families to make decisions about end-of-life care. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life is talk with my 89-year-old mother about being made DNR. Because advanced technology has allowed people with chronic illnesses to live longer, they die a slower death. It is up to us to guide these people when continued care becomes futile.

In a recent study, authors Meltzer and Huckabay show a significant correlation between the frequency of providing perceived futile care to emotional exhaustion, which is a main component of “burnout.”1 Even though this study was small, N=60, the implications are large. With the nursing shortage, we can’t be losing nurses because of futile care.
We also need to improve transition of people with chronic illnesses into end-of-life care because the cost to our healthcare system is tremendous. It is well documented in the literature how much is spent on patients in the last year of their life.

We’ve made some progress with the push for advance directives, but we still need to learn from our hospice colleagues how to approach people about this difficult subject. We have a responsibility to our patients and their families to guide them through all phases of their illness including death.

Reference
1 Meltzer LS, Huckabay LM. Critical care nurses’ perceptions of futile care and its effect on burnout. Am J Crit Care. 2004;13:202-208.

Michele L. Manning, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS
Director of Nursing/Patient Services MICU/SICU
Akron General Medical Center,
Akron, Ohio

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Member since 1991
• Board Advisory Team, 2004-05
• Continuing Education Articles Review Panel, 2003, 2004, 2005
• Awards Review Panel, 2004

Greater Akron Area Chapter:
• Secretary, 2006
• Board of Directors, 2004-05
• Past president-elect, 2003
• Past president, 2001-02
• Founder, 2001

SCCM, NACNS member, since 2000

Sigma Theta Tau, Delta Omega Chapter, since 1995

STT Nominating Committee, 2004.

Summit County American Heart Association Nursing Education Committee
• Member and Past Chair, 1998

Summit County American Stroke Association’s Community Programs Task Force for Operation Stroke Awareness member, 1998-2001

Issues Statement
Like many, I am concerned about the nursing shortage and if there will be adequate, quality healthcare in the future. This is the reason why I support and have begun implementation of the AACN Standards For Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments into my workplace. If nursing leaders can incorporate these six standards and guidelines into the work setting, I believe we will be able to recruit and retain intelligent, qualified nurses.

The standards and guidelines are skilled communication, true collaboration, effective decision making, appropriate staffing, meaningful recognition and authentic leadership. Effective communication is vital to patient safety; however, it is just as important to our relationships with our peers, colleagues and families. Miscommunication often causes delays, errors and sometimes conflicts.

Although nurses are the predominant caregiver, we cannot meet all our patients needs alone. We must work together to develop collaborative, respectful relationships with the healthcare team and work in synchrony to provide seamless, quality care. Nurses must also be involved in decisions that impact their practice. The best ideas and solutions come from nurses, who are in a prime position to determine the feasibility, and evaluate effectiveness. Greater job satisfaction will result from having a voice, and the authority and autonomy to make these decisions.

Nurses must have the resources they need to provide timely, quality care. These resources include adequate staffing, including support staff, sufficient supplies and equipment, and efficient systems and technology. And they should be valued for their contributions through timely, sincere recognition. Lastly, nursing leaders need to be supported, mentored, educated, coached and prepared to lead. If hospital administrators and nurse leaders commit to these standards and strive to improve the workplace environment, we will attract intelligent men and women into the nursing profession.

Linda A. Prinkey-Briggs, MSN, APRN, BC-ACNP & ANP, CCRN
Nurse Practitioner-Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies, Washington, D.C.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Test Specification Task Force, 2006
• Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Exam Item Writer Committee, 2006
• Cardiac Surgery Practice Analysis Task Force, 2004
• Cardiac Surgery Exam Development Committee, 2004
• Cardiac Surgery Item Writing Committee, 2004

Greater Washington Area Chapter:
• President, 2004-05
• President-elect, 2003-04

Society of Critical Care Medicine member

Cardiac Care Associates-American College of Cardiology member

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty member

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners member

Nurse Practitioner Association of the District of Columbia member

Issues Statement
One of the most important issues affecting critical care nurses and other health professionals today is the explosion of information regarding health and the care of individuals experiencing illness or injury. Every single day there are new research findings that need to be interpreted and potentially integrated into practice. The sheer volume of new information is staggering. The impact of this ever-expanding body of knowledge is amplified in acute and critical care, where patients often teeter between improving and deteriorating conditions.
ecause even small changes in practice can have a significant impact in these settings, nurses in acute and critical care need easy and expeditious ways to obtain the most up-to-date, evidence-based practice recommendations as well as ready access to research findings.

Through such vehicles as practice alerts and electronic newsletters, AACN is already providing its members with a multitude of tools to keep abreast of the latest developments in the care of acutely and critically ill patients and their families. However, we must endeavor to find even better ways to bring the information directly to the bedside, where it can be applied to improve the lives of our patients and their families. AACN should be on the forefront in urging hospitals to provide user-friendly Internet access to health-related information on every nursing unit. Furthermore, AACN should continue to develop free electronic products that put needed information at the users’ fingertips.

Although easy access to new information is important, we must also improve awareness of all the tools that are available, and help nurses incorporate the information into practice. The national leadership, local chapters and advanced practice nurses need to intensify their efforts to help bedside nurses use all available knowledge and skills to make their optimal contributions to improve outcomes for patients and their families.

Renee Twibell, DNS, RN
Associate Professor of Nursing, PCU Staff Nurse, Administrative Faculty Associate, Nurse Researcher
Ball State University,
Ball Memorial Hospital,
Muncie, Ind.

Experience and Activities

AACN:
• Member since 1999
• Excellence in Caring Practice Award recipient, 2005
• Research Grant Review Committee, 2004-05
• Scholarship Review Committee, 2005
• NTI Speaker, 200-05
• Ambassador, 2003-present
• Region 9 Regional Meeting presenter, 2003, 2004
• Faculty Liaison Committee, 2001-02

White River Chapter:
• Member since 1999
• Co-Chair “Go Red for Women” Community Education Committee, 2005-06
• Awards Committee Member, 2004-present
• Community Service Chairperson, 2004-present
• Past President, 2004-05
• President, 2003-04
• President-Elect, 2002-03
• Strategic Planning Chairperson, 2003
• Board of Directors, 2000-05
• Liaison Chairperson, 2000-02

Midwest Nursing Research Society
• Acute Care Section Chair, 2002-03
• Nominating Committee, 1999-2001
• Research Abstract Reviewer, 1999-2002
• Conference Presenter, 1993-2005
• Member, 1983-2005
American Heart Association, 2000-present
• Heart and Stroke Network
• County Advisory Board

Issues Statement
An array of intravenous fluids hangs suspended, dripping at varying rates into a single access site secured near the patient’s neck. Each bag is unique, yet all contents converge in the blood stream to create hope and healing for critical illness.
An array of major issues faces nursing today, suspended in a context of crisis and human suffering. Each issue has its own unique composition, yet all merge in one common place. If this common bloodstream is wisely infused, hope and healing can result for a profession.
The common bloodstream from which the future of nursing flows is the work environment. Like individually unique medications that join together in a patient’s body, the issues facing nursing today converge in the workplace. Nursing shortages, patient safety, evidence-based practice, violence, end-of-life care – all of these issues occur in a workplace and are made better or worse by the characteristics of that workplace.
Nationally, AACN is a prominent voice for healthy work environments. Legislators and leaders learn from AACN that healthy environments increase nurse satisfaction. Satisfied nurses stay employed longer and become expert practitioners. Expertise at the bedside drives desirable outcomes. Patients and families are safer. Consumer loyalty increases. Collaborative relationships flourish. Workplace abuse declines. Nursing shortages become less acute. Evidence-based practice becomes consistent. Healthcare economies prosper.
Locally, AACN speaks to the hearts and minds of individual nurses, encouraging us to contribute to healthy workplaces. We are inspired daily toward nursing excellence. We benefit from professional role models in leadership. We receive tools for difficult conversations. We learn to develop synergy with patients, families, colleagues and peers. We access resources for evidence-based practice.
Drop by drop, conversation by conversation, decision by decision, healthy workplaces emerge. We feel ourselves getting stronger, and we celebrate. AACN is in our blood.


Disaster Response: A Hot Topic at Upcoming NTI


AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition is the world’s largest educational conference and exposition for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients. At NTI, there are opportunities to learn about many issues that critical care nurses face every day.

In the wake of recent hurricane devastation along the Gulf Coast, disaster response has become an increasingly important area of concern for all medical professionals, especially critical care nurses. NTI sessions concerning this important area will include:

• Hurricane Katrina: Critical Care Nurses on the Front Lines
• Disaster Case Studies: Lessons Learned
• Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready?

In the exposition hall, Exhibit CE sessions will be presented on transport nursing topics. Among the many items on display will be two ambulances and a Bell 222 helicopter.
Although the unit will not be there, one of the more exciting opportunities at this year’s conference will be the opportunity to learn about the MED-1 mobile hospital from the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C.

The MED-1 (mobile emergency department) is a one-of-a-kind general and surgical hospital contained in a 53-foot tractor-trailer. This level-1 trauma center has full diagnostic capabilities, a complete pharmacy, laboratory, radiology and ultrasound. An environmentally controlled tent system can be expanded outside the trailer to accommodate another 120 patients.

On Sept. 2, 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, a multidisciplinary team of 90 healthcare professionals from North Carolina left home for a mission of medical mercy. Their convoy included the MED-1. The team set up in a Waveland, Miss., shopping center parking lot and began treating 300 patients a day—more than 7,200 people during the six-week period of deployment. Hurricane Katrina offered the first opportunity for the MED-1 to fulfill its disaster response mission. Nurses from multiple specialties answered the call.

At NTI, participants will have the opportunity to talk to those involved in the disaster response, see the images, hear the stories, and be reminded once again why they chose a career in nursing.

AACN president Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, and president-elect Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, FAAN, recently visited the New Orleans area. (See page 9 for article and photos.)

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APRIL 4
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Go to www.aacn.org/nti


April Audio Event Examines Ethical Dilemmas and Moral Distress


Ethical Dilemmas and Moral Distress is the focus of an April 13 audio conference cosponsored by AACN and Joint Commission Resources. The presentation, including time for questions, is scheduled from 12:30 to 2 p.m. (ET).

Representing AACN as a co-presenter is Cynda Hylton Rushton, RN, DNSc, FAAN, associate professor of nursing and faculty of the Phoebe Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University and a clinical nurse specialist in ethics and program director of the Harriet Lane Compassionate Care Program at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore, Md. Rushton also has a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics.

Representing JCR is Beth Glassford, RN, MS, MHA, CHE, a past member of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors.

The April audio conference is the second in a series of 90-minute audio conferences focusing on patient safety and quality-of-care issues in acute and critical care.

Also scheduled are:

• June 8 Family Presence and Participation
• Aug. 10 Palliation and End-of-Life Management
• Oct. 12 Clinical Implications in Managing Pain and Sedation
• Dec. 14 Intensivists, Hospitalists and Advanced Practice Nurses

Healthy Work Environments
In addition to the patient safety and quality-of-care series, AACN and JCR are cosponsoring audio conferences focusing on the six standards set out in the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments.

Future sessions are scheduled:

• May 11 Meaningful Recognition
• July 13 True Collaboration
• Sept. 14 Appropriate Staffing
• Nov. 9 Effective Decision Making

All are also scheduled from 12:30 to 2 p.m. (ET).

A moderated question-and-answer period follows each of 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. The price is $249 per connection.


Making Critical Links

AACN Membership Campaign Ends March 31; Recruitment Total at 3,360 at the End of January


AACN’s Critical Links membership campaign ends March 31, with 3,360 new members recruited as of the end of January. Since the campaign began May 1, a total of 613 individuals and 217 chapters have participated.

At the end of January, Ann J. Brorsen, RN, MSN, AAS, CCRN, of Sun City Calif., had edged her lead to 47 members recruited.

Mary Beth Reid, RN, CNS, PhD, CCRN, CEN, Little Elk, Texas, overtook Sonia M. Astle, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, Burke, Va., for second place. Their totals were 33 and 32 new members recruited, respectively. The total for Marianne E. Kraemer, RN, BSN, MPA, CCRN, Marlton, N.J., remained at 31 new members recruited.

Making impressive debuts in the campaign in January were Lynelle N., Pierce, RN, MS, CCRN, Leawood, Kan., with 10 new members recruited, and Clark Anthon Luhrs, Mt. Juliet, Tenn., with nine new members recruited.

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. Victoria A. Ramik, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, APRN, CRN, RN-BC, New Haven, Conn., won the gift certificate in the January 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
Other members who have recruited five or more new members during the campaign as of the end of January are:

Philip Abenojar, Caroline Axt, Lydia Bautista, Angela Bentley, Laura Bergman, Zenaida Blanco, Betty Blevins, Toni Boldy, Cheryl Bond, Paul Brattan, Jeannine Brennan, Marylee Bressie, Deborah Brown, Yolanda Carilimdiliman, Matthew Choate, Kathryn Clark, Lucy Clevenger, Phyllis Coley, Bettielou Conerly, Carmen Davis, Jeanne DiLorenzo, Elizabeth Dunning, Deborah Erickson, Teresa Evans, Dorothy Flowers, Melinda Foster, Deslin Francois, Carla Freeman, Barbara Frey, Ariana Gross, Lisa Guy, Karen Haigh, Debbie Hansen, Susan Huber, Karen Jeffries, Amy Jones, Lauretta Joseph, Michelle Jurgensen, Alex Koutsos, Cristine Kramer, Cynthia LaFond, Camia Las Dulce, Maria Laxina, Clark Luhrs, Paula Lusardi, Christina MacLean, Laura Madden, Jill Markle, Kathleen McCarthy, L. Jennifer McFarlane, Vicki McKimmey, Julie Miller, Ngozi Moneke, Alice Moulton, Paulita Narag, Nancy Neal, Maria Nicasio, Vivian Norman, Linda Novak, Linda Nylander-Housholder, Benilda Oliquino, Phillip Parcon, Ellen Peller, Iveline Pennie, Lynelle Pierce, Emma Pounders, Coleen Rakers, Martha Reed, Kathleen Richuso, Susan Roberti, Elin Roberts, Cheryl Rockwell, Catherine Rodgers, Kimberly Rupp, Donna Sabash, Carrie Saia, Debra Santisteven, Joyce Schmaltz, Lee Ann Schulz, Cathy Schuster, Charlene Schwinne, Jamie Sicard, Linda Smiley, Cheryl Stacy, Christine Stinson, Leslie Swadener-Culpepper, Jan Teal, Linda Thomas, Total Referred Members, Bonnie Wiggins, Maria Wild, Jackie Yon, Faith Young-Gouda, Cynthia Zaletel and Pam Zinnecker.


April 1 Deadline to Apply for Educational Advancement Scholarships From AACN


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 Product #1017, or visit the AACN Web site.


Congratulations to 2006 Circle of Excellence Award Recipients!


Congratulations to the following recipients of AACN Circle of Excellence recognition awards for 2006.

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 required in their practice. The recipients are:

Dianne W. Bronkie, RN, CCRN
East Berlin, Conn.
Hartford Hospital

Ginger S. Pierson, RN, CNS, MS, MSN, CCRN
Irvine, Calif.
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

Claire Y. Piette, RN, BS, CCRN
Woonsocket, R.I.
Hasbro Children’s Hospital

Valerie J. Russell, RN, ADN, CCRN
Mission Viejo, Calif.
Mission Hospital

Tara Rachel Simon, RN, BSN, CCRN
Greenwood, Ind.
St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers

AACN Certification Corporation Value of Certification Award
Sponsored by AACN Certification Corporation, this award recognizes contributions that support and foster the advancement of certified nursing practice in critical care. The recipients are:

Providence St. Vincent Critical Care Team
Portland, Ore.

UPMC Presbyterian
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Karin Schmeling, RN, BSN, CCRN
Greenfield, Wis.
St. Luke’s Hospital Association

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. The recipients are:

MICU Nursing Research Team
University of Virginia Health System
Charlottesville, Va.

Hackley Hospital Keystone ICU Team
Muskegon, Mich.

MICU Team
Strong Memorial Hospital
Rochester, N.Y.

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. The recipients are:

Mae Magdalen Centeno, RN, CNS, RN-BC, MS, MSNc, CCRN, CCNS, APRN
Plano, Texas
Baylor University Medical Center

Dea Mahanes, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, CNRN
Charlottesville, Va.
University of Virginia Hospital

Louise Thompson-Zielke, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, APRN, ANP-C
Charlotte, N.C.
Gaston Memorial Hospital

Distinguished Research Lectureship Award
The award honors a nationally known researcher who will present the annual Distinguished Research Lecture at the 2006 NTI. The lecturer receives an honorarium and crystal replica of the AACN Vision icon, funded by a grant by Philips Medical Systems. The recipient is:

Norma Metheny, RN, PhD, FAAN
St. Louis, Mo.

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. The recipients are:

Mae Magdalen Centeno, RN, CNS, RN-BC, MS, MSNc, CCRN, CCNS, APRN
Plano, Texas
Baylor University Medical Center

Dolores M. Kemp, RN, CCRN
Leesburg, Va.
Loudoun Hospital Center

Gil Reed Leighty, RN, BS, BSN
Irvine, Calif.
Mission Hospital

Juan R. Quintero, RN, MN, MS, CCRN
Richmond, Va.
VCU Health System

Kathleen J. Williams, RN
Indianapolis, Ind.
Clarian Health Partners

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. The recipients are:

Margaret A. Morley, RN, RN-BC, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, NP
Newport Coast, Calif.
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

Marva D. Pharis, RN, BSN, PhD, PCCN
La Belle, Fla.
Lee Memorial Health System

Thomas Pryor, RN, BS, BSN, CPAN
Pagosa Springs, Colo.
Phoenix Indian Medical Center

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. The recipients are:

Mary M. Deivert, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP
Oak Park, Va.
University of Virginia Health System

Peggy L. Kirkwood, RN, MSN, ACNP-CS
Laguna Hills, Calif.
Mission Hospital

Patti A. McCluskey-Andre, RN, RNP, CNS, MS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, APRN, CFNP
Chino Hills, Calif.
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

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. The recipients are:

Lisa Marie Carriger
Laguna Hills, Calif.
Saddleback College

Abbie Gage
El Dorado Hills, Calif.
California State University, Sacramento

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. Applications are accepted in four categories. Recipients of the award are:

• Nurse-Physician Collaboration

Brandee A. Fetherman, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN, TNCC
Rockaway, N.J.
Morristown Memorial Hospital of the Atlantic Health System

Kirsten R. Pyle, RN, ADN, CCRN
Irvine, Calif.
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

Hypothermic Coma Team
Evansville, Ind.
Deaconess Hospital

• Nurse-Administration Collaboration

Debbie J. Arnett, RN, MSN
Glendale, Ariz.
John Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital

Vision Team
Indianapolis, Ind.
Clarian Health Partners

Critical Care Cardiovascular Unit
Barrington, Ill.
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

• Nurse-Family Collaboration

Phyllis S. Hergenhahn, RN, ADN, CCRN
West End, N.C.
First Health of the Carolinas

Sandra M. Jones, RN, BSN, CCRN
Seven Lakes, N.C.
First Health of the Carolinas

Coronary Care Unit
Washington, D.C.
Washington Hospital Center

• Multidisciplinary Team Collaboration

Medical Intensive Care Team
Kalamazoo, Mich.
Bronson Methodist Hospital

Stroke Multidisciplinary Team
Tallahassee, Fla.
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare

CICU Outcome Facilitation Team
Milwaukee, Wis.
St. Luke’s Medical Center

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. The recipients are:

Richard M. Carpenter, RN, BS, BSN
Charlottesville, Va.
University of Virginia Medical Center

Janice L. Gasaway, RN, MA, CCRN
Kernersville, N.C.
North Carolina Baptist Hospitals

Michele M. Unger, RN, BSN, MS, CCRN, CNAA
Rochester, N.Y.
Rochester General Hospital

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. The recipients are:

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

Debra L. Siela, RN, DNSc, CCRN, CCNS, RRT, APRN-BC
Bluffton, Ind.
Ball State University

Michael L. Williams, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Eastern Michigan University

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. The recipients are:

Catherine S. Lawrence, RN, MSN, CCRN
Fayetteville, N.C.
Cape Fear Valley Health System

Darla J. Melander, RN, ADN, CCRN
Minneapolis, Minn.
University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview

Pamela E. Trench, RN
Southwick, Mass.
Baystate Medical Center

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. The recipients are:

Kimberly A. Clark, RN, BSN, CCRN
Charlottesville, Va.
UVA Division of Nursing

Rita J. Fowler, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNA
Rowlett, Texas
Baylor University Medical Center

Mary Lou Moore, RN, MSN, CCRN
Wenham, Mass.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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. The recipients are:

Jamai Freeman, RN, ADN, BS, CCRN
Gainesville, Texas
Denton Regional Medical Center

Women’s Health Awareness
Summit, N.J.
Overlook Hospital

Erin N. Tobias, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN
Indianapolis, Ind.
Clarian Health Partners

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. The recipient is:

Jill Duval, Editor
Albuquerque, N.M.
New Mexico Woman Magazine

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. The recipients are:

Helene M. Anderson, RN, ADN, BA, CCRN, CRN
Lake Oswego, Ore.
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

Mary Jane Bowles, RN, MSN
Dale City, Va.
Mary Washington Hospital

Amy S. Brower, RN, BSN, CNA, CNRN
Indianapolis, Ind.
Clarian Health Partners

Debbie Jean Hansen, RN, BSN, MS
Milwaukee, Wis.
St. Luke’s Medical Center

Tara L. Hardinge, RN, MSN, CCRN
Wantage, N.J.
Morristown Memorial Hospital

ICU Design Citation
Cosponsored by AACN, the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Health, this award recognizes ICU designs that enhance the critical care environment for patients, families and clinicians. The recipient is:

Sharp Grossmont Hospital
San Diego, Calif.


Award Winners Are Honored at NTI

Circle of Excellence Award recipients will be recognized during AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, May 20 through 25 in Anaheim, Calif.

www.aacn.org/nti


Nominations Now Open for 2007 Awards

July 15 is the deadline to nominate yourself or a colleague for an AACN Circle of Excellence Award for 2007. The nominations process is now open. To obtain a Circle of Excellence award application, call (800) 899-2226 and reqeust Product #1011 or visit the AACN Web site.


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

Yahoo News (Jan. 4, 2006)—“Critical Care Survey: Most U.S. Hospitals Lack Policies on Provision of End-of-Life Care.” The article cited the AACN Critical Care Survey Findings Report noting that, “despite increased national attention on end-of-life issues, only one in four U.S. hospitals has patient care policies addressing end-of-life or palliative care.” Justine Medina, RN, MS, AACN’s director of professional practice and programs, was quoted as saying, “Hospitals need evidence-based guidelines for providing appropriate care, whether aggressively life-saving or palliative and end-of-life care. Expert nursing care has the potential to greatly reduce the burden and distress of those at life’s end and the ability to offer support for the many physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families.”

University Hospitals Health Systems News (Dec. 14, 2005)—“University Hospitals of Cleveland’s Medical ICU Earns Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.” Ron Dziedzicki, RN, senior vice president and CNO, said, “The MICU staff works on a principle that excellence can be obtained if one cares more than others think is wise to do so; risks more than others think is safe; dreams more than others think is practical; and most of all expects more than others think is possible. Once again, the nurses at University Hospitals demonstrate that high-tech can be combined with high-touch, compassionate care.”

Associations Now (December 2005)—“The Building Blocks of Excellence: With the Baldrige Criteria as Its Guide, AACN Crafted a Growth Strategy That Delivers Outstanding Member Service” is the title of a feature article written by Dana Woods, AACN director of marketing and strategy integration, and Tracy Barron, AACN director of business excellence and integration. “When leaders of AACN decided it was time to formalize the organization’s longstanding commitment to excellence, they looked to the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence,” according to the article. The Baldrige programs are providing a framework for moving the quality of AACN’s products and services to an even higher level.

Advance for Nurses (Jan. 9, 2006)—“ECG Everywhere: Telemetry Use Expands Beyond the ICU, Creating Convenience—and Questions.” AACN board member Mary E. Holtschneider, RN, BSN, MPA, NREMT-P, wrote this article with two of her coworkers from the Heart Center at Duke University Health System, Durham, N.C. They recommended that, “Information on how to monitor, including lead placement for specific arrhythmias/ST elevation, also needs to be provided. An excellent resource is the Practice Alert on Dysrhythmia Monitoring by AACN, which can be accessed at www.aacn.org. Once telemetry nurses are comfortable in their practice, they should be encouraged to pursue specialty certification, such as the PCCN, to validate their knowledge and skills in caring for acutely ill patients.”

AWHONN Lifelines (December 2005/January 2006)—“Great Leaders Are Made, Not Born: Tips for Traveling the Path to Leadership Excellence” is the first in a four-part series of articles. The article noted that “Standard 6 in the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments is ‘Authentic Leadership.’ A supporting survey showed that less than half of the nurses ranked their relationship with managers and administrators as positive, yet more than 90 percent identified effective leaders as an important element of a healthy work environment. Retention is a powerful tool and strategy for surviving the current nursing shortage. Therefore, any action a nurse manager takes to increase leadership skill can have tremendous influence on employee, colleague, patient satisfaction and organization outcomes.”

News & Advance (Dec. 29, 2005)—“Hospital Unit Receives National Award.” The article stated, “For the second straight year, one of Lynchburg (Virginia) General Hospital’s medical units has received a prestigious national award. Centra Health’s Medical Intensive Care Unit is one of 12 nationwide to be named a Beacon Award winner by AACN.” Al Baker, MD, Centra medical director of critical care, said that receiving a Beacon Award is a morale booster and “pretty amazing,” and that it indicates healthcare at Lynchburg can be “world class.” Patty Bumgarner, RN, director of critical care, said, “The work environment is excellent; our clinical outcomes are excellent. Those two are tied closely together.”

NewsRX.com (Dec. 5, 2005)—“Coronary Artery Bypass: Researchers’ Findings Advance Coronary Artery Bypass Research” was the title of an article indicating that investigators in Canada and the U.S. had published new data on coronary artery bypass. The study, “Depression, Healing and Recovery from Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery” by L.C. Doering, et al, was published in AACN’s American Journal of Critical Care. This article was also featured in other publications, including Cardiovascular Business Week, Law & Health Weekly and Health & Medicine Week.

Nursing Spectrum (Jan. 9, 2006)—“May We Talk?” This article discussing the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments included the following quote from Dina Rosenthal, RN, BSN, CCRN, CCU department head at Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C. “Nurses here are treated as colleagues, as equals, and the attending physicians set the tone. The physicians like it when we present things to them, and we do it in such a manner that they do not take it in a personal way. It’s respect, communication, teamwork and improved patient outcomes … Physicians and nurses collaborate on how to care for the patients every day.” The CCU nurses at Washington Hospital Center received the 2005 AACN Datascope Excellence in Collaboration Award—Nurse to Physician Collaboration.

Greensboro News & Record (Dec. 11, 2005)—“Nurses Earn Certification” announced that “three nurses at High Point Regional Health System have been certified as progressive care nurses by AACN.” They are “among the 14 in North Carolina and 230 in the world to receive the PCCN certification. The certification requires a three-hour written exam and 1,750 direct bedside hours caring for acutely ill patients within the last two years.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Dec. 8, 2005)—“Northside Business: Hospital Cardiac Unit Wins National Award” indicated that “Piedmont Hospital’s Cardiac Care Unit is … the first one in Georgia to receive the prestigious Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence … Piedmont was honored for its excellence in the intensive care environments; high quality measures, processes, structures and outcomes; and collaboration, communication and partnerships that support the value of healing and humane environments.”



Long
Verger

Generations of Caring (Dec. 15, 2005)—“Alumni Spotlight.” The appointment of Rebecca E. Long, RN, MS, CCRN, CMSRN, as chair-elect of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors was featured in the winter 2005 edition of this newsletter published by Cox College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Springfield, Mo. “She has a strong knowledge of certification and issues within nursing at the national level. Rebecca is also a strong patient and nurse advocate and will have many opportunities to support patient safety at certification tables across the country,” said Judy Verger, RN, MSN, CCRN, CRNP, the current chair.

Advance for Nurses (Dec. 22, 2005)—“AACN Recognizes Nation’s Top Hospital Critical Care Units” announced that AACN honored 12 units from 11 hospitals around the country with the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence and listed the 12 recipients. “We hope the most recent Beacon units inspire other units across the United States to use the Beacon Award mechanism to measure their progress against evidence-based, national criteria for high standards in patient care and work environments,” said Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, AACN president.

Baylor Nursing News (January 2006)—“Baylor Nurses Named Nation’s Best” announced two recipients of AACN Circle of Excellence recognition awards. “BUMC is proud to congratulate Mae Centeno and Rita Fowler on earning national recognition from AACN. The AACN’s Circle of Excellence award program recognizes nurses who have made a difference in the healthcare profession through their contributions and achievements that exemplify AACN’s mission, vision, values and ethic of care. AACN will officially present the awards to Rita and Mae at the National Teaching Institute in California this May.”

Our Voice at the Table

Johanson
Tracy

Fontaine

CEO Wanda Johanson, RN, MN, President-elect Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, FAAN, past President Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, and President Brinker represented AACN at the Society of Critical Care Medicine meeting in San Francisco. They attended several key sessions to support AACN’s nursing colleagues and answered questions afterward. Brinker spoke on “Critical Care Without Walls: Care for Patients Who Require Critical Care outside the ICU” at the session featuring the presidents of AACN, SCCM, American College of Chest Physicians and American Thoracic Society. Fontaine also served as a member of a panel on holistic care of the ICU patient.

Brinker and Tracy toured New Orleans hospitals with Liz Stevens, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN, chapter adviser for Region 12, and Michelle Rinher, president-elect of the Greater New Orleans chapter, to share AACN’s support and seek ways that AACN as an association can be of continued assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Brinker spoke at the Charlestowne Chapter meeting, Charleston, SC, and toured three hospitals, meeting with administrators, managers and staff. They discussed how each hospital is assessing its environment and implementing the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments.

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


AACN Leaders Visit Nurses in Hurricane-Affected Areas


“The nurses were excited that we asked to hear their stories. They talked about camaraderie and pulling together. There was an emphasis on teamwork.”

A recent visit by AACN leaders to critical care colleagues in hurricane-battered New Orleans revealed a remarkable spirit of hope in the face of struggles that continue there today.
AACN President Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, and President-elect Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, FAAN, traveled to New Orleans in January to meet with AACN members who remain in the area and to visit the critical care nursing staffs at East Jefferson General Hospital, West Jefferson Medical Center and Ochsner Hospital, the only three hospitals in full-service operation at the time. They also met with members of the Greater New Orleans Chapter of AACN, the host chapter for AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition just months before Hurricane Katrina hit.

Hosting the visits were Liz Stevens, RN, BSN, CCRN, Chapter Advisory Team representative for the region; Michelle Rihner, RN, BSN, CCRN, president-elect of the chapter; and Krista Marz, RN, ADN, CCRN, chapter president.

“The nurses were excited that we asked to hear their stories,” Brinker said. “They talked about camaraderie and pulling together,” she said. “There was an emphasis on teamwork.”

But they also talked about the personal and professional challenges they continue to face, Brinker continued. Some talked about the lingering effects of posttraumatic distress.

In addition to losing more than 3,000 hospital beds, the area lost its only Level 1 trauma unit at historic Charity Hospital, Brinker noted. With trauma patients diverted to the other hospitals, many nurses were faced with caring for these patients.

One nurse, who had been a cardiac ICU nurse at another hospital for many years, was now at one of the remaining hospitals dealing with trauma patients among other duties.

“She told us she had expected to retire with her colleagues,” Brinker said. “She said she never even got to say goodbye to them and doesn’t know where some of her former colleagues are.”

The nurses described their circumstances during the crisis as operating under “Katrina standards”—a sort of template for the future, Brinker said.

“They had to decide what had to happen, what they had supplies for and what they needed to do. For example, they decided they wouldn’t change bed linens unless they were soiled.”

Two of the hospitals had no electricity. A meal a day at times consisted of a tomato or lime gelatine with wafers.

Because of lawlessness in the wake of the disaster, many nurses were on duty against the wishes of their families and advice of officials.

Still today, the hospitals operate in maintenance mode, Brinker added.

“They can’t move forward. Day-to-day activities far supercede long-range planning.”

Although they are anxious for their city to rebuild, they are also concerned about the return of tourism, Brinker said. They are just so short on beds, and they are stretched in caring for the population that is there now.

“Much of the indigent population is gone and won’t come back,” Brinker explained. “For some systems, that means the patients are gone, and the workers, too.”

Many challenges lie outside their professional settings, Tracy said.

“It’s just kind of eerie,” she said of their drive through the area. “You drive by a field where kids are playing, and it seems normal. Then you drive by an empty apartment building where trees are down and repair work is under way. In five months, you would have thought things would have been further along.”

The people seem hopeful, positive and patient, she said. Billboards everywhere are filled with messages of hope.

At a chapter reception for the visitors are (from left, seated)
Janice Taulli-Lasseigne, Debbie Brinker, Krista Marz and
Denise Bonura-Henry and (from left, standing) Michelle Rihner,
Paula Kensler, Liz Stevens, Mary Fran Tracy and Nicole Judice

At Ochsner Hospital are (from left) Krista Marz, Debbie
Brinker, Sonja Burks, Erika Oliver and Mary Fran Tracy

At East Jefferson General Hospital are (from left) Beverly Marino,
Monique St. Romaine, Liz Stevens, Mary Fran Tracy, Debbie Brinker
and Michelle Rihner.

The group also visited the temporary Spirit of Charity
Urgent Care Center.

Shown at West Jefferson Medical Center are Debbie Brinker, Doris Bailey,
Geselle Crockett-Henry, Janice Taulli-Lasseigne, Mary Fran Tracy and Liz Stevens.

Shown in front of Krista Marz’s Lakeview home are
(from left) Marz, Michelle Rihner and Liz Stevens.

In the Circle: Excellent Nursing Student Award



Editor’s note: Part of the AACN Circle of Excellence recognition program, the Excellent Nursing Student Award honors 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. Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with this award for 2005.

Marie St. Ann Harrington
Hoboken, N.J.
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing

I am in an accelerated BSN nursing program in northern New Jersey. Prior to this endeavor, I was a research assistant, working in the New York financial world. As an undergraduate, I had considered nursing as a career but decided to pursue a business degree instead. However, I never lost interest in nursing and sought an opportunity at to fulfill my ambition.

My school activities include attending classes, taking exams, clinical rotations to use my new skills, applying my skills to practice and helping my peers with study habits and reviews, while striving for understanding and success.

I see the value of nursing as altruistic and humanitarian as well as a viable career choice. I envision myself practicing these values by serving the neediest population who are left by the wayside in the healthcare continuum. There is a need for educational and support systems that can be preventative and promote health in this community. I would like to work on these issues by first focusing on the critical care components.

In my short time as a nursing student, I have interacted in a variety of family situations. We always need to care for the patient with the family in mind in terms of discharge and support, and treat the whole family to be effective in not only discharge care but in educating them for illness prevention. Nurses can make their optimal contribution by being active in their profession, advocating for patient care, caring for patients with competency and using the nursing process; thus nurturing the spirit of healing and wellness. As nurses, we must embrace this philosophy, and our managers, administrators and educators need to encourage and support us. Our contributions are best recognized through collegiality and collaboration.

David Holloway Jr.
Wheeling, W.Va.
Cleveland Clinic Foundation

When I entered nursing school, I realized that there are two types of students: those who just “get by” and those who “rise above.” Although the program I attend exceeds the minimum for nursing preparation, I wanted more. I learned that the more knowledge and experience a student possesses upon graduation, the better prepared they are to enter clinical practice.

With this in mind, my classmates and I requested extra time in our clinical teaching center and multimedia simulation laboratory. We began practicing clinical scenarios and procedural skills needed for excellent clinical practice. We have become very familiar with critical care therapies, such as pulmonary artery catheters, intra-aortic balloon pumps and ventilators. This has promoted maximum learning during actual clinical experiences, and we feel comfortable in the critical care setting. As we enter our final semester, we are completing senior practicum experiences in various critical care units.

With a wealth of technical and practical knowledge and experience behind us, we are able to focus more on taking care of the patient and family without getting caught up in the machines and monitors. Taking responsibility for my own learning has provided many opportunities. I feel I will graduate with the background and motivation to advance the profession of nursing.

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In the Circle: Excellence in Leadership Award


Editor’s note: Part of the AACN Circle of Excellence recognition program, the Excellence in Leadership Award honors nurses who demonstrate the leadership competencies of empowerment, effective communication and continuous learning, and the effective management of change. Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with this award for 2005.

Toni Fiore, RN, MA, CNAA
Pompton Lakes, N.J.
Hackensack University Medical Center

As executive vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer, I direct the nursing administrative team and lead nursing practice. I have been in my position since 1985. At that time, the nursing profession had been through several shortages, and the advent of managed healthcare began to wreak havoc on hospital budgets. Many hospitals drastically cut nursing positions. As a result, the quality of patient care plummeted and the hospitals’ financial pictures suffered. I knew what had to be done.

Our president and CEO John Ferguson and I formed a partnership built on world-class values that are respected by our board and staff. We ensured that our patients and those who provide direct care to them would never be adversely affected by a stormy managed care environment.

I challenged my directors to build their teams based on our professional nursing standards. We now know those standards are part of the Magnet program. We have achieved the Magnet Award three times. We eliminated the use of agency and travel nurses as well as sign-on bonuses and other incentives. Our dollars were effectively spent on measures that our staff told us were important, and we built a nursing department based on Magnet standards. As a result, we generated a climate of patient and staff satisfaction and caring.

The Nursing Department has earned a national reputation as a consistent revenue producer with a low RN turnover rate, and the number of nursing positions has actually increased. I have always believed that the development of expert clinical practice is dependent upon a supportive environment, and I’ve been told the staff believes I have an ability to connect with them. As one nurse wrote, “When I tell Toni how things are in my unit, I am keenly aware that I am looking into the eyes of another nurse.” My style is to listen to best understand the issues at the “frontline” of patient care. I believe that this connection inspires me to do my very best each day.

Patricia S. Lewis, RN, MS, CNAA BC
Houston, Texas
Methodist Hospital

Patricia “Tricia” Lewis has been a nurse at Methodist Hospital, in Houston, Texas, for 30 years. She has served in many positions, including head nurse, cardiovascular nurse specialist, supervisor of the critical care residency program and director of multiple units, where she has cultivated and utilized her leadership skills.

Tricia believes strongly in the values of our hospital— integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence—and displays them in her daily work. Her words and actions are congruent. She leads by example and motivates others to professionally grow and develop. She consistently solicits information about what she can do to help us do our jobs better and more efficiently for patients and their families.

Tricia encourages and supports staff to implement change. For example, she was a proponent of implementing family presence during CPR in the CCU. Many staff were skeptical about implementing this procedure. They were concerned about the impact it would have on families and staff. Although it was considered a risky policy to implement, Tricia was willing to spend the time and be physically present for the implementation. This definitely challenged traditional rules.

Another example of her leadership and ability to pull the team together occurred during Tropical Storm Allison, in June 2001. She was there every day as we moved our unit and patients seven times. She was there running up 10 flights of stairs to deliver medications, suction equipment, water, fans, electrical power cords and box lunches and to secure portable air conditioners for the most critical patients. She also made herself available to comfort patients and their families during this “MASH like” experience.

Tricia is the type of leader who makes people want to follow and grow more leaders. She’s most proud of her team being honored as one of the first AACN Beacon Award recipients.

Aimee C. Lyons, RN, MSN, CCRN, CPNP, EMT
Boston, Mass.
Boston Children’s Hospital

Being the clinical coordinator of the Critical Care Transport Team has presented its share of challenges for Aimee Lyons. One of the biggest dilemmas was staffing the team. A relatively small group of people are required to provide 24/7 coverage. One resignation or maternity leave has enormous impact. Two or three in combination has the potential to shut down the program.

In addition to nurses and paramedics, the program includes the Emergency Communications Center that must be staffed with dispatchers 24/7. Aimee recognized that she needed to design a flexible staffing system that could provide coverage for each area without causing people to become overwhelmed with overtime. Aimee evaluated other transport systems nationwide and reached an important conclusion: No matter what the overall composition of any given team, the consistent element was the nurse. This formed the basis for her innovative solution to the program’s staffing needs. She theorized that nurses could be cross trained to support other roles within the program.

Aimee knew she had a talented staff that was completely capable of expanding their professional boundaries even further than they already had. Aimee realized that the nurses would be able to easily obtain state certification as EMTs with minimal training. EMT certifications went so well that Aimee next decided to apply the same strategy to staffing the communications center.

Aimee’s imaginative cross training initiative has resulted in many positive effects on the program. It has pushed the nurses to develop professionally. It has created an atmosphere of teamwork among the three disciplines that did not exist before each became invested in the other’s staffing. Most important, it has further motivated the nurses to become invested in the overall success of the transport program by empowering them to be invested in staffing.


In the Circle: Eli Lilly & Company Excellent Preceptor Award



Editor’s note: Part of the AACN Circle of Excellence recognition program, this award honors preceptors who demonstrate the key components of the preceptor role, including teacher, clinical role model, consultant and friend-advocate. Following are excerpts from exemplars submitted in connection with this award, sponsored by Eli Lilly & Company, for 2005.


Kevin Butler, RN, CCRN
Longmont, Colo.
Longmont United Hospital

In my nearly 10 years as an ICU nurse, I have precepted many nurses. But my first job as a unit educator turned into quite a challenge. In addition to my education duties, I was filling in as the interim ICU manager as well as the CV-CNS. Replacements were on the way, and I was tasked with precepting them both while also managing the orientation of a new graduate RN to the ICU.

I have learned that precepting involves far more than just training someone in the skills and knowledge necessary for the job. Precepting also involves facilitating an environment where relationships and trust can be built. This was especially important for the integration of the new manager. Without trust and good working relationships, the staff would not fully accept her. This process also involved self-reflection and personal growth on my part. I had to gracefully and cheerfully cede control of many things I had become accustomed to handling on my own.

Over the next several months—through instruction, mentoring and relationship building—all three newcomers were successfully integrated into the ICU team, making the team stronger and more capable than ever. As for myself, I’ve experienced much relief, insight and satisfaction throughout the whole process.


Melissa J. Kairnes, RN, BSN
Warwick, R.I.
Hasbro Children’s Hospital

Melissa’s 5-year-old patient Peter had come to the PICU in respiratory distress secondary to bronchiolitis and had been intubated.

The medical team was preparing to extubate Peter. What enthralled me was the way Melissa took care of Peter’s family. They had recently immigrated to the United States from Africa. Peter’s parents spoke a minimal amount of English. My background was at a small community hospital in an Italian-American neighborhood, which did not prepare me for dealing with a multicultural population.

Melissa timed her care around the family’s need to pray for Peter. The prayers for Peter involved several family members circling around the bed. The prayers were lengthy, and I did not understand the language. Melissa took into account the family’s cultural and religious needs and incorporated them into her plan of care for the morning. She safely cared for her patient, while greatly altering her routine so the family could pray. Peter was successfully extubated that day. His parents’ joy needed no translation. It was evident on their faces.

Melissa’s actions taught me much that day. She exemplifies the concept of family-centered care in an ICU. Melissa teaches every one of her preceptees how to care for the patient and family on all levels. Her care, compassion and excellence as a critical care nurse are proven every time she has an orientee.

Watching her help other nurses grow has proven to me that she is an outstanding preceptor.

Patricia Mickley, RN, CCRN
Greensboro, N.C.
Moses Cone Health System

I have never met a nurse in my 30-year career who is as dedicated to continual learning and patient and family-centered care as Pat Mickley. It takes a special person to precept others, regardless of their experience or expertise. She is the kind of preceptor who is completely unassuming. She never takes previous knowledge for granted. She has the uncanny ability to put her pupils at ease with her reassurance and professional presence. The following is an example of how she works with individuals using the Synergy Model to develop critical care nurses, while ensuring quality patient and family care.

When Pat arrives in the morning and prepares the assignment, she occasionally assigns a patient and family that require special attention to a new nurse. Although PF needed to learn the technical skills, Pat understood this new nurse needed to experience success as well. This was frustrating to some of the other nurses who wanted PF to quickly become proficient and independent with her technical skills. Pat took this opportunity to explain the Synergy Model and how important it is to match the right patient with the right nurse’s skills. She explained how PF’s ability to develop areas of expertise while learning would build confidence and allow PF to use the skills she had and experience success.

Today, PF has blossomed into a technically skilled, caring critical care nurse who describes Pat as a mentor, coach and preceptor who instills trust, recognizes an individual’s strengths and truly cares about her patients. PF has described her experience as a preceptee as a wonderful introduction to lifelong learning.


Submit Abstracts Online for NTI 2007


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.

Coming in April in Critical Care Nurse


• Increasing Organ Donation Through System Redesign

• End-of-Life Decision Making, Organ Donation, and Critical Care Nurses

• Brain Death in Infants and Children

• Maximizing Organ Donation Opportunities Through Donation After Cardiac Death

• Timely Referral of Potential Organ Donors

• Caring for Transplant Recipients in a Nontransplant Setting

• Intensive Management of Organ Donors to Maximize Transplantation

• A Study of the Presumptive Approach to Consent for Organ Donation

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


Looking Ahead


March 2006

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 Scholarships, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #1017, or visit
the AACN Web site.

April 4 Discounted early-bird deadline to register for NTI 2006, May 20-25 in Anaheim, Calif. For more information and to register, visit the AACN Web site or call
(800) 899-2226.

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.

April 13 “Ethical Dilemmas and Moral Distress” in acute and critical care audio conference from 12:30 to 2 p.m. (EST). To register for this event, cosponsored by AACN and
Joint Commission Resources, call (877) 223-6866 or visit the JCR Web site. Price is $249.

April 17 Voting in the annual election for the AACN Board of Directors and AACN Nominating Committee closes. Vote online at www.aacn.org or call (800) 394-5995, ext. 331,
pat.mallette@aacn.org, for a paper ballot.


May 2006

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