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Vol. 23, No. 3, MARCH 2006

What’s New for the Advanced Practice Institute?
Sessions Target Clinical Needs and Role-Related Issues

Each year, the Advanced Practice Work Group meets in August to select the Advanced Practice Institute program for AACN’s National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition the following year. The goal is to provide attendees with sessions that meet both clinical needs and role-related issues. The group also takes into consideration that API participants range in experience from novice to expert.

The Process
Prior to the August meeting, members of the work group receive a packet of submitted abstracts for review. They critique each abstract to make sure it is complete, has a timely topic, is audience appropriate and contains the right level of content. The abstract review is a blinded process; the evaluation is done without including the author’s name.

After abstract evaluations have been completed, the group meets for a brainstorming session to determine what topics might interest the API audience. After group members have developed a comprehensive list, they categorize topics and vote until they whittle the list to the top 20. The final list is reviewed against the submitted abstracts. Abstracts that most closely match list topics are selected for the presentation at API, and are included in preconference, concurrent and mastery sessions. If none of the abstracts matches a particular topic, the group is invited to suggest potential speakers for those areas of content. Previously, requests for more physician speakers, varied types of sessions, and interactive sessions have been mentioned.

API Highlights at NTI 2006
This year’s preconference skills session is an interactive suturing skills lab with a restricted number of participants (see adjacent article). Each participant will be proctored throughout the learning process and will receive a certificate of completion.

Three physician speakers have been recruited to present at API:

• W. Michael Alberts, MD, MBA, FCCP, president of the American College of Chest Physicians, will present “Abnormal Chest CT: Now What? Issues in Diagnosis and Management of the Solitary Pulmonary Nodule.”
• Mark Rosen, MD, FCCP, president-elect of AACP, will address evidence-based practice in the ICU with “The Pulmonary Artery Catheter: Useful Tool or Relic?”
• J. Thomas Heywood, MD, director of the Heart Failure Program at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., will discuss current evidence in heart failure management.

Another highlight planned for this year’s API is a moderated debate on the proposed doctor of nursing practice degree. Sarah S. Cook, DrNP, RN-CS, vice dean and the Dorothy M. Rogers professor of clinical nursing at Columbia University, will present the “pro” side of the debate. Afaf Meleis, PhD, DrPS (Hon), FAAN, the Margaret Bond Simon dean of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, will address the “con” side. This session is a must for nurses interested in the future direction of advanced practice nursing.

There also will be ample opportunity to obtain pharmacology continuing education credits (sessions designated with an Rx). For updated information on API sessions scheduled for NTI 2006, visit www.aacn.org > NTI.

API Social Activities
Remember, only those registered for the API will receive tickets to the AP reception on Tuesday, May 23. This annual event, sponsored by Stryker, is a popular networking event, with plenty of opportunities to mingle with other APRNs.

Looking Ahead to NTI 2007 in Atlanta
If you are planning to submit an abstract for the API at NTI 2007 in Atlanta, Ga., now’s the time to think about what your topic should be. For starters, consider what’s hot in your specialty right now. What evidence-based practice guidelines are impacting your environment? Be specific in addressing the needs of the target audience. Abstract submissions are now being accepted at www.aacn.org > Education > Speaker Materials/Information. We look forward to reviewing your abstract in August.

NTI Preconferences Meet the Needs of Advanced Practice Nurses

If you’re an advanced practice nurse planning to attend NTI in Anaheim, Calif., in May, be sure to check out the preconference seminars designed with your specialty in mind.
On Saturday, May 20, a special interactive Suturing Skills Lab (PC821) with presenter Steve Branham, RN, MSN, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, CCRN, will cover wound preparation, anesthetic techniques, suture closure methods and post-closure wound management. Participants will learn about wound healing physiology and its impact on clinical technique. They’ll also have an opportunity to demonstrate suturing and wound closure as part of this hands-on practicum. The session is limited to 30 participants, so sign up early.

On Sunday, May 21, Laura Criddle, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS, will present an all-day seminar on Educating the Educator (PC845). This preconference, designed for the clinical educator at the bedside in acute and critical care, will focus on the basics critical care nurses need to develop and implement an educational program. Topics include learning objectives, teaching methods, alternative teaching tools, classroom control and learning evaluations.

Remember, discounted early-bird registration ends April 4. For additional information about the myriad presentations geared to advanced practice nurses, visit the NTI Web site.

Nurse Managers Are Quick to Join NIHMBL

By definition, being nimble means being agile in mind and body, having the ability to move quickly, lightly and easily, and exhibiting or possessing skill and ease in performance—all descriptive of a critical care nurse manager’s everyday role. Sometimes, these adept, fast-moving leaders want to share their on-the-job challenges and triumphs with others in the same field. That’s why Nurses in Healthcare Management and Business Leadership (NIHMBL), AACN’s new listserv, was established.

As the first listserv of its kind for acute and critical care nurse managers, NIHMBL is a platform for members to discuss pertinent issues, ranging from staffing to policies and procedures to conflict resolution. Participants include critical and acute care charge nurses, managers, and clinical and administrative directors. Linda Bell, RN, MSN (linda.bell@aacn.org) is the moderator.

For more information, visit health.groups.yahoo.com/group/NIHMBL/

March Is DVT Awareness Month

Deep-vein thrombosis is a condition that affects up to 2 million Americans annually, according to the American Heart Association, yet many people do not know about this disease. Of those who develop DVT, up to 200,000 will die each year—more than those who succumb to breast cancer and AIDS combined.

The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis has declared March as DVT Awareness Month to raise public awareness and encourage strategies to prevent this potentially deadly disorder.

For more information, go to www.preventdvt.org/index.asp.


July 1 is the deadline to apply for the following AACN nursing research grants:

Clinical Inquiry Grant
This grant provides awards up to $500 to qualified individuals carrying out clinical research projects that directly benefit patients and/or families. Interdisciplinary projects are especially invited. Ten awards are available each year.

End-of-Life/Palliative Care Small Projects Grant
This grant provides awards of $500 each to qualified individuals carrying out a project focusing on end-of-life and/or palliative care outcomes in critical care. Examples of topics are bereavement, communication issues, caregiver needs, symptom management, advance directives and life support withdrawal. Two awards are available each year.

Medtronic Physio-Control AACN Small Projects Grant
Cosponsored by Medtronic Physio-Control, this grant funds an award up to $1,500 to a qualified individual carrying out a project focusing on aspects of acute myocardial infarction, resuscitation or sudden cardiac death, such as the use of defibrillation, synchronized cardioversion, noninvasive pacing, or interpretive 12-lead electrocardiogram. Examples of eligible projects are patient education programs, staff development programs, competency-based educational programs, CQI projects, outcomes evaluation projects, or small clinical research studies.

To find out about AACN’s research priorities and grant opportunities, visit the Research area of the AACN Web site or e-mail research@aacn.org.

Public Policy Update

JCAHO Urges Attention to Medication Reconciliation
JCAHO recently released a Sentinel Event Alert urging intensified attention to the accuracy of medications given to patients as they transition from one care setting to another, or one practitioner to another. The failure to reconcile medications during these transitions can cause serious patient injuries and even death, the alert said.

According to the alert, medication reconciliation should occur “whenever a patient moves from one location to another location in a healthcare facility (for example, from a critical care unit to a general medical unit); or from one healthcare facility to another or to home; and/or when there is a change in the caregivers responsible for the patient.” Medication reconciliation is the process of comparing a patient's medication orders to all of the medications that the patient has been taking.

When effective medication reconciliation does not occur, patients may receive duplicative medications, incompatible drugs, wrong dosages or wrong dosage forms among the array of potential errors, according to the alert. The medication reconciliation process also provides an important opportunity to ensure that the patient is receiving all medications necessary to his or her care and to eliminate any medications that are no longer needed by the patient.

Last year, United States Pharmacopeia received more than 2,000 voluntary reports of medication reconciliation errors, and a 1999 Institute of Medicine report estimated that more than 7,000 deaths occur each year in hospitals alone due to medication errors. The Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Database also identifies medication errors as one of the most frequently occurring threats to patient safety. This database reveals that 63 percent of the reported medication errors resulting in death or serious injury were due to breakdowns in communication, and approximately half of those would have been avoided through effective medication reconciliation.

For more information, visit www.jcaho.org/about+us/news+letters/sentinel+event+alert/sea_35.htm

Study: Increasing RN Numbers Could Save Lives
Increasing nursing hours reduces days, adverse outcomes and patient deaths, with a net increase in hospital costs of 1.5 percent or less, according to an article published in the January/February issue of Health Affairs. Titled “Nurse Staffing In Hospitals: Is There a Business Case For Quality?,” the authors use national estimates of the cost of increasing hospital nurse staffing and associated reductions in days, deaths and adverse outcomes.

Peter Buerhaus of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and Jack Needleman of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, received the AcademyHealth Health Services Research Impact Award for their part in the research.

CMS Clarifies National Provider Identifier
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a fact sheet explaining the National Provider Identifier that is required on electronic claims and other standard electronic transactions by May 23, 2007 under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. To access the information, visit www.cdc.gov > Regulations & Guidance.

Public Trusts Nurses More Than Doctors, Clergy, Gallup Poll Finds
Nurses were tops again in the latest Gallup poll of the most ethical professions. They have ranked first in the poll in six of the last seven years.

Only in 2001 — the year of terrorist attacks in New York City and elsewhere — did firefighters eclipse nurses as the most ethical profession.

In the most recent poll, pharmacists ranked second after nurses and were followed by medical doctors, high school teachers, police officers and clergy, according to the survey of 1,002 American adults.

Is Your Unit a Beacon of Excellence?

The AACN Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence shines national recognition on units that attain high standards for quality, exceptional care of patients, and healthy, humane and healing work environments.

Applications, which may be submitted at any time, are evaluated on a quarterly basis. Awards are granted twice a year. For more information, visit the AACN Web site.
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