AACN News—February 2007—Association News

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Vol. 24, No. 2, FEBRUARY 2007

Keynote Speakers Bring Their Insights to NTI 2007

General sessions at the 2007 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition will once again provide opportunities to hear informative and inspirational presentations from prominent speakers. In addition to the Opening Session address to be delivered by AACN President Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, FAAN, and the President-Elect address by Dave Hanson, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNS, educational and motivational speeches will be delivered by author Kevin Carroll and patient safety advocate Rosemary Gibson.

NTI 2007, featuring the Advanced Practice Institute, is scheduled May 19 through 24 in Atlanta, Ga. For more information and to register, go to www.aacn.org/nti or call (800) 899-2226. Following is additional information about this year’s speakers:

Monday Opening Session Keynote

Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, FAAN
Throughout her term, AACN President Mary Fran Tracy has advanced her “Powered by Insight” theme by writing about it in her monthly AACN News column and presenting it to colleagues around the country. In the opening general session of NTI 2007, Tracy will elaborate on this message as she reflects on her presidential year. Tracy is a critical care clinical nurse specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, in Minneapolis and an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. A member of AACN since 1990, she was a member of the AACN Board of Directors from 2001 to 2004, serving as secretary from 2002 to 2004. She is also a past member of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors and a member and past president of the Greater Twin Cities Area Chapter.

Tuesday Opening Session Keynote

There’s no one else quite like Kevin Carroll. Author of “Rules of the Red Rubber Ball” and founder of the Katalyst Consultancy, Carroll has a remarkable ability to reach audiences with a simple, transformative message: find your passion, your joy. Energetic and humorous, he deftly combines anecdotal narrative with strategies for discovering new and creative ways of thinking. The force of Carroll’s personality was so great that Nike hired him simply to turn creative ideas into reality. He then helped the company deepen its understanding of athletic performance to create better teams and better products. Since then, Carroll has motivated and enlivened organizations such as Starbucks, The Discovery Channel, ESPN, Mattel, Capital One and the National Hockey League – helping them all improve team dynamics and communication. Nellcor/Tyco Healthcare is the cosponsor with AACN of Carroll’s appearance.

Wednesday General Session Keynote

Rosemary Gibson is the author of “Wall of Silence,” a book of narratives about patient and clinician experiences with medical errors that puts a human face on the Institute of Medicine report, “To Err is Human.” This book has created a significant buzz throughout the healthcare industry, from medical journals to mainstream media to the halls of the U.S. Congress. In leading a national strategy to improve end-of-life care and establish palliative care in mainstream healthcare, Gibson has shown an unwavering commitment to the needs of patients. Her efforts resulted in the development of JCAHO pain standards and the launch of many of the palliative care programs that now exist in more than 900 hospitals, an increase from just 25 in the mid-1990s. You’ll definitely want to hear what she has to say!

Thursday General Session Keynote

Dave Hanson, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNS
The closing general session is always an exciting event at NTI. This year, President-elect Hanson will accept the leadership of AACN from outgoing president Mary Fran Tracy and offer a glimpse into the future by unveiling the theme he will advance during his presidential year. Hanson is a clinical nurse specialist in cardiovascular surgery, progressive and critical care at Clarian Health, Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind. He joined AACN in 1992 and was a member of the AACN Board of Directors from 2001 to 2004, serving as treasurer for the last two years of his term. Hanson is a past president of the Dallas County Chapter and is currently actively involved in the Central Indiana Chapter.

All General Sessions at NTI

Master of Ceremonies, DawnMarie Kotsonis
Equal parts entertainer, fund-raiser and professional auctioneer for healthcare-related charity events, DawnMarie Kotsonis will add warmth and energy to each general session at this year’s NTI. Along with her dynamic style, Kotsonis will bring a tremendous appreciation of the contribution nurses make in the lives of patients and their families. Also a professional clown, Kotsonis a.k.a. “Dr. Bubbles” can be found in full clown regalia visiting patients in hospitals and community clinics.

Ethics and HWE Work Groups Completing Charges

The work of two important AACN volunteer committees will move into a new phase at the end of the current fiscal year in June as the Healthy Work Environment Standards Work Group and the Ethics Work Group complete their charges from the board. As a result, these groups will not be convened for FY08. However, should work emerge that would be appropriate for either of these groups to address, they could be convened under AACN’s just-in-time volunteer structure.

For the past two years, Healthy Work Environment Standards work groups have formulated plans to increase awareness of this important AACN program and then advised on strategies to advance implementation of the standards. Drawing on the many great ideas that emerged, the national office staff will now refine and begin implementing these strategies. An upgraded, more interactive Web site has already been introduced to assist institutions in implementing the Healthy Work Environment Standards.

It is anticipated that members of the current and past Healthy Work Environment work groups will continue to be called upon to serve as reviewers and advisers as new Healthy Work Environment resources are developed. This is in addition to the vast network of AACN members who are giving their time to deliver presentations, write articles, plan education forums and otherwise spread the word on the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments. Plans are also being developed to bring together groups of staff nurses to advise AACN on issues that affect them and that could be addressed by AACN, including the work environment.

The Ethics Work Group has been charged the past couple of years with addressing key ethical issues: moral distress and palliative care. Their work has resulted in the development of several resources, both print and online, that are now available to acute and critical care nurses. Among these are the 4 A’s to Rise Above Moral Distress Facilitator Tool Kit, 4 A’s to Rise Above Moral Distress Handbook, Acute and Critical Care Choices Guide to Advance Directives and Innovative Models and Approaches for Palliative Care Promoting Excellence in Intensive Care and End-of-Life Care. Members are currently completing development of identified resources for palliative care.

With these key ethical issues addressed, there were no other priority ethical issues identified for the group to address at this time.

Outstanding December Totals in Membership Campaign

Susan Rogers, RN, DNS, MSN, of Vienna, Va. recruited an outstanding 64 new members in December, placing her in the overall lead in the current campaign; Ann Brorsen, RN, MSN, CCRN, CEN, of Sun City, Calif. is close behind with 60. In third place is Diana Lane, RN, MSN, of Hermitage, Tenn., with 49. Natasha Banoub, RN, BSN, CCRN, of Swansea, Mass., recruited 15 new members and the ever-consistent Brorsen added an impressive 31 new members to her total. Other leading recruiters at the end of December were Kathleen Richuso, RN, MSN, Chapel Hill, N.C., with 31; Deborah Erickson, RN, MA, CCRN, of Augusta, Ga., with 23; Alison Scheflow, RN, BSN, MA, of Hollywood, Fl., with 22; Diana Pryer, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, of St. Louis, Mo. and Kara Bader, RN, of Burlson, Texas, both with 21; and Debra Skrajewski, RN, BS, CCRN, CEN, of Downingtown, Pa., with 20.

In another great performance in December, the Greater Richmond Area Chapter added 25 new members to vault into the overall lead with 75, with the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter holding onto second place with 52, only one more than the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter’s 51. The Greater Cincinnati Chapter held onto fourth place with 42 new members overall. Also worth noting: the Greater Washington Area Chapter, which recruited 11 new members, and the Atlanta Area Chapter with 8.

These are among the 973 individuals and chapters that have recruited 3,712 new members since the campaign began May 1. The campaign ends Aug. 31, 2007. The recruitment period was extended for this year’s campaign to move the program to a 12-month cycle in the future.

Participation in the Member-Get-A-Member drive offers the opportunity for recruiters to receive valuable rewards, including a $1,000 American Express gift check that will be awarded to the top individual recruiter. The top recruiter is also eligible for three Grand Prize drawings for $500 gift certificates. Every recruiter who enrolls five new members during the program will be entered into the drawing.

In addition, as individuals recruit new members, they are entered into a drawing for a $100 American Express gift check each month they recruit. Lee Ann Schultz, RN, BS, MSN, NP, from Marathon, Wis., won the gift certificate in December.

After recruiting their first five new members, participants will receive a $25 gift certificate toward AACN products and services, and $50 after recruiting a total of 10 new members.
The chapter recruiting the most new members during the campaign will receive a $1,000 honorarium check. The winning chapter is also eligible for Grand Prize drawings for three $500 honorarium checks for their chapter treasuries. In addition, chapters are eligible for monthly drawings for a free NTI registration any month they recruit a new member. The winner for December was the Greater Richmond Area Chapter.

To see the complete list of recruiters and their totals, visit www.aacn.org > Membership.

Healthy Work Environment Standards—From Paper to Practice

By John Dixon, RN, MSN, CNA, BC


So, you are familiar with the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments: A Journey to Excellence. Now, you want to know how to establish and sustain them in your daily work life. Here are some suggestions that can help you to engage and transform others and your work setting.

Build Awareness
Start by building awareness of the standards. Many of these efforts directly align with the eight nurse competencies listed in the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care—clinical judgment; caring practices; facilitation of learning; advocacy and moral agency; clinical inquiry; systems thinking; and collaboration. Awareness-building interventions will focus on facilitation of learning, helping others to become aware of and knowledgeable about healthy work environments (HWE). Because an essential outcome is safe passage of patients, your efforts–whether informal, formal, one-on-one or on a larger scale–will also support advocacy and moral agency.

Following are examples of some first steps you may want to consider:
• Incorporate HWE language, such as skilled communication and true collaboration, into discussions at committee meetings, on your unit and in your own practice. Use it whenever the opportunity presents itself.
• Share copies of the HWE standards executive summary or full report with individuals or groups of which you are a member.
• Request time on various meeting agendas to review and discuss the HWE standards and critical elements.
• Use the six standards as an organizing framework or an assessment tool to evaluate current projects and goals.
• When planning projects or goals for the year, suggest some that would directly address the standards or targeted critical elements within a standard.
• Present the HWE standards yourself or arrange for an HWE speaker.
• Plan chapter programs on HWE and ask members to invite representatives from their facilities’ management/administrative team to that meeting.
• E-mail key thought leaders and influencers within your organization the links to the HWE Web site (www.aacn.org/HWE), where they can access the full standards or executive summary, as well as find related resources. Or, give them hard copies of the standards.
• Examine how HWE integrates with your facility’s professional nursing practice model.
• Provide an overview of the HWE standards along with Web links for publication in in-house communication tools, such as newsletters.

Using clinical inquiry, ask yourself how you or your group is creating, promoting and sustaining healthy work environments.
Sometimes adoption of new ideas also involves a shift away from current thinking, values or beliefs. Evidence can assist in this migration, and an essential characteristic of the HWE standards is that they are evidence based.

Released in January 2005 at a Washington, D.C. news conference, the standards were compiled from extensive research and literature reviews by nine experts. The manuscript was then reviewed by 50 additional experts representing diversity in roles, experience and geographic location. You will also want to check out the VitalSmarts (www.vitalsmarts.com) and JCAHO (www.jcaho.org) Web sites. VitalSmarts, with AACN’s support, conducted the Silence Kills study, and JCAHO’s National Patient Safety Goals are congruent with HWE—particularly Goal #2, “Improve effectiveness of communication among caregivers.”

In addition to creating a foundation for HWE, here are some direct interventions you can implement:
When deciding on action steps, keep your focus manageable and realistic. For example, implementing one standard a month for the next six months may be too ambitious. As a result, you may lack resources and outcomes, which can produce feelings of frustration and failure. Instead, identify one of the standards with primary importance to you. For example, feedback indicates that many nurses see Skilled Communication as the most pressing need. In fact, JCAHO also has identified communication as a primary etiology of sentinel events. If you select this standard, carefully review the critical elements and select one or a few criteria on which to focus your efforts
Remember, when considering improvement efforts, it is important to know the current state so you have a baseline measure against which to compare your results. Assessment may be your initial step. For instance, ask a group to rate the frequency with which critical elements from one of the standards is practiced in the current environment. This can be done from two perspectives—individual self-assessment and perception of the group as a whole. Comparing these two perspectives may give insight into areas of greatest need and where to first focus your efforts. Be sure to measure and document your outcomes and share your learning and successes with others.

HWE is not exclusive to nursing. Consistent with the synergy model’s collaboration and systems thinking, be sure to look beyond the discipline of nursing and your own unit. Seek out others and other departments. Create local or regional HWE networks with which to share best practices and tools. Together, we can realize work and care environments that are respectful, healing and humane. John Dixon, RN, MSN, CNA, BC, is nurse consultant for Nursing Leadership Development and Nursing Research at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas. He is also a past member of the AACN Board of Directors.

Our Experiences as AACN Board of Directors Community Liaisons for Fall 2006

By Maureen Madden and Marylee Bressie

The AACN National Board of Directors includes two community liaisons, selected from applications submitted by members, to participate at each of the fall and spring board meetings. Although we came from different parts of the country with different backgrounds and very different practices, we both had similar feelings of anticipation and uncertainty as we arrived at the AACN Board of Directors meeting in Huntington Beach, Calif. on Nov. 4.

We found that although we were very different in many ways, we had a similar respect and awe for AACN at the national level. Each of us had a “board buddy” to help us navigate through all the information and discussions for the meetings. Maureen was paired with Paula Lusardi and Marylee with Tricia Morton, both second-year board members. Each board member serves a three-year term.

On Sunday morning, we began working. Mary Fran Tracy called the meeting to order and reported on the places she had visited and the organizations and members she had interacted with around the country. The report of operations and finance came next. It was amazing to learn how complex and financially sound this organization is. During lunch, Marylee attended a meeting with her buddy to discuss future marketing endeavors. It was a very lively meeting and it will be exciting to see some of these projects come to life in the future.

Monday was a full day of work with generous amounts of discussion regarding strategic planning for the board and AACN. There was an assessment exercise to determine environmental factors that could affect the stability of AACN. It is so interesting that at the national level, the board does not conduct business the same way we do on the local level. The office staff conducts the operational activities; the board is a governing body that sets the vision. Since guests are not invited to the executive meetings, we had some time to enjoy the beauty of Southern California and to recharge.

Tuesday was more familiar territory for us as we discussed the volunteer program. It was interesting to see how interrelated everything is at AACN. The goal is to make certain that members are able to get the resources needed to help them share and spread AACN’s vision. After adjournment, we toured AACN headquarters. It was exciting to see the home of AACN. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet many of the staff we had “known” by telephone, e-mail and through work groups. We had always known how efficiently the staff took care of anything we needed any time we called, but we had not realized the full extent of their role. It was impressive to see how well organized the office was and a pleasure to meet these individuals who truly keep the mission of the association alive.

At the National Office we attended segments of the first-year board members’ orientation. The resources and training to help the board members in their role of impacting and disseminating AACN’s message and priorities to the grassroots members is amazing. It was fascinating to hear about the computer innovations that help participants and vendors at NTI. In addition, there are expanding opportunities for members who cannot attend NTI but want to share in some of the education. It is truly an exciting era for AACN at the national level.

This was an extremely eye-opening experience for both of us. It was a very special and unique opportunity to observe the board of directors at work and to learn how the national office staff and the board interact. We not only had the opportunity to observe but we were encouraged to actively participate in the meeting and the discussions. The board members were very receptive to our comments and insights. It was an exceptional experience to see and experience the collaboration, respect and value that each individual at the meeting was afforded by the other participants.

At the conclusion of the meeting, we agreed that we had gained a whole new perspective on AACN and the board of directors. We left the meeting energized and with new insight into AACN. We have a deeper understanding of AACN, as an association dedicated to its members, as a business and as a group of volunteers committed to acute and critical care nursing. We have been personally motivated to pursue further volunteer opportunities locally and nationally and engage others within the organization to do the same. If you only have time to volunteer for one national AACN group, try the Community Board Liaison position. It is an opportunity that helps you truly understand the workings of AACN.

Madden is an assistant professor of pediatrics and the globe-trotting Pediatric Critical Care NP at a large academic center in New Jersey. She is actively involved in SCCM and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies (WFPICCS). Bressie is a PRN CNS and new faculty member for Adult Health/Critical Care at a small Jesuit College Division of Nursing in Mobile, Ala., who is involved with her local AACN chapter and with the AHA.

Congratulations to 2007 Circle of Excellence Award Recipients!

br /> Congratulations to the following recipients of AACN Circle of Excellence recognition awards for 2007...

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:

Jacqueline Gurnick, RN, CNS, MN, MS, CCRN
Clinical One
Ravenna, Ohio

Carol Hafer, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN
Mission Hospital
Mission Viejo, Calif.

Judith Rojo, RN, BSN, CCRN
Valley Hospital
Hackensack, N.J.

Kelly Walton, RN, BN, CCRN, TNCC, EMT-B
Carolinas Medical Center
Charlotte, N.C.

Alana Coleman, RN, BSN, CCRN
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Moon Township, Pa.

Baxter and AACN 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:

IV Drips Safety Team
University of Pittsburgh Health System
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Allegheny General Hospital
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Valley Hospital ICU Multidisciplinary Team
Valley Hospital
Fair Lawn, N.J.

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:

Leslie Swadener-Culpepper, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS
Medical Center of Central Georgia
Macon, Ga.

Mary Fleener, RN, CNS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS
Bloomington Hospital
Bloomington, Ind.

Michael Frakes, APRN, MS, CCNS, CFRN, EMT-P
Hartford Hospital
Rocky Hill, Conn.

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:

Janet Kelly, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN
Boca Raton Community Hospital
Boca Raton, Fla.

Norine O’Malley-Simmler, RN, BS, BSN
Massachusetts General Hospital
West Roxbury, Mass.

Michelle Chapman, RN, ASN, AAS
Mission Hospital
Mission Viejo, Calif.

Laura Stephens, RN, ADN, BS
Medical Center of Central Georgia
Warner Robins, Ga.

Jennifer Maddox, RN, BN, BS
Southeast Pain Management Center
Amherst, Va.

AACN 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:

Cory Williams, RN, CNS, MS, MSN, CCRN, CCNS
U.S. Army
Ft. Sam Houston, Texas

Billy Gilliland, RN, ASN, AAS
Baptist Princeton
Empire, Ala.

Lynne Nevers-Hoeft, RN, BSN
St. Luke's Medical Center
Oak Creek, Wis.

Marsh and AACN 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:
Laura Kierol-Andrews, RN, APRN, PhD, ACNP, RN-BC
Hospital of Central Connecticut
at New Britain General
New Britain, Conn.

Rachel Vanek, RN, APRN, MS, ACNP
University Hospitals of Cleveland
Chardon, Ohio

Megan Carr-Lettieri, RN, RNP, MSN, CCRN, ANP, CRNP,
University of Pennsylvania Hospital
Conshohocken, Pa.

AACN Excellence in Research Award
Judith Baggs, RN, BA, PhD, FAAN
OHSU School of Nursing
Aloha, Ore.

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 recipient is:

Laura Jenson
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, Ore.

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 recipient is:

Medical Center of Plano
Plano, Texas

Datascope and AACN 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
Nursing & Physician Collaborative Team
Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center
Lake Oswego, Ore.

Nurse-Administration Collaboration
Doctor’s Hospital Critical Care Team
Doctors Hospital
Westerville, Ohio

Nurse-Family Collaboration
Sharon Ninni, RN, BSN, CCRN
Morristown Memorial Hospital
Netcong, N.J.
Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit
St. Luke’s Medical Center
Waukesha, Wis.

Multidisciplinary Team Collaboration
Rochester General Surgical ICU
Rochester General Hospital
Rochester, N.Y.

University of Kentucky Rapid Response Team
University of Kentucky Hospital
Lexington, Ky.

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:

Vicky Orto, RN, MSN, CNAA
Rochester General Hospital
Rochester, N.Y.

Kenneth Rempher, RN, MS, PhD, CCRN, APRN, ACNP-C
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
Odenton, Md.

Deborah Hobson, RN, BS, BSN, TNCC
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Ellicott City, Md.

Elsevier and AACN 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:

Valerie Spotts, RN, BS, BSN
University of Michigan Health System
Petersburg, Mich.

Beth LaVelle, RN, PhD, CEN
Metropolitan State University
Baldwin, Wis.

Elizabeth Twiss, RN, MSN, AA, CCRN, CRN
Munroe Regional Medical Center
Dunnellon, Fla.

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:

Patricia Lizotte, RN, BSN
Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Easthampton, Mass.

Roxanne Sabatini, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN
Morristown Memorial Hospital
Andover, N.J.

Jobeth Pilcher, RN, BSN, MS
Baylor University Medical Center
Poetry, Texas

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:

Celeste Perrin, RN, BS, BSN
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
Virginia Beach, Va.

Robyn Bushinski, RN, BAN, BHA, PHN
Fairview University Medical Center
Saint Paul, Minn.

Cheryl Johnson-Smith
Integris Baptist Medical Center
Oklahoma City, Okla.

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:

Joanne Turner, RN, MS, CCRN, CNRN
Morristown Memorial Hospital
New Providence, N.J.

Riverside Methodist Hospital
Pickerington, Ohio

Rose Chua Tan, RN, BN, BS
Wellstar Cobb Hospital
Powder Springs, Ga.

AACN 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 recipients are:

Intensive Care Unit at George Washington
University Hospital
George Washington University Hospital
Vienna, Va.

Organ Donor Council, Clarian Health
Morristown, Ind.

UVA Medical Center Marketing & Communications Department
University of Virginia Health System
Manakin Sabot, Va.

AACN 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:

Patricia Moloney-Harmon, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS, FAAN
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
Baltimore, Md.

Mary Beth Leaton, RN, APRN, MSN, CCRN, APN
Morristown Memorial Hospital
Hopatcong, N.J.

Renee Twibell, RN, DSN, PhD
Ball State University
Muncie, Ind.

Amy Veenstra, RN, CCRN-CMC
Baylor University Medical Center
Troup, Texas

Gwendolyn Smith, RN, MSN
Medical Center of Central Georgia
Macon, Ga.

AACN, SCCM and AIA ICU Design Award
Co-sponsored 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:

Children’s Medical Center of Dayton
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Dayton, Ohio

To view a five-minute video of this ICU Design Award recipient, visit www.aacn.org > Awards, Grants & Scholarships > 2007 Circle of Excellence Award Recipients.

Scene and Heard

Our Voice in the Media
Nursing Management (October 2006) – “Create and Sustain a Healthy Work Environment” was the title of a feature about AACN’s six standards. The article concluded by stating, “These standards can be used not only as a foundation for reflection, but also for the redesign and enhancement of virtually any work environment. Nurse managers are encouraged to read and incorporate these suggestions into their workplace.”

Advance for Nurses (Oct. 23, 2006) – “Empowering Nurses” asserted that “hospitals that have achieved Magnet status must have empowerment and shared leadership at the heart of their organizational structures. AACN’s Beacon Award, which is awarded to critical care units able to meet the standard of excellence, also has staff involvement and empowerment as the centerpiece of excellence. By default, organizations that pursue this journey learn the principles of horizontal leadership that empower staff to achieve excellence. We need all of our professional organizations to endorse and support the movement to excellence these awards represent.”

American Nurse Today (October 2006) – “Nursing –Today and Beyond” was the cover article for the premiere issue of the new official journal of the ANA. In part, the article addressed five workplace and quality initiatives, including “The Healthy Work Environment Initiative, developed by AACN, [which] is dedicated to improving nurses’ work environments. It includes standards for establishing and sustaining healthy work environments.”

Current Opinion in Critical Care (October 2006) – “Improving Outcomes: Focus on Workplace Issues” indicated that “in the Healthy Work Environment Initiative, AACN has emphasized the interrelatedness of the ICU work environment, recruitment and retention of nurses, and patient safety.” The article also noted that AACN “produced a position statement charging every nurse and employer with responsibility for implementing programs to address and mitigate the harmful effects of moral distress.”

Advance for Nurses (Oct. 2, 2006) – “Bird’s-Eye View: Telemedicine Helps Identify Organ Donors in the ICU.” Becky Rufo, DNSc, RN, CCRN, of Provena Health, said, “A unique aspect of telemedicine is its ability to view a health system in its entirety versus an individual facility. We still don’t have all the answers, but we’re using AACN guidelines as a reference to build our own system-wide standards.”

Dallas Morning News (Oct. 8, 2006) – “Critical Care RNs Often Stay in Field: Despite abuse and other problems, 86% rate their work units highly, survey finds.” The article noted that “Employers should have policies in place to protect nurses. A healthy work environment is the key element in recruiting and retaining nurses. And it’s essential to ensuring the safety of patients, the survey found.” Critical Care Nurses’ Work Environments: A Baseline Status Report” appeared in the October 2006 issue of Critical Care Nurse. A related article on the survey appeared in many outlets, including MarketWatch.com, the Los Angeles Times, CNN Money, WBZ News Radio, CBS2 Chicago and AONE ENews Update.

Journal of Nursing Administration (October 2006) – “Excellence Through Evidence” stated that “The prestigious Beacon Award, the standard of excellence in ICU nursing, specifically addresses and includes components of autonomy in three of their six excellence categories.”

MedSurg Nursing (Oct. 1, 2006) – “Authentic Leadership” described in detail the significance of this concept. It was “deemed so important that AACN chose to include authentic leadership as one of the six standards necessary for … healthy work environments. In their view, inattention to authentic leadership creates such a serious obstacle to patient safety, recruitment/retention, and an organization’s ability to sustain financial viability that the journey to excellence becomes impossible … AACN recommends that organizations provide education for leaders to grow and mature in ways that will help them to be authentic leaders.”

American Journal of Nurses (September 2006) – “The 2006 NTI” included a group picture of nurses from the Greater New Orleans Chapter who attended NTI. “Thirty-five AACN chapters across the country contributed $19,000 to bring the 16 nurses to NTI in Anaheim, Calif. … in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing (September/October 2006) – “Book Review.” This article was a review of “Synergy for Clinical Excellence: The AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care” and concluded: “a solid presentation of the model and its benefits, this book demonstrates the usefulness to clinicians, educations, and students in a manner that validates nurse-patient relationships and can help direct competency-based learning.”

Yahoo Finance (Sept. 18, 2006) – “American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Scientific Advisory: Annual Flu Shot May Protect Cardiovascular Disease Patients.” Matthew M. Davis, M.D., lead author of the advisory, said, “The target goal set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is to vaccinate 60 percent of people with heart disease under age 65, and 90 percent of everyone 65 and over, many of whom have heart disease.” AACN was one of several organizations that endorsed this advisory.

Our Voice at the Table


Debby Greenlaw, RN, MS, CCRN, NP-C, AACN Certification Corporation board member, Carol Hartigan, RN, MA, certification programs strategist, and Karen Harvey, RN, MSN, certification specialist, attended a National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA) meeting in Orlando, Fla. Hartigan was a panel member at the session titled “Top Tips for Preparing and Submitting a Successful NCCA Accreditation Application.” Hartigan also was recognized for completion of her three-year term on the NOCA Board of Directors.

Kay Clevenger, RN, MSN, retention specialist, Clarian Health/Indiana University Hospital, presented "The Leader as Retention Specialist: Champion Nurse Satisfaction for Your Unit's Success” at the Nursing Management Congress (NMC) in Philadelphia, Pa. She also discussed AACN’s standards for a healthy work environment. Clevenger was a contributing author of the standards and served on the initial AACN Healthy Work Environment Standards Work Group (2005-06).


Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, immediate past AACN president, attended an American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) meeting to explore potential collaborations with this group and attend the Crucial Conversations' session.

Brinker also spoke at the AACN Greater Portland Chapter/Society of Critical Care Medicine symposium. Her topics were "Powered by Insight: Creating Team Competence" and "Healthy People 2010: Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Obesity in Children."


Julie Miller, RN, BSN, CCRN, AACN board member, attended Specialty Education's 6th Annual Critical Care: Opportunities & Challenges conference in Las Vegas. She presented two breakout sessions, “Animal-assisted Therapy” and “Amazing Case Studies,” and the closing keynote, “Life's Daily Challenges,” where she discussed the need for nurses to be accountable for improving their work environment. She referenced AACN’s standards for a healthy work environment and the Healthy Work Environment Initiative.


Miller attended the 7th annual Healthcare Horizons, sponsored by Altru Healthsystem, Grand Forks, N.D. She presented the keynote on sepsis as well as breakout sessions on “Pulmonary Lab Values,” “Amazing Case Studies” and “Pulmonary Safety Issues.” There were 900 attendees at the conference.
Denise Buonocore, RN, MSN, CCRN, APRN-BC, AACN board member, represented AACN at the American Association of Clinical Chemistry’s consensus conference on "Emerging Cardiac Markers: Establishing Guidelines for Risk Assessment," in Baltimore, Md.


Janice M. Wojcik, MS, RN, CCRN, APRN,BC, AACN board member, presented "Powered by Insight" and “FY07 Association Update” at a Region 3 Collaborative in Fairfield, N.J. The meeting was hosted by the Northern New Jersey Chapter.


Wojcik presented "Healthy Work Environments: A Journey to Excellence" at the Thirteenth Annual Nursing Research Conference, Culture of Safety: A Nursing Research Perspective, at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Englewood, N.J.
Mary Holtschneider, RN, BSN, MPA, immediate past AACN board member, spoke at Chapter Challenges in Creating Healthy Work Environments - Communication and Collaboration Across Our Nursing Community, sponsored by the Rochester, N.Y. Chapter. Her topic was applying AACN’s healthy work environment standards to chapters.


Maria Shirey, RN, MS, MBA, CNAA, BC, FACHE, AACN Certification Corporation board member, presented a concurrent session titled “Creating Cultures of Retention: Evidence-based Leadership Strategies” at the annual fall meeting of the Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives (IONE) in Nashville, Ind. Shirey highlighted AACN’s standards for healthy work environments as a centerpiece for creating cultures of retention for nurses.
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