A ‘Super-fantastic’ Attitude Is Everything
An Interview with Keith Harrell
By Thom Schwarz, RN
Enthusiastic. Inspired. Energetic. Words like these only begin to describe Keith Harrell, an inspirational-motivational speaker and former IBM sales trainer, especially when the subject is the nursing profession. In this AACN News exclusive feature, Harrell shared his views about how nurses can approach their daunting work with a different, more positive attitude not only to help them get through a difficult shift but how to endure—happily—throughout a nursing career.
AACN News: Your background isn’t in nursing. What experiences do you draw from when you speak about nursing?
Harrell: My grandmother retired as a nurse and like everyone else I’ve had a lot of sickness and sorrow in my family, even today. I’ve witnessed that a nurse’s caring is not just for patients but for people in general. They live that caring on a 24-hour basis. They’re heroes, not in a Superman, comic book way, but because they always go beyond what is expected, or even hoped for (by patients and their families), and because they have special skills and talents that the rest of us can only be truly thankful for.
Sometimes we’re faced with a fearful, sad or dying patient, and uncertain about what to say. How can we find the right words to bring comfort?
Summon the spirit; examine your heart. You’ve said the right words before. Remember the comforting words you’ve used. You don’t have to be original every time. The patient has never heard what you said before. To them, it’s perfect right now. If you’ve said something that helped a patient in the past, make that your signature saying. Simple words of caring show love to the patient. That’s what counts. It’s what they want and need.
How can a nurse sustain a positive attitude over the length of a career?
Attitude is everything! You might be faced with mandatory overtime, short-staffing or a colleague who complains all the time. Yes, it’s unfair and unpleasant, but we choose how to respond to each moment. I can complain or quit, but that gets me nothing. I can have a “down moment,” but that’s a reaction. How will I choose to respond? The answer is: Focus on happiness. What you focus on is what you feel. Find someone to help you through. Show some love to your patients. Be careful what you say and what you listen to. Whether it’s positive or negative, it becomes a feedback loop, so make it positive. Attitude is contagious. Make yours positive.
You also suggest that nurses never miss a break. Or a meal! Take care or yourself; step back and catch your breath. And develop other passions, outside interests, something to help you recharge when you’re away from work. For me, it’s golf. For you it may be gardening. Just because you’re a nurse doesn’t mean that’s all you are. You have other gifts, other talents. Find them and develop them.
Aren’t those quick fixes? What about staying fresh throughout an entire career?
There may come a time when you have to be honest and caring about yourself, and ask, “Is it time for me to start a second career?” Make that change on your terms. Ask yourself, “How can I stretch?” Switch to another floor, another unit, a different assignment. Go back to school, learn a new specialty. You probably have a lot of experience, a wealth of expertise: Use that knowledge to teach younger nurses. You are already proactive, destined for success, but it’s better to be pre-active and have a plan for success.
Your feelings about nurses are really positive. Why is that?
No one else responds to pain and sorrow like nurses. They aren’t afraid to express their love for their patients, for each other, for their work. No doubt: They’re super-fantastic!
Keith Harrell was a keynote speaker at the 2008 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition in Chicago. He can be reached at super-fantastic.com. Thom Schwarz, RN, is a freelance writer and hospice nurse. Contact him at email@example.com.
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AACN Honored for Advocacy
AACN received the prestigious Center for American Nurses 2008 Workforce Advocacy Champion award in recognition of the organization’s efforts to promote healthy work environments. Then AACN President Dave Hanson (right) accepted the award from Center President Dennis Sherrod at the center’s 2008 LEAD Summit in Washington, D.C. in June. The center is a national professional nursing organization that helps nurses advocate for themselves, their profession and their patients.
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Summer Heats Up and So Does Recruiting in MGAM Campaign
The summer of 2008 began with significant recruiting efforts by both individuals and chapters, resulting in 385 new members joining the AACN family in June. This brings the current Member-Get-A-Member campaign total to 5,440 new members recruited by 1,185 individuals and chapters.
249 new members recruited by 118 individuals
136 new members recruited by 48 chapters
In individual recruiting for the month, two first-time recruiters, Patricia Boylan, RN, BSN, CCRN, of Hickory Hills, Ill. and Mary Beth Morris, RN, BS, of Bushnell, Fla., made significant contributions with 14 and 13 new members recruited, respectively. Also in double figures for the month were Tania Von Visger, RN, CNS, MSN, CCNS, PCCN, of Columbus, Ohio with 11 and Nenita Rattanopas, RN, CCRN, of North Las Vegas, Nev. with 10.
Still leading the campaign to date with 62 new members recruited is Lorraine Fields, RN, CNS, MSN, BSc, CCRN, CNRN, APN, of Uniontown, Ohio. In second place overall is Kathleen Richuso, RN, MSN, RN-BC, of Chapel Hill, N.C. with 41. Following close behind in third place is Mary Holtschneider, RN, BSN, MPA, RN-BC, of Durham, N.C. with 38.
In June there were two outstanding performances in chapter recruiting. The Greater Portland Chapter recruited 29 new members, and the Greater Austin Area Chapter brought 18 new members to AACN. The Houston Gulf Coast Chapter added six new members in the month, solidifying its overall lead in the campaign, which now stands at 99. The Greater Portland Chapter is in second place overall with 61 new members recruited.
The “I Can Make a Difference” MGAM campaign began Sept.1, 2007 and will continue through Aug. 31, 2008. Participation in the drive offers the opportunity for recruiters to receive valuable rewards, including a $1,500 American Express gift check that will be awarded to the top individual recruiter. Members who recruit more than 20 new members by campaign end will be entered into a random drawing for a $1,000 American Express gift check, those who recruit 10-19 new members by campaign end will be entered into a random drawing for a $750 American Express gift check, and anyone who recruits 1-9 new members by campaign end will be entered into a random drawing for a $500 American Express gift check.
After recruiting their first five new members, participants will receive a $25 gift certificate for AACN products and services, and $50 after recruiting a total of 10 new members.
In addition, individuals who recruit at least one new member in a campaign month will be entered into a drawing for a $100 American Express gift check. Kimar Baker, RN, of Miami, Fla. won the gift check in June.
The overall top-recruiting chapter by campaign end will be awarded a $1,500 honorarium check toward the chapter treasury. Recruiting chapters will also be entered into a random drawing at campaign end for an honorarium check toward their chapter treasury: If they recruit more than 20 new members by campaign end, chapters are eligible for a $1,000 honorarium check, 10-19 new members recruited by campaign end, they are eligible for a $750 honorarium check, and with 1-9 new members recruited by campaign end, chapters are eligible for a $500 honorarium check.
In addition, chapters are eligible for monthly drawings for a free NTI registration any month they recruit a new member. The winner for June was the Greater North Texas Chapter.
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Palliative, End-of-Life Care Topic for Final Webinar Series
The last in a series of webinars developed by AACN and Joint Commission Resources (JCR) is scheduled for October, when Palliative and End-of-Life Care will be the topic. Registrants will gain understanding of palliative care as a crucial element of all nursing care, end-of-life care and supporting Joint Commission standards.
Presented in three parts, the discussions will center on “Palliative Care Isn’t Just End-of-Life Care” Oct. 7, “Family Presence in Critical Care” Oct. 14 and “End-of-Life Care” Oct. 21. CE credit is available.
Representing AACN on Oct. 7 will be Patsy Treece, RN, MN, a critical care research nurse with the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care at the University of Washington Harborview Medical Center. J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH, FCCP, director of the division, will represent AACN for the Oct. 14 and 21 programs. Beth Glassford, RN, MS, MHA, CHE, a consultant and past member of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors will represent JCR.
You can register for this program now by visiting the JCR Web site at www.jcrinc.com. Cost is $249 per session or $600 for all three topics within this series. Organizations can sign up for one telephone connection with multiple attendees participating in one conference room. The audio CD, complete with PowerPoint handout, is also available for purchase.
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Scene and Heard
Our Voice at the Table
Several AACN employees attended the MedBiquitous Annual Conference 2008 in Baltimore, Md. MedBiquitous (of which AACN is a member) creates technology standards to advance healthcare education and competence assessment. AACN was represented as follows:
• Mary Pat Aust, BSN, MS, AACN clinical practice specialist – Competencies Working Group
• Linda Bell, RN, MSN, AACN clinical practice specialist – Virtual Patient Working Group
• Monica Hanks, AACN education resources specialist – Activity Report Working Group; Metrics Working Group
• Pam Shellner, RN, MA, AACN clinical practice specialist – Professional Profile Working Group
Justine Medina, RN, MS, director, professional practice and programs, participated on the panel for “Town Hall Meeting – Family, First Person, and Presumptive Consent in its Many Forms” at the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations’ (AOPO) 25th Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.
Dave Hanson, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNS, then AACN president, gave the keynote address, “Reclaiming Our Priorities,” and a clinical breakout session, “Differential Diagnosis of Chest Pain: No Time for Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda,” at the Suffolk County Chapter’s Annual Symposium in Commack, N.Y.
Hanson gave the keynote address, “Reclaiming Our Priorities,” at the 20th annual Options in Critical Care Nursing 2008 Conference in Fairfield, N.J., sponsored by AACN’s Northern New Jersey Chapter.
Hanson gave the keynote address, “Reclaiming Our Priorities,” at Horizons 2008: A Critical Care Symposium, sponsored by AACN Region 1, in Hartford, Conn. He was joined by Paula Lusardi, PhD, RN, CCRN, CCNS, then AACN board member, during a Horizons Fireside Chat to update symposium participants on National AACN initiatives. Hanson and Mary Bylone, RN, MSM, CCRN, Region 1 chapter adviser, met with chapter members and leaders during the Region 1 Chapter Collaborative Dinner.
Marian Altman, RN, MS, CCRN, ANP, AACN board member, gave the keynote address, “Reclaiming Our Priorities,” and a breakout session titled “Understanding Your Defense Partner” for the Broward County Chapter’s 3rd annual Spring Seminar, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Mary McKinley, RN, MS, CCRN, former AACN president, presented a breakout session and the closing session.
Beth Hammer, RN, MSN, APRN-BC, AACN board member, gave a lecture on cardiovascular diseases for the Advanced Nursing Practice 1, graduate-level students at Concordia University of Wisconsin, Mequon.
Hammer co-led a discussion during an Advanced Practice Nursing Interventions graduate course at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Nursing. Her co-leader was Kathy Epping, RN, APRN-BC, president-elect of AACN’s Greater Milwaukee Area Chapter. The discussion included the role of the advanced practice nurse in hospital-based settings, scope of practice issues and the use of guidelines, protocols and standards. They also talked about the importance of being involved in professional organizations.
Hammer presented “Reclaiming Priorities to Create Healthier Work Environments” to nursing and allied health professionals at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Wausau, Wis. She also toured the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit – a Beacon unit – and witnessed how Aspirus provides meaningful recognition to staff nurses.
Caryl Goodyear-Bruch, RN, PhD, CCRN, then AACN president-elect, presented a plenary talk on “Reclaiming Our Priorities,” at Trends in Trauma and Cardiovascular Nursing in King of Prussia, Pa. She also presented “Assuring Accuracy of Hemodynamic Monitoring” during a breakout session.
Goodyear-Bruch presented “Reclaiming Our Priorities: Assuring Safety With the Power of Nursing” at the Greater Memphis Area Chapter Spring Seminar in Memphis, Tenn. She also presented a breakout session on hemodynamic monitoring. Prior to the program, she toured two hospitals, St. Francis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with chapter president Katie Steinbrecher and chapter program co-chair Elaine Fetzer.
Pictured are members of the AACN-GMAC Board of Directors and/or program committee. Front row (left to right): Carla Kirkland, Caryl Goodyear-Bruch, Carol Mattison, Carolyn Langstraat and Sue Bailey. Back row (left to right): Cindy Cain, Lesley Kirkendall, Janet Mulroy, Katie Steinbrecher and Elaine Fetzer.
Julie Miller, RN, BSN, CCRN, AACN board member, presented a two-day CCRN/PCCN review in Austin, Texas for the Seton Family of Hospitals. Becky Rutland, president of AACN’s Greater Austin chapter, was present and helped recruit 28 new members. There were more than 120 participants.
Janice Wojcik, RN, MSN, CCRN, APRN-BC, then AACN board member, presented “Healthy Work Environments: A Journey to Excellence” at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. The conference was sponsored by AACN’s Greater Johnstown (Pa.) Chapter.t
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Members on te Move
Dave Hanson, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNS, immediate past AACN president, has a new position as director, professional development & nursing excellence, at Northwest Community Hospital, Arlington Heights, Ill.
Jenny Ballantine, RN, MN, CCRN, has been named stroke center coordinator at Redmond Regional Medical Center, Rome, Ga.
Christina Ashcraft, RN, BN, BS, received a Mercy Clinical Excellence Award during Mercy Medical Center’s (Canton, Ohio) National Nurses Week celebration.
Denise Haynes, RN, BSN, MSN, MBA, of MedCentral Health System, Mansfield, Ohio, was honored at Tribute to Women in Industry for her contributions to nursing.
Stephen Teitelman, RN, BS, CTRN, CFRN, CEN, CCRN, FP-C, NREMT-P, received the 2008 Distinguished CTRN (certified transport registered nurse) Award. He is a member of the Temple University Health System Transport Team, Philadelphia, Pa.
Renee Holleran, RN, PhD, CEN, CCRN, CFRN, CTRN, FAEN, received the 2008 Distinguished CFRN (certified flight registered nurse) Award. She is a nurse manager at Intermountain Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.
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Palliative Care - Core Skills and Clinical Competencies
This product provides you with the core knowledge and skills necessary to provide comprehensive and compassionate care. Designed to meet the needs of the daily medical caretaker, this detailed text examines patient assessment, communication, cultural considerations, legal and ethical issues, advanced care planning, symptom control, clinical management of specific illnesses, service delivery, interdisciplinary team composition and more. From diagnosis to bereavement care, “Palliative Care - Core Skills and Clinical Competencies” addresses all major clinical, physical, psychological and spiritual management issues encountered in palliative care in a user-friendly, ready-reference format. (Product #140328)
Member: $66.45, Nonmember: $69.95
NEW From AACN’s PDA Center
Clinical Content from the American Journal of Critical Care (AJCC) now available in PDA format
As an AACN PDA Medicopeia subscriber, you will now receive two clinical features from AJCC FREE. Bimonthly, you will automatically receive the two clinical articles below when you hotsync your PDA device. Read them at your leisure and save or delete as you wish. Medicopeia also offers a vast variety of nursing software, as described below.
AJCC Clinical Pearls
AJCC is a reliable source for evidence-based research on the latest scientific advances in high acuity and critical care, but sometimes the practical bedside applications of its published studies are not immediately evident to readers. To help solve this problem, the Clinical Pearls page summarizes some of the most practical clinical content from each issue in digest form. In just a few quick sentences and bullet points, entries on the Clinical Pearls page offer a “Reader’s Digest” version of the bedside implications of select research articles, encouraging readers to take a closer look and to dive into studies they might otherwise have missed. Readers are encouraged to share the page with other interested clinicians.
AJCC Patient Care Page
Although AJCC maintains editorial independence from AACN, topics in the journal often dovetail with association projects and publications (such as AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments) that aim to better working conditions and generally improve patient outcomes. As such, the AJCC Patient Care Page represents another means by which readers can learn about best practices in critical and high-acuity care.
Select articles in each issue of the journal are accompanied by this special page, which carries AACN’s endorsement and summarizes clinical information for use by nurse managers and others who provide patient care throughout the hospital. Similar to the JAMA Patient Page, the AJCC Patient Care Page offers easy-to-use, easy-to-understand information about diseases and conditions, interventions, techniques, protocols and standards of care that readers are likely to encounter in high-acuity and critical care environments. Building on the article’s content, the AJCC Patient Care Page offers basic health information and the latest standards of care based on available scientific evidence.
AACN’s Medicopeia Suite for PDA
In addition to the new features listed above, you will receive the following software with
a Medicopeia subscription:
• Conference or Educational Trends
• Epocrates RxPro
• ER ICU Toolbox
• Pocket ICU Management Clinical Reference
• Cardiac Medications E-reference
• Critical Care Assessment E-reference
• Hemodynamic Management E-reference
• Adobe Acrobat Reader for Palm OS
• AACN Critical Care Newsline weekly e-newsletter
To subscribe, please visit the AACN PDA Center at www.aacn.org/pdaspecials
Monthly Super Savers
These Super Saver prices are valid until Sept. 30, 2008. All orders must be received or postmarked by Sept. 30 to be eligible for the Super Saver price.
AACN Procedure Manual for Pediatric Acute and Critical Care (Product #131104)
Using detailed, step-by-step guidelines, this comprehensive book covers procedures commonly performed by all nurses in pediatric critical care.
Following the successful format of the “AACN Procedure Manual for Critical Care, 5th edition,” this new resource focuses on the unique aspects of caring for infants and children. This easy-to-use guide includes the latest information, a strong evidence base and supporting rationale for each step of each procedure.
Regular Price: Member $94.95, Nonmember $99.95
Super Saver Price: Member $76.91, Nonmember $80.96
Guidelines for Air and Ground Transport of Neonatal and Pediatric Patients (Product #100205)
Completely revised and expanded, the new third edition includes “must-have” guidelines for healthcare professionals who make decisions about the emergency interfacility transport of children.
Regular Price: Member $54.25, Nonmember $54.95
Super Saver Price: Member $44.41, Nonmember $46.71
The Pediatric Nurses Survival Guide (Product #131105)
Practical and convenient, the thoroughly updated third edition is the perfect clinical reference. This handy resource offers quick answers to your pediatric nursing questions concerning assessment, clinical values and standards, and the most common conditions and diseases in the pediatric population.
Regular Price: Member $41.75, Nonmember $43.95
Super Saver Price: Member $37.57, Nonmember $39.55
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