AACN News—December 2008—Practice

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Vol. 25, No. 12, DECEMBER 2008


Practice Resource Network

Q: We are starting to work on an application for the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence and were wondering if there are any hints you can give us to be successful in the process.

A: First, congratulations to any unit starting or in the process of the Beacon Journey. We have heard many great stories about positive changes in units pursuing the award. It is our goal that the learning you gain in the process be as important to your unit as actually achieving the award.

Here are some ideas that you may find helpful in completing your application:

1. Pull up the appropriate audit tool for your unit from the Web site; all of the tools are on the Table of Contents page for the Beacon Award at http://www.aacn.org/WD/BeaconApps/Content/table_of_contents_page/toc.pcms?menu=BeaconApps. This will give you an overall view of the questions and standards so you can see where most of the work will be for your unit.

2. Imagine you are making a 360-degree picture of your unit for the reviewers. This means we want to know how all the components of the unit work together. Since the application is blinded the reviewers do not have a context for your responses. We do not make assumptions based upon what you have written. It might help to have someone not involved in the daily process of your unit review the application prior to submission to be sure you have clearly demonstrated your unit’s excellence.

3. Put your responses in a Word document first. This will allow you to do a spelling and grammar check before cutting and pasting them into the application you submit. Remember that you are being evaluated on excellence. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

4. Tell your stories! Responses to questions asking if you have a policy or procedure in place are really enhanced by stories of how those policies or procedures are implemented on your unit. For example, a story about a nurse on the unit using his or her Bold Voice to impact a patient outcome is as profound as telling us in the numeric response that everyone on your unit has signed the Bold Voices statement.

5. If you don’t currently meet a standard tell us why, what you have implemented to try to get to that standard and your trend data. One data point does not give us a sense of where you are in your process.

6. Remove all possible identifiers from the content of the application (name of hospital, names of people associated with the unit, previous recipients of Beacon Award). We want the reviewers to be as unbiased as possible while they are reviewing an application. However, feel free to tell us the kind of unit (e.g., Med-Surg ICU, Neuro ICU, Peds Cardiac ICU, Telemetry). This gives us a better feel for the patient population.

7. Make sure you are highlighting the excellence demonstrated by your unit. Including hospital processes is fine; however, we really want to know what you are doing above and beyond the standard hospital processes (e.g., employee recognition).

We look forward to reviewing your application. If you have further questions please e-mail beacon@aacn.org

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Jan. 1 Is the Deadline to Apply for These AACN Nursing Research Grants

Small Grants

AACN Clinical Inquiry Grant

Five awards up to $500 each are available for projects that directly benefit patients and/or families. Interdisciplinary projects are especially invited. The principal investigator must be currently employed in a clinical setting and directly involved in patient care.

AACN End-of-Life/Palliative Care Small Projects Grant

One award up to $500 is available for a project that focuses on patients of all ages, patient education, staff development, CQI projects, outcomes evaluation projects or small clinical research studies. A broad range of topics may be addressed including bereavement, communication issues, caregiver needs, symptom management, advance directives and life support withdrawal.

AACN Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Grant

Three awards up to $1,000 each for projects focusing on research utilization studies, CQI projects or outcome evaluation studies. Collaborative projects are encouraged and may involve interdisciplinary teams, multiple nursing units, home health, sub-acute and transitional care, other institutions and community agencies.

Large Grants

AACN Mentorship Grant

One award up to $10,000 to provide research support for a novice researcher, with limited or no research experience, who will act as the principal investigator for the study. The study must be directed by a mentor with strong research experience in the area of proposed investigation. The mentor can be an AACN member; however, it is not a requirement for funding. The mentor may not be a mentor or have received an AACN Mentorship Grant in two consecutive years.

AACN Critical Care Grant

One award up to $15,000 for a study relative to acute and critical care nursing and focused on one or more of AACN’s research priorities.
To find out more about AACN’s research priorities and research grant opportunities, visit the Research area of the AACN Web site, www.aacn.org > Research > Grants, or e-mail research@aacn.org.

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2009 Advanced Public Policy Institute for Health Professionals Slated for February


The American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP), of which AACN is a national affiliate member, is sponsoring the 2009 Advanced Public Policy Institute for Health Professionals (PPI), Feb. 18-20, 2009 in Washington, D.C. The PPI provides in-depth presentations on key legislative and regulatory issues facing healthcare professionals. Attendees at this workshop will learn how the decision-making process works in Washington, D.C. and how they can make a difference in healthcare advocacy.

Following completion of this three-day workshop, attendees will have increased their skills and knowledge of the policymaking process, and have a better sense of how to effect change in healthcare. Continuing education credit is available from ACNP, and DNP students may be able to obtain independent study credit from their university.

For more information, call (703) 740-2529, e-mail policyinstitute@acnpweb.org or check online at www.acnpweb.org > Conferences.

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