AACN News—February 2008—Practice

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Vol. 25, No. 2, FEBRUARY 2008

Practice Resource Network

Q: Our unit is interested in applying for the AACN Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.. Can you give us any pointers to help us submit a successful application?

A: Here are several recommendations to help you achieve success on your Beacon journey:

• Download the audit tool for the application appropriate to the patient population of your unit (Adult Critical Care, Progressive Care or Pediatric Critical Care) at http://www.aacn.org/AACN/ICURecog.nsf/vwdoc/MainPage. Review the categories, questions and standards to give you an overall sense of the application. You must apply using the application specific to your patient population so that your unit is not evaluated according to inappropriate standards and outcomes. At this time we are only accepting applications for Adult Critical Care and Progressive Care; the Pediatric Critical Care application process is still pending.

• Use the literature listed as a frame of reference for your processes, outcomes and application. This application and the standards are based on the available literature in the six main categories: Recruitment/Retention, Education/Training/Mentoring, Evidence-Based Practice/Research, Patient Outcomes, Healing Environment, and Leadership/Organizational Ethics. The application and supporting materials are available at www.aacn.org/AACN/ICURecog.nsf/vwdoc/toc.

• Think of the process as painting a 360-degree picture of your unit. The expert panel reviewers are blinded to the identity of the unit so you are creating that picture for them. They look for consistency in responses and a sense of unit structure, function and outcomes. Completeness of comments provides the context for understanding your answers.

• Remember that the application is focused on unit-based excellence. Describing activities or recognition that is hospital-based is not sufficient. Excellent units have processes and recognition that exceed the hospital-driven activities.

• Consider the questions as “indicators” under the specific categories. For example, your response to the question about having visual access to the outside environment should include information about aspects of a healing environment present in your unit beyond the existence of windows. How do the unit structure and personnel foster the appropriate healing environment for the patients?

• Think through the full response; for example, if you are discussing changes in process or function, describe the outcomes of the changes you have made. We want to know what benefits have come from making these changes.

• Give context for data, especially if you have trend data. Describe why you think you are seeing these trends and any practice changes that have been instituted based on your analysis of the data.

• Have someone who is not involved in your application process review the completed document before submission. This should be someone who can be thoughtful about evaluating your responses, look for appropriate spelling and grammar, and provide feedback about your application.

• Expect feedback and questions from the expert review panel after you have submitted your application. Very few applications make it through on the first pass. You will have the opportunity to submit additional feedback before a final decision is made.

Comprehensive information about the Beacon Awards is always available online at www.aacn.org/beacon.
Remember that this is a journey, not a destination. The successful applicant understands that the goal of seeking excellence must be in the context of patient safety and a healthy work environment. Give yourself credit for your willingness to examine your unit critically.

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Thank You to Review Panel Volunteers

Research Grant Review Panel
Christie Artuso
Renea Beckstrand
Patricia Blissitt
Rhonda Board
Diane Carroll
Kathleen Ellstrom
Joyce Hall (Staf
Brenda Hardin-Wike
Linda Henry
Laura Kierol-Andrews
Celia Brouillette Laird
Mary Beth Leaton
Betsy McDowell
Patricia Radovich
Mary Beth Reid
Jacqueline Rhoads
Doug Schlicting
Leslie Swadener-Culpepper
Linda Thomas
Elizabeth Twiss
Mark Weber

Chapter Poster Review Panel
Philip Abenojar
Christie Artuso
Deborah Cochran
Beverly George-Gay
Joyce Hall (Staff
Melissa Hutchinson
Stephanie Kendall
Debra Kramlich
Michele Lanza
Beatrice Leyden
William Mausser
Karen Nave
Denise Pawlak
Mary Beth Reid
Joy Speciale
Leslie Swadener-Culpepper
Laura Thompson
Mary Watkins

Creative Solutions Review Panel
Patricia Blissitt
Sharon Bragg
Mary Burke
Mary Bylone
Diane Byrum
Jesus Casida
Kristine Chaisson
Paula Coe
Jo Ellen Craghead
Paula Davis
Michelle Ernzen
Marci Farquhar-Snow
Henry Geiter
Beth Glassford
Vicki Good
Dawnetta Grimm
Sharon Gunn
Joyce Hall (Staff
Joan Harvey
Melissa Hutchinson
Lori Jackson
Susan Jones
Dianne Junker
Patricia Keresztes
Karen Knight-Frank
Beth LaVelle
Janice Lanham
LeAnn Leslie-Larson
Beatrice Leyden
Susan Lynch
Joyce Maly
Betsy McDowell
Mary McKinley
Diane Mick
Imogen Millan
Marthe Moseley
Jodi Mullen
Tracy Pasek
Melissa Pollard
Jeanne Powers
Patricia Radovich
Julia Lindeman Read
Mary Beth Reid
Sigrid Sexton
Rose Shaffer
Monica Simpson
Alethea Sment
Joy Speciale
Elizabeth Stevens
Robin Watson
Mary Wilcox
Michael Williams
Joan Wilson
Charlene Winters
Demetra Zalman

Research Abstract Review Panel
Nancy Blake
Freda DeKeyser
Barbara Goldberg-Chamberlain
Katherine Green
Joyce Hall (Staff
Cheryl Hettman
Ina Koerner
Mary Beth Leaton
Angela Nelson
Janet Pierce
Jacqueline Rhoads
Marilyn Schallom
Nancy Stark
Elaine Steinke
Leslie Swadener-Culpepper
Kelly Thompson-
Judy Verger

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Practice Alerts Have a New Look

Have you seen the new look of the Practice Alerts on the AACN Web site? The updated eye-catching logo is the first thing you’ll notice; it will grab your attention and lead you to the Practice Alerts, which are being revised to reflect new information. Here’s just some of the material being updated:

• content and references
• leveling of evidence
• PowerPoint presentation
• audit tool with instructions
• templates for a newsletter and a flyer

A new addition, a planning checklist for implementation of Practice Alerts, helps you evaluate the need for a change in practice and provides a list of items that will help make implementation more successful in your unit/organization.

The first Practice Alert to be updated is on Ventilator Associated Pneumonia, and updates on other Practice Alerts are in progress. Be sure to check the Web site for future updates; http://www.aacn.org/WD/Practice/Content/practicealerts.content?menu=Practice.

Since we want to ensure that our resources are beneficial to you in your practice, please send us your feedback on these changes. How have you used the Practice Alerts in your practice? Please send your comments to pamela.shellner@aacn.org.

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