Director: Christine S. Schulman

Christine S. Schulman, RN, MS, CNS, CCRN
Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist

Legacy Emanuel Medical Center
Portland, Oregon

Experience and Activities

Chapter Membership

  • Greater Portland Chapter, 1985–1996, 2004–present
  • Mountain to Sound Chapter (formerly Puget Sound Chapter), 1996–2012

AACN Commitment and Involvement in the Past 3 Years

Includes how the candidate integrated AACN's mission and work into her current role and practice. Local and national volunteer activities are listed, if applicable.

  • AACN Circle of Excellence Award, May 2012
  • Speaker, AACN National Teaching Institute, 2004–2012
  • Member and Abstract Reviewer, Symposium Planning Committee, Greater Portland Chapter, 2009–Present
  • Speaker, GPC-AACN & SCCM Fall Symposium, 2007–2012
  • Instructor, GPC-AACN Critical Care Symposium, 2004–Present
  • Speaker, numerous local AACN chapter symposiums and CCRN-PCCN review courses, 2004–Present
  • Member, Editorial Board, AACN Advanced Clinical Issues, 2010–Present
  • AACN Ambassador, 2011–2012
  • Column Contributing Author, Critical Care Nurse, 2010;30(3):74-76.
  • Submitted names of five nurses from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center to attend the AACN Staff Nurse Summit in San Francisco in 2011.
    • Two nurses attended and have assisted in educating their peers about AACN and its key initiatives in our facility.
  • Advisor for AACN HWE Standards for integration into the merging of two critical care units, 2011–Present

Key Professional Activities Outside AACN in the Past 3 Years

Includes involvement with other professional organizations, teaching and/or speaking.

  • Member, Society of Critical Care Medicine, 1999–Present
  • “Nursing Care of the Critically Ill Patient with an Open Abdomen,” Society of Critical Care Medicine National Education and Education Conference, San Diego, 2010
  • Allegro Reviews, CCRN Course Director and Review Book Author, Scappoose, Ore., 2010–Present
  • Oregon State Board of Nursing Task Force on Educational & Licensure Requirements for Clinical Nurse Specialists, 2012–2013
  • Washington State Rural Critical Care Nursing Consortium, Critical Care Nursing Course Developer, Pullman Regional Hospital, Pullman, Wash., 2010
  • Preceptor, CNS Graduate Students, University of Cincinnati, 2012

Issues Statement

The 2005 report “Silence Kills” revealed that serious medical errors occurred when people didn’t speak up or when dialogue was inhibited by intimidating behavior. Unfortunately, a recently published follow-up study found that a significant majority of nurses still fail to speak up about dangerous shortcuts, incompetence or disrespectful behavior demonstrated by their colleagues.

This reluctance to engage in difficult conversations continues to place patient safety and outcomes at risk. Regardless of how technically skilled bedside nurses may be, I believe that those who cannot effectively and confidently communicate with their colleagues about sensitive matters are failing to make their optimal contribution to patient care. 

Equal to our commitment to teach technical skills, AACN has an obligation to provide nurses with the necessary tools to develop and advance their communication skills. Effective communication is a skill that must be taught and practiced in order to become proficient.

The AACN Resource Center contains a vast collection of clinical information. Now it must expand to include an equally diverse repertoire of resources for learning, practicing and evaluating skilled communication.

Comprehensive, affordable and, most importantly, practical instruction about communication strategies should be crafted using written, classroom and electronic educational methods. Additionally, AACN must facilitate the development of “communication competencies” to help clinicians determine when skilled communication is present or absent.

Once they are developed, we have a duty to share these resources with our healthcare partners so that everyone communicates using the same fundamental skillsets and expectations. By championing the issue of skilled communication, AACN will equip its members to create the healthy work environment we all strive for.

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