Current Issues and Topics

AACN staff is available to comment on any of the issues and topics listed here. To reach an AACN spokesperson, please contact Kristie Aylett, (228) 229-9472,

General topic areas in clinical practice
  • New developments, advancements or updates on nursing care, treatments or procedures
  • Cutting-edge medical or surgical therapies
  • Nursing shortage
  • Patient-focused staffing approach
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Best practices for acute and critical care conditions
  • Critical care pharmacology
  • New diagnostic tests
  • Advances in any form of patient monitoring
  • Nursing care of patients with specific critical care health problems
  • Care of the critically ill obstetric and postpartum patient
  • Providing critical care nursing services in nontraditional care sites such as ambulatory care, community and home care settings
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration in managing patient care
  • Care plans, critical pathways and patient care protocols for critical care
  • Point-of-care testing
Academic education
  • Preparing and supporting staff to serve as preceptors for students
  • Instructional resources in critical care nursing for academic educators
Advanced practice
  • Differential diagnosis of acute and critical care conditions
  • Treatment practices and differences for various acute care conditions
  • Collaboration of advanced practice nurses with staff nurses, clinical nurse specialists, nurse managers, medical staff and allied health staff
  • How to use advanced practice nurses effectively in critical care
  • Acute care nurse practitioner issues, education, certification and reimbursement
  • Advances in understanding and treating people with AIDS
  • Hemodynamic monitoring; arterial, noninvasive blood pressure, cardiac output, pulmonary artery pressure
  • Telemetry and progressive care aspects
  • Intra-aortic balloon pump and left ventricular-assist devices
  • Advances in management of acute myocardial infarction
  • Management of acute and chronic heart failure
  • Use of vasoactive drips, inotropic support, thrombolytic therapy
Cardiovascular surgery
  • Chest tubes and drains
  • Femoral sheaths
  • Updates on new surgical procedures
Complementary therapies
  • Spirituality in critical care nursing
  • Creating a healing environment
  • Complementary therapies used with the critically ill
Cultural diversity
  • Responding effectively to cultural aspects of patient and family care
  • Minimizing language barriers
  • Dealing with diversity issues among staff
ECGs and pacemakers
  • Advanced ECG interpretation
  • Advanced pacemaker rhythms
  • Advocacy and moral agency
  • Advance directives
  • Code of ethics
  • Cultural diversity
  • End of life
  • Family-centered care
  • Informed consent
  • Moral distress
  • Patients' rights
  • Palliative care
  • Religion/spirituality
  • Special needs and tailoring care for the elderly patient
  • Restraint policies and procedures
  • Immunosuppression
  • Advances in understanding immune system disorders
  • Managing anaphylactic reactions and immunologic emergencies
Infection control
  • Antibiotic-resistant organisms
  • Case management and critical pathways for specific patient populations
  • Mentoring programs
  • Staffing; patient acuity/classification systems, floating, using registry staff, optimal staffing ratios and skill mix, staffing policies, work schedules and shifts
  • Programs that assure seamless continuity of patient care
  • Coping with mergers, redesigns and downsizing
  • Patient admission and discharge criteria, especially for telemetry and progressive/subacute care units
  • Guidelines for supervision and delegation of tasks to unlicensed assistive personnel: resolving problems with delegation
  • Legal aspects of delegation, supervision and assignment acceptance
  • Programs that enable staff to do more with fewer resources (innovative ways to work smarter)
  • Coping with increased managerial scope of responsibility
  • Outcomes management and research
  • Unique needs of the neonate
  • Managing neonatal emergencies
  • Resources for neonatal nurses on specific patient populations
  • Neonatal transport
  • Supporting parents and siblings of neonates
  • Sedation and pain management; sedation scales
  • Neurotrauma
  • Acute care of the patient with stroke
  • Monitoring and managing increased intracranial pressure
  • Nutritional issues in the critically ill
  • Unique needs of the pediatric critical care patient
  • Managing pediatric emergencies
  • Resources for pediatric critical care nurses
  • Supporting parents and siblings of pediatric patients
Postanesthesia recovery
  • Recovering critically ill patients from anesthesia
  • Managing postanesthesia recovery emergencies
Psychiatric issues
  • Recognizing and managing psychiatric problems in the critically ill
  • Managing the patient with substance abuse
  • Psychiatric complications in the critically ill
  • Dealing with dysfunctional families
  • Advances in the care of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Managing patients on various forms of mechanical ventilation
  • Suctioning protocols and procedures
Staff Development
  • Healthy work environment and standards
  • Assessing and developing staff competency
  • Effective and efficient orientation programs
  • Competency-based orientation programs
  • Effective cross-training programs
  • Patient and family education programs
  • Educational impact of hospital mergers and restructuring
  • Understanding the pathophysiology of toxic ingestion
  • Protocols and algorithms for managing toxic ingestion
  • Advances in organ and tissue transplantation
  • New pharmacologic therapies for the transplant patient
  • Multisystem trauma
  • Neurotrauma
  • Emergency care of the trauma patient
  • Interfacility transport
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