AACN News—May 2008—Association News

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Vol. 25, No. 5, MAY 2008

Beacon Award Recipients for Spring 2008 Announced

Every year since 2003, AACN has recognized the top critical care units in the nation with the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence. The most recent recipients include 19 units from 15 hospitals in 14 states.

The award, which is increasingly linked to patient safety initiatives, recognizes units that exhibit the highest quality standards in nurse recruitment and retention, patient outcomes, staff training, healthy work environments, leadership and evidence-based practice and research. Criteria for receiving a Beacon Award include:

• Recognized excellence in the intensive care environments in which nurses work and critically ill patients are cared for;
• Recognized excellence of the highest quality measures, processes, structures and outcomes based upon evidence;
• Recognized excellence in collaboration, communication and
partnerships that support the value of healing and humane
• Developing a program that contributes to actualization of AACN’s mission, vision and values.

Studies show that units achieving Beacon Award status rate higher on key indicators related to nursing satisfaction, quality of care, leadership and work environment. In addition, this award allows units to measure their systems, outcomes and environment against evidence-based criteria.

“The commitment to high-quality standards and dedication to exceptional care of patients and their families have brought clear, valuable recognition to these units and institutions,” said AACN President Dave Hanson, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNS. “Earning a Beacon Award sends a clear message that these units are providing exceptional care and that their commitment to evidence-based practice is unwavering. They have set examples that serve as beacons for other hospitals and healthcare facilities to use in navigating the rough waters of acute and critical care nursing.”

Following are Beacon Award recipients for Spring 2008:

The latest awards bring to 120 the total number of units that have received the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence. More than 200 units are in the process of applying at any given time. The award is presented twice yearly.
Applications for two additional categories of the Beacon Award – for progressive care units and for pediatric units – are now available.

For more information on the Beacon Award or AACN, call (800) 899-2226. Applicants are not required to be a member of AACN to receive a Beacon Award. Applications must be completed online. Application information and requirements are available at
www.aacn.org > Beacon Award.

John C. Lincoln
North Mountain Hospital
- Intensive Care Unit

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Santa Barbara
- Critical Care Unit
- Intensive Care Unit
Two-time recipients

District of Columbia
Georgetown University Hospital
- Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Tampa General Hospital
n Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

Gwinnett Medical Center
- Intensive Care Unit
Two-time recipient

Advocate Christ Medical Center
Oak Lawn
- Surgical Intensive Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit

Baystate Medical Center
- Adult Intensive Care Unit
Four-time recipient

North Carolina
Mission Hospitals
- Cardiovascular Intensive Care
New Jersey
The Valley Hospital
- Intensive Care Unit
- Intermediate Care Unit
- Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit

New York
VA Medical Center Brooklyn
- Combined ICU-Dept.

Strong Memorial Hospital
- Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit
Two-time recipient

Aultman Hospital
- Medical Intensive Care Unit

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
- Intensive Care Unit

Virginia Commonwealth Medical Center
- Surgery Trauma Intensive Care Unit

University of Washington
Medical Center
- 5 East Intensive Care Unit
- Cardiothoracic 5SE

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AACN Invites Nominations for Leadership Posts

As a member of AACN, one of your responsibilities and privileges is selecting the next leaders of the organization. You do this when you vote in AACN elections, and when you nominate colleagues for leadership positions. Currently, AACN is accepting nominations for leadership positions on the AACN Board of Directors, Certification Corporation Board of Directors and AACN Nominating Committee.

Please carefully review the competencies for these positions as defined in the AACN Framework for Governance Leadership Positions (see page 10) and submit nominations for colleagues who demonstrate these competencies and provide strong leadership in moving AACN toward achieving its mission and vision. You may also nominate yourself.

Following are details about the positions for which nominations are being sought. Terms for all positions will begin July 1, 2009. Reimbursement for travel, as well as other expenses, is provided for all national volunteer positions.
Nominations close May 31, 2008.

AACN Board of Directors
(4 positions open, 3-year terms)

• Define and support the mission, vision and values of the
• Ensure effective organizational planning
• Effectively manage the association’s resources
• Determine, monitor, evaluate and strengthen the association’s programs and services
• Uphold legal requirements and ethical integrity
• Assess board performance and ensure board succession
• Ensure effective communication between AACN and AACN Certification Corporation and other subsidiaries of the

• Active membership in AACN and knowledge of AACN’s resources that support acute and critical care nursing.
• Active commitment to and understanding of AACN and its mission, vision and values
• Demonstration of the essential governance leadership competencies as defined in the AACN Framework for Governance Leadership Positions

AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors
(2 positions open, 3-year terms)

• Define and support the mission, vision and values of the corporation
• Ensure effective organizational planning
• Effectively manage the corporation’s resourceso
• Determine, monitor, evaluate and strengthen the corporation’s programs and services
• Uphold legal requirements and ethical integrity
• Assess board performance and ensure board succession
• Ensure effective communication between AACN and the corporation

• Active commitment to and understanding of the mission, vision and values of the corporation
• AACN membership is not required
• Certification (CCRN, CCNS, PCCN or ACNPC) is required for some positions.
• Experience in the role of employer (manager, director, chief nursing officer) of certified nurses is required for some positions
• Demonstration of the essential governance leadership competencies as defined in the AACN Framework for Governance Leadership Positions

AACN Nomination Committee (3 positions open, 1-year terms)
• Active membership in AACN
• Active commitment to and understanding of AACN and its mission, vision and values
• Demonstration of the essential governance leadership competencies as defined in the AACN Framework for Governance Leadership Positions

AACN Essential Competencies for Governance Leadership
The ability to assess, manage and develop oneself in order to preserve and optimize relationships and add value to the outcomes of one’s organization.
Global Thinking
The ability to think beyond one’s current role and practice and apply new perspectives that will improve and optimize one’s role and practice.

The ability to create a clear view of the preferred future resulting from global analysis in order to lead other people and the organization to this preferred future.

Consensus Building
The ability to achieve practical consensus within groups to promote strong teamwork and garner commitment and participation of others to achieve solutions and effect positive change.

Delivering Effective Messages
The ability to deliver effective messages in order to motivate others in thought and action.

Knowing and Committing to AACN
The ability to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the mission, values and work of AACN in order to optimize outcomes for nurses and patients and their

Connie Barden, former AACN president, presented the “ACCN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments” at the Society of Intensive Care Medicine Congress in Tokyo, Japan. Pictured with Barden is Fusako Sato, visiting professor in the Department of Adult Nursing at Mie University, Tsu City, Mie, Japan and the moderator for Barden’s session.

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AACN/JCR Webinars Focus on Reducing Medical Errors

Reducing Medical Errors is the topic for a series of online programs co-sponsored by AACN and Joint Commission Resources (JCR). The series, consisting of three 90-minute programs, is scheduled for June. Each offers CE credit.

The schedule is:
June 10 – Joint Commission 2008 National Patient Safety Goals
June 17 – Mistake-proofing Healthcare
June 24 – Ensuring Reliable Care

Presenting on behalf of AACN is Patricia R. Ebright, RN, DNS, associate professor at Indiana University School of Nursing. Ebright’s healthcare experience includes 37 years as a registered nurse, with the first 28 years working as staff nurse, nurse manager and clinical nurse specialist in acute care hospital settings. Her research focus is centered on healthcare provider decision making in the context of actual care situations, and toward increasing understanding of the influence of work complexity on patient safety and quality of care. She was a member of the first Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship class sponsored by the National Patient Safety Foundation and consults with healthcare organizations and schools of nursing on patient safety and nursing work complexity. Her current research on RN stacking is funded by the National Patient Safety Foundation.

Presenting on behalf of JCR is consultant Roberta Fruth, RN, MS, PhD, FAAN, a former AACN board member. Fruth has a strong background in practice, education, research and leadership. She was a clinical nurse specialist and leader in critical care for 20 years at Rush Medical Center. Her leadership positions within practice settings led to a position as chief nurse executive.

To register visit the JCR Web site at www.jcrinc.com. Cost is $249 per webinar or $600 for all three topics within the series.

Reducing Medical Errors is the second of three series on which AACN and JCR have partnered in 2008. The final group of webinars will be presented in October.

AACN President Dave Hanson (second from left) recently toured The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. with hospital staff members (from left) Marianne Hess, Peter Meccariello and Robyn Smith. Hanson visited ICUs, telemetry units, the PACU and ED.

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Member Earns Nursing Hero Award

LuJan Meketi, RN, CCRN, established the Nurses Final Farewell Program for Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tenn., to honor those who can no longer answer the call to duty. As a result, Meketi was recently presented with the Ruby Jones Nursing Hero Award from the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. (During Hurricane Katrina, Ruby Jones, a hospice nurse at Lindy Boggs Medical Center, stayed with the eight patients under her care. The award was named in her honor.)

Meketi founded the farewell program to provide the family with various services, including delivering food and helping with the nurse’s final wishes, and honorary pallbearers make a special presentation at the funeral. Donations in the nurse’s name are made to nursing scholarships for local colleges. To find out more about the program, contact Meketi at (731) 644-8558.

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Scene and Heard

Our Voice in the Media

Nurse.com (Dec. 17, 2007) – “AACN Honors Two Virginia Hospital Units.” Two critical care units at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., received the Beacon award. “We’re very proud to be recognized and honored on a national level,” said Heather Russell, RN, MS, sr. director of critical care and emergency services. “Our nursing staff is an extremely dedicated group that’s committed to using best practices and providing high-quality care for our patients.”

Society of Critical Care Medicine eNewsletter (Dec. 6, 2007) – “Survey Assesses Nurses’ Job Satisfaction in Various ICUs.” AACN conducted a survey to determine the differences in nurses’ perceptions of their work environment within various types of ICUs. “Types of Intensive Care Units With the Healthiest, Most Productive Work Environments”, published in the September 2007 issue of American Journal of Critical Care, indicated the most significant factors were education and hospital type.

The Rhinelander Daily News (Dec. 1, 2007) – “Aspirus Recognized for Critical Care Nursing Excellence.” When the cardiac nursing unit received the Beacon award, Tim Gengler, vice president of nursing at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Wausau, Wis., said, “Our nurses are highly trained, compassionate experts who constantly strive to raise the level of care they provide. This award really validates their efforts.”

OhioHealth Newsroom (Dec. 12, 2007) – “Riverside Methodist Hospital (Columbus, Ohio) Recognized for Critical Care Excellence.” “At Riverside, being a Beacon unit means that patients and their families are provided the best possible care using evidence-based practice. It also means that every nurse is respected and treated as an individual. This makes Riverside’s ICU a unique critical care unit,” said Jann Marks, MBA, RN, CNAA, BC, chief nursing officer.

Our Voice at the Table

Julie Miller, RN, BSN, CCRN, AACN board member, presented a two-day CCRN/PCCN review for the Greater East Texas Chapter in Tyler, Texas.

The above photo shows some of the attendees holding Reclaiming Our Priorities cards. Miller discussed the value of certification and AACN membership. Attendees included Seleria Fletcher, RN, chapter president, Merci Sarmiento, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN, CRN, president-elect, and Shelley Welch, RN, BS, BSN, secretary. There were about 70 participants, of whom 30 planned to take the CCRN exam.

Dave Hanson, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNS, AACN president, spoke at the University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital Evidence-Based Nursing Practice Conference, in Birmingham, Ala. Hanson presented the keynote address “Reclaiming Our Priorities.” He also met with UAB hospital staff nurses and nursing leaders to discuss certification and AACN’s Beacon Award. Hanson toured various nursing units including the Heart Transplant ICU, a Beacon award recipient. Joining him for dinner were board members from the Greater Birmingham Chapter and former AACN presidents including Dr. Marguerite Rodgers Kinney, RN, DNSc, and Dr. Anne Wojner-Alexandrov, MSN, CCRN, APRN, FAAN.

Carol Hartigan, RN, MA, AACN certification programs strategist, and Kevin Reed, RN, MSN, CNA-BC, CPHQ, AACN Certification Corporation chair, attended the two-day American Board of Nursing Specialties’ Spring 2008 Assembly in San Diego, Calif.

Hanson and Caryl Goodyear-Bruch, RN, PhD, CCRN, AACN president-elect, represented AACN at the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s 38th Annual Critical Care Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii. They met with leaders from SCCM, SHM, ATS and ACCP to collaborate on issues facing medical and nursing societies. Hanson presented “Education in Critical Care: Techniques to Enhance and Share Information – Online and Independent Instruction” as part of the presidents’ panel discussion.

Goodyear-Bruch attended the Greater Kansas City Chapter’s Visions: the 21st annual Critical Care Nursing Symposium, in Kansas City, Mo. She presented the keynote, “Reclaiming Our Priorities: Assuring Safety With the Power of Nursing.” Mary Stahl, RN, MSN, CNS-BC, CCNS-CMC, CCRN, AACN board member, and Kay Luft, RN, MN, MS, CCRN, Region 14 chapter advisory team leader, gave a national AACN update.

Janice Wojcik, RN, MSN, CCRN, APRN-BC, AACN board member, represented AACN at the Northern New Jersey Chapter’s Celebration of Excellence in Hasbrouck Heights. The dinner event recognized chapter members who are certified, Beacon units in the area and AACN Circle of Excellence honorees in Northern N.J.

Justine Medina, RN, MS, AACN’s director of professional programs and practice, and Pamela Shellner, RN, MA, AACN’s clinical practice specialist, participated in a roundtable event on Excellence and Evidence in Staffing in San Diego, Calif. The event was hosted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) and BidShift, Inc.

Wojcik represented AACN at the American Nurses Association’s nurse staffing summit, held at ANA headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. “Safe Staffing Saves Lives” is a national campaign launched by ANA to help fight for safe staffing legislation. Participant organizations were invited to the summit, which included a panel discussion and open dialogue on issues related to nurse staffing.

Kristine Peterson, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS, AACN board member, spoke on “Creating Safe Passage: Evidence-Based Care for Procedural Sedation Tomorrow,” for the Minnesota Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates.

Goodyear-Bruch spoke at the Chesapeake Chapter’s 19th Annual Symposium: Critical Care Nursing: The Future is Now! in Towson, Md. She gave the keynote address, “Reclaiming Our Priorities” and presented a breakout session, “Assuring Accuracy in Hemodynamic Monitoring.” Patricia Gonce Morton, RN, PhD, ACNP, FAAN, AACN board member, gave an AACN update. Karen McQuillan, chair for the FY09 NTI Program Planning Committee, presented “A Team Approach to ECMO.”

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Members on the Move


Paul Williamson Jr., RN, APRN, MSN, BA, CCRN, ANCP-C, was hired as the program director of nursing at Pima Medical Institute, Tucson, Ariz.

Susan Yeager, MS, RN, CCRN, ACNP, former AACN board member, wrote “Ventriculostomy for Treatment of Persistent Cervical Cerebral Spinal Fluid Leak After Excision of Cervical Schwannoma: A Case Study” for the April 2008 issue of Journal of Neuroscience Nursing.

Gen Guanci, MEd, RN, CCRN, BC, wrote a book titled “Feel the Pull: Creating a Culture of Nursing Excellence.” She describes the culture change required to be an award-winning organization.

Barbara Lamia, RN, MSN, CCRN, is the new director of cardiology at Boca Raton Community Hospital, Fla., where she will manage inpatient and outpatient cardiac diagnostic services.

Barbara B. Pope, RN, CCNS, CCRN, MSN, co-wrote “Raising the SBAR: How Better Communication Improves Patient Outcomes” for the March issue of Nursing2008.

Yvonne Morgan, RN, BS, BSN, is now the nursing supervisor of the Accident & Emergency Unit at the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority’s Peebles Hospital.

Maria Shirey, RN, MS, MBA, CNAA, BC, FACHE, AACN Certification Corporation board member, wrote an article titled “Sleepless in America: Nurse Managers Cope With Stress and Complexity,” which appeared in the March 2008 issue of Journal of Nursing Administration (JONA).


Lt. Col. Dawn Garcia, RN, BSN, MHA, CHE, was the recipient of the American Hospital Association’s 2007 Special Achievement Award. She is the head nurse for the Combined Intensive Care Unit at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany.

Mary G. McKinley, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN, CRN, was the editor of AACN’s “Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialists: Synergy for Best Practices,” which won an American Journal of Nursing (AJN) 2007 Book of the Year Award in the Critical Care/Emergency Nursing category.

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Bookstore 2008 Catalog Available

Sporting a new size and title, the AACN Bookstore 2008 catalog (formerly the AACN Resource catalog) is now available.

Inside, you’ll find the latest clinical references and educational products designed to make delivering quality patient care easier for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients. All of these resources have been carefully reviewed and endorsed by AACN, the standard setter in acute and critical care nursing. Included in the almost 300 books, audio CDs, videos and Web resources are more than 40 new products or new editions, many offering CE credit. It’s everything you need to update your personal or unit library.

Be sure to visit the AACN Online Bookstore at www.aacn.org/bookstore for more products and resources you can order anytime, including AACN and AACN Certification Corporation recognition products to wear or display to show your dedication to quality patient care. Visit the bookstore often for monthly specials and closeouts, announcements of new products and the most up-to-date pricing.

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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, beginning in May, 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. 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:
• Epocrates RxPro
• ER ICU Toolbox
• Pocket ICU Management Clinical Reference
• Cardiac Medications E-reference
• Critical Care Assessment E-reference
• Hemodynamic Management E-reference
• MedCalc
• MedRules
• 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

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Monthly Super Savers

Each month we choose three titles from our wide selection of products to help you in different areas of your practice. In honor of National Critical Care Awareness and Recognition Month we have selected the following products as Super Savers for May. Super Saver prices are good through June 30. All orders must be postmarked by June 30 to be eligible for the Super Saver price.

A Daybook for Nurses: Making a Difference Each Day (#330103)
Be inspired every day with quotations, stories, poems and inspirational thoughts especially for nurses. These daily motivational vignettes will provide inspiration and encouragement to nurses as they work each day to make a difference in the lives of the patients, families and communities they serve.
Regular Price
Member $15.15, Nonmember $15.95
Super Saver Price
Member $14, Nonmember $15

Daily Miracles: Stories and Practices of Humanity and Excellence in Healthcare (#330104)
“Daily Miracles” is anchored in vivid clinical practice experiences. These open the door to profound insights about the unique synergy that nurses, patients and families can achieve.
This book is a compilation of short stories and photography that highlight the exceptional work that is nursing.
Regular Price
Member $13.25, Nonmember $13.95
Super Saver Price
Member $12.50, Nonmember $13.25

Relationship-Based Care: A Model for Transforming Practice (#130601)
“Relationship-Based Care” provides a practical framework for addressing current challenges and is intended to benefit healthcare organizations in which commitment to care and service to patients is strong and focused. It will also prove useful in organizations searching for solutions to complex struggles with patient, staff and physician dissatisfaction; difficulty recruiting and retaining and developing talented staff members; conflicted work relationships and related quality issues.
Regular Price
Member $33.25, Nonmember $34.95
Super Saver Price
Member $29.75 Nonmember $32

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The March to Increase AACN Membership Continues

The month of March saw significant gains in AACN membership in the “I Can Make a Difference” Member-Get-A-Member campaign. During the month, 270 individuals and chapters recruited 672 new members, bringing the campaign total to 3,906 new members recruited by 907 individuals and chapters.

March Totals:
329 new members recruited by 135 individuals
343 new members recruited by 135 chapters

In individual recruiting for the month, an amazing performance was turned in by Mary Holtschneider, RN, BSN, MPA, RN-BC, of Durham, N.C. Mary successfully recruited 37 new members. This single-month performance vaults Holtschneider into second place overall in the campaign. Other notable accomplishments in the month of March were Regina Ann Kynard, RN, BSN, of Toledo, Ohio and Ellen Peller, RN, BSN, CCRN, PCCN, of Spokane, Wash., each with 12 new members recruited. Bernadette Matrisciano, RN, AD, AA, of Florham Park, N.J. checked in with 11. Still leading to date with 62 new members recruited is Lorraine Fields, RN, CNS, MSN, BSc, CCRN, CNRN, APN, of Uniontown, Ohio. In third place overall is Kathleen Richuso, RN, MSN, RN-BC, of Chapel Hill, N.C. with 28.

In chapter recruiting, the Northwest Chicago Area Chapter had a big month, bringing 32 new members into the AACN family. This puts them in fourth place overall in the campaign with 42. The Metropolitan Orlando Chapter was the only other chapter in double digits for the month with 10. The Houston Gulf Coast Chapter still maintains the overall campaign lead with 77 new members recruited. The Greater Birmingham Chapter is in second place with 46, and the San Diego Area Chapter is in third place with 44.

The “I Can Make a Difference” MGAM campaign began Sept. 1, 2007 and will continue through Aug. 31, 2008. Participation in the Member-Get-A-Member 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 toward 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. Deborah Pool, RN, MS, CCRN, from Glendale, Ariz. won the gift check in March.

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 March was the Greater Washington Area Chapter.

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AACN Member Receives Award for Saving a Life

LaVonne Lewis, RN, PhD, received the 2007 “National Nurse Hero” award from Nursing Spectrum. The award requirements were saving a life under adverse conditions outside the hospital setting. She was nominated by her 13-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who witnessed her mother save a man’s life on a treacherous icy mountain road. Lewis’ husband, Dale, and Capt. Mark Vodon of the Kern County Fire Department included letters with the nomination.

In part, Vodon wrote, “LaVonne L. Lewis is an indispensable asset to the community of Pine Mountain, California. She tirelessly volunteered for over 10 years as a volunteer firefighter. When she moved into this community, it was a one-man fire station and the firemen were not EMT-trained. LaVonne came to the fire department and volunteered her services. She received a pager and at all hours of the day and night she would respond to all medical calls. Some of these calls involved gunshot wounds for which we had no equipment, so she used sticks from the forest to make a tourniquet. Her courage and calmness during such a medical crisis was impressive. Another time she single-handedly performed CPR for two and a half hours until a medical helicopter could arrive to transport the victim to a hospital. Following that incident, she taught over 200 community members CPR … LaVonne never hesitated for one moment to save a life, sometimes with her own safety in jeopardy. She has become known as the angel of the mountain … LaVonne continues to give medical attention whenever or wherever duty calls.”

A member of AACN since 1976, Lewis lives with her family in a mountain log cabin at 6,000 feet. As a nurse, her philosophy is “to cure sometimes, to heal often and to comfort always.”

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In Memory

Kathryn Ann “Katie” Brush, RN, MS, CCRN, FCCM, a longtime AACN member who was well known as a clinical nurse specialist leader, died in December 2007. Known for her work with patient safety and for her national and international humanitarian relief efforts, Brush was a clinical nurse specialist for 10 years in the Surgical ICU at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

She was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, which has established a scholarship fund in her honor. Donations in her name can be sent to the CNS Foundation, c/o NACNS, 2090 Linglestown Road, Suite 107, Harrisburg, PA 17110.

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Award Recipients Recognized at NTI

Each year, the highest of AACN’s Circle of Excellence awards honor individuals who have made a difference in acute and critical care nursing. Among these are the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career and the GE Healthcare-AACN Pioneering Spirit Award, presented to individuals considered to be Visionary Leaders. New this year is the Circle of Excellence Flame Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions at the regional and national levels. Recipients of the awards are selected by unanimous vote of the AACN Board of Directors.

This year’s recipient of the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career is Dennis S. O’Leary, MD. GE Healthcare-AACN Pioneering Spirit Award recipients are Patricia R. Ebright, DNS, RN, Elaine Larson, RN, PhD, FAAN, CIC, and Therese S. Richmond, PhD, CRNP, FAAN. The first Circle of Excellence Flame Award recipients are Thomas S. Ahrens, RN, DNS, FAAN, Suzanne M. Burns, RN, MSN, RRT, ACNP, CCRN, FAAN, FCCM, FAANP, and Karen K. Carlson, RN, MN, CCNS.

2008 Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career
This award recognizes individuals who are completing or have completed an extraordinary and distinguished professional career. The recipients show consistent and exceptional contributions throughout a career that has enhanced the care of acutely and critically ill patients and their families by furthering the mission and vision of AACN. The award is named in honor of its first recipient, AACN past President Marguerite R. Kinney.

Dennis S. O’Leary, MD

Modern Healthcare tapped him as one of the 25 most influential leaders in healthcare during the past quarter century. In many circles, Dennis O’Leary and The Joint Commission continue to be synonymous even since O’Leary retired after 20 years as president. The Joint Commission didn’t merely change its name because of his transformational leadership. It embraced healthcare-providing organizations in the U.S. and abroad, shifting its entire focus to address how organizations actually perform when they provide patient care. This set the stage for introducing care-related outcomes and process measures, among them cutting-edge standards for patient safety, pain management, use of patient restraints and emergency preparedness.

A nurse serving on The Joint Commission Board describes O’Leary as “steadfast in his support and recognition of nursing’s critical role in quality and patient safety.” He convened a roundtable, elevated the nurse staffing crisis in the public policy arena and endorsed efforts to raise nursing’s voice in every aspect of The Joint Commission’s work by supporting the creation of a Nursing Advisory Council within The Joint Commission, which explains his public admiration for AACN. At a Washington, D.C., news conference in 2005, it was O’Leary who made a compelling case for why healthcare urgently needed AACN’s healthy work environment standards.

O’Leary is president emeritus of The Joint Commission. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. After two years of internal medicine training at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis, he completed his residency and hematology fellowship at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. He is board certified in internal medicine and hematology.

2008 GE Healthcare-AACN Pioneering Spirit Award
This award recognizes significant contributions that influence acute and critical care nursing. Successful applicants demonstrate a far-reaching contribution that exemplifies a pioneering spirit and influences the direction of acute and critical care nursing. The contribution must be clearly defined and have a regional or national effect. It must be timely and address or resolve a significant issue facing acute and critical care nursing, and must be related to the mission, vision and values of AACN. Following are this year’s recipients.

Patricia R. Ebright, DNS, RN

What might a nurse do after 28 years as a hospital staff nurse, nurse manager and clinical nurse specialist? Here’s one possibility: Earn your doctorate and become a pioneering researcher in two critical and timely areas of inquiry that directly influence the work of acute and critical care nurses. This is what Patricia Ebright did.

Her trailblazing studies examine two critical issues in healthcare today: (1) how healthcare providers make decisions in the context of actual care situations and (2) how work complexity influences patient safety and quality care. Her current research funded by the National Patient Safety Foundation has uncovered a decision-making approach called “stacking” used by nurses to cope with variable and complex workloads. Stacking is the continuous prioritizing and reprioritizing of care delivery goals and timelines, adjusting outcomes and even abandoning some goals without adverse consequences. Stacking is invisible and dynamic. It has not been reported in the literature and nursing schools do not teach it. So, it is experienced nurses who discover and use stacking as a failure-prevention strategy when they come upon the many flawed operational systems in hospitals today.

Ebright holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Cincinnati and a doctorate from Indiana University. She was a member of the first Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship class sponsored by the National Patient Safety Foundation and completed a Department of Veterans Affairs postdoctoral fellowship in informatics.

Elaine Larson, RN, PhD, FAAN, CIC

Many people know Elaine Larson as “the handwashing lady.” Her seminal research in handwashing and infection control started in the 1970s and continues to this day. With it she anticipated by several decades today’s demand for evidence-based practice in this fundamental aspect of nursing practice. To recognize her contributions in the field of infection prevention, in 2002 the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology endowed the Elaine Larson Lectureship. A year later the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research honored her with the first Pathfinder Award for her contributions to clinical research and national policy.

Larson is internationally regarded as the pre-eminent expert in scientific evidence about handwashing and an authority on other aspects of epidemiology and infection control. She has served on the President’s Committee for Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses and the National Institutes of Health Study Section on HIV Infection.

In addition to being editor of the American Journal of Infection Control since 1994 and serving on nine journal editorial boards, she has published more than 200 journal articles, four books and numerous book chapters. She has consulted for the World Health Organization and in countries on every continent except Antarctica.

Larson is currently associate dean for research and professor of pharmaceutical and therapeutic research at Columbia University School of Nursing. She holds a dual appointment as professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and is director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Antimicrobial Resistance. Larson holds a bachelor’s in nursing, master’s degrees in nursing and microbiology and a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Washington. She was a Robert Wood Johnson clinical nurse scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Therese S. Richmond, PhD, CRNP, FAAN

In 1997, Terry Richmond started to carve out a unique and pioneering area of interdisciplinary knowledge in firearm injuries and violence. She was already nationally recognized as a neuroscience and trauma clinical nurse specialist, speaker and author. Today she is considered the leading nurse researcher in firearm injuries and violence and recognized as a mentor across professional disciplines. Most recently, she has put forward a research agenda to reduce firearm violence. All of this brings her to interdisciplinary national policy deliberations where she is usually the only nurse at the table.

At the intersection of her work in trauma care and violence, Richmond has also begun to study the outcomes of serious traumatic injury among critically ill older adults. One of the world’s foremost experts in gerontological nursing research credits her with carving a significant niche in geriatric critical care, something unheard-of five years ago.

AACN and AACN Certification Corporation have benefited from Richmond’s active volunteerism and commitment to professional organizations. She served on both boards of directors and numerous task forces and committees. She served on the Society of Critical Care Medicine Project IMPACT advisory board and received the SCCM Presidential Citation.

Richmond is currently associate professor of nursing with tenure at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing with a secondary appointment as associate professor of nursing in surgery at the university’s School of Medicine. She holds a diploma in nursing from Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Delaware along with a master’s degree from The Catholic University of America and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

2008 AACN Flame of Excellence Award
This new award honors Circle of Excellence criteria at the highest level of sustained regional and national excellence. Award recipients will be chosen from among members of the newly formed Circle of Excellence Society. It is envisioned that the society will permanently connect award recipients to one another and to AACN, providing a network of experts who will be a source of continuing ideas for innovation and excellence in nursing practice. Following are the first award recipients.

Thomas S. Ahrens, RN, DNS, FAAN

Tom Ahrens is a research scientist at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. He has published extensively, including five books and more than 100 papers. He has lectured both nationally and internationally on critical care topics. Ahrens is actively involved in technology application, particularly in terms of hemodynamic monitoring and capnography. He has been widely published in the application of technology to clinical practice. He organized a multicenter study that illustrated how end tidal CO2 could accurately predict survival following cardiac arrest.

His book, “Hemodynamic Waveform Analysis,” is considered by many to be the finest clinical guide on the topic. His book, “Essentials of Oxygenation,” was an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year. He was awarded the 1999 Presidential Citation by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and in 2004 was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing.

Ahrens is a strong advocate for families of hospitalized patients. He has published a research paper that demonstrated how improving communication with high-risk patient families can improve both outcomes and cost control. He has helped design communication programs to aid clinicians and published how nursing can lead the way to better matching patient and family wishes with the plan of care. For his work with families of hospitalized patients, in 2006 the American Academy of Nursing selected him as one of its first Edge Runners. Edge Runners are individuals who are developing innovative solutions that eventually become mainstream.


For decades, Suzi Burns has been a prominent voice in how to maximize clinical outcomes in mechanically ventilated patients. She studies, she publishes, she speaks, she teaches and she gives direct care, because she has made it her personal campaign to educate nurses about the complexities of mechanical ventilation.

Because of her background as a nurse and respiratory therapist she brings a unique interdisciplinary perspective to the clinical uses of technology. The Burns Wean Assessment Program was one of the first assessments of weaning potential to include non-pulmonary factors. As a result, it surpasses more narrowly focused tools as a predictive model and is one of the most commonly used weaning assessment tools in ventilator management. Her research has also confirmed improved patient outcomes and cost savings when advanced practice nurses manage ventilator care.

Burns’ development of a strong nursing research program at the University of Virginia Health Center may be an even greater contribution to acute and critical care nursing. National experts credit her influence in the Medical ICU with creating a climate of clinical inquiry among bedside clinicians who continuously question the efficacy of their nursing practice and turn to research as a way of answering their own clinical questions. Her approach to mentoring bedside clinicians in conducting research has been extended to the entire medical center and is shared as a speaker and consultant across the United States.

Karen K. Carlson, RN, MN, CCNS

Our dear colleague and friend, Karen Carlson, passed away last December. Her flame continues to burn ever so brightly in the thousands of individuals she touched during her short life.

Carlson always recognized that staff nurses are the people she needed to influence, because they are the front line of nursing. She did so as a consummate role model, coach, mentor, teacher, author and editor. Her relentless focus and dedication to excellence made the books she produced among the most influential in acute and critical care nursing across the United States and internationally. These include the “AACN Procedure Manual for Critical Care” and the new “AACN Advanced Critical Care Nursing,” for which she reviewed page proofs just days before her passing.

Carlson instinctively knew how to make each member of the team feel valued, even while she mentored them as writers and editors. Through “Orientation to the Care of the Acute and Critically Ill Patient,” which she edited, she influenced the development of thousands of novice nurses and set the stage for the eventual development of AACN’s e-learning programs.

Carlson was a master teacher. As her natural talent developed she became nationally recognized as a dynamic, authentic educator who understood the science and how to apply it at the bedside. As a role model, she inspired her students and colleagues to be “as good as Karen” in everything they did. She multiplied her reach by the thousands when she established the Carlson Consulting Group to carry out her passion, intellectual rigor and commitment to quality.

A graduate of St. Luke’s Methodist School of Nursing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Carlson received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and master’s degree from the University of Washington. She served on the national boards of directors of AACN and AACN Certification Corporation.

Carlson’s award will be accepted by her husband, Jim.

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AACN Media Award

George Washington University Hospital ICU Nurse Team
George Washington University Hospital, Washington, DC

Our intensive care unit at George Washington University Hospital was in need of an innovative method to ensure that both patients and families receive a timely introduction to our unit. The power of a video presentation to convey the culture and functional aspects of our critical care unit was very appealing to the staff. The hospital’s extensive television system in patients’ rooms and waiting areas was a perfect vehicle for information transference and education. Providing information to newly arriving patients and families, in a friendly but informative manner, was paramount. The video production would then play almost continuously throughout the hospital.

We are fortunate that Peter Meccariello, RN, is a staff nurse with the critical care ICU team. He is a longtime critical care nurse who has worked in the development and production of video documentaries. With Peter’s assistance, we decided to produce our own video “Introduction to Intensive Care.” We applied for and were awarded a grant from Elan Pharmaceuticals, which allowed us to hire a local production company to film our video.

Peter used his experience as a critical care nurse and his experience in production to write the script for the video. He worked with a group of staff members to choose the most important information we wanted to convey. After writing the script, we had a “casting call,” and Peter assisted with the selection of staff members willing to participate. The final production consists of hospital staff, except for two members of the production team who volunteered to act as a patient and a visitor.

We are very proud of the final video production taken on by the intensive care staff. Today, the video represents an integral segment of education throughout our hospital system.

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AACN Mentoring Award

Patricia A. Moloney-Harmon, RN, MS, CCNS, CCRN, FAAN
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD

Several years ago, I assumed the director responsibility for the Children’s Hospital at Sinai. Until this time, my primary experience was in obstetrics and neonatal intensive care. I met with Pat, the advanced practice nurse for children’s services, and she told me that she would do everything she could to help me understand the pediatric specialty and to assist with my assimilation with the unit staff and physician leaders. Over the years, she taught me about the pediatric environment. She taught me about appropriate nurse-patient ratios, the value of parents at the bedside 24-7 and of pet therapy in the pediatric ICU (PICU). She pushed me to make administrative decisions based on clinical evidence and to work together with her to move staff to a different level of practice.

Pat has mentored many people at Sinai. She mentored a former PICU staff nurse to write an article for the American Journal of Nursing. Pat recognized the potential in this nurse and encouraged her to continue her education and development. This nurse is now our pediatric educator and is mentoring staff as her mentor did for her so many years ago.

Pat has also mentored several staff in presenting posters at NTI. Additionally, Pat has mentored several staff in publishing articles and was instrumental in mentoring a colleague as he prepared for his role as the chair of the AACN Certification Corporation. Pat has chaired many committees but, most noteworthy, she mentors staff to assume the leadership of these groups, year after year. There are many more examples that I could include – stories of nursing technicians or clerical staff who went on to complete their nursing degrees, physicians who have become collaborative partners, and bedside nurses who practice more effectively because of Pat’s support, guidance and mentorship.

Mary Beth H. Leaton, RN, MS, APN, CCRN
Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, NJ

Mary Beth came to our ICU two years ago with 18 years of critical care nursing experience. It was clear from the beginning that mentoring is very much a part of who Mary Beth is as a person and as a CNS.

The development of a formal ICU mentoring program began because of the sincere interest of a nurse educator. With Mary Beth’s guidance, a steering committee was created. The structure for meetings, tools, evaluations and individualized goals was formalized, with flexibility to accommodate the varying backgrounds of new employees entering the ICU. New graduates are required to have a mentor to complement the clinical coach or preceptor. Experienced critical care nurses who are new to the ICU are also assigned a mentor to assist in the development of individualized professional goals such as credentialing, career ladder objectives and participation in research.

In a recent conversation, our newest APN praised Mary Beth for her APN orientation and mentoring. “I often use her as a sounding board before I approach a conflict that I must resolve. She provides me with excellent professional advice and as her peer I find that extremely helpful. Her name is well known across the hospital. I feel very fortunate that she has been my orientation mentor,” she said.

Mary Beth’s office door is always open, and staff nurses find their way to her to discuss practice dilemmas and personal practice concerns. She coached and mentored a staff nurse who was completing his acute care nurse practitioner program. She guided nine ICU nurses in their preparation for the CCRN exam; all passed. This quote by John Crosby captures the essence of Mary Beth: “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction.”

Renee Twibell, DNS, RN
Ball State University, Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, IN

I first met Renee when she mentored nursing students in the ICU where I was a staff nurse. Renee began to inquire about my professional goals. She encouraged me to “dream high.” She soon became my mentor, and little did I know where the relationship would take us over two decades.

First, she challenged me to obtain my bachelor’s degree, then my CCRN, then my master’s degree. I professed to be tired, but she spurred me on. In 2005, Renee invited me to co-present with her at NTI. She guided my first public speaking experience, and I found myself emulating her unique speaking style and avid preparation. Because Renee believes in disseminating knowledge, she has coached dozens of nurses to give presentations, including seven at NTI in just two years.

When I had an idea for an NTI abstract, Renee encouraged me to pursue it, this time as first author. Imagine my surprise when it was selected for presentation! An even greater surprise came when I was invited to publish two articles on our NTI topics. Renee knew that authoring an article was one of my grandest dreams, and she guided my first publishing endeavors.

Renee mentors nurses as researchers, engaging us as co-investigators. She guides our proposal development, data collection and manuscript preparation. Evidence-based practice has flourished in our hospital, mainly because of Renee’s persistent mentoring and influence as a nurse researcher.

Renee mentors nurses as leaders. When leading our research council, Renee shaped dozens of nurses into effective council members. As president of our local AACN chapter, she mentored nurses like me to be board officers. She replicates her leadership abilities in us, empowering us professionally.

Renee is a role model for what mentors should be. We are fortunate to have her as our mentor and friend.

Amy Veenstra, RN, CCRN, CMC
Baylor University Medical Center, Troup, TX

Amy Veenstra has been an employee at Baylor University Medical Center for 10 years, and in the ICU for almost eight years. She is an asset to the hospital, not only as 3N/CCU night supervisor but also as a supervisor on the 10 Roberts telemetry/post heart and lung transplant floor, as Rapid Response Team nurse leader and as administrative supervisor. Amy is involved in the day-to-day activities of running the units, and steps up to the plate when it involves a leadership or mentoring role.

Amy is dedicated and committed to the growth, professional development and improvement of every staff member she works with. She tries to enhance the staff’s knowledge by encouraging attainment of the CCRN and trains nurses to join the Rapid Response Team and Code Team. She develops leaders by seeing potential, and then trains the appropriate people for the charge nurse role and the administrative supervisor role, which promotes learning and develops staff confidence. Amy develops critical-thinking skills by asking questions about the care of the patient, disease processes, plan of care and helping staff anticipate outcomes. She stands back, allowing the staff to work, but is available to help guide and direct care as needed.

Amy has created in herself and others great leaders and mentors. With much hard work and dedication to her responsibilities, she is an inspiration to her staff. Her calm demeanor, expertise and reassurance allows staff to feel relaxed and confident in their own nursing and critical-thinking skills.

Under Amy’s direction, the turnover rate has decreased, morale is high and physicians feel confident in the nursing care provided.

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