Director: Paula S. McCauley

Paula S. McCauley, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, CNE
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor


University of Connecticut School of Nursing
Storrs, Conn.

Experience and Activities


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.

  • API/NTI Planning Committee, 2013–2014
  • AG/ACNP pilot exam, program participation, 2012–2013
  • CE Review Committee, 2011–2013
  • API/NTI abstract review, 2010–2013
  • Active in AACN since the early 1980s, ACNP in critical care for the past 15 years, DNP dissertation included Synergy Model as theoretical foundation, incorporated in an evidence-based practice program with emphasis on nursing care to reduce central line infections

Key Professional Activities Outside AACN in the Past 3 Years

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

  • Chair, American Association of College of Nurses, Practice, Leadership Network, Communication Committee, 2012–2014
  • Co-vice chair, Connecticut League for Nursing, Deans and Directors Committee, 2012–2014
  • “Black, White and Shades of Grey: Plain Film Radiology Interpretation” and “Sepsis: Current Goal-directed Therapy,” presentations at CTAPRN Conference, April 2012
  • McCauley P. Evidence-based clinical guidelines and their impact on prevention of catheter-related bloodstream infections. Clin Schol Rev. 2012;5(1):18.
  • Academic leader, Connecticut Nursing Collaborative, Eastern Region 

Issues Statement

A key issue affecting critical care nursing is palliative care. With healthcare reform comes a heightened focus and need for superior palliative care.

I often relate to my family and friends the difference between what healthcare resources could do for you versus what providers should do for you when you reach the point in life when aggressive treatment is inappropriate and palliation is the appropriate choice.

When reform was first introduced and rationing discussed there was heightened media coverage and increased publicity surrounding the need for a discussion about advance directives with a healthcare provider.

A family member approached me with concerns that she wouldn’t receive appropriate care, that the “death talk,” as she referred to it, would prevent her from getting the care or treatment she deserved. She asked if I would be her healthcare agent, thinking I would never “unplug” her if she ended up on life support.

I challenged her to consider a different perspective — that if I were her provider and educated her appropriately we would never have to make that decision.

I emphasized that through that talk I would gain understanding of her wants and needs, and educate her appropriately and honestly about the risks, benefits, probable outcomes and potential futility.

The ICU and life support are not necessarily the right choice; administering treatment simply because it is available is not necessarily appropriate.

If the treatment prolongs her life but necessitates spending her final days in the ICU on life support, probably never returning home, then she has been incorrectly informed and treated.

If she is properly informed we would never have to make the decision to pull that plug, because we could have determined that it is best to consider end-of-life comfort, palliative care and indeed never “plug her in.”

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