Experience and Activities
- Piedmont Carolinas Chapter, 2006-present
- Board member, 2007-present
- President, 2009-2011
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.
- Evidence-based Poster Abstract Reviewer, 2015
- Circle of Excellence Reviewer, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- AACN Ambassador, 2007-present
- Chapter Advisory Team, July 2011-June 2013
- Chapter Advisory Team HWE Task Force, 2013
- NTI Planning Committee, 2010
Key Professional Activities Outside AACN in the Past 3 Years
Includes involvement with other professional organizations, teaching and/or speaking.
- “Management of the Brain Dead Donor,” Infusion Nurses Society National Conference, Phoenix, May 2014
- NATCO, 2009-present. The Organization for Transplant Professionals Communications Workgroup, Position Statement Review Committee, Social Media Task Force, Website Design Group, Organ Procurement Committee
- “Organ Donor Evaluation and Management” and “Recovery of Organs and Tissue in the Operating Room,” Making a Difference Symposium at CaroMont Medical Center, Gastonia, North Carolina, November 2013
- “Trauma Trends Organ Donor Management,” Carolinas Medical Center Main Campus Trauma Conference, 2013
- “Inspired For Life,” Charlotte, North Carolina, February to September 2013 and 2014. We bring women together and develop a focus on themselves as well as encouraging a healthy lifestyle. We provide a 12- to 16-week training program to prepare them for a triathlon. We train them to swim, bike and run as well as empower them to believe “Yes, I CAN!”
In my career with organ recovery, I see ethical dilemmas every day in the intensive care units. Critical care teams are able to rescue patients and provide life-sustaining support.
Current practice in most critical care units is to provide life-sustaining interventions, and we as healthcare providers are slow to recognize often futile efforts. Families of these patients have hope that we can manage and treat their family member back to their former health status. Because these patients often have sudden disruptive events such as heart attack, stroke or traumatic injury, it’s difficult for families to grasp the reality that nothing else can be done.
The families fight efforts to withdraw life support and often push aggressively for continuing medical treatments when efforts are futile. Often critical care teams feel at odds with families, which results in the family and the healthcare team experiencing moral distress, which an AACN public policy statement defines as when “You know the ethically appropriate action to take, but are unable to act upon it; you act in a manner contrary to your personal and professional values, which undermines your integrity and authenticity.”
AACN has developed excellent resources for nurse leaders and bedside nurses to identify and manage moral distress. These resources provide tools for moral distress assessment along with practical applications to manage moral distress. Moral distress has been implicated both directly and indirectly in nursing burnout. I have adopted many of these applications to apply in the stressful environment of organ recovery. I would like to encourage all AACN members to familiarize themselves and use AACN’s resources to identify moral distress in our colleagues, patients and families. As critical care nurses, we must make the commitment to incorporate moral distress identification and management skills into our own leadership skill set.