President-Elect: Clareen Wiencek


Clareen Wiencek, RN, PhD, ACNP, ACHPN
Program Director, Center for Integrative Pain Management
Nurse Manager, The Thomas Palliative Care Unit

Virginia Commonwealth University Health System
Richmond, Virginia

Experience and Activities

Chapter Membership

  • Greater Richmond Area Chapter (GRAC-AACN), 2011-present 
  • Lake Erie Chapter, 1992-present 

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 Representative, PICS Task Force, 2014-present
  • AACN Ambassador, 2010-present
  • Director, AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors, 2013-2014
  • Director, AACN Board of Directors, 2011-2014
  • AACN Nominating Committee, 2011-2012
  • Evidence-Based Practice Resource Work Group, 2010-2011
  • Co-lead, Chapter Advisory Team, 2008-2010
  • Chapter Advisory Team, 2006-2008

Key Professional Activities Outside AACN in the Past 3 Years

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

  • Critical Care and Palliative Care: The History and the Evidence,
    Second annual palliative care symposium, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, October 2014
  • Living Large Through Transformational Leadership: Magnet conference, Dallas, October 2014
  • End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Critical Care,
    First international ELNEC-critical care course, Kyoto University, Japan, September 2014
  • Evidence and Experience: Integrating Palliative Care in the Critical Care Setting,
    Carolinas-Virginia Chapter, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Carolina Beach, Virginia, June 2014
  • The Critically ill Cancer Patient: Odyssey Conference – GRAC-AACN, Richmond, Virginia, March 2013
  • White K, Roczen M, Coyne P, Wiencek C. Acute and critical care nurses’ perceptions of palliative care competencies: A pilot study. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2014;45(6):265-277.
  • Gutgsell K, Schlucher M, Margevicius S, et al. Music therapy reduces pain in palliative care patients: A randomized controlled trial. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2013;45(5):822-831.

Issues Statement

The future of acute and critical care nursing is in the team. All members of our teams, including the patient and family, will have full voice regardless of their credential or education. This is a key issue because safe, high-quality patient outcomes can only be realized when silos are eliminated and the nursing workforce is genuinely engaged.

Authentic teams with flat hierarchies are possible. Suzanne Gordon and colleagues in “Beyond the Checklist” assert that just as the aviation industry’s safety record improved dramatically through true teamwork, so too the healthcare industry can be transformed. Analogous to equal engagement by all stakeholders in airline safety is the full engagement of bedside nurses. No longer is it acceptable that the team member who spends the most time with patients and families does not participate in morning rounds or family meetings.

True collaboration is essential to positive team outcomes. Multiple studies show that healthy work environments are positively correlated with higher staff retention, better patient satisfaction and reduced hospital-associated conditions. Of concern is evidence that the health of nurses’ practice environments has deteriorated. In the 2013 AACN Critical Care Nurse Work Environment Survey, nurses reported that they often do not feel included as decision makers and that true collaboration on their units has declined. Improvement is needed.

The good news is that our affiliation with AACN and its resources help us build stronger teams. The Healthy Work Environment Standards and Beacon Award for Excellence criteria are models for fostering high-functioning teams. The CSI Innovation Database on AACN’s website contains many powerful examples of bedside nurses taking control of their environment and leading multidisciplinary teams to produce amazing outcomes. Read how these nurses have used their bold voice to drive team excellence because nothing less is acceptable. The future is in the team.

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