Why Prone? Why Now? Improving Outcomes for ARDS Patients

Part of AACN Critical Care Webinar Series

Presenter(s): Kathleen M Vollman, MSN, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN; Sharon P Dickinson, RN, MSN, CCRN

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Webinar Summary

Prone positioning has been used in patients with ARDS to recruit alveoli to improve oxygenation and prevent complications of ventilator-induced lung injury for the past 30 years. However, the use of prone positioning is now considered frontline therapy. This session discusses the physiological mechanisms of the prone position for reducing lung trauma and improving oxygenation. Evidence will be provided to define the patient likely to respond to prone positioning, and identify the time frame in which to initiate therapy and the appropriate time spent in the prone position. Evidence-based strategies for turning and sustaining the patient in a prone position are outlined to ensure safety for the patient and healthcare personnel.


  • Discuss the evidence supporting the use of the prone position in patients with ARDS
  • Describe patient selection for use of the prone position
  • Identify the intervals when use of prone position has been shown to be most effective


Kathleen M Vollman, MSN, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN

Kathleen M Vollman, MSN, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN

Kathleen Vollman is a clinical nurse specialist and nurse entrepreneur who speaks internationally on critical care topics. She has been working with patients who are placed in the prone position since the mid-1980s. She and Dickinson, along with Jan Powers, co-authored the procedure for placing patients in the prone position for the AACN Procedure Manual for High Acuity, Progressive and Critical Care, 7th Edition released in 2016.

Sharon P Dickinson, RN, MSN, CCRN

Sharon P Dickinson, RN, MSN, CCRN

Sharon Dickinson is a clinical nurse specialist working with critically ill patients in the Surgical ICU at the University of Michigan Medical Center. She has developed policies and procedures for placing patients in the prone position and has presented on this topic at national nursing and physician conferences.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. Approval of a continuing education activity does not imply endorsement by AACN or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with the activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012 (60 min contact hour). AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing, California Provider number CEP01036 for 1.2 contact hours (50 min contact hour).

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.