Grant Supports AACN CSI Academy Expansion

Dec 10, 2020

Added to Collection

Grant from Edwards Lifesciences Foundation’s “Every Heartbeat Matters” philanthropic initiative enables AACN to bring its nurse leadership and innovation program to cardiac surgery nurses caring for underserved populations

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – Dec. 10, 2020 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is bringing its AACN Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy free of charge to a cohort of nurses caring for underserved* critically ill cardiac patients.

AACN has received a $200,000 grant as part of Edwards Lifesciences Foundation’s philanthropic initiative, Every Heartbeat Matters, to deliver its AACN CSI Academy nurse leadership and innovation program to 10 cardiac surgery critical care and/or progressive care units. The program requires that selected units provide care to a significant proportion of patients from underserved populations, with an emphasis on Black communities.

The AACN CSI Academy builds additional skills for direct care nurses and leverages their expertise, empowering them as clinician leaders who effect positive changes that improve patient, nurse and hospital outcomes. Nationwide, more than 469 nurses at 82 hospitals have directly participated in the program since its launch in 2012. In total, the program has touched over 1.1 million patients and 6,200 nurses, with an estimated positive fiscal impact to hospitals of $84.2 million.

“By partnering with Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, AACN can both further our efforts to support all progressive and critical care nurses and their patients, and grow the CSI Academy program,” said Dana Woods, AACN CEO. “Academy participants have demonstrated that direct care nurses are critical drivers in creating lasting change and, ultimately, transforming healthcare. Undertaking this joint venture will empower an even broader community of nurses to make their optimal contribution.”

This grant-funded CSI Academy program is expected to begin in spring 2021. During the 12-month all-virtual program, teams of nurses from selected units will identify high-priority patient-care challenges and then develop, implement and evaluate solutions that result in quantifiable improvements. The program includes monthly education sessions and ongoing consultation and mentoring by AACN CSI Academy faculty, culminating in an online Innovation Conference where participants present their results to hospital leaders.

Outcomes from previous CSI Academy cohorts include improvements such as decreasing hospital-acquired pressure injuries, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, patient falls, delirium occurrences and length of stay, as well as increasing communication-related patient satisfaction, among other factors. These measurable patient improvements, coupled with a focus on equipping direct care nurses to drive positive change, are aspects of the AACN CSI Academy program that stood out to Edwards Lifesciences Foundation.

“Millions of structural heart and critical care patients face socioeconomic disparities that limit access to care,” said Amanda Fowler, executive director, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation. “Our Every Heartbeat Matters initiative seeks to address these disparities in partnership with nonprofit organizations, impacting each stage of the patient journey from detection to treatment, with additional emphasis on recovery through programs such as the AACN CSI Academy.

“The patient, nurse and hospital outcomes reported by AACN CSI Academy participants give us confidence we can address healthcare disparity gaps together and contribute to our goal of improving the lives of underserved patients dealing with life-threatening structural heart and critical care conditions.”

AACN offers online access to its collection of CSI Academy innovation projects ― including project plans, clinical interventions, data collection tools, outcomes and references ― as part of the program’s goal to inspire and empower as many progressive and critical care nurses as possible. With more than 92,000 unique downloads of project materials, the CSI innovation project library has become a resource for hospitals, healthcare administrators and clinical leaders seeking solutions that improve outcomes and reduce costs.

For more information about the grant-funded AACN CSI Academy cohort ― or the 12-month Academy program available to all hospitals and health systems ― please contact CSI Academy staff at

* Edwards Lifesciences Foundation identifies underserved people as “those who have a health disparity as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and lack awareness of, or access to, medically appropriate healthcare.” (Every Heartbeat Matters webpage, 2020)

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: For more than 50 years, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has been dedicated to acute and critical care nursing excellence. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families where acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. AACN is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization, with more than 130,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 27071 Aliso Creek Road, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; 949-362-2000;;;