Posts Tagged ‘AACN’


A Nursing Perspective on a Recent NEJM Palliative Care Article

January 8, 2016

Pam MolloyBy Pam Malloy, RN, MN, FPCN, director and co-investigator of the ELNEC Project, American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Washington, DC.

I just read a New England Journal of Medicine article by Drs. Craig D. Blinderman and the late J. Andrew Billings that came out on Christmas Eve, 2015. “Comfort Care for Patients Dying in the Hospital” was a thoughtful, informative article and I am grateful that it appeared in a journal that wasn’t focused solely on hospice/palliative care.

2016_ELNECLogoWhile the information in the article is essential for all health care professionals, I would like to take this opportunity to remind my nursing colleagues that we have a tremendous opportunity and privilege to plan, provide, and orchestrate the care that was described in this article—and we have been doing so for some time.

Nurses spend more time at the bedside and out in the community assessing and managing patients with serious, complex illness than any other health care professional. Our interdisciplinary colleagues depend on our assessments and we play a major role in developing plans of care with our diverse team. We are there having difficult conversations with patients—many times in the middle of the night when they cannot sleep.  We are entrusted with their care. It is an awesome responsibility and opportunity to care for the most vulnerable in our society, to alleviate suffering, and to provide attention to grieving families. Read the rest of this entry ?


AJN EIC Talks Priorities With Leaders of Critical Care Nurses Organization

May 26, 2015
Karen McQuillan and Teri Lynn Kiss

AACN president-elect Karen McQuillan (left) and president Teri Lynn Kiss

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Last week at the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) annual meeting (see this post), I interviewed the association’s president, Teri Lynn Kiss, or “TK,” and the current president-elect, Karen McQuillan, who will officially take office after this month. After days of rushing from session to session (and there must be 300+ sessions to choose from) and wandering through exhibits, I always enjoy sitting down with leaders of this organization and hearing what they think is important in critical care nursing.

Teri Lynn Kiss, MS, MSSW, RN, CNML, CMSRN, director of Medical Unit-2South and case management services at Alaska-based Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, has led this growing organization of over 104,000 members for the last year. I asked her what she felt she’d accomplished. She said that one of the most valuable things the association had done in the past year was to provide clear and credible information about Ebola to its members, the health care community, and to policy makers in Washington. She also believes the association’s work on creating healthy work environments is important not just for nurses but will translate to better care for patients. Her presidency, she said, enabled her to fulfill her own personal mission of service to others—one she will continue with the association in different capacities.

Karen McQuillan, MS, RN, CNS-BC, CCRN, CNRN, FAAN, a clinical nurse specialist at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, announced that her theme would be “Courageous Care.” As she noted in her keynote address, “For us as nurses, courageous care means doing what is necessary to provide the best possible care for our patients and their families. Period.”

But you can listen to them speak for themselves in this podcast recording of our conversation.


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Critical Care Nursing in San Diego (or was it Las Vegas?)

May 20, 2015

FullSizeRenderBy Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editor-in-chief

I’ve written before about the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) annual meeting, the National Teaching Institute (NTI). As a former critical care and emergency nurse, I’ve attended it almost annually. And I’m always amazed at how each year they step it up with new twists. One year, it was the helicopter and full MASH unit in the exhibit hall. Then AACN went to the TED talk style of keynote presentations. Last year, they had a contest for members to apply to be the guest co-master of ceremonies. So, what might possibly be a new twist in this year’s opening session?

I was sitting with leaders of the Canadian Critical Care Nurses Association, one of whom had never been to NTI before and had been told by her colleague that it would be unlike anything she had seen before. She couldn’t have been more on target—even by NTI standards. The session opened with a DJ and loud techno-rock music, followed by a very fit and energetic dance troupe and pop singers. Then, down from the ceiling came four acrobats and a bare-chested man spinning above the stage, along with a dozen or so men and women running up and down the aisles with large, lighted balls that the audience began batting around, all to the techno music. Was I really at a nursing meeting? Everyone was certainly awake and energized!

San Diego

San Diego

Awards. Pioneering Spirit awards were given to Paul Batalden (for his work with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and at Dartmouth) and researcher Ann Rogers, and the Marguerite Rogers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career was given to Joanne Disch (educator and former American Academy of Nursing president and AARP board chair). Some notable moments: Batalden said one piece of advice he would give is to “avoid working with jerks”; Disch received a rousing ovation when she told how she almost didn’t get into graduate school “because she partied too much as an undergraduate.”

‘Focus the flame.’ On a more serious note, AACN president Teri Lynn Kiss addressed the “growing community of exceptional nurses” (AACN membership is at a new record high of 104,000), speaking about her experiences over the past year as president, during which her theme, “Focus the Flame,” guided her work. Read the rest of this entry ?


Critical Care Nurses: Heading Home to ‘Focus the Flame’

May 27, 2014

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

AACN president-elect Teri Lynn Kiss

AACN president-elect Teri Lynn Kiss

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) National Teaching Institute ended last Thursday, just in time to get folks home for Memorial Day weekend. Last week, my post was about the opening session and awards. Here are some more highlights from the rest of the week:

Concurrent sessions were plentiful—too many to choose from. My top two favorites were one on transfusing blood and blood products and another on managing pain, agitation, and delirium. New this year were sessions related to health care financing, a nod to the fact that all nurses need to be cognizant of the cost of care. My other “must attends” were the poster sessions—these are largely by up-and-coming researchers and teams doing innovative projects.

current AACN president Vicki Good

current AACN president Vicki Good

Handling conflicts with colleagues. A “super session” by Christine Cashen, a professional speaker, had everyone on their feet in a standing ovation. Extremely funny and with a clear message about handling conflict with colleagues (a very big issue in nursing, as we know), Cashen was a huge hit. Several attendees sitting near me kept a running tally of coworkers who fit Cashen’s descriptions of people who communicate in a dysfunctional way. While the content was not necessarily new, her framing of it was refreshing and hit home for many. A few of her messages that resonated particularly well:

• We need to ‘BOOGIE’ more in the workplace, with BOOGIE being an acronym for “Be Outstanding Or Get Involved Elsewhere”—a message for those who drag others down with their lack of commitment and energy to the team effort.
• Communicate clearly to the correct person. “Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don’t be mean when you say it.”

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Pioneering Spirits, Kept Promises: Critical Care Nurses in Denver

May 20, 2014

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

In Denver for the annual National Teaching Institute of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), I’m once again overwhelmed by the size and breadth of the meeting. It’s not just the attendance, though it drew over 7,000 nurses. Perhaps it’s the Colorado Convention Center, which seems to go on forever. (Fittingly, there’s a mammoth blue bear two stories high peering in one of the glass walls.)

Big Blue Bear, Colorado Convention Center, Denver

Big Blue Bear, Colorado Convention Center, Denver

While trying to find my way to a session, I met a nurse who was there with her mother. Mom’s a Boston ER nurse and her daughter is a critical care nurse in New Hampshire. Every year they do a mother-daughter trip to either this meeting or the Emergency Nurses Association meeting. Kudos to them!

Sociologist, inspirational speaker, and comedian Bertice Berry mc’d the opening session, quickly warming up the audience. A highlight was the presentation of AACN’s Pioneering Spirit awards to Loretta Ford (founder, along with physician Henry Silver, of the first NP program in 1965), Carrie Lenburg (pioneer in nontraditional and distance learning), and Lucian Leape (a physician who spearheaded the movement to reduce medical errors).

Some quotes from these feisty folks who had major impacts on nursing and health care:

“Earl Warren said that any time he tried to do something worthwhile, he took hell. I was happy to take hell for all of you.”
Loretta Ford on the opposition to the NP role she encountered

“If you want to transform health care, you need to think about a triangle, with the sides representing caring, knowledge, and risk taking. You need all three to move forward.”
Carrie Lenburg on changing the health care system

“I took a lot of flak from my medical colleagues when I suggested the way to reduce errors was to change the system rather than punish our colleagues. I got no flak from nurses—they got it.”
Lucian Leape after his 1994 article on reducing medical errors

Another highlight was the moving presentation of keynote speaker Alex Sheen, founder of the “Because I Said I Would” movement. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Nuts and Bolts of Fluid Therapy in Critically Ill Patients

May 1, 2013

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Back in the day when I was a bedside nurse, hemodynamic monitoring was just coming into play, and then only in coronary care. In the ER, we relied on a combination of vital signs (pulse and BP), urine output, and central venous pressure (CVP) to guide fluid administration. Later, patients in need of close monitoring received arterial lines to monitor pulmonary arterial pressures; monitors and stopcocks were everywhere (and soon after, infections, but that’s another story . . . ).

But things are changing again, and the trend is toward less-invasive monitoring. In our May issue, we’re pleased to bring you a comprehensive CE article (worth 2.6 contact hours), “Using Functional Hemodynamic Indicators to Guide Fluid Therapy.” The author is Elizabeth Bridges, PhD, RN, CCNS, an associate professor in biobehavioral nursing and health systems at the University of Washington School of Nursing and a clinical nurse researcher at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Many critical care nurses will know her from her “standing room only” research sessions at the American Association of Critical Care Nurses National Teaching Institute (this year it will be in Boston, May 20–23), in my view one of the best annual national nursing meetings.

Here’s the article abstract:

Hemodynamic monitoring has traditionally relied on such static pressure measurements as pulmonary artery occlusion pressure and central venous pressure to guide fluid therapy. Over the past 15 years, however, there’s been a shift toward less invasive or noninvasive monitoring methods, which use “functional” hemodynamic indicators that reflect ventilator-induced changes in preload and thereby more accurately predict fluid responsiveness. The author reviews the physiologic principles underlying functional hemodynamic indicators, describes how the indicators are calculated, and discusses when and how to use them to guide fluid resuscitation in critically ill patients.

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Critical Care 2012: An Educational Extravaganza

May 29, 2012

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

So, for the 12th or 13th time (I’ve lost count), I attended the National Teaching Institute of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (the “other” AACN organization, not to be confused with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing) in Orlando last week. And as usual it was impressive—approximately 6,000 attendees, and rows and rows of exhibitors. There were two helicopters, a bus, and an ambulance in the exhibit hall, as well as two-story booths and classrooms. While there were some recruiters looking for staff, they were overshadowed by monitoring companies, bed and equipment manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies.

Some highlights:

Left to right: Outgoing AACN president Mary Stahl and incoming president for 2013, Kathryn Roberts.

Kudos to the AACN for its creativity in making general sessions lively and interesting. This year, the organization held open auditions for a member to assist as “MC” for the general sessions (or “super sessions”). It was a tie, and attendees were treated to two of their own in action, hamming it up and enjoying the spotlight.

The TED-talk presentation style used by both AACN president  Mary Stahl and president-elect Kathryn Roberts was refreshing—and unique for nursing meetings.

I interviewed both presidents—click the link to listen to the podcast (it may take a minute to load). The 2013 president, Kathryn Roberts, MSN, RN, CNS, CCRN, CCNS, is a clinical nurse specialist in the pediatric ICU at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; she chose “dare to” as her theme for the year.

My favorite session, hands down, was Elizabeth Bridges’ “Critical Care Studies You Should Know About,” in which she pulled apart recent research and evaluated it in the context of other studies. She is the only person I know who can have 500+ people laughing and learning statistical analysis. (After hearing her speak last year, I approached her to do a column for AJN. Her column, Critical Analysis: Critical Care, debuted earlier this year with “Central Venous Pressure Monitoring: What’s the Evidence?”free until June 12. And she’s working on two more.)

The engaging super session featuring Robyn Benincasa—a firefighter, world class adventure racer (think Survivor and The Amazing Race combined), and motivational speaker—illustrated what one could achieve with team support, leadership, and perseverance. (Of course, being in superb shape for firefighting, endurance biking, and mountain climbing doesn’t hurt either.)

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