‘Guided by Why’: Notes from the 2017 AACN Conference

Clareen Wiencek, left, and Christine Schulman

AJN‘s clinical editor Betsy Todd recently had a chance to speak with outgoing AACN president Clareen Wiencek and president-elect Christine Schulman about their plans and accomplishments. This post includes her podcast conversation with the two critical care nurse leaders, as well as a summary of highlights from the annual conference. For other updates from recent nursing and heath care conferences, visit our On the Road page.

As always, this year’s National Training Institute and Critical Care Exposition (“NTI”), the annual meeting of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), offered hundreds of educational sessions along with thought-provoking “supersession” addresses. Five “visionary leaders” were honored on the opening day: […]

2017-06-07T12:21:23+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments

AJN Hits the Road: From Wall Street to New Orleans

AJN’s editor-in-chief watches the nursing profession get a chance to ring the New York Stock Exchange bell, is exhorted to courageous action by critical care nurses in the Big Easy, records a podcast conversation with two nursing leaders.

May is always busy with professional meetings. I attend many of them, scouting out issues, trends, and authors. And then, of course, there’s Nurses Week, with its own flurry of activities.

NYSE JJ Podium Group 1 courtesy of Diane Mancino

Nurses ring the bell! This Nurses Week included a first for nursing: recognition by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future was invited to ring the closing bell of the NYSE on May 12, the official end of Nurses Week and the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Andrea Higham and Lorie Kraynak of the J&J campaign, along with Sue Hassmiller (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), Beverly Malone (National League for Nursing), Diane Mancino (National Student Nurses Association), and other representatives of nursing organizations crowded the bell platform to watch the CFO of Johnson & Johnson ring the bell. I watched from the trading floor along with other nurses, nursing students, and […]

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

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 […]

Addressing Alarm Fatigue in Nursing

by flattop341/via flickr by flattop341/via flickr

By Amanda Anderson, a critical care nurse and graduate student in New York City currently doing a graduate placement at AJN.

“Will you please silence that alarm?!” The nurse is on the phone, and can’t reach the screaming cardiac monitor. It’s a normal request, considering that we’re working together in an ICU and the alarm has been ringing for awhile.

But her request for silencing the alarm isn’t issued to me; she’s talking to the unit clerk. Stuck in my patient’s room, I watch as this untrained staff member taps the flashing rectangle on the unit’s central monitor. Without having first been appropriately evaluated, the ringing disappears, along with the words “Multifocal PVCs.”

Later, the same unit clerk absentmindedly turns off a sounding alarm, without encouragement from a nurse. I’m floating today, and although I’ve just met her, I can’t help but ask, “Do you know what that alarm was saying? Was it accurate?”

She is clearly startled by my admonishment, but I persist. “A lot of the alarms around here do seem to be false, but what if this one wasn’t? Do you have the training to know the difference, and to report it?”

If looks could kill, the one that meets my gaze is certainly homicidal, but it’s paired with a grumbled promise to never touch the screen again. So maybe my point has stuck. […]

Why Don’t We Pay Attention to Oral Care in the ICU?

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

“Although meticulous oral care has been shown to reduce the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), oral care practices among critical care nurses remain inconsistent, with mouth care often perceived as a comfort measure rather than as a critical component of infection control.”

scanning electron micrograph of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, one several types that can cause VAP/CDC Scanning electron micrograph of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, one of several bacteria types that can cause VAP/ CDC image

So begins one of our CE feature articles in the current issue of AJN. In “Mouth Care to Reduce Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia” (which you can read for free), the authors discuss why mouth care is so important among the interventions to reduce VAP—and why it is often not given a high priority among patient care procedures.

I have to confess that in my clinical days, mouth care was done almost as an afterthought. In our critical care unit, we were always diligent in monitoring vitals signs and IV fluids, suctioning, turning and positioning the patient, but oral care usually was a perfunctory task, completed with a few quick swipes with lemon-glycerine swabs.

Booker and colleagues explain why oral care deserves the careful attention we give to other measures. They also review the research on barriers to our providing this care. Many nurses are simply unaware of the connection […]