American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Hosts Annual NTI Conference in Houston, TX

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Hosts Annual NTI Conference in Houston, TX

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) will be hosting its annual National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) May 22-25 in Houston, TX. Over 6,000 acute and critical care nurses are expected to attend, including nurses at the forefront of research, academia, staff development, and management.

NTI is the premier annual event for critical care nursing with a conference offering nearly 300 comprehensive sessions on improving clinical practice, patient outcomes, and a hospitals’ bottom line by incorporating evidence-based education.

Conference sessions at the 2017 annual meeting will focus on clinical education reflecting today’s diverse critical care environments. These topics will include:

  • Eliminating healthcare-associated infections and medical errors
  • Improving patient outcomes and financial savings with nurse-led innovations
  • Understanding the benefits and risks of healthcare technology
  • Integrating new research findings into evidence-based patient care

NTI is the world’s largest conference for critical care nurses and includes the Critical Care Exposition in addition to the Advanced Practice Institute. The Exposition will showcase hundreds of exhibits encompassing cutting-edge healthcare equipment, devices, supplies, and career opportunities. The Advanced Practice Institute will include over 60 sessions on clinical skills, leadership development, and pharmacology, all specifically created for advanced practice nurses.

All attendees will receive online access to over 200 recorded sessions from the conference as well as online access to certification review courses and past NTI conferences. Participants can also earn up to 37.5 hours of continuing education credit during NTI.

Recipients of the AACN’s 2017 Pioneering Spirit Awards and the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career will be presented during the conference. Pamela Thompson, MS, RN, CENP, FAAN, will receive the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career. Kathleen Puntillo, RN, DNSc, FAAN, and Judith Nelson, MD, JD, both part of an interprofessional research team, will receive an AACN Pioneering Spirit Award. Filmmakers Carolyn Jones and Kathy Douglas, RN, MHA, will also receive AACN Pioneering Spirit Awards.

To learn more about the AACN and NTI conference, visit here.

Northern Arizona University Introduces Personalized Learning Program to Help Nurses Earn BSN Degrees

Northern Arizona University Introduces Personalized Learning Program to Help Nurses Earn BSN Degrees

With a critical shortage of nurses predicted by 2025, a nationwide initiative began encouraging nurses with associate degrees to obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by 2020. The shortage is expected to hit the state of Arizona particularly hard, which led Northern Arizona University (NAU) to find new ways to combat this issue. As a solution to the expected nursing shortage, NAU created a Personalized Learning program, an online competency-based program that allows students to work and progress at their own rate. The program is designed to fit into the schedules of working professionals, with a learning platform centered around real-world career knowledge to build on already mastered experiences.

Laura Blank, associate clinical professor and faculty mentor in the NAU School of Nursing, tells, “Arizona is predicted to take the biggest hit with 28,100 fewer nurses than necessary. One reason for this shortage is lack of nursing faculty.”

This degree became the perfect option for Danielle Cox, a charge nurse who already had 5 years of working experience in the field. Cox’s family attended NAU and she wanted to follow in their footsteps by going back to nursing school there but her 12-hour graveyard shifts in the ICU at Flagstaff Medical Center made it impossible for her to earn a BSN without quitting her full-time job.

She began looking for other ways to obtain her degree and found NAU’s Personalized Learning program. Cox explains how it became the perfect program her for: “I was able to work my stretch of night shifts and then dedicate my days off to school. Having no deadlines or due dates made going to school while working simple.” She also just became the first Personalized Learning student to graduate from the RN-to-BSN program this semester after completing the 33 credits she needed for her degree in less than six months. Now she plans to pursue her master’s degree in nursing and possibly start teaching.

Thanks to NAU’s Personalized Learning program, Arizona is now one step closer to combatting the shortage of nurses expected to soon hit the state. To learn more about the program, visit here.

AtlantiCare Celebrates National Nurses Week with Caring Hands Art Exhibit

AtlantiCare Celebrates National Nurses Week with Caring Hands Art Exhibit

AtlantiCare, a health system service, is celebrating nurses throughout the month of May with a Caring Hands Healing Arts Exhibit. Their exhibit takes place during National Nurses Week (May 6-12), National Hospitals Week (May 7-13), and National EMS Week (May 21-27).

Caring Hands is an exhibition of over 60 black and white portraits showcasing and celebrating the nurses of AtlantiCare. Robyn Begley, DNP, RN, NEA-BA, vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer with AtlantiCare says:

“The pictures poignantly illustrate who these men and women are, what matters to them, and what they treasure beyond the care they provide at the bedside, in a helicopter, in Labor and Delivery, through [information technology] roles, and more. Our nurses were thrilled to lend their hands to this project.”

The American Nurses Association (ANA) designated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse” with a Nurses Week theme of “Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.” AtlantiCare’s Caring Hands exhibition perfectly captures the theme of Nurses Week, celebrating the contributions that nurses make using their hearts, minds, and hands to care for their patients.

AtlantiCare’s Healing Arts Program is a sponsored initiative designed to showcase original artwork to brighten hospital corridors, accent medical lobbies, and bring public spaces to life. You can view the images of the portraits on AtlantiCare’s Facebook page throughout May.

Nurse of the Week: Bride-to-Be Lauren Wirwille Saves Unconscious Man on Her Way to Bridal Shower

Nurse of the Week: Bride-to-Be Lauren Wirwille Saves Unconscious Man on Her Way to Bridal Shower

Our Nurse of the Week is Lauren Wirwille, bride-to-be, who was driving to her own bridal shower with her mom in the front seat when she noticed a minivan stopped in front of her. She decided to honk, prompting the car to start moving again, but after Wirwille turned at the intersection her mom saw the van veer off the road. Realizing that the man had looked slumped over, Wirwille pulled over and ran toward the man’s car where she found him unconscious.

As an emergency room nurse for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Green Oak Township, MI, Wirwille knew exactly what to do to help the man who had gone blue in the face. She was already running late to her bridal shower but couldn’t help pulling over to help a stranger, and she quickly realized it was a good thing she had followed her instincts.

After instructing her mother to call 911, Wirwille began trying to find the man’s pulse. At the same time, another driver pulled over and offered to help get the man out of his vehicle. Then Wirwille immediately started CPR. She recalled the event to, explaining that, “Not a lot of people know how to do chest compressions. After a little while, you do get tired, and you need to not be tired, so I had my mom start chest compressions. She did great. I was so proud of her.”

Shortly after starting CPR, Fire Chief Kevin Gentry arrived on the scene and assisted in performing chest compressions. The EMS crew was able to revive the man and transport him to Providence Hospital where they believe the man was recovering but weren’t able to retrieve any details.

Wirwille ended up being an hour late to her bridal shower, but she was welcomed with open arms and applauded for her heroic actions. She didn’t regret being late to her shower; she was simply humbled by the experience and happy she was able to help somebody through an emergency situation.

International Medical Charity Operation Smile Celebrates Nurse Volunteers

International Medical Charity Operation Smile Celebrates Nurse Volunteers

Operation Smile is an international medical charity that provides free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate, or other facial deformities. In honor of National Nurses Week, Operation Smile is celebrating the nurses who volunteer on their medical missions to change the lives of thousands of children.

Founded in Virginia in 1982 by Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee, a former nurse, the organization has provided hundreds of thousands of surgeries over the years. Operation Smile has a global reach to more than 60 countries through their network of surgeons, pediatricians, doctors, nurses, and student volunteers. Their goal is to mobilize volunteer medical teams to conduct surgical missions in countries that don’t have the resources to perform these procedures themselves while adhering to high standards of safety and care.

Kathy Magee, co-founder and current president of Operation Smile, stated in a press release that, “It is heartbreaking to know how many children around the world cannot receive access to safe surgical care and have to suffer in pain because of it. Every child that has a facial deformity is our responsibility. If we don’t take care of that child, there’s no guarantee anyone else will.”

Over 600 compassionate medical and nonmedical volunteers participate in mission trips with Operation Smile each year. Karina Razo, a nurse from Los Angeles, is one of their star volunteers who says she wouldn’t trade her profession for anything. According to Razo, “Every patient rewards us with a new experience. Each and every one of them is different but the immediate results that we see, and the faces of the parents, are a gift.”

Razo, originally from Honduras, will be spending National Nurses Week caring for cleft patients on her sixth mission through Operation Smile in Lima, Peru. Speaking about what she’s learned through her volunteer nursing work with Operation Smile, Razo says:

“What has really impacted me the most throughout my time as a volunteer nurses is how extremely lucky we are to have access to safe care and safe surgery in the United States. We don’t have to worry about our children suffering when they are born with a cleft because we simply take them to the hospital. This, unfortunately, is not the case in other countries and I think we take that for granted.”

Operation Smile recently launched a campaign called Until We Heal, urging advocates from around the world to sign a pledge encouraging health leaders to address the global lack of access to safe surgery. To learn more about Operation Smile and sign their pledge, visit