1. Roberts, Dottie MSN, MACI, RN, BC, ONC, CNS, Editor

Article Content

Passion for Orthopaedic Nursing Carries NAON to Nashville in 2004

As the Orlando Congress drew to a close, NAON's 24th President, Geri Tierney, urged association members to be passionate in their commitment to orthopaedic patient care.


If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to gather wood, saw it, and nail the planks together. Instead, build in them a passionate desire for the sea. They will build the boat! - Tim Porter-O'Grady, Inaugural meeting of the Nursing Organizations Alliance


"I have passion in my bones!" President Tierney exclaimed. "I would like to invite each of you to look for the passion within yourself and help me to put the passion in NAON this next year."


ONCB Connection

ONCB Contacts Nursing Officers, Encourages Certification Through Project 8000

With Project 8000, ONCB directors hope to reach a total of 8,000 certified orthopaedic nurses since the first examination was offered in 1988. To do this, they are contacting selected healthcare facilities and providers throughout the United States with an offer to help them increase their number of orthopaedic-certified nurses by providing discounted group examination fees and package prices for examination preparation materials.


Specialty nursing certification is a mark of practice excellence. Nurses who pursue and maintain certification are motivated professionals who are interested in providing the best possible patient care...just the kind of employees that healthcare leaders want to care for their patients. By supporting certification, these leaders will be able to better recruit and retain this type of RN on their staff. Their interest in professional development for orthopaedic nurses is highly appropriate during the Bone and Joint Decade, an initiative promoted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to increase recognition of the impact of musculoskeletal health problems.


As part of Project 8000, ONCB continues to offer the group rate for examinees. A $25 discount off these examination fees is available for each nurse who tests as part of a group of 3 or more. In collaboration with NAON, ONCB directors are also pleased to offer discounts on test-preparation materials. Available resources include:


* NAON's Core Curriculum (4th ed.)-the test blueprint is drawn from content provided in this valuable reference.


* Self-assessment disk and booklet-this product offers the examination candidate an opportunity to assess his or her knowledge of orthopaedic nursing practice and to complete sample questions.


* Comprehensive Review Course-this course was offered at the 21st Annual NAON Congress in June 2001. It is now available online or on CD-ROM. Depending on the facility's needs, the examination review course may also be brought "live" to area nurses.


* In addition, ONCB offers the Examination Prep Guide that can be included in any test package. This booklet provides information on examination development, gives tips on study strategies, and offers additional sample questions to increase the candidate's confidence.



For the last 2 years, ONCB has contacted chief nursing officers at hospitals in the host cities for the AAOS Annual Meeting and the NAON Congress. If you would like healthcare facilities in your area to be contacted with the Project 8000 information, please contact me to discuss ways you can help in this process.


Dottie Roberts, MSN, MACI, RN, BC, ONC


ONCB President


Renewing Your ONC?

If the Pressure's on, Use the Late-Fee option

You have all the necessary contact hours, but your life has gotten hectic or your finances have gotten tight. Don't worry...use the late-fee option to renew your ONC credential! For an additional $35, you can submit your recertification application until September 30, 2003. Remember, all contact hours must have been earned before the June 30 expiration date. Contact ONCB (888-561-ONCB) with any questions about this process.


Practice Corner

Nurses Should Involve AIS Patients in Treatment Decisions

Although most often this surgery is called elective, spinal deformity surgery is still considered major surgery and inherent risks should not be minimized. Even though many of us may associate scoliosis with adolescents, surgery is performed on babies with congenital scoliosis, as well as adult patients with progressive, degenerative curves. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), although not typically a painful deformity, can affect the patient's self-image and emotional well-being. That self-image, especially in girls, is most affected by the type of clothing they can or cannot wear-for example, skirts that hang longer on one side or baggy shirts to help hide that prominence on their backs.


If a curve is detected early enough, its progression can sometimes be halted for many AIS patients by appropriate bracing and the child's ability to be compliant with wearing the brace the necessary 23 hours per day. Many scoliosis patients have avoided a long spinal fusion procedure and spinal instrumentation if the curve can be controlled by brace wear.


Something I have learned over the years of treating AIS patients is that based on the adolescent's cognitive ability, it is important for the patient to have key input to the scoliosis treatment. Whether it will require bracing and/or surgery, addressing these issues with the patient and not just the parents will open the communication between you and the child. We need to let the entire family know that we value the patient's opinions and concerns. Adolescents are a unique population to prepare for surgery. Because most cannot legally sign the consent for surgery, we need to thoughtfully consider their feelings on all issues related to their surgery. Building this kind of relationship can be stressful for all concerned.


Taking the time and the effort to achieve this nurse/patient/family relationship will be rewarding not only in the outcome of the spinal correction but also in the knowledge that you have played some part in achieving that outcome.


Toni Cawley, RN, ONC


Past Facilitator


Spine Special Interest Group




Figure. Geri Tierney... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Geri Tierney

In its original form, this article appeared in the September/October 2000 issue of Orthopaedic Nursing. It has been updated in recognition of Geri Tierney's new position as NAON's 24th president.


Long before she became NAON's "Web Mom," Geri Tierney mothered two daughters and her nurse-husband Dan. "Marie and Beth hit puberty at the same time that I hit menopause," Geri remembers with a laugh. "My poor husband had a little trouble with that!" Despite any hormonal blips in their family life, Dan and the girls remain Geri's devoted fans. "First Man" Dan, Beth, and newlyweds Marie and Chris Fluegel attended the Orlando Congress to see Geri inducted as NAON's 24th president. Geri's mother Jo Poole and sister Jan Piper were also on hand for the celebration.


Tierney family members and friends alike take in stride Geri's fascination with computers. Geri talks about RAM and megahertz as easily as some people discuss favorite recipes. "I like toys," she admits. "Electronic toys are just upping the ante." She blends technology and orthopaedics by using a set of bone letters at every opportunity. ONCB even called on Geri to make a "bone banner" for the board's booth in Orlando.


Geri's enthusiasm for computer technology is typical of the energy she carries into every new effort. As a counselor at a residence camp for severely handicapped children and adults, Geri remembers, "I spent the summer pushing wheelchairs up and down hills." Graduating from Lorain County Community College (Elyria, OH) in 1969 with an associate's degree in education, Geri jumped into the classroom for a year as a teacher's aide in a Title I remedial reading program. During the same year, her camp experience led to a nursing assistant's job in a long-term care facility. After a brief detour-"I played waitress for about 4 years and had more fun than a circus!"-she used her previous college credits as a springboard to an associate's degree in nursing.


The local nursing job market was saturated at the time of Geri's graduation in 1974. She faithfully scanned the nursing advertisements and shared some of the more unique positions with her mother. "Here's a job in Alaska! They give you your own sled-that's not bad!" Always open to adventure, Geri accepted a position as a camp nurse and spent the summer in Maine with her cat Devil. She says she became quite the crafter, hanging her papier-mache Darvon capsule in the infirmary.


Back in Ohio at the summer's end, Geri briefly commuted to Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital before accepting a new nursing position at Lorain Community Hospital. After 2 years on the ambulatory care unit with pal Carol Moore, she moved to an oncology/plastic surgery unit.


As Geri describes this point in her life, "I was looking in on 30 years old and didn't want to stay in Ohio." After enjoying part of her vacation in Porland (OR), she called an old friend from nursing school who lived in Colorado. Maynard Tierney and wife Diane invited Geri to visit them on her way back to Ohio. The Tierneys decided to create a foursome by introducing Geri to Maynard's brother Dan.


"Within a matter of hours," Geri smiles, "I was madly in love with him." The feeling was definitely mutual; after correspondence, calls, and trips between Ohio and Colorado for both of them, Dan proposed on January 1, 1979. Despite a 6-month courtship, Geri admits that they had only been together 6 days. Dan drove her back to Colorado Springs, located a job for her at Penrose Hospital, and married her in May.


Geri's nursing career continued full tilt. As a member of the in-house float pool, she worked every patient care area except labor and delivery. She enjoyed the adventure of floating but at last settled on the orthopaedic unit in 1982 when a relief nurse was needed for the night shift. Realizing that she'd found her nursing specialty, Geri cemented her relationship with orthopaedics by joining NAON. She also became the first ONC in her hospital in 1988.


As a member of the local Rocky Mountain Chapter of NAON, Geri has served in every chapter leadership position. Her enthusiasm also led to national involvement, beginning with election to the Nominating Committee in 1993. She coordinated the NAON Forum, served on the Osteoporosis Task Force, and enjoyed a term as Total Joint SIG facilitator. After 2 years as NAON director and a year as president-elect, Geri is now holding the gavel as the association's chief executive officer. She looks forward to welcoming board members to the Broadmoor when they hold their fall meeting in Colorado Springs.


Throughout the years, Geri has been a popular Congress speaker on topics from case management to menopause. She and Dottie Roberts even crossed the Pacific Ocean in 2000 to speak to nurse members of the Asian Association for Dynamic Osteosynthesis (AADO)-a trip Geri quickly describes as "a highlight of my career."


Have things slowed down at the hospital? Hardly! Geri's gone from staff nurse to total joint program coordinator to orthopaedic case manager. She's also committed to prevention and wellness education regarding osteoporosis, menopause, fall prevention, and arthritis. "At this point," Geri smiles, "I've painted myself in a corner, but I like it there."


Stay in Touch Through ONCNet

ONCB uses a free broadcast e-mail format to share important updates with ONCs throughout the country. Messages are sent approximately every 6 weeks to help certified nurses stay on top of new CE opportunities, such as the preceptor service credit and other ONCB initiatives. If you are not already on the distribution list for ONCNet, contact President Dottie Roberts ( to enroll.