1. Alexander, Mary BS, CRNI

Article Content

Good afternoon and welcome again to the INS Annual Meeting. I am very pleased to have you with us this year, as this promises to be an exceptional conference. INS has worked hard over the past year to introduce new infusion education products and promote the infusion specialty, and we have many new and exciting things to report.

FIGURE. Mary Alexand... - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE.


We are happy to report that INS membership has remained constant during the year at 5100, and we are especially pleased that INS' corporate partners BD and Medex brought large numbers of infusion professionals into the Society through their generous sponsorship. For the fourth year in a row, BD has obtained over 100 memberships in INS, and Medex has obtained 200 memberships this year. We would like to thank BD and Medex for supporting INS through the years, especially in times when employer support for professional association memberships has decreased.


INS continues to see attrition in its membership rolls due to a number of nurses who retire each year, or those who are no longer practicing in the infusion specialty. We learn a great deal about our members from our continued use of the "Allegiance for Associations" surveys, which offer valuable information about their practice settings and professional backgrounds.


These surveys tell us that the main reason for maintaining INS membership has not changed; that our members receive consistent high-quality information that they cannot get elsewhere. The top benefits reported are the subscription to the Journal of Infusion Nursing, discounted pricing on the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, and the clinical advice available from the National Infusion Nursing Network.



INS publications are a mainstay of the organization, and we have several exciting new developments to report in this area. The Journal of Infusion Nursing has long been INS' flagship publication, and we work hard to bring you infusion articles that will challenge and educate you. Each year we hear from infusion nurses who would like to contribute to the Journal, both as a means of sharing their knowledge and for the sense of professional and personal achievement it brings. However, many nurses express apprehension at the prospect of writing for publication, and many hesitate to contribute because they need guidance on putting together an article worthy of a peer-reviewed journal. To meet this demand, INS is launching the Journal of Infusion Nursing Mentorship Program. Under this program, we will select a handful of applicants, each of whom will be paired with a "writing mentor." With the help of the mentor, and the INS Publications Department, the new writers will learn to craft a professional article that will ultimately be published in the Journal of Infusion Nursing. We look forward to helping our members achieve their professional writing goals through this program.


The Journal of Infusion Nursing has also made its debut on the World Wide Web. Just a few weeks ago our publisher, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, made the Journal part of, along with many of its other journals. Here, for the first time, readers can view abstracts from selected issues, and purchase downloadable copies of articles for a nominal fee. We are very excited to see the Journal become more widely accessible to nurses through the Web, and expect to see a lot of traffic on this site.


Newsline, INS' member newsletter, is still a valued source of infusion information for our members, and we plan to continue running interesting and new topics that will assist you in everyday practice. Frequently Asked Questions is a perennial favorite, and members tell us that the newsletter is one of the places they are most likely to learn about upcoming INS events and meetings.


INS continues to run its "We Wrote the Book" advertising campaign in the Journal of Infusion Nursing and other nursing-related publications. The campaign has set INS apart as the number-one source for infusion nursing reference materials, and we are pleased with the sales that have been generated from this marketing effort.


To add to our growing bookshelf of infusion references, INS released the third edition of the Core Curriculum for Infusion Nursing this year. With the help of infusion experts who generously donated their time, my coeditor, Ann Corrigan, and I updated the Core Curriculum to reflect the most recent advancements in infusion care, safety equipment, and the latest infusion drugs. I would like to thank Ann for her tireless commitment to the book, and for her hard work that helped bring it to publication. Furthermore, I would like to thank all of the coauthors who contributed many hours and a wealth of infusion expertise to each of the nine core content areas of the book. I invite all of you to meet and talk with the book's authors at a special book signing event scheduled for this Monday from 11:00 to 12:00 noon at the INS booth in the Exhibition Hall.



For the last 30 years, INS has made professional education the foundation of all that we do. This fall, we look forward to presenting the National Academy of Infusion Therapy at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, Calif. A special 1-day program, "Innovations and Technological Advances in Infusion Care," is planned for the Friday before the National Academy, and features a presentation by well-known infusion researcher Dr Dennis Maki. The 1-day program is made possible through generous support from Bard, B Braun, and Medi-Flex. Registration for this meeting is already underway and we expect it to be a great success.


It is hard to overstate our excitement at the release of this next educational product. Over the last 3 years, INS has been developing a cutting-edge CD-ROM education program, and we are pleased to launch it at this meeting. The Fundamentals of Infusion Therapy is the first self-directed computer-based education program from INS. Through the use of video, graphics, and animation, the program teaches the basics of infusion therapy. Beginning with anatomy and physiology of the vascular system, the user progresses through infection control, insertion technique, care and maintenance procedures, and lessons on dealing with complications. The Fundamentals will prove an indispensable teaching tool for homecare agencies, hospital systems, schools of nursing, and individual nurses. I urge each of you to visit the INS booth and the INS Book Store during the meeting, where we have set up computers to allow you to browse the program. INS offers the Fundamentals individually, but will also license the product to organizations with large numbers of nurses.



INS has forged many collaborative relationships with other nursing organizations over the years, and that list continues to grow. INS Presidential Advisor Roxanne Perucca presented at the National League for Nursing's fall conference in September 2003. Roxanne sat on a panel with representatives from other specialty nursing organizations, which discussed the importance of incorporating specialty nursing practice into nursing curricula. Always a strong supporter of nursing education, Roxanne was pleased at the reception her presentation received, as well as the enthusiasm of the nursing faculty in attendance.


INS sponsored a panel presentation at the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition's "Nutrition Week" this February in Las Vegas, Nev. I delivered a presentation on the relevance of the 2002 CDC Guidelines for the Prevention of Intravascular Catheter-Related Infections and the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice for the patient receiving parenteral nutrition. INS Education Manager Debbie Benvenuto and Public Member Charles Edmiston presented at the conference with me, answering many infusion-related questions after the program.


Just prior to our meeting here in Salt Lake City, INS was represented at two very important nursing conferences. From April 13 to 16, INS endorsed Nursing2004's Symposium in Las Vegas, and also presented a preconference workshop, "Advancing Your Knowledge and Skills in Infusion Therapy." General registration was closed so that the presenters would be able to work with the attendees during the hands-on portion of the program. This program was largely attended by nurse generalists whose interest in the new Fundamentals of Infusion Therapy, Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, and Policies and Procedures kept INS' booth busy.


On April 22nd and 23rd, INS exhibited at the Visiting Nurse Associations of America's Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La. In addition to interest in the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice and Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing, the patient care workmat and workbook "Infusion Therapy and You," which were released last year, were also popular. INS is also currently reviewing the infusion therapy chapter of the VNAA's policy and procedure manual.


INS continues to lend its voice to a number of other nursing organizations, and will be present at several upcoming meetings. INS has been invited to present at the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses' 13th Annual Convention in September 2004 in Chicago, Ill. At that meeting, Jaclyn Tropp will represent INS and deliver a presentation on the care and management of central vascular access devices. As we have for the past 5 years, INS will present an educational talk on aspects of the specialty practice of infusion nursing at the National Student Nurses Association's Midyear Conference this November in Daytona Beach, Fla.


This summer, INS is partnering with the American Journal of Nursing and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing to host an invitational meeting on July 16 and 17, 2004 in Philadelphia, Pa. The meeting, entitled "State of the Science on Safe Medication Administration: Practice, Research and Policy Issues," will host nursing experts and thought leaders in clinical practice and education, researchers and representatives from industry, consumer, and regulatory sectors. The goal of this meeting is to identify barriers to safe medication administration, possible approaches to overcoming the barriers, clinical and policy recommendations and research priorities surrounding best practices for safe medication administration. Following the symposium a monograph will be published and disseminated to AJN subscribers and INS members. In addition to identifying an author to write a paper on the operational perspective of safe administration of IV medications, INS will moderate a panel of selected industry leaders that will discuss the technology addressing safe medication delivery.


INS has partnered with Nursing Knowledge International, a subsidiary of Sigma Theta Tau International, a nonprofit global organization that helps market and distribute nursing knowledge. Nursing Knowledge International will assist INS by marketing and selling the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing, Fundamentals for Infusion Therapy, the Clinical Competency Validation Program, and the PICC Education Module.



In addition to our collaboration with other nursing organizations, INS has worked with Americans for Nursing Shortage Relief this year. Thirty-six nursing organizations participate in the alliance, addressing the nursing shortage by requesting that the government sufficiently fund the Nursing Workforce Development Programs so that an adequate supply of nurses and nurse faculty are available to the public.


INS recognizes the demands that this profession can place on the physical health of nurses, so INS has made a financial contribution to Nurses House, a nonprofit organization that extends short-term financial assistance to registered nurses in difficulty as a result of injury, illness, or disability. Thousands of nurses have been aided by Nurses House since 1922, and we hope that the part we have played will allow Nurses House to assist even more.



INS is a member of the nursing community, but we are also part of a larger healthcare community. Representing INS, I was one of three registered nurses to serve on the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' Infection Control Expert Panel. The 20-member panel, including physicians, risk managers, and other healthcare professionals, were charged with reviewing the infection control standards, making recommendations to enhance the standards, and suggesting ways that JCAHO can ensure that accredited organizations are in compliance with the standards.


INS also submitted two letters of support for grant applications for a study entitled "Exposure to Blood Among Home Health Care Nurses," which is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The proposals aim to study the frequency and nature of blood exposures among home healthcare workers. We feel that this type of research is greatly needed in the infusion community and we hope that the results of such a study would result in improved safety policies for those who work in the homecare setting.


In November, INS participated in Alaris' conference "Addressing Harm with High Risk Drug Administration," and will attend the company's next invitational conference in June. Experts from clinical practice, academia, professional organizations, government, and industry will explore timely topics related to medication safety.


As we did last year, INS contributed an article on long-term care to the World Market Research Corporation's Business Briefing Series, a special publication that reaches over 10,000 readers worldwide across the healthcare spectrum. That special issue also included an advertisement for the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice and Policies and Procedures, as well as an advertisement for the new Fundamentals of Infusion Therapy CD-ROM.



To meet the demand for our educational products, INS has made changes in its operations strategies. Many healthcare organizations have expressed interest in licensing INS texts like the Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing, and other products like the Fundamentals of Infusion Therapy, and the Clinical Competency Validation Program, to allow them greater flexibility in standardizing their infusion procedures. INS has devised fee structures that will allow healthcare organizations to reproduce sections of these texts, or load the Fundamentals onto their company-wide server. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, publisher of the Journal of Infusion Nursing and the Standards of Practice, has initiated talks on behalf of INS with OVID, a computer software company that makes literature searches available on handheld personal digital assistants. We hope to make the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice available in abridged form for Palm Pilots in the near future.


We have also updated our Web site in the past year, in order to bring you a more user-friendly, easy-to-navigate INS Web experience. Our secure online store has seen a large increase in traffic, and has been re-vamped with an easy-to-use shopping cart, plus registration so visitors can purchase again and again without filling out personal information each time. The INS site has also grown to include online surveys, where members can send feedback to the national office at the click of a mouse.


The site has also been expanded by the addition of the INS Career Center, an online searchable job database made exclusively for infusion nurses. INS partnered with Boxwood Technologies, a company that designs personalized Web-based employment sites for specialized markets. At the Career Center, infusion nurses can post confidential resumes that can be viewed only by the employers who have purchased classified ads. This type of site is totally unique to INS, and I invite all of you to visit the INS booth, where we have an internet connection to the Career Center and the rest of the INS Web site.



We are proud to welcome our members and guests from Canada, China, the Netherlands and other nations in which infusion nursing in practiced. We are pleased to announce that international membership in INS has grown to include over 100 members representing 30 countries.


I had the honor of traveling to Japan in September 2003 to present at seminars in Tokyo and Osaka. My visit was co-sponsored by Expert Nurse and BD Japan. The seminar was structured around multidisciplinary panels of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, a relatively new concept for the Japanese. My presentations covered the application and implementation of the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice into everyday clinical practice.


Soon, I will represent INS in another part of the globe as well-in Brazil, where I have been invited to speak on June 17. With support from BD, 3M Healthcare, and Baxter, I will speak to Brazilian nurses about the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, infection control, and practices relevant to infusion therapy. I am pleased to report that there has even been interest in translating the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice into Portuguese for nurses in Brazil.



In the year ahead, INS has plans to increase its focus on cultivating leadership skills among its members. Next year, we will conduct a Leadership Forum for chapter presidents and INS committee members. The forum will include insights from leaders in the infusion community on how to develop the skills to lead, to advocate, and to advance in one's career.


The Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice will undergo revision beginning later this year, as will the Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing. These books are the foundation of infusion nursing practice and remain the most popular and most trusted sources for infusion information. A committee has been seated for the revision of the Standards and, with support once again from an unrestricted grant from BD, we look forward to releasing updated editions of both books in the first quarter of 2006.


Although this next book is still in production, I am happy to announce that INS will release the Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing of the Elderly Patient this summer. For years, infusion nurses have relied on our Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing to guide them through the creation of organizational policy. But as elderly patients comprise a greater proportion of the patients in hospitals, homecare, and long-term care, the need for elder-specific policies is needed. Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing of the Elderly Patient is based on the Standards of Practice, just as the original Policies and Procedures is. It follows the same easy-to-use format, and includes considerations for the elderly patient with each procedure. INS owes a great many thanks to the John A. Hartford Foundation, who provided a grant that generously supported the writing of this text. The Hartford Foundation's mission is to advance research in the area of geriatrics, and they have become great collaborators with INS. We look forward to releasing the book soon, and hope that it will assist you in providing the best care for your elderly infusion patients.



The Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation continues to be a great complement to INS as an independent credentialing body. Many nurses strive to attain the CRNI credential, proving that specialty certification is a reward in itself. There are approximately 3000 CRNIs currently practicing in the United States.


INCC's RN Exam Council, which oversees the writing and administration of the CRNI exam, met at the headquarters of Applied Measurement Professionals in March. AMP's psychometricians create the exam matrix and scoring process to ensure fair and accurate testing. At the March meeting, the Council approved the 2004 test and welcomed three new council members with an orientation. For Carolyn Hedrick, who has served on the RN Council for over 10 years, and served as its chair from 1999 to 2004, this was her last meeting. We would like to thank Carolyn for her longtime commitment to the Council, and her dedication to the specialty of infusion nursing. Taking Carolyn's place on the Council will be Nancy Mortlock, who was appointed as new chair in March.


INCC offers several new ways to support future CRNI candidates at this meeting. In addition to the new edition of the Core Curriculum for Infusion Nursing, a special information session was held today at 12:30. Nurses interested in taking the CRNI examination attended this session, which covered everything from the test format to clinical content areas, study tips, and perceptions of the certified infusion nurse. INCC is also offering an extended 2-day workshop for potential exam candidates on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The 8-hour focus will review each core content area of the exam, giving potential test-takers the chance to brush up on their infusion knowledge.


For those of you who already hold the CRNI credential, you will be pleased to know that INCC has secured trademark protection for it. The United States Patent and Trademark Office now recognizes that the CRNI credential may only be granted by INCC, so that only those nurses who have passed the rigorous exam can call themselves certified infusion nurses.


Nurses who have held the CRNI credential have been reluctant to give it up after retiring from clinical practice, and with good reason. INCC has now designated a new policy for the retired nurse who still wishes to be recognized as an expert in infusion therapy. Retiring infusion nurses who hold the CRNI credential may now apply for the special "CRNI-R" status through INCC. This status will help the retired nurse stay in touch with the specialty even though he or she may no longer practice in the clinical setting.


INCC welcomes several new members to its Board of Directors this year. Christine Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Investment at Smith Barney in Boston, Mass, will join the Board as public member. Mary Hagle and Bernice Bennett will bring their experience in healthcare management to their positions on the Board. Mary Hagle is a manager at the Center for Nursing Research and Practice at Aurora Healthcare in Milwaukee, WI. Bernice Bennett is Assistant Vice President of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems in Washington, DC. On behalf of our other Board members, CRNIs, and staff, I welcome you to INCC and look forward to working with you.


INCC continues to be active as a member of the American Board of Nursing Specialties. ABNS is a membership organization of specialty nursing certification organizations with an accrediting function. INCC is in the process of applying to ABNS for accreditation, and we hope to earn our accreditation soon. INCC Chair Ann Corrigan is also chair of the ABNS Awards & Recognition Committee, which develops awards criteria, reviews submissions, and makes recommendations to ABNS' Board of Directors. I am pleased to take part in ABNS as well. This year, I complete my 2-year term as Secretary/Treasurer, and I will begin a term as President-elect in July.



For over a decade now, INS has honored the work of INS Past President Cheryl Gardner by offering educational and research funding through the Gardner Foundation. We continue our fundraising activities to support the mission of the foundation at this year's meeting. Raffle tickets are available at the INS Store during this meeting, and drawings will be held on Wednesday March 4, at 12:00 in the INS Booth. Winners can take home gifts ranging from INS textbooks to restaurant gift certificates, and the raffle proceeds will benefit the Gardner Foundation. In addition, we thank those faculty members who have generously donated their stipends to the Gardner Foundation.


I invite all of you to join us as we announce the winners of this year's Gardner Foundation awards tomorrow night at the INCC/Gardner Foundation Reception. The reception begins at 6:00 at the Marriott Salons Ballroom. Winning a scholarship or research grant from the Gardner Foundation is an honor, and signifies professional commitment and achievement. We invite all of you who are INS members to apply for the scholarships, which could support original research at your organization or pay for your attendance at an INS meeting.


In the past year, INS has experienced many successes that have brought a renewed sense of commitment from the infusion community. We have listened to feedback from members on the kinds of products and resources that you need to provide the best infusion care, and we have responded. We hope to continue this dialogue with you, and maintain the synergy that has made INS the leader in this specialty. Your participation in INS-whether through attendance at meetings, the contribution of new articles, or service on a committee or local chapter-is what keeps us going strong. The nursing profession faces many challenges, and we live and work in a time when competing interests are constantly in play. We see this as an opportunity to assert our knowledge as specialists, and shape the future of healthcare.


For those of you who are leaving today, I hope that you have enjoyed the National Academy of Infusion Therapy. For those who will stay on for the rest of the week, I welcome you to take part in all that you can, attend the social events, and enjoy this beautiful city.