1. Moffa, Christine MS, RN


A report from this year's AACN conference.


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The theme for this year's American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition was "Reclaiming Our Priorities." This year more than 9,000 nurses were hosted at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago-2,000 more than last year. AACN president Dave Hanson, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNS, pictured at right, has spent the past year promoting the theme of the conference: nurses need to focus on nursing tasks and stop wasting valuable time on work that should be done by other staff. Hanson believes that vigilance about how nurses spend their time is one of the biggest challenges facing critical care nurses. To enable nurses to delegate more effectively, he suggests having ancillary staff as partners in care and keeping the lines of communication open to foster good working relationships.


Hanson has been a cardiovascular nurse since he began his nursing career in 1992. He is currently a clinical nurse specialist at Clarian Health-Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana-a three-and-a-half-hour commute from his home in Illinois where he resides with his partner, Rick.


Deeply moved by an incident in 2006 at Methodist Hospital in which six infants, three of whom died, were given the wrong dose of heparin (10,000 units versus 10 units IV), his priority has become helping nurses reduce medication errors. Hanson calls his method the Power of One, which represents one focus, one time, and one person. One focus refers to focusing on the current task without distraction. For instance, a nurse preparing medications for administration should not be interrupted for nonemergency reasons, such as answering questions, talking to other staff members, or answering the phone. One time refers to solving problems at a system-wide level: fix the problem once at the appropriate level so that it stops happening altogether. For example, in the case of the heparin overdose, according to Hanson, the hospital ultimately decided to stop carrying the 10,000-unit dose altogether. One person means that if you've identified a problem, you don't ignore it. Be the person to address the issue. It only takes one person to bring about significant change.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

Hanson remains positive about the current state of health care and encourages nurses to look at the pending changes to Medicare and Medicaid as an opportunity to demonstrate that investing in nursing is vital to ensuring good patient outcomes.

Figure. Photos court... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Photos courtesy of the AACN / Elizabeth-Anne Stewart