World's Largest Nursing Specialty Group in Chicago to Tackle Emerging Healthcare Challenges

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses to Focus on Soldier Trauma Cases,

Role of Patient's Family, Pet Therapy at its National Teaching Institute &

Critical Care Exposition(R)

As Chicago and the nation continue to face decades of a severe nursing shortage, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) will convene nearly 9,000 acute and critical care nurses in Chicago next week to celebrate nursing's successes and address emerging trends in safety and treatment during critical illness. Whether caring for aging Boomers or reacting to national emergencies, cutting-edge, experienced nurses are vital to America's health.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has become one leading source of morbidity in the current war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Historically, military medical personnel have been trained to care for penetrating brain injuries; however, with the advancement of body armor, there are more extremity and closed head injuries. The returning war veterans are going to have a new set of needs, and military as well as civilian healthcare providers, families and society as a whole need to be ready to handle those issues.

As hospitals increase their response to family needs, nurses and other critical care health professionals find themselves not just caring for patients with life-threatening problems; the patients' families also require expert communication to assume a rightful role as contributing members of the healthcare team. This paradigm shift from expert control to collaborative partnership will continue to escalate as transparency in healthcare grows. Restrictive ICU visiting hours are disappearing and families may sometimes be present while complex procedures and CPR is being performed. The advantages and rewards of close family involvement in care are innumerable, and critical care nurses hold an unparalleled position to foster true collaboration and effective partnership with patients and families.

"Paws Forward: Utilizing and Researching Animal Assisted Therapy"

Monday May 5, 10:45 - 12:00 PM

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) -- an innovative nursing approach that successfully improves outcomes for acutely and critically ill patients -- has become a mainstream approach in hundreds of hospitals nationwide. Key contents of this session will focus on results, research and participation compiled from 15 years in a successful AAT program.

"Differences in Perceptions of Empowerment: Certified vs. Non-Certified


Monday, May 5, 4:00 - 5:15 PM

The preliminary findings of a new national study quantifying the benefits of specialty certification will be released at this session. As research shows, nurses' perceptions of their work environment are an important factor in enhancing retention and job satisfaction. Individuals' perceptions that they have high degrees of power in the organization have been related to higher levels of motivation, commitment and work effectiveness. This session will also provide implications for the nursing industry.

"AACN President's Address -- Reclaiming Our Priorities"

Monday, May 5, 9:00 - 10:15 AM

In the President's Address, Dave Hanson will bring his yearlong theme of "Reclaiming Our Priorities" full circle by challenging nurses to clearly identify what cannot be circumvented in caring for patients and families -- and themselves. He will discuss how to reclaim nursing care priorities so that nurses can reliably prevent medical errors and ensure safety by making the right decisions for patients and their families.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, representing the interests of more than 500,000 critical care nurses. Its headquarters are located in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Founded in 1969, the association is dedicated to creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families, where critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. Additional information about AACN is at

Contact: Kate Morris (On-site Contact)

Cell: 704-641-4409

Office: 202-828-9763

SOURCE American Association of Critical-Care Nurses