Ambulatory Care Nursing Specialty More Valued, More Visible

AAACN Annual Conference draws record attendance with focus on evolving roles for nurses in outpatient settings

As health care shifts from the hospital to the outpatient setting, the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) continues to expand its involvement in establishing the scope and standards of practice, and measurement of the value of ambulatory care nurses on the quality of patient care and outcomes. Nurses and their employers took note, sending an unprecedented 1,119 attendees to Palm Springs, CA, for the AAACN Annual Conference, which took place May 18-21.

Building on the success of 2015, AAACN highlighted the growth and impact of Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCTM) for nurses and nurse leaders. On May 19, Beth Ann Swan, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, from AAACN, and Mary Beth Kingston, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, and Claire Zangerle, MSN, MBA, RN, from the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) joined in a panel discussion aimed at the nurse leader’s role in CCTM: understanding why it matters and how to make it a reality in their facilities. On May 20, Traci S. Haynes, MSN, RN, CEN, facilitated a town hall discussion where nurses provided practical information for using CCTM “on the ground” with patients and their families.

Nurse-Sensitive Indicators (NSIs) were also a topic of discussion at the conference. AAACN members Rachel Start, MSN, RN, NE-BC, and Ann Marie Matlock, DNP, RN, NE-BC, were recognized for their work on the Ambulatory Care Nurse-Sensitive Indicator Industry Report, a new document recommending more meaningful NSIs for ambulatory care nurses, measuring elements of patient care and patient outcomes that are markedly different than those currently used in acute care settings.

“The conference energized us in all areas of ambulatory care nursing practice: care coordination strategies, telehealth risks and program models, as well as data management and leadership development,” said Debra L. Cox, MS, RN, 2016-2017 president of AAACN. “Many networking opportunities, 140 posters, and beautiful Palm Springs weather capped off a memorable week. The coming year promises to bring continued partnering to transform healthcare and strengthen the role and understanding of ambulatory care nursing.”

Conference Highlights: Debra L. Cox, MS, RN, was inducted as AAACN 2016-2017 president for a one-year term. Cox is the nurse administrator for e-health at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and helps develop, implement, and promote e-health practices for health care teams across all patient settings.

Faith Roberts, MSN, RN, is the director of magnet, professions practice and parish nursing at Carle in Urbana, Illinois. Her keynote address on May 18, Ambulatory Nursing ROCKS!, examined the impact of ambulatory care nurses on their patients through humor and stories of everyday practice.

At the meeting, attendees networked with colleagues and met with thirty-five vendors in the sold-out exhibit hall. Additional continuing nursing education was offered with a record 140 poster presentations displayed in two sessions. Attendees also gave as much as they received, raising more than $3,800 during the silent auction, benefiting the AAACN scholarship and research grant program.

Awards and Scholarships: The following awards were presented at the conference:

  • President’s Above and Beyond Award (highest award to an AAACN member who exceeds the expectations of a volunteer role): Rachel Start, MSN, RN, NE-BC, and Ann Marie Matlock, DNP, RN, NE-BC, were recognized for their work in leading the Nurse-Sensitive Indicators project and report.
  • Special Above and Beyond Award was presented to Patricia Reichart, retiring AAACN director of association services, for her fourteen years of outstanding work and service to AAACN.
  • Clinical Excellence Award (sponsored by the Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. Nursing Economic$ foundation, given to an AAACN member who personifies clinical excellence in ambulatory care): $500 – Beth Crespo, BSN, RN-BC, Dunstable, MA.
  • 2016 ViewPoint Writer’s Award (given for an outstanding article published in the association’s official newsletter, ViewPoint): Joanne Martin, MBA, HCM, BSN, RN, Kahului, HI received her award at the ViewPoint Editorial Board Meeting for her article Are You Prepared for the Office Emergency?
  • Education Scholarship: $1,000 – Kathleen Martinez, BSN, RN, CPN, Arvada, CO.
  • Conference Scholarship: $1,000 – Julie Alban, MSN, MPH, RN-BC, CCCTM, The Villages, FL.
  • Nursing Student Conference Scholarship (including complimentary conference registration): $1,000 – Annie Kittelson, San Antonio, TX.
  • Research/Evidence-Based Practice Grant: $1,000 – Quanna Batiste, DNP, RN, HCSM, West Hills, CA, for Capturing the Effectiveness of the RN in Ambulatory Care.
  • Poster Winners (most posters will be available to members at
  • 1st Place. Rekindling the Joy of Nursing – Through Efficient Technologies. Joyce Darlene Billingy, BSN, RN, workflow consultant, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Pasadena, CA; et al.
  • 2nd Place. Impacting HTN Control through Effective Blood Pressure Measurement: An Integrated Care Team Approach. Deena Gilland, MSN, RN, OCN, VP patient services and CNO, Emory Ambulatory Care, Emory Healthcare, Atlanta, GA
  • 3rd Place. Academic Practice Partnerships and Expanding Roles in a New RN Transition-to-Practice Program in Ambulatory Care Settings. Cathryn Ann Halford-Cook, DNP, RN, CNS, CNL, adjunct faculty, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; et al.

Online Library: Full conference attendees have online access to a rich source of CNE contact hours in the AAACN Online Library, which can be used for certification and licensure requirements.

2017 Conference: The AAACN 42nd Annual Conference will be held May 10-13, 2017 at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans, LA. Poster abstracts are being accepted until December 15, 2016.

For more information about AAACN, call 800-262-6877 or email