AAACN Annual Conference Report

With a focus on healthcare reform and how it will affect ambulatory care nursing, the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) 36th Annual Conference drew more than 600 ambulatory care and telehealth nurses to San Antonio, Texas, in April.

General Sessions: The conference featured two general sessions on healthcare reform, as well as a keynote address and other concurrent sessions. In “Healthcare Reform Part I,” presenters Sheila Haas, PhD, RN, FAAN; Beth Ann Swan, PhD, CRNP, FAAN; and Barbara Trehearne, PhD, RN, provided a framework for changes and new models of ambulatory care nursing. In “Healthcare Reform Part II,” Dr. Haas, Dr. Swan, and Marilyn P. Chow, RN, DNSc, FAAN, explored healthcare reform’s impact on ambulatory care nurse roles and responsibilities.

“We are on the threshold of major changes in healthcare, and AAACN is prepared to step up and provide members with the leadership and resources needed to face these challenges. The conference was a perfect platform for members to gain the knowledge needed to prepare for the coming healthcare transformation,” said AAACN’s new president, Linda Brixey, RN.

The conference, which is designed specifically to help ambulatory care and telehealth nurses advance their practice and improve patient care skills, featured education sessions presented by nursing and healthcare experts. The most popular sessions covered such topics as ambulatory quality metrics, comparing conventional wisdom with evidence, the medical home model, leadership, and teamwork.

In addition to education sessions, participants also attended pre- and post-conference workshops on informatics, ambulatory care nursing certification review, and telehealth nursing practice. Additionally, attendees networked with colleagues, met with vendors in the exhibit hall, and viewed more than 50 poster presentations. AAACN also held a silent auction that raised more than $4,000 for the organization’s scholarship and research grant program.

Conference Highlights: Brixey, program manager for Clinical Education at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, Texas, was inducted as AAACN’s new president at the conference. Outgoing President Traci Haynes, MSN, RN, BA, CEN, was awarded a lifetime AAACN membership in appreciation of her years of service.

The conference closed with the third annual town hall, a conference favorite. With the theme of “Healthcare Reform: If Not Us, Who?” the town hall gave attendees a final opportunity to share their opinions on the future of ambulatory care nursing. Attendees asked questions of a healthcare reform speaker panel and shared how their facilities have made changes to comply with the new law.

AAACN also debuted a sixth edition of its Telehealth Nursing Practice Resource Directory. This “yellow pages” of telehealth nursing provides resources for standards, articles, conferences, and call center services. As a member benefit, AAACN members may download a free PDF of the directory. The regular price for the printed version is $24, and it may be purchased online at the AAACN store.

Awards and Scholarships: The following awards were presented on Wednesday, April 6, during opening ceremonies:

President’s Above and Beyond Award, AAACN’s highest award, given to an individual who goes “above and beyond” the expectations of a volunteer role, went to Pamela Del Monte, MS, RN-BC, Hillsborough, NC; Associate Chief Nurse/Ambulatory Care Service, Department of Veterans Affairs

Excellence Awards, sponsored by the Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. Nursing Economic$ Foundation, aregiven to AAACN members who personify administrative and clinical excellence in ambulatory care

  • Kitty Ribar, BSN, RN, Painesville Twp, OH; nurse manager, Breast Services, Cleveland Clinic received the Administrative Excellence Award.
  • Susan S. Lau, RN, RNC-TNP, WCC, San Francisco, CA; RN, St. Mary’s Medical Center received the Clinical Excellence Award.

2010 ViewPoint Writer’s Award is given for the outstanding article published in AAACN’s official newsletter, ViewPoint. This year Karen Seifert, MSN, RN, CDE, Scottsdale, AZ, was recognized for her article, “We’re Not Falling for That!  Preventing Falls in the Ambulatory Care Setting,” published in the March/April 2010 issue.

Education Scholarships awards two scholarships to help cover costs of tuition, books, and academic supplies; they went to:

  • Wanda Mayo, RN, Arlington, TX (1,000 scholarship)
  • Linda Mendez, RN, Austin, TX ($1,000 scholarship)

Conference Scholarshipsawards three scholarships presented to provide financial assistance to attend the AAACN conference; they went to:

  • Carol Ann Attwood, MLS, AHIP, MPH, RN, C, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Sally Telfer, BS, RN-BC, Whitmore Lake, MI
  • Debra Wise, BSN, RNC, Morton, IL

Research Grantwent toCatherine Rhodes, MSN, CNP, WHNP-BC, RNC-OB, Cleveland, OH, who received a research grant for her project, “Changing the Physical Environment in the Urogynecology Procedure Room.”

Online Library: Full conference attendees have indefinite online access to conference recordings and handouts in the AAACN online library. In addition, conference registration for each attendee includes online library access for two colleagues. Nurses who were unable to attend the conference can purchase access to the full conference in the online library, or they can purchase individual sessions. For more information about accessing conference content, visit

AAACN’s 37th Annual Conference will be held May 2-5, 2012, at the Hilton in the Walt Disney World® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL. Oral and poster abstracts are being accepted now.

For more information call 800-262-6877 or email:

[From the June/July 2011 issue of AnswerStat magazine]