AAACN Conference Hits Attendance Record

More than 1,200 nurses attended the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) 42nd Annual Conference held recently in New Orleans, a number that broke all previous records for this thriving specialty nursing association.

With heightened interest in such areas as Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCTM), telehealth, and other ambulatory care nursing roles, nurses rely on the AAACN conference for high-level quality education. As a result, AAACN is enjoying a groundswell of growth and success as it expands, offering broad education and services that help nurses excel in their professional practice. 

“One of the best aspects of this conference is how warm and welcoming the AAACN community is,” said 2017-18 AAACN president M. Elizabeth Greenberg, PhD, RN-BC, C-TNP. “I’ve been so impressed by nurses’ willingness to share their expertise and help their colleagues reach their potential. During the conference I witnessed time and again the nurses working together to advance our practice and help our voices to be heard.”

Conference Highlights: Outgoing AAACN president Debra Cox, MS, RN, CENP, opened the conference on May 10, with the official “Welcome and President’s Address.” Cox encouraged attendees to make new connections at the event as well as share what they learned with colleagues at home.

Immediately after the welcome session, author and nursing leader Connie Merritt, BSN, RN, PHN, delivered the conference keynote address, “Pressing Forward in Challenging Times.” Merritt offered attendees ways to meet the demands of today’s complex healthcare environment by confidently leading and inspiring others.

Concurrent and general sessions on a broad variety of ambulatory care nursing topics continued through Friday, May 12. Additional continuing education was offered with 120 poster presentations that showcased the nurses’ best practices and innovations.

Attendees enjoyed special events, networking, and conversations with vendors in the exhibit hall. At the always popular opening reception, the silent auction, which benefits AAACN’s scholarships, grants, and awards program, raised $6,000.

The conference closed on May 13, with the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification Review Course post-conference workshop. (View conference photos.)

Highlights include:

New Officers Inducted: Greenberg, who is Associate Clinical Professor, Northern Arizona University, Tucson, AZ, was inducted as AAACN 2017-2018 president for a one-year term. In this role, she will lead the AAACN board of directors (BOD) in fulfilling the association’s strategic plan and steering the direction and vision of AAACN in the coming year.

CEO Recognition: The BOD honored Cyndee Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, and FAAN, who is retiring from her role as AAACN CEO. Hnatiuk served AAACN for twenty-two years and helped the association steadily grow and succeed. She received a lifetime AAACN membership and the highest praise from AAACN leaders.

“Cyndee is the quintessential nurse leader and professional,” Greenberg said. “More than any other individual, Cyndee has been responsible for guiding and nurturing AAACN into the exceptional organization it is today.”

Awards and Scholarships: The following awards were presented:

  • President’s Above and Beyond Award (highest award to AAACN members who exceed the expectations of their volunteer roles). Two recipients:
    • Joan Pate, MS, BSN, RN-BC, was recognized for her longtime commitment and exemplary service to ambulatory care nursing and AAACN, including ongoing and active contributions to AAACN Viewpoint and other publications, as well as serving on the Editorial Board and Leadership SIG Advisory Board.
    • Beth Ann Swan, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, was honored for continually seeking opportunities to elevate the role of the ambulatory care nurse and for her many contributions to AAACN, including serving as past president disseminating and implementing the Care Coordination and Transition model.
  • Research/Evidence Based Practice Project Award: $1,000, Julie Alban, MSN, MPH, RN-BC, CCCTM, Belleview, FL, for her study, “Ambulatory Care Nurses’ Role in Advance Care Planning.”
  • Conference Scholarship (members in nursing 2+ years): Sarah Espin, MSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM, Inverness, FL.
  • Conference Scholarship (members/New RNs in nursing two years or less): Linda Schnolis, BSN, RN, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Conference Scholarship (nursing students): Angela Williams, Boise, ID.
  • Education Scholarship: Gina Hernandez, BSN, RN, PHN, Valley Center, CA.
  • Clinical Excellence Award (sponsored by the Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. Nursing Economic$ Foundation, given to a AAACN member who personifies clinical excellence in ambulatory care): $500, Jane “CJ” Mazzeo, BSN, RN-BC, CCCTM, VHA-CM, Leesburg, FL.
  • Administrative Excellence Award: Julie Tuttle, MSN, RN-BC, Nashua, NH.
  • 2017 Viewpoint Writer’s Award (given for an outstanding article published in the association’s official newsletter, Viewpoint): Dawn M. Rito, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, and The Metro Health System Cleveland, OH, for the article: Changing the Physical Environment in the Urodynamic/Gynecological Procedure Room, May/June 2016.

AAACN also awarded the Candia Baker Laughlin Certification Scholarship and Certified in Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCCTM) Certification Grant to two recipients. Those recipients will be announced after they have passed the ambulatory care nursing certification exam and the CCCTM exam.

The poster presentation winners are:

First Place: Group B, Poster 3: Enhanced Nurse Visits for Medication and Lifestyle Management for Patients with Uncontrolled Hypertension. Presented by a nursing team from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Second Place: Group A, Poster 4: RN Care Coordination for Patients with Metabolic Syndrome in Ambulatory Care. Presented by a nursing team from the Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL

Third Place: Group A, Poster 22: A Toolkit for New Ambulatory Care Nurses: Applying Available Resources for the Job at Hand. Presented by nurses from the Veterans Health System/Southern Tier Outpatient Clinics North Florida South Georgia VHS, Inverness, FL; and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Jacksonville, FL.

Online Library: Nurses who attended the full conference have access to an extensive source of CNE contact hours in the AAACN Online Library, which can be used for certification and licensure requirements. For more information about accessing conference content, visit

2018 Conference: The AAACN 43rd Annual Conference will be held May 9-12, 2018, in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Poster abstracts are being accepted through December 15, 2017.

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