October 2018
What's Your Spark! 
A Message From Our President
Every calling begins with a spark. That moment of clarity that sets your heart in motion. We have so many opportunities before us.
The possibilities are endless; if we can imagine it we can do it. AMSN wants to be that spark for you.
We want to provide the means for you to fill your bucket, because as nurses we’re constantly giving. We put ourselves into everything we do – for our patients, our families and our connected families. And we need to especially focus in on taking care of ourselves.
AMSN wants to provide you the educational, professional and personal support you need and make all that we offer easily accessible to you.
We also want to inspire you to consider certification and become a CMSRN or CCCTM, through our partner MSNCB so you can proudly say, “I have gone above and beyond for my patients, for myself and for my career; I am dedicated to being a medical-surgical nurse, and I’m proud of that.”
We want to provide you with the tools you’re going to need to take that patient from pre-admission through their in-patient stay and then home into the community.
We want to be that spark.

We face understaffing, heavy patient loads and sometimes lack of respect and understanding. We can feel overwhelmed. Despite the stress, we remain committed to high quality patient care and compassionate to those around us.

We want you to know that you are not alone; we know what you’re going through because we’re going through it, too. We will be your spark, and you will be ours. We will be the connective tissue that brings us all together. 

Because together, we will be the spark for our patients, their families, for our teams and for each other.

So much is coming your way from AMSN! It is an exciting time!

Kevin, I look forward to working for and with you over the next 24 months.

Feel free to reach out at any time at

I am here to serve you and our community!

Robin Hertel, EdS, MSN, RN, CMSRN

President, AMSN

Nursing Education Specialist

Ascend Learning, Leawood, KS

In This Issue
A message from your President, Robin Hertel
Try this exercise to change traditional thinking and change the conversation:
Leadership Development
Here’s a field report sharing how med-surg nurses are leading the way to the future.

Donald A. Laurino, MSN, CCRN, CMSRN, PHN, RN-BC

Faculty Development Coordinator
American Career College, Lynwood, CA
"I was born to be a nurse and a teacher. I believed I was destined to do something that would help other people. For as long as I can remember, I have had the strong passion to care for others. Nursing, particularly medical-surgical nursing, gave me the opportunity to become an integral part of the healing process. Empowering patients to take control of their health and quality of life greatly influenced me to become a teacher.
As a nurse educator, I am in a unique position to positively change the future landscape of nursing care in a complex and evolving health care delivery system by not only teaching to the affective domain of nursing, but also incorporating evidence-based knowledge and skills in student’s practice resulting in improving the quality of patient care. My "Spark" is teaching nursing to save lives.”
Joan B. Dacanay, BSN, RN, Staff Nurse
Virtua Health, Voorhees, NJ
“My commitment to medical-surgical nursing compelled me to seek a leadership role. I lead a shared governance team that looks for ways to achieve our goals in meeting nurse-sensitive quality indicators for our unit and maintain or sustain our exemplary performance with other core measure projects. This opportunity has strengthened my "spark".
We were able to come up with several performance improvement initiatives that have been implemented successfully. These include strengthening shared governance at the unit level, team building initiatives and rewards and recognition program, fall prevention initiatives, and increasing hand-washing compliance rate to enhance our culture of safety.
As a leader and collaborator, I believe that the primary task I have is to influence my co-workers to be involved and raise thier voice through participation and leadership roles. It is in the collaborative process that we can be a significant influencer in our own practice.”
Crystal Griest BSN, RN, CMSRN,  Staff Nurse, Unit Nurse Leader,  Preceptor, and Unit Educator
Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana IL
“I think that the most meaningful part of my job isn’t just a single item/moment/task. It is the whole aspect of care and care coordination. Helping patients and families go from being unsure of what will happen to them while being admitted, assisting with educating them, listening to them and  to seeing them heal and go home in a better state than when they joined us at our facility.
Other times it is educating the patient and family on what exactly their diagnosis means for them and how they can care for themselves better at home. Seeing where we are going as a whole in nursing and where we have come from is an amazing thing to be a part of as well. I relish seeing my co-workers grow, flourish, and be the SUPERSTAR medical-surgical nurses that they are. They take the reins and push themselves through such hard times for various reasons and they are the ones that keep me going and help to keep that "Spark" lit. I am in awe of them every day.”
Professional News
We recently asked a few med-surg nurses what would make their jobs better; here’s what we heard at the AMSN Convention:
“I would love to have more time with my patients.”
“Find a way to spend less time in front of a computer screen charting and spend more hands-on and face-to-face time with my patients and their families/support systems.”
“I want to help improve quality care of patients through education and experience. This is a benefit for the patients and the nurses to deliver safe and effective care.”
“Many voices are needed to make a change and it cannot always be the same voice day in and day out, it takes a team effort…collaboration is key.”
“I would change the patient to nurse ratio.  Having the ratio of 1:5 is more manageable than 1:6 or 1:7.” “We need to help nurses take better care of themselves.”
Industry Innovations: The Future of Patient Care
Here are a few things all med-surg nurses can learn about innovations in healthcare. Our field notes report on three great ideas from around the country.
The Art and Science of Healthcare
What’s it like to work in a state of the art hospital where every patient has his or her own room, robots deliver the pharmaceuticals, a digital wall doubles as entertainment center and communications control for patients and you have your own Clinical Mobile Companion? This may indeed be the future of all healthcare.

The new Helen L. and Martin D. Kimmell Pavilion at NYU Langone Health in New York City is where high tech fuses with high touch. NYU’s new high-tech hospital is a game changer for patients and the staff. Fusing the latest in med-tech with an interior designed for healing, the hospital is state of the art. With 11 patient floors of 374 single bedded rooms, it is a model for innovative healthcare technologies. It even has its own cogenerated power plant providing uninterrupted power in case of an emergency. Britten Riley, RN and a certified Stroke Nurse (pictured above with her TUG robot) shares her experience working in the new facility.

Britten was selected as a “super user,” and was trained to train others in how to use the sophisticated tech systems. For two months prior to the opening, Britten trained team members and was the go-to expert for her team after the hospital opened its doors. The technology is integrated seamlessly into both the patient and nursing experience, making Kimmell a digitally sophisticated inpatient facility designed to Improve patient safety and maximize awareness of patient needs. Britten says the tech is user friendly and has been adopted by the entire nursing staff, which easily transitioned, after intensive training, into the new system. The biggest benefits are better patient care with instant access to resources and records, better patient safety and a lot of convenience for nurses who have almost everything at bedside and at their fingertips. This approach maximizes bedside care with fewer steps and need to search for things.
The Future of Healthcare
Dr. Allan Hamilton,  Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Arizona in Tucson is a world-renowned pioneer and change agent in healthcare. Here’s a snapshot of his recent work on the future of healthcare. He identifies four key factors that are impacting the system:
  1. The pace of societal change is accelerating
  2. The medical education we are offering is 3-4 generations out of date
  3. The pace of curricular change is glacial
  4. Institutional resistance to change and risk-taking is notoriously high
Layered on top of these environmental issues, tech is transforming the medical industry and data will flow from the individual to the hospital on a one-on-one basis, and tech devices such as headbands, sociometric badges, cameraclips, smartwatches and sensors embedded in clothes will become the new diagnostic tools. According to IBM Watson, the average person is likely to generate more than one billion gigabytes of health-related data in their lifetime. That’s the equivalent of 300 million books! What’s more, medical data is expected to double every 73 days by 2020. Artificial Intelligence/machine learning will become integrated on all levels in healthcare. Virtual nursing assistants is the #2 application of AI after robotic assisted surgery. That being said, nursing will be the 4th fastest-growing profession by 2024 including many new opportunities for the tech savvy medical-surgical nurse.
Are you ready for the future?
Hidden Blessings
Here’s a special idea that doesn’t present itself too often. The New Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center in Jacksonville, Florida invited the staff to embed handwritten messages on the inner walls of the newly constructed hospital. These hidden blessings will be archived forever, serving as a powerful emotional support system for patients within the walls of the hospital. Baptist MD is the only Southeastern U.S. partner in the MD Anderson Cancer Network©, a program of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Our Community
Backstories and Smart Solutions
Find Your Voice

Linda Yoder, PHD, MBA, RN, AOCN, FAAN

Professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing
Linda Yoder, PHD, MBA, RN, AOCN, FAAN, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing and Past-President of AMSN has some sage advice. She is the first to say that nurses are smart people. She encourages all nurses to speak up. “We have major issues with staffing, the way care delivery systems work, especially in hospitals. Nurses are on the front lines and have great ideas on how to solve some of these problems."
AMSN will continue to teach nurses how to speak up, have a powerful voice and bring your ideas forward on how to improve patient care. Key is for improvements for implementing evidence-based practice protocols.
She compels you, other AMSN members and the greater medical-surgical nursing community to serve on a clinical practice committee, a hospital-wide leadership committee so that peers see nurses as vital, vibrant professionals.
It’s also important to become involved in your local community, within the nursing association network and most importantly in AMSN. "We are a place to connect with other people like yourself.” She encourages members to join the conversation in the Hub. Volunteer with AMSN and make a difference. Use AMSN to share ideas, resources and solutions. She says AMSN is your connection to your peers, the practice and a purpose-driven community.
Up Your Game For Quality Improvement
Marianne Baernholdt, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN
Nursing Alumni Endowed Professor
Marianne Baernholdt, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Nursing Alumni Endowed Professor and the 2018 Tony Award has a lot to say about how nurses practice quality of care. She advises, ask not “What is the matter with you?” but rather, “What matters to you.” In terms of you improving quality as an individual, practice the art of positive deviant questioning. That is ask an unscripted question to change the dialogue with patients. Find out what they like to do, where they like to travel, what they like to eat. Make it personal and interesting. Instead of complaining, write something, count something—shift the focus to something positive.
Find your safety voice. Ensure that each team member is willing to speak up to share thoughts and ideas to improve processes. Despite attempts from healthcare organizations encouraging open communication, employee silence remains a common cause of communication breakdown. The safety voice is often repressed due to hierarchy and power dynamics; the unenlightened believe open communication is unsafe and ineffective. And everyone, including yourself, can be held back by embedded expectations of nurse behavior. In terms of the team, there are a multitude of programs that offer training in quality improvement competencies, teamwork and leadership, but few combine these competencies all in one program. There are even fewer that include ongoing and just-in-time coaching for implementing an actual QI project using a team approach.
An inter-professional quality improvement training program can incorporate QI and patient safety competencies into health professional education, mitigating inconsistent training and limited skills in improvement science. In terms of the organization, The National Collaborative for Improving the Clinical Learning Environment (NCICLE) focuses on the role of health care environments such as health systems, academic medical centers, and inter-professional stakeholders (including professional organizations) in providing a clinical learning experience that enhances inter-professional practice and learning in all services of patient care. The premise is that it is the Individual’s responsibility to engage in and promote patient safety. The NCICLE has 31 member organizations committed to improving the educational experience and patient care outcomes within Clinical Learning Environments (CLEs). The CLEs equip new clinicians with the skills needed to optimize patient safety throughout their careers. And connecting with the community in a language they understand makes the all-important difference. Use creativity and imagination to connect. For example, think how successful a foot care clinic for patients with diabetes would be if you simply pitch it as Spa Night.
Nurses are part of a long tradition of individuals who improve quality. All it takes is the courage and conviction to speak up, implement new ways, and document the results. Remember, it’s not what’s the matter with you, it’s what matters to you?
Announcing the AMSN 2019 Strategic Goals
In June 2018, the AMSN Board of Directors met and updated the ASMN mission, vision, and values. These plans weren’t created in a vacuum. They are the result of research on the current practice environment of medical-surgical nurses and feedback from our members. Here are the highlights!
#1: Our Practice Environment
AMSN is dedicated to supporting medical-surgical nurses in navigating the changing environment and enhancing the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of the medical-surgical nurse. The work life of medical-surgical nurses is becoming increasing complex. The scope of practice is expanding, issues with staffing, workplace violence, and the rising risk of burnout need to be addressed. Staffing that is safe and based upon patient acuity needs and the skill mix of the nursing staff should be the standard. The two board members championing the following initiatives are Marisa Streelman and Andie Melendez.
Current Initiatives:
  • AMSN is identifying key characteristics of healthy practice environments through an analysis of medical-surgical units that have earned the AMSN PRISM Award.
  • AMSN is surveying all of our members about healthy practice environments to gain thier front line insights.
#2. Professional Development
AMSN is dedicated to providing professional learning experiences to support members’ professional advancement, wherever they are in their careers and at all levels of experience and education.
We are currently working on two research studies that will help the AMSN leadership identify professional development needs and gaps. Kristi Reguin-Hartman and Robin Hertel are champions for the following initiatives.
Current Initiatives:
  • Dr. Terry Jones is conducting a longitudinal study of the leadership skills of medical-surgical nurses at the point of care who have completed the Clinical Leadership Development Program.
  • We have also just closed a survey of medical-surgical nurses regarding their knowledge, skills, and integration of evidence-based practice. Over 1100 medical-surgical nurses participated. This research is a collaborative effort between the Helene Fuld Institute of Ohio State University and AMSN. Dr. Linda Yoder. AMSN’s CEO Terri Hinkley will be AMSN’s primary investigators for this study.
#3. Leadership and Influence
AMSN is dedicated to engaging with other key stakeholders and decision makers at the local, state, and national level on issues impacting nursing such as care delivery, patient safety, and workplace violence. Our biggest initiative is the expansion of our legislative team ensuring AMSN’s national leadership can appropriately address and take action on policy and advocacy efforts. Michele George and Summer Bryant are the board champions of this initiative.
Current Initiatives:
  • Extensive training for our expanded advocacy team
  • Improved collaboration and coordination with chapters 
#4. Organizational Health Through the Use of Technology, Systems and People
We will up our technology game to make it easier for our members to engage with AMSN. This includes enhancing our communications, website and outreach. Champions for this goal include Jennifer Kennedy, Linda Yoder and Terri Hinkley.
Current Initiatives:
  • Implementation of a new comunication and marketing strategy and plan to ensure members are recieving the information they need when they need it.
  • A new AMSN website (Spring 2019).
View more information on the updated strategic plan and initiatives on the AMSN website.
AMSN Advocacy in Action
AMSN has partnered with 51 nursing and healthcare associations in an official letter to the leaders of our House and Senate to ensure Section 3003 of The Support for Patients and Communities Act (HR 6) as passed by the House, which would expand access to evidence-based Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), is included in the final conferenced legislation addressing the opioid overdose epidemic. Access the letter here and send it to your local legislators to support the act.
Section 3003 is based on HR 3692, the Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act.
The provision would:
  • Eliminate the sunset date for nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants’ (PAs) prescribing authority for buprenorphine,
  • Temporarily expand the definition of “qualifying practitioner” to include nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives, and
  • Permit a waivered-practitioner to start immediately treating 100 patients at a time with buprenorphine (in lieu of the initial 30 patient cap) if the practitioner has board certification in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry or if the practitioner provides medications for the treatment of addiction involving opioid use in a qualified practice setting.
Unfortunately, particularly in rural states, there is a shortage of qualified clinicians who can treat the ever-increasing number of patients with opioid use disorder. If enacted, Section 3003 of HR 6 would be a key step in addressing this barrier by increasing access to evidence-based addiction treatment provided by trained physicians and clinicians. There is no magic bullet for tackling this epidemic, but we must do everything we can to ensure that as many Americans as possible can receive evidence-based treatment as a key step in reducing the number of overdoses and deaths.
New Chapters

Central Savannah River Area #618
Cities: Augusta, Aiken, GA and surrounding areas
States: Georgia and South Carolina
Denise Rodgers, RN, BSN

Medical-Surgical Nurses of Low country Area Chapter #633
Cities, Counties: Charleston, Summerville, Jedburg, Waterboro, Grand Strand, Beaufort, and all South Carolina
Jessica Minchew

Midlands #228
Columbia, SC
Cities: Columbia, Lexington
Counties: Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Sumter, SC
Cindy Merrow

Upstate South Carolina #237
Cities: Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, Simpsonville, Taylors, Greer, Greenwood, Mauldin, Clemson, Easley
Counties: Pickens, Oconee, Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, Greenwood and Abbeville, SC
Donna L. Kleister

Nursing Research Grant Winners
Karen Percell-Shong, MSN, RN, Killen, TX
Exploring the Relationships between Managerial Coaching, Role Ambiguity, and QSEN Quality and Safety Competencies Among Clinical Nurses
Cara S. Schlegal, MS, RN, Austin, TX
Medication related Information Needs During Patient Transfer
Lois M. Welden, DNP, RN, CNS, Evansville, IN
Evaluating Aromatherapy for Pain in Abdominal Surgical Patients
The PRISM Award for Exemplary Practice
The 5 East Medical-Surgical Unit 5 East at University of Illinois Health, in Chicago, IL received the prestigious AMSN PRISM Award ® , an honor recognizing exceptional nursing practice, leadership, and outcomes in hospital medical-surgical units from MSNCB President Antoinette Falker, DNP, RN, CBN, CMSRN, GCNS-BC on July 10, 2018.
“I am honored that nurses on 5 East have achieved this status, as they exemplify the qualities that define excellence in medical-surgical nursing, Shelly Major PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, UI Health Chief Nursing Officer said. “The AMSN PRISM Award is a public symbol of 5 East’s journey to optimal outcomes and exceptional patient care.”
Unit 2 South Acute Care with Telemetry, Inspira, Elmer, NJ, received the prestigious AMSN PRISM Award ® . The ceremony honoring the nurses of 2 South took place July 30 at the hospital, with AMSN CEO Terri Hinkley, MBA, BSN, RN, CCRC, representing both AMSN and MSNCB. Terri presented the award to unit nurses, nurse leaders, and hospital officials. Hinkley applauded the unit nurses during the ceremony, praising their overall performance, critical thinking, and collaboration. “You clearly empower your nursing staff and give them a voice,” Hinkley said. “This shows in their motivation to initiate and lead the unit toward outstanding patient care and outcomes.” 
St. David’s North Austin Medical Center recently became one of only two hospitals in the nation to have three medical-surgical) units receive the prestigious AMSN PRISM Award®. The orthopedic and bariatric med-surg unit at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center was honored on July 27, 2018 by AMSN former President Linda Yoder, PhD, MBA, RN, AOCN, FAAAN.
“We are pleased to be recognized by AMSN and MSNCB for our efforts to provide high-quality patient care in a wide range of specialties, including orthopedics, bariatrics, renal transplant, endocrinology and cardio-pulmonary services,” Cindy Nicholas, Chief Nursing Officer at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, said. “These awards reflect the commitment and compassion from our med-surg nurses.”  
Events Calendar
Maureen Murphy is the 2019 Program Planning Committee Chairperson for the 28th Annual ASMN Convention which will be held in Chicago.
We’ll be back with new educational tracks, opportunities to network and inspirational thought leadership all created to keep you ahead of the curve in professional development and community support. For full details,  log on here.
Convention Payment Plan
  • Full meeting registration is only $480
  • You save $65
  • Your first payment is due upon your registration and enrollment in the payment plan.
  • The first installment is $90 and requires a $30 non-refundable convenience fee.
  • You make no other payments until 2019
  • Don’t worry, you will be able to select the sessions you plan to attend at convention later.
  • Your next payments will be withdrawn automatically from the account used with the first payment.
  • Each installment will be $90 and will occur on January 25 th, March 29 th , May 3th, and July 26th, 2019.
September 26-29, 2019
Hilton Chicago
720 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago IL, 60605
Speaker abstracts are due by October 30, 2018 - View the Call for Speaker Abstract Submission Guide

Poster abstracts are due by May 15, 2019 - View the Call for Poster Abstracts Submission Guide
Education and Certification Update
If you attended this year’s Convention, did you miss a session or two?  Good news!  For no additional fee, attendees can catch what they missed.  To get handouts, access the sessions or to complete CE evaluations please log in to the AMSN website and visit the Convention CE page.  
If you were unable to attend the Convention, AMSN offers the convention sessions for a fee. Review the sessions that are available. 
All sessions qualify for contact hours towards your certification. Access your AMSN Online Library once you receive the notification email from AMSN.

Here’s Your Free CE for October. Click the session title to redeem your member benefit and save the session to your library.


New Drug Update and Ways to Prevent Errors During Transitions of Care


Presented by Marlea Wellein PharmD, BCPS 

1.05 Contact hours/1.05 Rx Hours

Session applies to CMSRN and CCCTM recertification requirements
Session Description

The session focuses on newly approved medications commonly administered by med-surg patients and understand why the medication is used, how it is dosed, common adverse events, monitoring considerations, and other important administration precautions.


This session also highlights ways to minimize errors with medications during transitions of care. After completing this learning activity, the participant will be able to identify new medications and their indications for use, including monitoring and other precautions, and strategies to reduce errors.

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Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses
PO Box 56 Pitman, New Jersey 08071-0056
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