Critical Thinking….

It is with mixed feelings that I sit down to write this, my last, critical thinking column. It is hard to believe that my time leading this organization has come to a close.

Two years ago I chose the theme Speak with Conviction, as I believed that critical care nurses must speak with conviction and have a united voice to ensure that our critically ill patients receive the best care possible. As care providers we are influential in driving evidence-based services across units, organizations and communities. If we neglect to speak up someone else will fill the void our silence creates, someone who may not advocate for our patients with the same degree of passion, knowledge and awareness of need. This is fundamentally the reason that I chose Speak with Conviction for my theme.

Speaking with conviction could be as simple as advocating for family presence at rounds or developing position statements for our specialty nursing community, CACCN. Many of you stepped up with us on this journey by participating on national CACCN committees, engaging with your local chapter, responding to surveys and opinion polls or through participation on our forum pages.

The national Board of Directors of CACCN has worked diligently over the past two years to raise the profile of critical care nursing and to speak with conviction. We expect these efforts to position our organization as the one to ‘go to’ for our health care partners to engage on issues impacting critical care nursing.

Over the past two years we have been asked to participate with our inter-professional colleagues in the development of national guidelines addressing, for example, the allocation of blood in the event of a critical shortage and with the Deceased Donation Advisory Panel that is working on common problems in organ donation across Canada. In addition, we have been contacted by researchers seeking CACCN’s involvement in research studies pertaining to critical care. Examples include the PEPup study, through which an educational tool was developed to successfully implement a new nutrition protocol, and aC3Ktion Net, which seeks to improve the implementation of evidence-informed best practices in critical care. Most recently we have been asked to participate in the OVATION program, which addresses the effects of different blood pressure targets when administering vasopressors in critically ill patients. We look forward to keeping you informed of the evidence that comes from these projects so that you can translate this information into your clinical practice.

This past November, Karen Dryden-Palmer and Marie Edwards, as representatives of the CACCN Board of Directors, along with CACCN members Tereza Coughlin, Kim Bowman, Brenda Morgan, Linda Nusdorfer, Ruth Trinier and Kirk Dawe, met at the request of colleagues from other disciplines at CCCF to begin the process of developing Canadian Guidelines for Withdrawal of Life-sustaining Care. We would like to thank these members for their contribution to this important document. This group will continue its work and will keep our members informed of progress along the way.

CACCN was also involved in the Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centre / Accreditation Canada Interfacility Transport Symposium, which is developing a document  recommending Emergency Medical Services Standards for the transport of critically ill maternal, neonatal and pediatric patients. Kate Mahon and Ruth Trinier are the CACCN members representing critical care pediatric nurses. They have completed the first draft of the document and will be continuing with this work. Look for more information about this document on the website. It is clear we have achieved much success and are proactively speaking with conviction about matters of national concern to critical care patients, families and providers.

My personal journey with CACCN began with my first Dynamics conference many years ago. Since then I have attended this flagship gathering over my long career as a critical care nurse. Aside from the excellent educational sessions Dynamics has to offer, the greatest benefit I have received from attending has been the opportunity to network with other critical care nurses from across the country who share a passion for our work. During my term as president I was able to connect with many of you and through this interaction my passion for critical care nursing was rejuvenated. So, if I were asked to describe the benefit of belonging to a professional organization, I would have to say it is the opportunity to rejuvenate one’s passion for critical care nursing.

How have I have stayed in critical care for so many years and how have I maintained a healthy, productive approach to such demanding work? The key, for me at least, is that I have realized that every national conference or chapter workshop has infused me with excitement about critical care nursing all over again. It is this fuelling of my passion for critical care nursing that has allowed me to stay in this specialty for my entire career as a nurse. I still find it exciting to work in critical care and truly can say that I love being a critical care nurse. By attending CACCN events I am able to network with a community of critical care nurses passionate about critical care.

When I attended my first Dynamics in the 1980s I would never have dreamed that one day I would be president of CACCN and leading the foremost professional critical care nursing association in Canada. It has been hugely rewarding and a privilege to lead CACCN. It was through Dynamics and being an active member of CACCN that I found many of the mentors in my career, mentors not only for clinical knowledge, but for leadership and professional growth, as well. Each one of these mentors has helped me to grow and to develop as a critical care nurse. I am so thankful that they shared their expertise and experiences so freely with me throughout my career. They have helped me grow both personally and professionally and I hope that it has made me not only a better nurse, but a better leader, as well.

As I finish my term, I reflect on how privileged I have been to work with such a dedicated and committed board of directors. Although they are volunteers I have been awed by their dedication and the amount of time they have devoted to CACCN and, in turn, to critical care nursing in Canada. I would like to take a moment to thank them publicly for the phenomenal work that they have done on your behalf for CACCN. Each of them has helped to improve and raise the profile of CACCN by truly living the president’s theme,Speak with Conviction.

CACCN is supported and run by volunteers from across Canada, whether it be as members of planning committees for Dynamics, as writers of position statements, as members of the journal editorial board, or as executives of local chapters. Without these volunteers we would not be able to operate or be the voice of critical care nursing in Canada. I would like to thank all our volunteers for their dedication and passion for critical care and the work that they have done for CACCN.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank Christine Halfkenny-Zellas. As our chief operating officer she is the only full-time employee of CACCN. Without her support the board, chapters, and volunteers would not be able to complete the work of CACCN. For me, personally, as president, I know that I would not have been effective without her assistance, so I must thank her for all her support. It has made my term as president rewarding.

As I leave this position I know that CACCN’s incoming president, Karen Dryden-Palmer, will continue to lead and strengthen CACCN during her presidency. Look for the announcement of her president’s theme in the next Critical Thinking column and her president’s blog on the website.

Take care and Speak with Conviction.
Teddie Tanguay

Paying it “For-Award”

It is with great pleasure that I introduce guest blogger, Barb Fagan, CACCN Director, Awards and Corporate Sponsorship to share information on how you can Pay It For-Award!

Teddie Tanguay, CACCN President


Every day in our lives as critical care nurses we have the opportunity to pay it forward.  Simple acts of kindness have the ability to change the perspective of the world. 

In your practice, you perform both simple and dramatic acts.  With increased frequency, it is often the simple things you do for patients, families and colleagues that spread positivity and have a profound effect on the perceived quality of care – both for those giving and receiving of the care.  Patients remember when you have held their hand ‘just because’ and they remember how you took the time to lovingly tuck them in for a rest with a warm blanket.  Families are touched by staff that go above and beyond the call of duty and those that go the extra mile to make the hospitalization more bearable.  It may be as simple as bringing in used magazines and books to pass the time in the waiting room, or including the family members in the unit’s afternoon coffee run to Tim Horton’s. 
Similarly our colleagues are touched when team members express some kind words, send an encouraging email or give them pat on the back/job well done at the end of a brutal shift. 

As members of CACCN, we have the ability to Pay it For-Award.  As the CACCN Director for Awards and Corporate sponsorship, I am truly amazed each year by the stories of CACCN award recipients. Their dedication and professionalism inspire us all.  Through the generous support of sponsors, we have several wonderful avenues to Pay it For-Award  to our members.  

In this blog I’d like to highlight a few of the CACCN Awards available to you – our membership

Many of you are lifelong learners pursuing academic excellence.  It is a challenge to balance the commitments of family, work and school.  Perusing academic excellence is rewarding but also costly.   Smith’s Medical Canada and CACCN established the Smith’s Educational Awardto provide funds ($1000.00 twice yearly) to assist critical care nurses to attend continuing education programs at the baccalaureate, masters and doctorate of nursing levels.  I would encourage all members to consider applying to deflect a portion of the cost of your studies.  Know a colleague who is pursuing an educational degree?  Encourage them to apply for the award.  Applied but not the lucky recipient?  Continue to apply twice yearly – you’ve already completed the application.  Submission deadlines are September 1st and January 31st annually.
CACCN has a strong belief in nursing research and established the CACCN Research Grant to provide funds to support the research activities of a CACCN member that is relevant to the practice of critical care nursing.  Awarded yearly, deadline for submission is February 15th.   Marie Edwards, the CACCN Publications and Research Board representative will be featured in an upcoming blog.

In January, we reflect on the past year and look forward to the future. Consider Paying it For-Award – by encouraging your local chapter to submit their application for the Draeger Medical Canada Chapter of the Year Award to celebrate the accomplishments of your chapter members over the past year. Application deadline is May 31st annually.  The award, in the amount of $500 and a plaque recognizes the effort, contributions and dedication of a CACCN Chapter in carrying out the purposes and goals of the association.

Simple acts.  How will you Pay it For-Award in 2014? Perhaps you will consider Paying it For-Award by checking out some of the other awards on the website and nominating a deserving colleague.
I look forward to your comments and seeing your applications for upcoming CACCN awards.  Happy New Year everyone!
Kind regards,

Barb Fagan
CACCN Director, Awards and Corporate Sponsorship

Withdrawal of Life Sustaining Treatment

I am delighted to introduce guest blogger, Ruth Trinier, CACCN Treasurer to share information about the Critical Care Canada Forum held in Toronto from November 9 to 12, 2013.

Teddie Tanguay
CACCN President

Every year the Critical Care Canada Forum in Toronto offers professionals an opportunity to attend informative and interactive sessions focusing on the care of critically ill patients. The three-day conference, hosted by an international faculty, presents leading-edge science, research, practice innovations, products and services. Again this year, members of the Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses, including members of the Board of Directors, attended the conference in addition to participating in the curriculum and some special meetings.

Of the many excellent sessions, we would like to report on two that we considered particularly relevant to members of CACCN.

In September, the National Board of Directors received an invitation to participate in a consensus meeting for the development of a Canadian document to guide health care providers on the procedure of withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. The meeting, arranged by doctors Lisa Kenny, James Downar, Jesse Delaney and Laura Hawryluck of the Canadian Critical Care Society, was to be held during the CCCF. CACCN members attending the Forum were asked to participate in order that the unique knowledge and perspective of nurses was an active part of the evolving document.

The goal of the project is to develop interprofessional consensus guidelines including preparation of patients and families, symptom control, withdrawing specific therapies, and supporting family members and the healthcare team throughout the process. The end product will be a report entitled “The Canadian Critical Care Society’s Guidelines on the Procedure of Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Therapy”.

After a brief overview of the literature, the law, and ethics in this area, participants met in one of four working groups:

  1. Preparation and support for patients, substitute decision makers / families and the health care team throughout the procedure of withdrawal of life support.
  2. Pharmaceutical management of distress.
  3. Assessment of distress.
  4. Withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies.

Some groups were unable to complete their work in the limited time available, and the large group was not able to reconvene as planned at the end of the session. It is anticipated that the work of this group will continue into the new year.

The Board of Directors would like to thank the following CACCN members for providing their time and expertise to this important initiative:

The second session that we would like to report on, “Obligations for End-of-Life (EOL) Care in ICU as of November 2013” concerned the implications from the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Mr. Hassan Rasouli v. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Brian Cuthbertson and Dr. Gordon Rubenfeld, for which CACCN had been granted intervener status. (For information on CACCN’s role in this action please see CACCN Media.

The session, moderated by doctors Peter Cox and Brian Kavanagh, included an overview of the case by Dr. Stephen Lapinsky and the legal team of Erica Baron and Andrew McCutcheon. Dr. Andrew Baker presented an overview of the possible implications of the decision. This was followed by clarification by the legal team, questions from the audience, as well as suggestions for moving forward.

Some of the points made included:

  1. The majority of EOL situations will continue without controversy as they do now.
  2. It is not yet clear what the ruling will mean – it will take further cases/discussion.
  3. It is not yet clear what the ruling will mean outside of Ontario where there is no Consent and Capacity Board.
  4. In most instances, the decision will not make things materially different than what is being done now.
  5. Clear notes should be written noting that consent has been sought for withdrawal at EOL.
  6. Legally, informed consent needs to be obtained, but practically assent is likely acceptable in those cases where a SDM agrees with the decision but is unable to make it themselves (for whatever reason).
  7. It is likely a good idea to obtain a signature for consent.
  8. Because writing a DNR order does not involve touching the patient, it is likely that it does not require consent, however, there was no suggestion that not requesting consent would be the best route to follow. There are cases currently before the Canadian courts addressing the need for consent for a DNR order.
  9. The SDM has to be “rational”, i.e.: the argument of “I believe in miracles” is not rational, however, a confirmed religious belief of “life at all costs” may be valid.
  10. Consent for terminating CPR is not needed in the case of an unsuccessful code – it was felt that no court would uphold such a request, as it would be considered ridiculous.
  11. This case was not taken to the Consent and Capacity Board as it was felt that it was not a question of consent, it was felt to be a question of the meaning of treatment (further information concerning the reason this case was brought forward can be found on the Sunnybrook Hospital website.

Suggestions for the future included:

  1. Seeking legal consultation early in any situations that might be similar to the Rasouli case and forwarding it to the Consent and Capacity Board if the situation arises in Ontario.
  2. Sending all cases in Ontario to the Consent and Capacity Board to force clarification of the role of the CCB. This was seen to be impractical due to the impact of the delay in those situations that do not require the board.
  3. Going to law review to have the law clarified. This was seen as impractical as it would require agreement among all Canadian physicians.

We will continue to represent you, our members, as organizations across Canada look to CACCN as the “Voice for excellence in Canadian Critical Care Nursing”. Your comments, suggestions and feedback for all issues that are relevant to you will facilitate that representation.

Speaking with Conviction!

Ruth Trinier
CACCN Director/Treasurer

Speaking from Experience: Integrating Excellence as a Culture

Once again I am honoured to work with such a great team of nurses on the CACCN National Board of Directors.  I am delighted to introduce guest blogger, Renée Chauvin, Secretary and Dynamics Planning Chair 2014 to share information about the Dynamics 2014 Call for Abstracts.

Before I turn the blog over to Renée, I would like to thank all of the critical care nurses for celebrating Canadian Intensive Care Week from October 27 to November 2, 2013. Many ICU’s across the country held events and photos highlighting the work we do as critical care nurses. Be sure to share your events and photos with CACCN with National Office at or on Facebook. 

Teddie Tanguay
CACCN President

The Dynamics of Critical Care Conference is the premier critical care nursing conference in Canada hosting approximately 450 – 550 nurses each year, with over 60 exhibitors.  Dynamics is an important event for critical care nurses with the opportunity to earn continuing learning hour credits over the three days of the event.

This is the second time I have had the privilege of participating on a Conference Planning Committee.  I was a member of the 2008 committee responsible for planning the silver anniversary conference for CACCN.  The 2008 conference was one of the largest CACCN conferences to date with 556 delegates and over 70 exhibitors attending to celebrate 25 years of Critical Care Advocacy.

I am very excited to Chair the Dynamics 2014 conference in Quebec City, Quebec.  The Planning Committee includes:

  • Natasha Dupuis
  • Christine Echegaray-Benites
  • Marie-André Gauthier
  • Mélanie Gauthier
  • Sandra Goldsworthy
  • Linda Massé
  • Jennifer Tieu
  • Richard Watt
  • Karen Dryden-Palmer, CACCN Vice-President/Dynamics Liaison
  • Christine Halfkenny-Zellas, CACCN Chief Operating Officer

Over the past several months, the planning committee has been actively working on the conference planning and has completed the Call for Abstracts to solicit presentations from critical care nurses in Canada and abroad based on our theme: Speaking from Experience: Integrating Excellence as a Culture. 

The Dynamics 2014 Call for Abstracts is being released this month in the winter edition of Dynamics: Journal of the Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses.  The Dynamics 2014 theme is Speaking from Experience: Integrating Excellence as a Culture:

Critical care nurses have played a crucial role in the advancement of the specialty of critical care in Canada for more than fifty years.  Essential to quality patient and family centered care, critical care nurses utilize reflective practice, clinical reasoning, problem solving, and experience to advance and sustain a practice of excellence. Integrating evidence-informed knowledge, research and high intensity therapies in complex human health contexts, positions critical care nurses to expertly navigate critical, life-threatening situations with skill, compassion, healing and humane caring.

The Dynamics conference is a great opportunity to network, exchange innovative ideas, learn, grow and be inspired. I invite you to share your experiences as we continue to integrate excellence into our critical care practice.

The Board of Directors and the Planning Committee is encouraging you to speak about your experience in advancing and sustaining a practice of excellence”.   Submit an abstract to share your experience.

As the deadline for submission will come very quickly, you should start to plan your abstract submission early.   I know right now you are thinking…I would love to submit an abstract, but how do I begin.  The process is very easy:

  1. Read the Call for Abstracts document and the Instructions on the CACCN Website at;
  2. Think and talk with your colleagues about all of those examples of nursing excellence that you have experienced;
  3. Give some thought to how you can incorporate the theme of Speaking from Experience into your abstract;
  4. After thinking about your experiences and the theme, write a draft of the presentation you wish to submit;
    1. Review the draft and fine tune the information:Ensure this piece is as concise as possible as it can only be 2000 characters;
    2. This write up will need to tell us what the presentation will be about – what you will share, the outcomes, etc;
  5. Write a final short description of the presentation:
    1. Again, be as concise as possible.
    2. This information will be used in the brochure and again must be concise so delegates will know what the presentation is about when making their selections.
  6. Create a short, snappy title
  7. Prepare your references in APA Format in a word or PDF document
  8. Review the information to ensure there is no identifying information in the title, brief write up or the main abstract  (i.e. do not include author/presenter/hospital names, city, province, acronyms, etc).  There cannot be any identifying information as the abstracts are blind reviewed.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to submit your abstract.

Abstracts may only be submitted using the online submission process at  Prior to commencing your submission make sure you review all of the information on the website again.  Try to submit your abstract before the deadline on January 31, 2014 at 23:59 ET to avoid the rush.

I am looking forward to the continued planning of the conference and I am very much looking forward to reviewing the excellent work being done by critical care nurses across Canada and abroad.


Renée Chauvin
CACCN Secretary
Dynamics 2014 Planning Committee Chair


Dynamics 2014 Call for Abstracts
Dynamics 2014 Call for Abstracts Online Submission Guidelines/Information

Supreme Court of Canada Decision: Mr. Hassan Rasouli v Sunnybrook HSC et al

For Immediate Release  -  October 18, 2013

The Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses (CACCN) welcomes the decision the Supreme Court of Canada released today in the case of Mr. Hassan Rasouli v. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Brian Cuthbertson and Dr. Gordon Rubenfeld.

The Court held that the consent regime imposed by the Ontario Health Care Consent Act applies and requires physicians to seek consent to the withdrawal of life support treatment.   The decision recognizes the complexity that this issue poses for health care providers, critically ill patients and their loved ones.

“We appreciate the thoughtful review of this issue by the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada and are very pleased that the perspective of critical care nurses was considered in the process,” said CACCN President Teddie Tanguay.  “It is our desire that today’s ruling will provide clarity and consistency in Ontario in providing best end of life care for patients, families and their health care providers,” added Ms. Tanguay.

As an organization that represents critical care nurses across the country, the CACCN will continue to support patients, their families and physicians in this challenging and important aspect of their shared work in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision.

As an intervenor before the Court, CACCN was represented on a pro bono basis by the legal team of Rahool Agarwal, Nahla Khouri and Nicholas Saint-Martin of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.

Ms. Tanguay, Karen Dryden-Palmer, Vice President, and Kate Mahon, Past President of CACCN, will be available for interviews and comments. Legal questions regarding CACCN’s oral and written submissions should be directed to Rahool Agarwal.

Background (December 2012)

The Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses (CACCN) has been granted intervener status before the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Mr. Hassan Rasouli v. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Brian Cuthbertson and Dr. Gordon Rubenfeld. CACCN’s participation in this proceeding will ensure that the perspective of Canadian critical care nurses regarding end of life decision making will be heard at the highest court in the country.

This case illustrates the difficult nature of decision making at the end of life and the need for direction in those instances where the health care providers and the family or substitute decision maker disagree on what is in the best interests of the patient. Critical Care nurses are healthcare providers who are closely engaged with families, patients and the healthcare team throughout their hospital stay including the end of life. As such, we are pleased that the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized the need to understand these complex issues from the unique perspective of critical care nurses.

We look forward to hearing from you!  Feel free to post your comments below!

“Just a Nurse”??

I recently read a column entitled ”Don’t Call Me Just a Nurse”. The focus of this essay was the need for nurses to remove “I’m just a nurse” out of our collective vocabulary. This struck a cord with me as over my career I have too often used this phrase myself. When I reflect on the times when I have used  this  terminology  to describe my role and my contributions  to patient care it is typically when I have felt frustration at not being able to influence on behalf of my  patient. More often then not it was said with sarcasm – perhaps aimed a bit at myself and also indiscriminately at others or a ‘system’, which I felt, was limiting my contributions.

The public and even our families have limited understanding of exactly what critical care nurses do. It gives me pause to wonder how exactly the public could come to know and value our contributions better? “I’m just the nurse”  is not enough to uncover the truth and scope  of exactly how critical care nurses  assist  the most fragile of patients, contribute to scientific advancements and influence  health care in our hospitals.  Sometimes I fear, even health administrators and governments don’t understand the role of the nurse and the importance of having them provide care.

Nurses are essential to the safe monitoring of patients, the management of complex supportive technologies like ventilation, titrating life sustaining mediation infusions and all the while ensuring the essence of the person is respected and nurtured during these most venerable times. Over the course of a 12 hour shift, a critical care nurse will constantly monitor vital signs, interpret diagnostic test results, administer medications and provide comfort and support to the patient and their family. Nurses are  ever evaluating and adapting plans of care as the work alongside a diverse group of colleagues  to ensure the best outcomes possible for each and every patient. Nurses is the sole care provider that is constantly present with the patient and as such nurses are the first ones to notice critical changes and respond to ensure the patient receives the care they require.  We are the ultimate continuous improvement system.

To quote the author of the column

“I am the eyes, hands and feet of the physician. I am not their eye candy, or their inferior. I don’t stand up when they enter the room. I don’t just follow orders, I discuss the pathophysiology of the patient’s condition with them and together we make a plan. Often the things I suggest are the course of action we take, other times I learn something new I had not understood from this doctor. They don’t talk down to me, we discuss things together.”

Critical care nursing is rewarding, challenging and privileges nurses to make a direct difference in our patient’s life.  We have our unique science and evidence from which we act; we complement the roles and expertise of our medical and allied health colleagues. The sum of all of is is greater then the reduced individual parts.

No one group is better placed than nurses to share a more accurate portrait of our work and expertise: it is time that we speak about what our role is in caring for patients.

Let’s begin with our families.  Make sure they understand what a critical care nurse does, how you are an integral part of the health care team that provides life support when patients are at the sickest and most vulnerable. Let’s make sure that we articulate who we are clearly and how we impact our patient’s and their families.

Thankfully as I became more aware of the impact of what it is we say about ourselves – as well as what I do, I have been better able to articulate my work and my science.  I have made a commitment to stop using the phrase ‘Just a nurse’.  I ask that all of you strive to do the same. Let’s speak with conviction and educate our family on friends on the true  impact of a critical care nurses.

Take care and speak with conviction.

Teddie Tanguay
President, CACCN 

Don’t Call Me Just a Nurse: Kateri Allard, Huffington Post

World Sepsis Day – September 13, 2013

Today is World Sepsis Day!   The Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses  (CACCN) is asking CACCN members and all healthcare professionals to approach your institution/organization for support for World Sepsis Day on September 13,  2013.  

World Sepsis Day is an initiative from the Global Sepsis Alliance and its founding members, the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine (WFSICCM), the World Federation of Intensive and Critical Care Societies (WFPICCS), the World Federation of Critical Care Nurses (WFCCN), the International Sepsis Forum (ISF) and the Sepsis Alliance (SA).  So far, over 180 national and international societies and non-profit organizations, 1,300 hospitals, and over 1500 healthcare professionals are supporting World Sepsis Day.

The message is simplesepsis must receive the utmost priority as a medical emergency, so that all patients can expect to receive basic interventions, including antibiotics and intravenous fluids, within the first hour.

Watch videos from around the world: WFPICCS and World Sepsis Day, Cali, Columbia

Register your support and encourage your employer to register to raise the profile of sepsis with the World Health Organization! 

Online Registration:

Show your support…
Comment on here on the blog
the CACCN Facebook page
Twitter #worldsepsis when you have registered.

Dynamics 2013

Summer 2013 has been trying for some parts of our country. In my own province of Alberta, the devastating floods in the southern area of the province have impacted many families, as well as health care facilities. Equally devastating is the train crash in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Despite this devastation, what is amazing is to see the support that neighbours and fellow Canadians have provided to these communities and individuals during this difficult time. Although it does not change the effects of the tragedy on the individuals involved, knowing that the country truly cares about them does help them cope. This makes me proud to be Canadian.

As summer draws to an end we begin to finalize the plans for the Dynamics of Critical Care Conference and the CACCN Board of Directors begins to make preparations for the board meetings and Chapter Connections Day on the three days preceding the conference.

Part of CACCN’s Mission is to enhance quality of patient and family centered care by meeting the educational needs of critical care nurses. The twelve (12) chapters of the CACCN throughout the year provide local educational events that help CACCN realize this mission. Annually CACCN hosts their national educational event ‘Dynamics’ to showcase the amazing knowledge and expertise of critical care nurses across the country and abroad. To enhance the opportunity and access for all members of our vast nation, the conference venue moves across the country (east, central, west) from year to year. This year we are in the East – Halifax, NS – hosted by our colleagues from the Nova Scotia Chapter (Nova Scotia/Newfoundland-Labrador).

The theme for this year’s Dynamics is Shattering the Silence: Voices of Advocacy in Critical Care Nursing. We are thrilled to welcome faculty who represent every region of Canada as well as some international speakers. There are many exciting presentations for both adult and paediatric critical care nurses.

This year we are also offering a Pre-conference Workshop Day (page 6 in the conference brochure).  These one day sessions offer participants in-depth learning in specific clinical content provided by recognized national experts.

Please visit the CACCN Website to view the excellent abstracts to plan the sessions that you want to attend. Register now! Early bird conference registration ends August 16! Conference Information may be accessed Dynamics 2013.


September is a beautiful time of year in Canada especially in Atlantic Canada and the Maritimes. The fall colors are in full splendor and the weather is great. As part of your rejuvenation, why not think about taking a few days of rest and relaxation in combination with your attendance at Dynamics. Perhaps a trip to Peggy’s Cove, a visit to the Citadel, a whale watching tour or a relaxing walk along the harbor. Halifax also has some amazing restaurants to fit everyone’s budget. For information on Halifax and the surrounding area, please visit Destination Halifax or Tourism Nova Scotia to plan your stay.

I am hoping that you have the opportunity to join us in beautiful Halifax and that I will get a chance to meet you.

Take Care and Speak with Conviction.

Teddie Tanguay


Financial Responsibility…it’s a matter of dollars and ‘sense’…

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer thus far.  On behalf of the CACCN Board of Directors, we send our thoughts to our colleagues and friends in Calgary, AB who are experiencing extreme flooding and to those in Lac-Megantic, QC, who are experiencing the devastation caused by the train derailment.  Our thoughts are with everyone through these terrible events.

Before turning the blog over to my next guest blogger, I would like to mention the following items:

  1. Dynamics of Critical Care Conference:
    a. Preconference – plan to attend one of the three topics being offered at the preconference day!  Registration rates are $130 members; $230 non-members for a full day of education plus breaks/lunch! 
    b. Conference -  Early Bird Registration Deadline is August 16, 2013!  Save by registering now!
    c. Hotel Accommodation – book now as the room block often sells out – room block rates are available until August 19, 2013!
  2. CACCN Canadian ICU Week Spotlight Challenge – don’t miss your opportunity to win $ 450.00 to hold an event in your unit during Canadian ICU Week – October 27 to November 2, 2013!  Deadline for submissions is August 15, 2013. More information.
  3. Stop Sepsis, Save Lives:  World Sepsis Day – September 13, 2013 – please Speak with Conviction in support of increasing awareness of sepsis around the world. 

I am fortunate as President of CACCN to have a highly skilled team of Directors.  Each of these Board members is responsible for a specific portfolio and also is the chairperson on a number of committees that work towards furthering the goals of CACCN and critical care nursing.   I am delighted to introduce guest blogger, Ruth Trinier, Director/National Treasurer to engage you in a discussion about … Financial/Fiscal Responsibility.

Teddie Tanguay
CACCN President
As the National Treasurer of Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses (CACCN), one of my responsibilities is to process the cheques and credit card notifications that come in to our office in payment for membership to our organization. With each payment I process, I appreciate that you have chosen to entrust me, and the other members of your National Board of Directors, to ensure value for your investment.

We, as members of the Board of Directors and representatives of our membership body, are committed to promoting and participating in activities that reflect the vision and mission of CACCN. At the same time, we must ensure that the organization remains fiscally sustainable. The Board meets several times each year, at which time decisions are made on your behalf. Sometimes these decisions are difficult, requiring a thorough review of the financial position of the organization and the potential liabilities that are implicit in the decisions that we make. I can assure you of the diligence of the entire Board of Directors as we look to set an annual budget that is affordable, sustainable, and responsible, while we maintain or initiate those activities that have been identified through membership feedback as important. We encourage you to include your voice in our decisions through that feedback.

The majority of Board communication is either electronic or via teleconference. We meet face-to-face annually in the spring and fall. This year, as we looked to make positive financial changes, we realized a significant savings in holding the spring meeting in Toronto rather than in the traditional location of our head office in London. Holding the meeting in the vicinity of the airport in Toronto allowed those travelling from out of town to fly directly to the meeting, removing the additional flight from Toronto to London and the associated costs.

Additionally during this meeting, we re-affirmed financial prudence as a predominant factor when arranging for accommodations for board members as they travelled on CACCN business. We reviewed the balance of cost and quality with plans to maintain and update the technology that we use to communicate and serve our members and we discussed new or special projects that we anticipate will enhance the membership experience. It’s a careful consideration between providing as many services as possible and maintaining a balanced budget.

To protect the organization from a financial collapse, funds that would cover operating costs for a period of three years are held in Guaranteed Investment Certificates. In recognition of price inflation, we directed an additional $10,000.00 to this secure form of savings and investment.

Each year, MacNeill Edmundson Professional Corporation of Chartered Accountants, at 82 Wellington Street, London, Ontario, completes a financial audit of the Association’s business. A complete report of the financial audit is made available for members to review at least thirty (30) days prior to the Annual General Meeting, held each year in conjunction with the Dynamics conference in September. Review of the audit, allows for our members to prepare to raise questions and participate in discussion when I present the association’s financial report during the meeting. For those members with questions or concerns at any time throughout the year or for those who are unable to attend the meeting, we encourage you to contact either myself at or any other member of the National Board of Directors through the CACCN National Office at


Ruth Trinier
Treasurer – CACCN

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Partnership and Collaboration….

We have just returned from our annual meeting with the executive of AACN at NTI in Boston.  CACCN was present in many areas of the NTI conference including the leadership, academic and social events, as well as the exhibit hall.  We enjoyed meeting the Canadian nurses who were present at NTI and recognized our colleagues by providing them with Canadian flag pins.  We also enjoyed meeting many of our colleagues from the United States who express genuine interest in Canada and our nursing community.

Our very productive discussion with Kathryn Roberts, AACN President, Vicki Good, AACN President-Elect, Wanda Johansson, AACN CEO and Ramon Lavendero, AACN Senior Director, explored the continued partnership between our organizations in terms of  critical care nursing advocacy, scholarship and  organizational  relevance to the broader health care agenda in our respective  countries. These discussions are  aligned with and supportive of CACCN’s current goals and objectives for this fiscal year (2013-2014). 

The most  exciting and impactful outcomes of these dialogues and our partnership with AACN is the commitment to sharing scientific accomplishment between our organizations, access to Canadian and American critical care nursing experts at both NTI and Dynamics,  supporting greater access of both memberships to the latest evidence and practice and enhanced exposure to the different health care systems.  This academic relationship in turn helps us to  identify opportunities for health care reform and  areas where critical care nurses can make  productive contributions to the  health of all North Americans, within our individual health care systems. It was never so evident as this year how much we have to give and gain from this level of exchange.

The CACCN executive were most inspired by the extent of AACN’s new web based education programs This is an area of focus for our organization  in the next few years as we  begin to develop similar  products for our members.  Ideas and approaches to member  engagement and extended use of social media  was another area of  discussion which  exposed new strategies  for member access and connection. This led to discussion of how to engage membership through social media and the importance of having a social media plan.

The week at AACN/NTI, raised the collective voice of critical care nurse’s by highlighting I SEE YOU (ICU) and the delegates responding WE ARE HERE. This is so true.  We ARE here at many moments in patient’s and families lives.  One focal point to show that “we are here” was the showing of the film “Nurses: If Florence Could See Us Now” directed by Kathy Douglas, a former critical care nurse.  This film celebrates nurses and how they have moved forward.  The film also reminds us that we are part of people’s lives at their most intimate, joyful and difficult moments.   Donna Nickitas is interviewed in the film and she answers the question ”If Florence, could see us now?” with the following:

“You think back to the work of Florence Nightingale and the work she did in her time that changed the world… you can change your world, whether it’s at the bedside, the boardroom or the classroom…if you’re willing to be bold, to be brave and to be courageous when other’s won’t.”  

Being bold, brave and courageous was apparent when looking at the  forward thinking and scientific inquiry driven not only by American Critical Care Nurses but Canadian Critical Nurses as well.  This makes me proud to say that I am part of this wonderful community we call critical care nursing.

As I watched this film I reflected back to when I first began nursing and how at times our work environments were ruled by negativity and being proud to be a nurse was not supported. I well remember the funny looks I would receive when I said that nurses made a difference in patient’s lives and I was proud to be a nurse. I am happy to say that my work environment is not that negative these days, due the team of nurses that I am privileged to work with. They are proud of the care they provide and promote a positive work environment.

I encourage all of you to watch this wonderful documentary of nursing and to be proud of your contribution to the lives of your patients.

Take care and speak with conviction!

Teddie Tanguay
CACCN President