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

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

Image 1:
Image 2: 

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


…Happy New Year !

On behalf of the CACCN Board of Directors, I wish you all the best in 2013.

Did you know New Year celebrations began with the Babylonians around 153 B.C. and were held in March until the Romans changed the celebrations to January? January takes its name from the Roman god, Janus, who had two faces ~ one face looking backwards into the old year and one face looking forwards into the new year.

As the New Year begins it is a time when many of us like the Romans did, reflect on the past year and perhaps make some New Year’s resolutions for the coming year. Many New Year’s resolutions focus on health, such as losing weight, quitting smoking or exercising regularly. While some resolutions focus on professional or personal goals such as spending more time with family or friends. What these resolutions all have in common is that they are meaningful to the person making the resolution. Many people however choose not to make New Years resolutions because they say they are never successful and this is usually confirmed when the media runs the end of January story about all those who have not succeeded with their resolutions.

When I make my New Years resolutions I usually make a personal and a professional resolution. When I reflect on my resolution I try to make sure it is something that will help me to grow personally and professionally and one that is realistic for me to achieve. I know that to make a fitness goal to go to the gym everyday or even 4 times a week would not work due to my crazy work schedule, but what might work is to work out on my treadmill at home. This same concept can be used when you make a professional goal ~ it needs to be something that you care about and are committed to doing if you want to succeed. It can be as simple as becoming a more active member of CACCN by joining a chapter or national committee over the coming year or in the present committing to submitting an abstract for a presentation at Dynamics 2013 in Halifax, NS.

The deadline is coming very quickly and I want to encourage you to consider submitting your abstract before the online submission process closes. The deadline to submit an abstract for oral or poster board presentation at the Dynamics of Critical Care Conference  2013 in Halifax, NS from September 22 to 24, 2013 is January 31, 2013.

Over the past year, I am sure there are many extraordinary experiences that have happened in your ICU worthy of a presentation. I am encouraging you to take some time to think back over the past year or so and remember the interesting patient and family that were admitted to your unit and how you and your team rose to challenge providing excellent care. Share your experience with this patient and family – tell us how your unit dealt with the situation and provided exemplary care while adding teaching points to your story about the pathophysiology of the patient’s condition. There you go … you know have a full presentation for submission!

To begin take a look at this year’s theme and incorporate into your abstract. Create a short, snappy title and you are ready to submit your information!

Shattering the Silence…Voices of Advocacy in Critical Care Nursing

As critical care nurses we must unite our voices to speak with conviction to shatter the persistent silence surrounding the pivotal role we play in the care of critically ill patients and their families. The critical care nurse is the key coordinator of the complex minute by minute care each patient and family needs in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). ICU nurses draw on a vast scope of knowledge and scientific evidence, combining it with superb technical skills and organizational ability to ensure each patient is provided with an accurate diagnosis and a plan of action. As the most consistent bedside care providers, nurses ensure that ethical, culturally competent, compassionate, evidence based health service is coordinated within the vastly complex systems of health care organizations and individualized to meet the unique strengths and needs of each patient and family.
No longer will the crucial role of critical care nurses be kept a well guarded secret. Dynamics 2013 in Halifax, Nova Scotia will be a showcase of what we know and what we do to advocate for patients, families, colleagues and ourselves. Join your voice with colleagues nationally and internationally to tell your story of advocacy and to… shatter the silence!

Submit your abstract online by January 31, 2013 and VOILA you are well on your way to succeeding with your New Years Resolution.

Why not take a moment to share your personal and professional resolutions in the comment section of the blog.

Take care and speak with conviction.

Teddie Tanguay

Dynamics 2013 Call for Abstracts
Dynamics 2013 Online Abstract Submission – deadline January 31, 2013

Relections ….

The holiday season is upon us and many of us are preoccupied with our preparations and family obligations. Like years before many of us will once again spend the festive season away from home and family in order to provide our essential service to critically ill Canadians. 

 Over my career I have worked many Christmas and New Years days, birthdays, anniversaries, school plays and other landmark family occasions. When I reflect on this time away from the special moments of my family’s life I can’t help but to acknowledge the precious nature of that same but also the unique gift of that time spent with patients.   

I have had the remarkable opportunity to see the bravery of individuals and families as they face illness, fear and death. Perhaps it is because their struggle is so juxtaposition to the celebrations in the world outside ICU that these holiday shifts have such meaning for me. Witnessing intimately the courage and hope of so many patients and the willingness of my colleagues to be there beside them, I am time and time again awestruck by the remarkable privilege we share as nurses.   

When I feel badly about missing a little piece of my personal life I need only look around at the human stories that surround me in order to focus on what is truly important in my life. I would like to share one patient’s journey and how it impacted my perspectives on my own life and troubles.  

Arriving at work  on New Years a year ago, I was  enjoying a bit of self pity for I had  totaled my car in an collision just before  Christmas . I was thankful that I had not been hurt however I was stressed by losing my vehicle and dealing with insurance especially at holiday time.  

Then I met Ms. S Husband’s whose wife had been our patient for a number of weeks. She was from rural Alberta, and had been critically injured in a collision with a semi-truck some months before. She had sustained a severe brain injury, suffered septic shock and pneumonia.  She underwent a bilateral amputation of her feet and fingers for the resulting ischemic injury. She remained minimally conscious and her outlook for recovery was very uncertain. She was also a newlywed and her husband had not left her side throughout her hospitalization. 

As I approached her bedside, her husband asked me if he could return to their home for New Years. Looking around at the wedding photos and family snap shots that filled her room I told him that her condition appeared stable and he could leave her for a time without concern. He seemed so sad. As we continued to talk he disclosed to me he had not returned to their home since his young wife’s injury, you see he didn’t want to stay in their new home without her.  

During the course of our conversation I become more and more humbled by the shear enormity of what this young man was facing. My own small troubles seemed to fade into the background and I scolded myself for my earlier indulgences and feeling sorry for myself.  After our talk that evening, this young man was able to go home for New Years and take his first tentative steps to building a new life with his wife.   

This past July I recognized Ms. Sin a wheelchair at my office door. I was so happy when she spoke to me. She said “They tell me that I spent a lot of time here in the ICU and that I am alive because of you guys.  I don’t remember that time, but I wanted to come, see the ICU and thank you for saving my life”.  She was on her way to the rehab hospital to get her prosthesis and to learn to walk again. I was so pleased for them and in awe of the distance they had traveled. I hope that we were able to contribute to their strength and feel so fortunate to have been even a small part of that journey.  

So this holiday season if you are missing the presents and the tree, take a moment to recognize the less tangible and infinitely more valuable gifts around you.  Acknowledge the wonders of life, the human spirit and your own capacity to give. For me, these are the time I am most grateful to be a critical care nurse.  

On behalf of the CACCN Board of Directors, I wish all of you a very happy and safe holiday season.  Speak with Conviction and take a moment to share your holiday stories in the comment section.

Teddie Tanguay
President CACCN

CACCN Online Community…

I have been following the discussion on the CACCN Member’s Only Forum regarding rapid response teams (RRTs) with great interest especially since my own unit has just implemented a rapid response team. What strikes me about this forum thread is the open sharing of successes, challenges and best practices with rapid response teams between discussion participants.

The experiences shared have had many similarities in goals, barriers and the impact of their team. However each team has customized how they function to fit their institution. Whether it is the profile of team members i.e. RN/RT led or MD/RN each of these creative solutions fit the unique context of each hospital thus maximizing their success.

With our forum serving as the vehicle for sharing amongst our critical care nuring community, our members have a fabulous opportunity to connect with rapid response teams across the nation. Just by reading the postings or posting questions yourself, we can learn from each other and new ideas can take root.

Our promise to you as an executive is to find ways to support more informed practice and improve care for our patients. An excellent example of the power of CACCN membership is found in this discussion thread. I know when I read your conversations on the forum I learn new perspectives, approaches and ways of achieving best care. The opportunity to reflect on my own practice is invaluable. I encourage you all to do the same. Sometime it can be intimidating to take the chance to respond or maybe the technology is unfamiliar. Please be assured that any contribution to this shared community is valuable and well worth the effort.. Certainly, the more you utilize the forum platform the easier and more comfortable it becomes. Remember that you can always email if you are really having trouble posting your reply.

I know that a large majority of our membership work in Critical Care Units that house rapid response teams as part of their service profile; take a minute and join the conversation and share creative solutions to some of the barriers that you encountered on your journey in implementing Rapid response teams. Networking on the forum regarding critical care practice strengthens us as a CACCN community. There are many topic areas that you could share your practice or questions about practice so take this opportunity to speak with conviction.

Take care and Speak with Conviction.

Teddie Tanguay
CACCN President

Thank you to the Rapid Response Team at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, AB for sharing their team photos.

CACCN Website
CACCN Members Only:  RRTs Discussion

CACCN Membership


Canadian Intensive Care Week

The Intensive Care Team – there for YOU in critical moments

I have just returned from another successful CACCN Dynamics of Critical Care Conference. Dynamics was held at the Westin Bayshore Vancouver in Vancouver, BC and was a wonderful opportunity to network with many colleagues from across the country. The Board of Directors was happy to welcome many new members to CACCN and we are sure you will enjoy the benefits of being a member for many years to come.

The conference program was well rounded with many exceptional presentations by critical care nurses from across the country. We were very happy to welcome Mary Stahl, Immediate Past President of the AACN to Dynamics this year. Mary presented with Kate Mahon, Past President of CACCN in a plenary session highlighting how involvement in your professional association can enhance your leadership and communication skills and how these skills not only help your career but your personal life as well.

With Dynamics 2012 complete, CACCN is now focusing on Canadian Intensive Care Week. Canadian Intensive Care Week was originally proclaimed in 2002, led by the Canadian Intensive Care Foundation. This week was celebrated for 2 years before the idea lost momentum. The National Board of Directors of CACCN felt that reviving this week would help to raise the profile of Critical Care to the public and government.

CACCN has been the catalyst in bringing together the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists, the Canadian Critical Care Society, the Critical Care Trials Group and the Canadian Intensive Care Foundation to collaborate in the planning and celebration of Canadian Intensive Care Week.

Canadian Intensive Care Week will be celebrated October 29 to November 4, 2012. The theme for the week is “The Intensive Care Team – there for YOU in critical moments”. During this celebratory week we will be highlighting the importance that teamwork in the ICU plays in improving patient outcomes.

I challenge all of you to Speak with Conviction during Canadian Intensive Care Week and I ask you to take the initiative to plan an activity at your hospital to raise awareness of Intensive Care.

I am very interested in hearing your plans for Canadian Intensive Care Week. Please share this information with me here on the CACCN President’s Blog, our FaceBook Page, Twitter or by emailing

Teddie Tanguay
CACCN President

Download the poster –  visit CACCN Media