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

“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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CACCN Mentorship

As President of CACCN I am fortunate to work with a highly skilled team of directors. They are all responsible for a variety of porfolios and committees that further the goals of CACCN. For this reason I have asked some of them to be guest bloggers to share with you some of their exciting projects.

I am delighted to introduce my first guest Karen Dryden-Palmer, Vice President of CACCN.

Teddie Tanguay
CACCN President

I would like to begin by saying what a privilege it is to be able to address you as members through such a relaxed and direct way. We are so very fortunate that technology is available for us to connect across vast geographical regions linking all of the varied and rich practice contexts represented in our organization. This is one of the reasons the Board of Directors is so excited by the opportunities present through electronic mentorship for our members.

The CACCN Mentorship Program was launched a few short weeks ago and has inspired a number of questions and applications.  I hope to address some of the more common questions through this blog and information is available for you at anytime on the web site.

The CACCN Mentorship Program is open to all active CACCN members who are interested in advancing their careers, knowledge base or professional affiliations in the specialty of Critical Care Nursing.

Participants enter into a voluntary relationship facilitated via the CACCN online discussion forum. Mentees choose to apply to ‘rooms’ (discussion threads in the forum) based on their objectives and their interest in the discussion taking place.

The Mentors are all volunteers who are recognized as nurse leaders, and content experts. Mentors are willing to engage on-line with the participant Mentees in order to assist them in meeting their learning and/or developmental goals.

The CACCN Mentorship Program was developed in response to a 2010 survey of a representative group of CACCN members and feedback from a focus group session carried out at Dynamics that same year. Members spoke clearly that they wished access to mentor relationships. Although face to face style mentoring was preferred an on-line option was also of interest. Members were keen to participate as both mentees and mentors and by preferenced these preferred these relationships to be created outside of their work connections. Identified topics of interest were primarily education based and far reaching including: research, rapid response teams, advanced practice, end of life care, entrepreneurship, publication skills, new graduate integration and late career nursing.

To launch the CACCN Mentorship Program, we have opened up two specific topic rooms. The first, Writing for Publication, is mentored by Dr. Paula Price. Paula brings vast expertise to her role as Mentor, as our Editor for Dynamics: Journal of the CACCN and in the domains of education. Dr. Price’s status as a national nursing leader and her sincere commitment to developing others has lead to this mentor room being completely filled in the first week.

Our second room, Building Professional Presentation Skills, is ready to go live in the very near future Eugene Mondor is the Mentor for this room. Many of you are familiar with Eugene’s fabulous and dynamic presentations and we are thrilled to have him providing mentorship in this area for our members. Eugene brings his enthusiasm and extensive background in education, as well as his presentation experience to his role as Mentor.

The goals of the CACCN Mentorship Program are;

  • To provide an accessible and useful mentorship to our CACCN members;
  • To promote the development of mentorship skills through the education and support of mentors and mentees;
  • To provide a nationally accessible strategy for advancing individuals and specialty knowledge within the context of the CACCN mission and objectives.

I hope you each take the time to look though the information on the CACCN web site about our Mentorship Program.

If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas for rooms you are interested in or wish to apply as Mentor or Mentee please do not hesitate to contact us. It is our plan to evaluate the program in six months and will share our findings with you at that time.

“Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers.”

Karen Dryden-Palmer
CACCN Vice-President

Bach, R. (1977). Illusions: The adventures of a reluctant messiah. New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.

CACCN Mentorship Program

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…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.

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