AACN Announces 2021 Circle of Excellence Recipients, Nursing Home Occupancy Could Return to “Normal,” and Other Nursing News

Registered nurse in nursing home, entering data at computor station

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has named 18 nurses as recipients of the 2021 Circle of Excellence award. Nursing home occupancy could return to its normal numbers during the next 12 months, according to the American Health Care Association. A podcast addresses myths and misconceptions related to infection control and prevention. Read on for more nursing news and insights.

AACN announces 2021 Circle of Excellence award recipients

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has named 18 nurses who will receive the organization’s 2021 Circle of Excellence award. According to AACN officials, all winning nurses are noted for their solution-oriented approaches to challenges, including reducing healthcare-associated infection rates, improving the work environment, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recipients (in alphabetical order) include:

  • Sonia Astle, clinical nurse specialist, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, Falls Church, VA
  • Terrie Beeson, clinical nurse specialist, Indiana University Health, Indianapolis, IN
  • Erin Colozzi Hare, nursing professional development team lead, ChristianaCare, Newark, DE
  • Todd Griner, executive director, critical care division, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • Dawn Heath, nurse director, patient services, Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, NJ
  • DeAnna Hutchings, nurse manager/administrator, Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, TX
  • Alexander Johnson, clinical nurse specialist, Central DuPage Hospital, Northwestern Medicine, Winfield, IL
  • Jacob Lammers, nurse unit supervisor, Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Antoinette Lozano, registered nurse, University of Chicago Medicine, IL
  • Lori Mayer, pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) staff nurse, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI
  • Rebecca Michael, clinical nurse IV, University of North Carolina Health, Chapel Hill
  • Amber Petty, ACNP, general surgery/trauma, Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, IN
  • Natassia Singh, clinical nurse IV, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
  • Edward “Ted” Stevenson, registered nurse/patient care coordinator, Munson Medical Center, Traverse City, MI
  • Connie Thigpen, director of critical care, Baptist Medical Center, San Antonio, TX
  • Robin Thomas, pediatric ICU clinical resource nurse, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs
  • Sarah Wells, registered nurse, University of California San Francisco Health and John Muir Health, Oakland, CA
  • Jon Whiting, director, nursing patient services medical ICU/biocontainment/life support programs, Boston (MA) Children’s Hospital

Criteria used to evaluate award candidates include relentless promotion of patient-driven excellence; strong communication skills; true collaboration; effective decision-making; meaningful recognition of others; ability to transform thinking, structures, and processes; and ability to address challenges and remove barriers to excellent patient care and achieve visible results through leadership, said AACN officials.

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“During this challenging time, these healthcare professionals demonstrate an exceptional commitment to achieving excellent outcomes in the care of acutely and critically ill patients and their families,” said Elizabeth Bridges, AACN president. “The Circle of Excellence recipients recognize that ‘This Is Our Moment’ to embrace uncertainty and move from existing best practices to even better practices. Their efforts ensure that every patient gets the excellent care they deserve and every nurse has the skills they need to provide that care.”

Nursing home occupancy to return to “normal”?

Nursing home occupancy could return to its normal numbers during the next 12 months, according to Mark Parkinson, chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association. Parkinson, whose lobbying and trade group represents for-profit nursing home operators across the country, said he has based this prediction on current trends showing a monthly census gain of about 100 basis points per month and a total occupancy decline during the pandemic of 1,200 basis points.

The pace of senior housing recovery has more variables at play than the more needs-dependent skilled nursing sector, according to a report by Skilled Nursing News. A permanent shift to remote work could also facilitate more family-based caregiving in the home, suppressing demand for assisted living and other senior living properties, the report claims.

Podcast spotlight: 5 Second Rule

Covering important topics related to infection control and prevention, the 5 Second Rule podcast addresses health safety misconceptions and myths. Infection preventionists and other experts are interviewed to learn the truth about some common myths related to the risk of infection and to provide pertinent information worth sharing. The most recent episode is “Hard Hat Required: Infection Prevention and Control with Renovations and Construction in Healthcare Settings.”

The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

For more nursing news, insights, and other healthcare resources, visit our Resource Center. Need Nursing CE courses? Find individual CE courses in your state, or save time and money by investing in an Elite Nursing Passport Membership.

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