Close up of forensic nurse's hands holding buccal cotton swab and test tube ready to collect DNA from the cells.

Congress to Recognize Forensic Nurses, AACN Spotlights Certified Nurses, and More Nursing News

Close up of forensic nurse's hands holding buccal cotton swab and test tube ready to collect DNA from the cells.

Forensic nurses will receive new recognition from the United States Congress as a result of a recent bipartisan resolution. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is promoting the thoughts and ideas of progressive care nurses, critical care nurses, and advanced practice nurses who hold certifications in advance of Certified Nurses Day. A nursing professor has been named as a member of a new national committee on the use of behavioral economics in public policy. Read on for this week’s nursing news.

Congress to recognize forensic nurses

Forensic nurses will be receiving new recognition from the United States Congress as a result of a recent bipartisan resolution. Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), John Katko (R-NY), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced the resolution on Feb. 22 as a means of honoring nurses from the forensics field for the compassionate care they provide to survivors of violence.

According to a press release from Kuster’s office, the resolution reaffirms Congress’s commitment to working with nursing professionals to improve health outcomes. 

“Forensic nurses are truly on the frontlines of our nation’s efforts to eradicate sexual violence,” Kuster said in a prepared statement. “They not only care for and comfort survivors in the aftermath of devastating assaults, but also gather critical forensic evidence needed to track down perpetrators and hold them accountable. Their perseverance through the added challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic is a tremendous testament to their commitment to helping and healing survivors. I am deeply grateful for their dedication.”

Kuster and Katko are co-chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, of which Representative Jayapal is also a member. The Task Force has worked to raise awareness about the large backlog of untested sexual assault kits around the country and has championed robust federal funding to help clear it up.

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution honoring forensic nurses,” said Katko. “Forensic nurses lead the effort to treat survivors of sexual violence and are celebrated for their compassionate care and holistic approach to treatment. Investigators rely on forensic nurses for their ability to gather evidence and help hold perpetrators accountable. Forensic nurses have incredibly difficult jobs, and their efforts are often overlooked.”

Additionally, Jayapal has introduced the Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act, with Kuster and Katko as cosponsors. This bipartisan, bicameral bill would help improve and expand access to healthcare services for survivors of sexual assault.

The bill will also develop national standards of care for survivors of sexual assault, strengthen the sexual assault examiner workforce, and expand access to sexual assault examination services, including to rural and Tribal communities and for higher education students.

“Our forensic nurses treat patients on the hardest days of their lives, and they’re always there to provide compassionate and complete care,” said Jayapal. “They are frontline workers in every sense. I am incredibly grateful for their efforts every single day.”

Related: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Adult and Adolescent Core Course

Nursing professor appointed to new national committee

Alison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, has been named as a member of a new committee that will assess future prospects for the broader use of behavioral economics in public policy.

Beginning the week of Feb. 17, Buttenheim, the Patricia Bleznak Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein Term Endowed Professorship in Global Women’s Health in the Nursing Department of Family and Community Health at Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, joined 12 other academics, including Penn Medicine’s Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, on the Committee on Future Directions for Applying Behavioral Economics to Policy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).

The goal of the committee is to identify insights that can help direct future research related to public health, chronic illness, economic well-being, and global climate change.

Buttenheim has been named a committee co-chair. “Given ongoing policy interest in applying behavioral economics to pressing social problems, this consensus committee is launching at the perfect moment,” said Buttenheim in a prepared statement. “I’m excited to be co-chairing the committee as a social scientist trained in public health — the interdisciplinary perspective on these important issues will be critical.”

Related: Critical Care/Emergency Specialty CE Courses for Nursing Professionals

AACN spotlights credentialed nurses in honor of Certified Nurses Day

Officials with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) are promoting the thoughts and ideas of progressive care nurses, critical care nurses, and advanced practice nurses who hold certifications in advance of Certified Nurses Day.

The following are responses that nurses have shared with their peers about why they have sought their specific specialty certifications and what their credentials have meant to their careers:

  • “I wanted to validate my knowledge and skills, but I ended up expanding my knowledge base even more than I ever anticipated,” says Laura W. Schwartzer, BSN, RN, CEN, CCRN. “I now understand so many critical care concepts on such a deeper level and feel as though I can provide even better care for my patients.”
  • “I took my certifications because studying for it helps me understand my patient’s diagnosis and condition better, says Jenny Go, RN, CCRN, CMC, CSC, PCCN, CMSRN. “This knowledge allows me to practice safely and efficiently. I am also able to provide better suggestions to doctors and my team to improve patient recovery. I am also able to better teach, explain, and encourage my patients about the ‘what,’ ‘why’,’ how,’ and ‘when.’”
  • “I worked for my ACNPC-AG because I felt my patients deserved optimal care, and this is what I strive to give them,” says Jared Sanders, MSN, ACNPC-AG, CCRN, SCRN, CNRN. “I wasn’t finished advocating for my patients [with] the title of registered nurse. I wanted to help manage my patients’ care on a provider level, as a nurse practitioner in critical care, working firsthand with my fellow nurses and healthcare team at my side.”
  • “I wanted to validate my clinical knowledge and continue to apply evidence-based knowledge to practice,” says Lisa Stewart, BSN, RN, PCCN.” The bonus of being certified is being a positive role model in your unit. I have had more nurses than I thought ask me about becoming certified and I hope to encourage as many nurses as possible to become certified to continue to elevate our profession.”
  • “I decided to get certified because I wanted to challenge myself, improve my knowledge base and skill set,” says Eileen Celestino, BSN, RN, PCCN, CSE, PHRN. “Being certified is a testament that I am committed to providing excellent care to all my acutely ill patients in this dynamic and complex healthcare system.”
  • “I wanted to validate my critical care knowledge and be an ambassador for other nurses to obtain their specialty certifications,” says Lisa Barile, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, CCRN. “As an educator/CNS, certification showed the staff I was willing to ‘walk the walk’ and it was not just talk.”
  • “Healthcare is ever-changing,” says Sandra Harris, RN, CCRN. “As a seasoned nurse of 33 years, certification is a means of self-accountability to remain strong and knowledgeable in my field. It is also a symbol of dedication to my patients, their families, and my employer of my desire to deliver the best care possible.”

In 2020, the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) conducted a national survey that reportedly found 75% of adults thought it was important for all nurses to have a specialty board certification in a relevant field. Certified Nurses Day, an annual worldwide event, is dedicated to celebrating certification as a means to help ensure high standards of patient care and to promote continuing excellence in the nursing profession.

The day also honors the late Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles, an international pioneer in nursing certification who is credited with designing the first comprehensive study of nurse credentialing, according to the AACN.

Views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Elite Learning or Colibri Group. Media referenced in this news round-up does not constitute an endorsement.