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AAMN NEWS BRIEFS

AAMN STATEMENT ON CONVICTION OF FORMER VUMC NURSE

By AAMN Staff

April 1, 2022

A former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse was convicted March 25 of criminally negligent homicide and impaired adult abuse following mistaken administration of the wrong medication, resulting in the death of a patient in 2017.  

The American Association for Men in Nursing is deeply saddened for the family who lost a loved one during this difficult time. AAMN is also distressed by the harmful ramifications of criminalizing self-reporting of mistakes.

Healthcare systems are complex, with levels of inherent risk. Risks can be reduced by incorporating evidence-based protocols, guidelines, safety measures, and standards of care. However, risk cannot be eliminated. 

By self-reporting mistakes, the healthcare community can learn and adjust procedures to reduce the risk of future mistakes. Research indicates that punitive action after self-reporting errors leads to barriers to process improvement, and does not achieve the desired result of deterrence of the mistake.

The recent conviction increases the likelihood of repeated mistakes and underreporting of these instances, furthering potential harm to the community. Patient safety literature has concluded that the greatest impediment to error prevention is punishing individuals for making mistakes. This precedent of criminalization has, and will continue to, demoralize further an exhausted and overwhelmed nursing workforce in the most vulnerable of times in the healthcare environment.

AAMN encourages open dialogue and continued education. We encourage a critical appraisal resulting in an accountable and transparent healthcare delivery process to optimize outcomes, reduce risks, and improve the care provided across the lifespan -- without the fear of criminalization of those who make their lives work to help, not harm, our communities.

NEW SURVEY: RACISM WITHIN NURSING A SUBSTANTIAL PROBLEM

By American Nurses Association

Jan. 25, 2022

 

According to the findings of a new, national survey of nurses by the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing, nearly half reported that there is widespread racism in nursing, demonstrating a substantial problem within the profession.

 

Comprised of leading nursing organizations, the commission examines the issue of racism within nursing nationwide and describes the impact on nurses, patients, communities and health care systems to motivate all nurses to confront systemic racism. Integrity calls on the profession and nurses to reflect on two realities, one as the most trusted profession while also being a product of our environment and culture. It is necessary to work toward connecting these two realities.

“My colleagues and I braced ourselves for these findings. Still, we are disturbed, triggered, and unsettled by the glaring data and heartbroken by the personal accounts of nurses,” said Commission Co-Lead and American Nurses Association President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We are even more motivated and committed to doing this important work justice. Racism and those individuals who do not commit to changing their ways but continue to commit racist acts have absolutely no place in the nursing profession.”

According to more than 5,600 survey respondents, racist acts are principally perpetrated by colleagues and those in positions of power. Over half (63%) of nurses surveyed say that they have personally experienced an act of racism in the workplace with the transgressors being either a peer (66%) or a manager or supervisor (60%).

Superiority continues to surface as a primary driver from nurses representing predominantly white groups along with nurses who are advantaged and privileged by unfair structural and systemic practices. These survey findings move beyond the rhetoric to the reality and should serve as a call-to-action for all nurses to confront racism in the profession.

“Structural and systemic practices that allow the racist behaviors of leaders to continue to go unaddressed must be dismantled,” said Commission Co-lead and National Black Nurses Association President and CEO Martha A. Dawson, DNP, RN, FACHE. “As cliché as it sounds, it starts at the top. Leaders must be accountable for their own actions, set an example for their teams and create safe work environments where there is zero-tolerance for racists attitudes, actions, behaviors, and processes. Leaders must also create a climate that gives permission and support to dismantle institutional policies and procedures that underpin practice inequities and inequalities.” 

Of those nurses who report that they have witnessed an act of racism in the workplace, 81% say it was directed toward a peer.Among nurses who say they have challenged racist treatment in the workplace (57%), more than half (64%) said their efforts resulted in no change.

Many respondents across the Hispanic (69%) and Asian (73%) populations as well as other communities of color (74%) reported that they have personally experienced racism in the workplace. Overwhelmingly, the survey findings indicate that Black nurses are more likely to both personally experience and confront acts of racism. Most Black nurses who responded (72%) say that there is "a lot" of racism in nursing compared to 29% of white nurse respondents. The majority (92%) of Black respondents have personally experienced racism in the workplace from their leaders (70%), peers (66%) and the patients in their care (68%). Over three-fourths of Black nurses surveyed expressed that racism in the workplace has negatively impacted their professional well-being.

Read the full release

View a summary of the survey's findings

 

CALL FOR CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS

By AAMN Staff

Jan. 17, 2022

 

Abstract submissions are now being accepted for the 47th annual AAMN Conference, October 20-22 at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort in Orlando.

The theme of this year’s conference is "Bringing it Home: Men in Nursing Expanding the Reach of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion of ALL." Conference objectives include:

-- Describe diversity, equity, and inclusion in nursing and nursing education.
-- Discuss the role that men play in expanding DEI in nursing.
-- Explain how DEI can address social determinants of health and health access to all populations.
-- Discuss men’s health issues and how increased DEI can address these issues.

If you have a topic that would fit under one of these objectives, please submit your abstract. The deadline for submitting an abstract is Feb. 18. 

Please indicate whether you want to be considered for a podium presentation, poster presentation, or both. 

Abstracts will be peer reviewed and selected participants will be notified no more than 30 days after the submission deadline. 

Remember, you must attend the conference and pay corresponding registration fees. Abstract presenters are eligible for a discount on their registration fee. 

Please include the following when submitting your abstract:

-- Abstract Title

-- Author name, credentials and email address 

-- A 2-3 paragraph abstract which includes a summary of the project, limitations/conclusions, and implications for practice. 

Submit abstracts to info@aamn.org

Check aamn.org/2022-annual-conference regularly for updates about this year's event.

REMEMBERING PETER UNGVARSKI, MS, RN, ACRN, FAAN

By Dr. Jacqueline Flaskerud, RN

Jan. 18, 2022

 

Peter Ungvarski, one of the pioneers in nursing care for people living with HIV/AIDS, died earlier this year. He was 78 years old.

 

His career in nursing began in 1961 as a student in the Mills Training School for Men in New York City, part of the Bellevue and Mills Schools of Nursing. Although most nursing schools at the time were dominated by, or solely for, women, the Mills School was a nursing school established exclusively for men. During the Vietnam War, Ungvarski served in the US Navy Nurse Corps at Naval Hospital Guam in the Aeromedical Evacuation Ward. He continued his education, earning baccalaureate degrees in Psychology at Marymount Manhattan College and in Nursing at USNY, Regents College, and a master’s degree in nursing at City University of New York, Hunter College.

Since 1981, Ungvarski was actively involved in the nursing care of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, making significant contributions in four areas: Critical care, hospice, home care and clinical research. From 1986-2010, he was the Clinical Director AIDS Service, and additionally from 2000-2009, Director Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance, Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

 

Ungvarski provided lectures on HIV-related illnesses for professional and paraprofessional health care workers, community groups, and persons living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, Europe, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He wrote and published more than 50 articles on client care related to HIV infection. He is author/co-editor of the textbook "HIV/AIDS: A Guide to Primary Care Management (4th edition)" which won the American Journal of Nursing's Book of the Year Award. Three earlier editions also received this award, and the second edition was translated into Portuguese, French and Japanese. 

During his long career, Ungvarski received numerous awards and honors, many related to the provision of nursing care of high quality to individuals with HIV infection. Recognizing his contributions to the care of people with HIV/AIDS included the New York State Nurses Association, the National League for Nursing, the American Nurses Association, the Secretary of Health, United States Public Health Service, and the Museum of the Southwest Center for Nursing History at The University of Texas at Austin. 

Ungvarski was presented the Leadership Award from the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care in 1991; he was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 1992, and received the prestigious Luther Christman Award from AAMN in 1993.

Ungvarski is survived by his life partner, Jim Rottner and his many friends and colleagues. We remember him for the joy he brought into our lives, his generosity, humor, expertise, forcefulness, and NYC attitude. A bright spirit has gone out of our world.