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AACN Names 2008 Circle of Excellence Award Recipients

O'Leary, Ebright, Larson and Richmond Honored as Visionary Leaders

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) announces the recipients of the 2008 Circle of Excellence Awards, a program recognizing the contributions and achievements that exemplify the association's mission, vision, values and ethic of care. The recipients will be honored at AACN's National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition May 3-8 in Chicago, Ill. Following are the recipients of these awards for 2008:

Visionary Leader Awards

AACN's highest awards recognize the impact of world-class contributions that further the association's mission and vision. The Visionary Leader Awards honor individuals for high-level accomplishments that reach beyond local and regional impact. Included in the association's most prestigious and coveted Visionary Leader Award category are the AACN Lifetime Member Award, Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career and Pioneering Spirit Award.

Dennis S. O'Leary, MD, president emeritus of The Joint Commission, is recipient of the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career. Designated one of the 25 most influential leaders in healthcare during the past quarter century, O'Leary is a transformational leader who helped set the stage for introducing care-related outcomes and process measures by focusing on how organizations actually perform when providing patient care.

Recipients of the Pioneering Spirit Award, sponsored by GE Healthcare, are Patricia R. Ebright, DNS, RN, Elaine Larson, RN, PhD, FAAN, CIC, and Therese S. Richmond, PhD, CRNP, FAAN.

A pioneering researcher who spent 28 years as a hospital staff nurse, nurse manager, and clinical nurse specialist, Ebright conducted trailblazing studies that examined two critical issues in healthcare today: how healthcare providers make decisions in the context of actual care situations and how work complexity influences patient safety and quality care. Her current research, funded by the National Patient Safety Foundation, has uncovered a decision-making approach called "stacking" used by nurses to cope with variable and complex workloads. Stacking is the continuous prioritizing and reprioritizing of care delivery goals and timelines, adjusting outcomes and even abandoning some goals without adverse consequences.

Larson is internationally regarded as the pre-eminent expert in scientific evidence about handwashing and an authority on other aspects of epidemiology and infection control. She has served on the President's Committee for Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses and the National Institutes of Health Study Section on HIV Infection. In addition to being editor of the American Journal of Infection Control since 1994 and serving on nine journal editorial boards, she has published more than 200 journal articles, four books and numerous book chapters. She has consulted for the World Health Organization and in countries on every continent except Antarctica.

Richmond is considered the leading nurse researcher in firearm injuries and violence. She recently put forward an agenda to reduce firearm violence, and is often the only nurse at the table during interdisciplinary national policy deliberations on the subject. In addition, she has begun to study the outcomes of serious traumatic injury among critically ill older adults.

Dave Hanson, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNS, and Kevin Reed, RN, MSN, CNA, BC, are recipients of the AACN Lifetime Membership Award. Hanson, who is current president of AACN, is a clinical nurse specialist in cardiovascular surgery progressive and critical care at Clarian Health-Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind. Reed, current chair of the AACN Certification Corporation Board, is director of clinical operations in neuroscience and critical care at Clarian Health, Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, Ind.


In addition, the first Flame of Excellence Awards will be presented to Thomas S. Ahrens, RN, DNS, FAAN, Suzanne M. Burns, RN, MSN, RRT, ACNP, CCRN, FAAN, FCCM, FAANP, and, posthumously, to Karen K. Carlson. This new award honors individuals who have sustained the Circle of Excellence criteria at the regional and national levels.

Ahrens is a research scientist at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. He has published extensively, lectured both nationally and internationally, and is actively involved in technology application. Burns is a professor of nursing and advanced practice nurse at the University of Virginia Health Center, Charlottesville, Va. Her Burns Wean Assessment Program was one of the first assessments to include non-pulmonary factors. Ms. Carlson, who passed away in December, was a consummate role model, coach, mentor, teacher, author and editor. She served as co-editor for multiple editions of the AACN Procedure Manual for Critical Care and as editor for a new book, AACN Advanced Critical Care Nursing.

The AACN Circle of Excellence Awards program also includes member awards, chapter awards, research grants, scholarships and fellowships. Additional Circle of Excellence Award winners for 2007 are listed online at > Awards, Grants & Scholarships.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, representing the interests of more than 500,000 critical care nurses. Its headquarters are located in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Founded in 1969, the association is dedicated to creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families, where critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. Additional information about AACN is at

SOURCE The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
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