Celebrate Critical Care: May is National Critical Care Awareness and Recognition Month.Meaningful recognition is one of the key elements of a healthy work environment, and there's no better time to emphasize its importance than National Critical Care Awareness and Recognition Month in May. The long-standing designation represents a partnership among AACN, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, Society of Critical Care Medicine and American Association for Respiratory Care. The observance is an excellent time to pause to celebrate and recognize the dedication and commitment that acute and critical care team members demonstrate every day to their patients and their patients' families.
When Meaningful Recognition was suggested as a standard for the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments, AACN experts explored in depth what that means. In researching what makes recognition meaningful, we learned that what many nurses value most is support for their professional development. For this reason, AACN encourages employers to examine their support for programs such as continuing education, nursing certification and tuition for higher education, and to engage nurses in a dialogue about what they believe constitutes meaningful recognition.
Here are some other suggestions for celebrating National Critical Care Awareness and Recognition Month:
* Formally recognize members of your critical care team. Take a few minutes out of your day, each day, to praise your colleagues for their dedication to caring for acutely and critically ill patients. Recognizing each other may be the most meaningful acknowledgment of all. Use the recognition certificate created by former AACN board member John Dixon and available at www.aacn.org > Healthy Work Environments > Resources > Literature & Learning > Recognition Certificate.
* Become an acute and critical care ambassador. It's very common for patients and their loved ones to be uncertain about what acute and critical care means. By teaching them about acute and critical care, what acute and critical care practitioners do, and what it means for someone to be under the care of an acute or critical care nurse, you will be establishing an understanding that will be beneficial to the patient, the patient's family and you.
* Nominate a colleague for an AACN Circle of Excellence Award. Highlighting their contributions will also be an inspiration to others.
* Set an example. Share your experiences with new nurses so they learn more about acute and critical care. Make a donation to the AACN Scholarship Endowment, which advances the art and science of acute and critical care nursing and promotes nursing professionalism. The scholarships support AACN members who are registered nurses completing a baccalaureate or graduate degree program in nursing.
* Give recognition gifts in concert with larger gestures such as those suggested above. AACN offers a vast array of products and services designed to serve the needs of acute and critical care nurses as they strive to provide optimal patient care. Consider these suggestions for recognizing your acute and critical care nurses, or browse our Online Bookstore at www.aacn.org > Bookstore for other ideas.
* Give AACN membership as a gift. AACN membership has many distinct advantages: discounted registration to the annual National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, discounted prices on products, certifications, subscriptions to AACN News, Critical Care Nurse and American Journal of Critical Care, and much, much more. Visit www.aacn.org > About AACN > Membership to buy a one-year membership for a nurse or another colleague.
* Give practice resources as a gift. Visit the AACN Online Bookstore to check out the range of products offered exclusively to meet the needs of acute and critical care nurses. Visit www.aacn.org > Bookstore to see what's available