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A society of professional otolaryngology nurses: SOHN.

Editor's note: For more than 3 decades, the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses (SOHN) has provided continuing education for nurses working in our specialty. SOHN also provides certification for otolaryngologic nurses. The organization has made major contributions, but many otolaryngologists remain unaware of its existence and value. This editorial is presented to help familiarize all otolaryngologists with the scope of activities of SOHN and to suggest that it would be worthwhile for all otolaryngologists to encourage their nurses to join and participate in this important organization that works collaboratively and closely with our academy.

I was delighted to receive an invitation from Dr. Robert Sataloff to write a guest editorial for the journal highlighting the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses (SOHN), the professional nursing society. The society is more than 35 years old and provides wonderful opportunities for otolaryngology nurses to network, learn, and advance their practices.

SOHN is comprised of approximately 1,200 nurses specializing in the field of otolaryngology (ORL), head and neck surgery, and allergy. Our mission is to "foster the professional growth of the ORL nurse through education and research and [to] develop a dynamic organization that is responsive to the needs of the membership." Members include both registered nurses and advanced practice nurses, including more than 200 nurse practitioners, all dedicated to improving the care of their patients within the specialty. Most of our members are from the United States, but we also have an active group of international nurses from around the globe including Australia, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Canada, Denmark, and Singapore.

SOHN's members practice in a wide spectrum of clinical and academic arenas, reflected in the organization's various Special Interest Groups that have formed over the years. Currently we have 10 Special Interest Groups, encompassing areas such as perioperative nursing, gerontology, pediatrics, otology, facial plastic surgery, allergy and sinus disease, head and neck, and advanced practice.

The formation of local chapters within specific geographic areas around the country allows our members to engage in ongoing networking and collaboration with other otolaryngology nurses locally and regionally throughout the year. These chapters develop educational programs and resources based on the specific needs and interests of their members. As chapter members within SOHN, individuals also have opportunities to grow and advance professionally through leadership roles and committee activities organized at local, state, and regional levels.

One of the central objectives of SOHN is to provide educational offerings that challenge and enrich our members. We hold a 5-day annual meeting in conjunction with the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) annual meeting each fall. The content represents the entire scope of practice within otorhinolaryngology and head and neck surgery.

SOHN is committed to advancing evidence-based practice, so participants at these educational programs receive the latest cutting-edge scientific and clinical content. For example, the Annual Congress and Nursing Symposium in San Francisco this fall had more than 50 educational sessions with more than 75 speakers who are experts in their fields. There are also poster presentations and special events, such as the Government Relations Luncheon, and specialty lectureships (Cynthia Mabry Otolaryngic Allergy Lectureship; Lois Moore-Rogers Pediatric Otolaryngology Lectureship; Kalynn Quinn Hensley Head-Neck/Laryngology Lectureship), as well as the annual business meeting, that transpire during the congress.

Mutual interest in the specialty of otolaryngology and head and neck disease has fostered wonderful collaborative work between nurses, physicians, and other health professionals. This collaboration is evident at our Annual Congress, where SOHN and AAO-HNS members share expertise by presenting at each other's professional meetings. SOHN members have also represented the discipline of nursing by serving on several AAO-HNS clinical practice guideline panels, including Adult Sinusitis, Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Cerumen Impaction, and Hoarseness. In addition, our members are invited to review manuscripts for several specialty journals in otolaryngology, along with publishing in numerous medical and health-related journals.

It is also important to recognize individuals who have excelled in their knowledge and practice of ORL nursing. Nurses can receive formal recognition of their competence in the specialty by becoming nationally certified, through The National Certifying Board of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses (NCBOHN). Individuals who obtain this credentialing through certification are recognized by others through the initials CORLN that follow their names. Each year at the Annual Congress, new CORLNs are introduced and welcomed during a special luncheon in honor of all certified ORL nurses.

SOHN also has two publications. Our journal, ORL-Head and Neck Nursing, is the Society's official publication. This peer-reviewed journal is published quarterly and is referenced in the MEDLINE database. The journal publishes scholarly papers on ORL practice and research, as well as highlighting new products of interest, sharing perspectives on changes in health policy, and providing reviews on current books in our specialty.

A less formal publication, the Update, is published bimonthly and provides information on activities at the national, state, and local levels. The Update is a wonderful communication vehicle for Special Interest Groups and local chapters to share news about their members and programs. In addition to these two publications, SOHN also has a Web site, It is an excellent source regarding current activities of the organization and its chapters, resource/ publication materials, membership information, and educational offerings.

As a nurse who has been a member of SOHN for more 20 years, as well as a past president (2004-2005), I truly have come to embrace this wonderful professional organization and all it has to offer its members and their patients. I strongly encourage you to support your nurses in joining this professional organization and becoming active in one or more of its many facets. A more confident, knowledgeable, and skillful nurse will be a great asset to your practice, your patients, and to the community that you serve throughout the years.

Helene J. Krouse, PhD, ANP-BC, CORLN, FAAN

Professor of Nursing

Wayne State University

College of Nursing

Detroit, Michigan
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Title Annotation:Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses; GUEST EDITORIAL
Author:Krouse, Helene J.
Publication:Ear, Nose and Throat Journal
Article Type:Guest editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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