December 2019 - Robin’s Nest

  • Posted on: 6 December 2019
  • By: AMSN

Recharge and Renew. Take Time for You.

If you are anything like me, you live much of the year with urgency and a list containing too many things to accomplish. While it’s important to live life with passion, are we focusing on the right things – the things that truly matter? Are we working frantically to tick things off our list or are we working every day to improve ourselves as nurses, family members, friends, and members of a community?
Being involved and staying busy can be a distinct source of stress. We run the risk of living life with mediocrity in order to accomplish those items that seem so important. Perhaps it’s time to take a cue from the nature around us and slow down, recharge for the year ahead, and build on our current strengths while developing new ones.

When we are overwhelmed and trying to conquer that list of to-do’s, we risk losing the energy to focus and the ability to make clear decisions. It’s important to take some time to recharge your personal battery by focusing on physical and emotional needs.

Taking good care of your body has a synergistic effect of recharging your mind as well. It is an outlet for stress and a key factor in avoiding burnout. Some simple things that I do to take care of myself physically include walking my puppy through the nature trail each day. I love being in nature and feeling that connection to Earth that is so easily lost living in the city. I take restorative breaks throughout my day at work as well. I usually hit the ground running when I get to work and have a terrible habit of telling myself that I have too much to do to take a break. On these days, I try to do stretching exercises at my desk. A stressed, exhausted body is more prone to injury so taking a few minutes several times a day to do some stretches and practice deep breathing really helps ease the tension I’m holding on to and helps me refocus.

It's equally important to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Dwelling on that to-do list or worrying about all the tasks that you weren’t able to accomplish in a single day is quite taxing physically as well as mentally. The more focused we become on that list, or the things that remain to be accomplished, the less able we are to recharge. To recharge mentally I make a weekly trip to the bookstore. I love to read, and on the weekends, I treat myself by spending a few hours browsing the shelves. Then, I gather all the books that have piqued my interest and sit down in the bookstore café, sipping a latte (maybe eating a brownie) and just immersing myself in the worlds the books take me to. It’s my treat to myself every week and although it seems completely indulgent to do so, I cherish this time to focus on a simple pleasure. I also try to take a break from technology for one day during the weekend. It helps me recharge by disconnecting from social media, e-mails, and even television and just be present in the moment.

Whatever it is you do to recharge and renew, please take time during this busy part of the year to take care of yourself, enjoy the season, and recapture the passion and energy that will see you through the long winter. You are important and you do such important work. Continuing to do the many things you do with your cup only half full hurts not only you, but it diminishes what you have to offer to those you care about and for.

Take good care of yourself,
Robin Hertel, EdS, MSN, RN, CMSRN President, AMSN

CEO’s CORNER December 2019 - Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

  • Posted on: 6 December 2019
  • By: AMSN

Happy Holidays!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s the end of 2019. Where has the year gone? Perhaps it’s only me, but every year seems to go by faster and faster. I think it’s natural for most of us to have a period of reflection in December, as we move towards the end of one year and look forward to the next one. As I reflect on 2019, I’m struck by the many incredible things AMSN is doing for our members and the broader medical-surgical nursing community. Our goal, quite simply, is to help you be the best nurse you can be. We want to provide you with relevant and helpful practice information, keep you informed on what is happening in the practice environment and legislative arena, and provide you with the tools you need to successfully navigate your practice setting.

We hope that you are finding value in all that AMSN is doing for you. We have big plans for the future and I’m so excited for 2020, the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, when we will have numerous program and project launches that we heard you need. Things like a behavioral health course, specifically designed for medical-surgical nurses that are caring for behavioral health patients in your practice, not on behavioral health units. We recognize the challenges are different, and that many of you do not feel you have the necessary expertise to care for these individuals. We are re-launching our clinical leadership development program as a certificate program, one that awards a certificate for learning, not simply for participation. This certificate will demonstrate your competence in leadership at the point of practice.

We’ll begin work on our next version of the Core Curriculum for Medical-Surgical Nursing and have new chapters planned that are reflective of the current, and emerging, practice area for medical-surgical nurses. We are updating many of our resources to be available electronically and in print, because we know how you consume data and information is changing. And, don’t forget, our new website will be launching at the end of this year or early next year. You’re going to love it. It’s so much more responsive and the navigation is based on your feedback through user experience testing. You’ll be able to find what you need and engage with the content in a much better way.

We have some initiatives coming in early 2020 that are looking at the leadership development of our emerging leaders. You are all leaders in your practice, and we want to help you develop those leadership skills even further through leadership programming with AMSN’s Board of Directors and volunteers. We have new certification tools coming that will make it easier, and faster, to apply for certification and to track your CE. FailSafe organizations will have a new portal that will allow them to approve candidates for certification and track reports. We know that it will improve the current process! Stay tuned, because we have even more planned across all our programs and services.

In closing, I want to acknowledge that the holidays aren’t always a happy time for everyone. You all experience that in your nursing practice. We know you work long hours, including over the holidays, because most health care settings are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You spend time away from your families and friends on holidays, caring for those also separated from their family and friends. Patients and families experience loss and grief, and we feel it too, sometimes more acutely because of the time of year. It is a stressful time for all involved. Please take care of yourselves and be sure to read this month’s Robin’s Nest to read some self-care tips for the holidays (and every day).

We wish you Happy Holidays!
Terri Hinkley, EdD, MBA, BScN, RN
Chief Executive Officer, AMSN & MSNCB

CLDP Volunteers Needed

  • Posted on: 6 December 2019
  • By: AMSN

Volunteer positions available for AMSN’s Clinical Leadership Development Program. Content review, item writers, test form review & item analysis, standard setting & cut score.
AMSN's Clinical Leadership Development Program (CLDP) is a valuable educational resource for front-line medical-surgical nurses to develop their leadership abilities and behaviors. AMSN, in partnership with MSNCB, is in the process of converting the CLDP to a certificate program and are in need of volunteers to make this happen!
We’re looking for 20-25 volunteers to participate in one of four volunteer groups. Meetings may take place virtually or in-person and you can participate in more than one group. AMSN and MSNCB will cover travel expenses when attending in-person meetings.

See below for more information about each volunteer group including where and when the meeting will take place and the time commitment needed to complete each project.

Qualifications for all 4 Volunteer Groups:

Full member of AMSN for at least 2 years
BSN or higher degree
Have at least 5 years of medical-surgical nursing experience
Currently practicing in a Nurse Manager/Coordinator/Director or other nursing leadership capacity for a medical-surgical unit for a least 2 years (Content Review Team only)
Have completed CLDP course, preferable
Able to meet project completion timeline

Content Review Team
We are looking for nursing leaders to review the content for each module to ensure the content is up to date and relevant. Each team member will be expected to review 2 of the 10 modules to update content and references. This will take approximately 5-10 hours to complete.
Volunteers Needed: 20 people
Where: Virtual review
When: Work will begin in January with the completion date of February 29, 2020.

Content Item Writers
Volunteers will be charged with writing 100 questions in total for all CLDP modules. Experts will provide training and guidance during the entire item writing process.
Volunteers Needed:10-12 people
Where: 2-day in-person meeting held in Pitman, NJ (Philadelphia, PA airport). A 1-2-hour follow-up virtual call will take place 2-4 weeks after the in-person meeting to review the beta test form.
When: There are 3 anticipated dates set aside for the in-person meeting:
January 11-12, 2020
January 18-19, 2020
January 25-26, 2020
A Doodle poll will be sent to determine availability for virtual follow-up.

Test Form Review & Item Analysis
After writers build the questions, a group of individuals are needed to review the test form prior to beta testing. After beta testing is completed, this group will reconvene to analyze each question and its performance during beta testing. Experts will provide training and guidance during the entire process.
Volunteers Needed: 3-5 people
Where: 2 Virtual Meetings
When: Form Review 1-2 hours February or March
Item Analysis 3-5 hours March or April
A Doodle poll will be sent to determine availability for the final virtual meeting dates.

Standard Setting & Cut Score
The final step to the entire process is setting a passing score for the CLDP certificate. Experts will provide training and guidance during the entire process.
Volunteers Needed:5-7 people
Where: Virtual meeting
When: 3-5 hours April or May
A Doodle poll will be sent to determine availability for the final virtual meeting dates.

If you are interested in one or more of the CLDP volunteer groups, please complete an application and submit your CV or resume in OpenWater by Friday, 12/13/2020.  Application can be found here:

If you are selected, we will notify you as soon as possible.
 Your time, talent, and expertise guide the organizations and advance the specialty of medical-surgical nursing. Your participation is invaluable!

AMSN Legislative Brief December 2019

  • Posted on: 6 December 2019
  • By: AMSN

Uncle Sam and health programs important to AMSN got a brief reprieve from the risk of shutdown late November as Congress passed and the President signed into law another “continuing resolution” stopgap government funding measure. Federal programs are now funded through Dec. 20, 2019. Meanwhile, congressional negotiators are working to finalize overdue 2020 spending plans and keep the government from shutting down during the holidays. AMSN has kept requesting Congress prioritize health: to support strong funding for priorities like Title 8 nurse workforce development, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR).

Have you been heard in Washington? AMSN’s new Legislative Action Center ( strengthens your voice! Through this new online resource, you can learn about vital AMSN policy issues, your own state and federal legislators, and make your voice heard. Our current calls to action urges Senators and Representatives in Washington to support Title 8 nurse workforce development legislation, and to take a practical, public health approach to reduce gun violence in America by funding critical research, supporting background checks, and treating not stigmatizing persons with mental illness.
AMSN is on top of states continuing legislative work this fall affecting med-surg nurses and their patients.

• In Pennsylvania, the state Senate on Oct. 22 passed SB 637, promoting expanded licensure opportunities for ex-offenders without affecting voluntary certification programs like MSNCB. The bill’s next stop is the state House of Representatives. AMSN worked through the Professional Certification Coalition (PCC) to help block an earlier bill (HB 811) that would have interfered with important voluntary licensing programs for med-surg nurses and other health care professionals.
• In Illinois the legislature is out of session. But behind the scenes, labor groups are organizing to move legislation in 2020 establishing mandatory nurse-patient staffing ratios. AMSN policy supports med-surg nurses making staffing decisions at the local level, not one-size-fits-all government staffing plans. Earlier this year, AMSN sent a letter of opposition to Springfield about a previous staffing ratio mandate bill that died in the legislature and was not enacted into law.
• In New York advocates are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign into law bills eliminating prior authorizations for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for persons with opioid use disorder. Because the opioid crisis affects so many people including med-surg nurses, AMSN monitors opioid crisis legislation as part of its 2019 legislative agenda.

What are AMSN’s advocacy plans and how can med-surg nurses engage? AMSN Legislative Team chair Yalanda Comeaux, MSN, MJ, RN, CMSRN, and legislative consultant Frank Purcell conducted a live webinar on this topic earlier this fall, titled “Be Heard for Your Patients: Health Policy & Advocacy for Med-Surg Nurses.” Now it’s available for AMSN members through our online library! This one-hour program will educate you as a med-surg nurse about the fundamentals of advocacy, AMSN’s agenda, and AMSN’s advocacy plans for now and the future that invite your engagement and support your profession. Visit the AMSN Library:

AMSN Legislative Brief October 2019

  • Posted on: 5 November 2019
  • By: AMSN

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a major AMSN legislative priority on Oct. 28, the Title 8 Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (HR 728). During debate, bill sponsor Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) said, “By passing this legislation, Congress can make a direct investment in our nation’s health.” Original cosponsor Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), said, “Demand for health care services provided by nurses continues to grow, and we must expand and support these programs to maintain a highly educated nursing workforce.” Adopted by voice vote, HR 728 now moves to the U.S. Senate for further action.

After hearing from an AMSN member call to action, a key Senate committee took favorable action on the Senate version of Title 8 nurse workforce development legislation (S 1399). By voice vote on Oct. 31, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the AMSN-backed bill and sent it to the Senate floor for further action. Using the new AMSN Legislative Action Center, AMSN members sent 59 messages to members of the Senate HELP Committee urging support for this bipartisan legislation. The bill’s next step is to be scheduled for action on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

What’s AMSN’s advocacy agenda? And how can AMSN members help achieve it? A webinar from AMSN Legislative Team chair Yalanda Comeaux and Legislative Consultant Frank Purcell the afternoon of Nov. 4 provides answers to these critical questions for medical-surgical nurses. Nurses advocate every day for their patients in the health care delivery setting – nurses can also advocate for patients among federal and state legislators, policymakers and health care industry leaders. The webinar will be available soon as a recording online and will provide nurses 1 hour of CNE / 1.0 contact hours.

Congress and the Administration are behind schedule approving appropriations legislation needed for the smooth operation of health care and nursing education programs for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Uncle Sam is running on temporary “continuing resolution” or CR funds through Nov. 21. A government shutdown can be averted if lawmakers adopt and the president signs another temporary CR in advance of the Nov. 21 deadline, which ensures level funding for most programs. Alternatively, Congress and the Administration can adopt their 2020 appropriations bills. That’s possible but not as likely.

Your AMSN Legislative Action Center has two agenda items for members to be heard on Capitol Hill. One is to urge the whole U.S. Senate to take up and pass S 1399, the Title 8 Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act. The other is to support an evidence-based public health approach to reducing gun violence by supporting mandatory background checks (HR 8), supporting $50 million in research funding through the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and supporting care not stigma for persons with mental illness. To make your voice heard today, click below!

Take Action Today:

CEO’s CORNER - Happy Med-Surg Nurses’ Week!

  • Posted on: 5 November 2019
  • By: AMSN

Med-Surg Nurses’ Week is November 1-7 and we are so happy to celebrate you! We have several ways in which we are recognizing and celebrating you, our members, during your week. Please be sure to download your social media profile frame and share it far and wide, along with our hashtag, #MSNW19! We have had photo contests, webinars, shared self-care tips, and published some videos we think you’ll love! From all of us at AMSN, thank you for all you do every single day. We are proud to represent the hardest-working group of nurses, medical-surgical nurses.

I am also happy to share another huge initiative AMSN is undertaking on your behalf. We have an open call for task-force members to participate in the development of the very first set of comprehensive medical-surgical nursing competencies. Currently there is no cohesive, authoritative set of competencies for practicing medical-surgical nurses and we want to work with you to develop and validate them.

Nursing competence is defined as “the ability of a nurse to effectively demonstrate a set of attributes, such as personal characteristics, values, attitudes, knowledge and skills, which are required to fulfil his/her professional responsibility” (Takase, 2013, p. 1400). Competency building is a career-long requirement for nurses and has been increasingly mandated by nursing bodies, employers and the public. However, measuring competence is difficult due to the lack of rigorous tools and methods. Lakanmaa et al. note “The measurements can only be as productive and accurate as the competencies selected to be measured, and measurement techniques cannot overcome the limitations incurred in the identification of the competencies to be measured” (Lakanmaa et al., 2014, p. 800).

Given the increasing demand for both initial and ongoing competency measurement, AMSN believes now is the time to develop a competency model that clearly identifies, defines and maps the medical-surgical nursing competencies. To ensure we do this well, we have hired expert consultants to help us develop the competencies. We have also compiled a steering committee made up of thought leaders within the nursing and workforce development to provide insight and oversight throughout the process. With their guidance and the expertise of our task force members, we will:

1. identify tasks, knowledges, skills, and other characteristics needed for job success
2. map the competencies required of medical-surgical nurses and will show how these competencies evolve and change as nurse experience/expertise increases
3. identify critical medical-surgical nursing outcomes (e.g., quality, safety, efficiency, satisfaction)

By doing so, we are confident that we will develop a competency model that meets the needs of medical-surgical nurses, nursing faculty, nurse educators, nurse managers and administrators. Further, given that we will identify and demonstrate impact on outcomes, these competencies will be practical and valuable for the entire industry.

If you are interested in participating, please fill out the application here:

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out, my email is

Lakanmaa, R. L., Suominen, T., Perttilä, J., Ritmala-Castrén, M., Vahlberg, T., & Leino-Kilpi, H. (2014). Basic competence in intensive and critical care nursing: Development and psychometric testing of a competence scale. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23, 799-810. doi:10.1111/jocn.12057
Takase, M. (2013). The relationship between the levels of nurses' competence and the length of their clinical experience: A tentative model for nursing competence development. Journal of Clinical Nursing. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04239.x

Emerging Professionals: Join Us for the Nightingale Challenge!

  • Posted on: 31 October 2019
  • By: AMSN

Happy Medical-Surgical Nurses week! Medical-Surgical Nurses week is celebrated every November 1-7 in part to recognize the specialty of medical-surgical nursing, but also to celebrate you and the amazing things you do daily for your patients and their families, your colleagues, community and the profession of nursing. I hope you will share some of the fun you had this week on AMSN’s social media pages!

The board of directors know how challenging practice is today; we regularly implement strategies to help you to promote a healthy practice environment along with your development professionally and as an advocate. One of the newest initiatives we are implementing is the Nightingale Challenge. I’d like to provide more information on that initiative in this column.

This year-long initiative is open to AMSN members who are under 35 years of age. Participants will be selected from survey applications that you can access online. The initiative will be led by a leading international authority on leadership, Dr. Terry Jones. Over the course of one year, participants will review and discuss the use of behaviors that promote effective leadership and followership, exploring topics such as the Courage to Serve, Inspiring a Shared Vision, Enabling Others to Act, and Encouraging the Heart.

Throughout the program you will be guided in the planning of your own leadership and career development by Dr. Jones, members of your cohort and your work at your facility. The tools you will receive as a participant in this program will be of great benefit as you continue along your career trajectory. You will have the opportunity to actively network with members of your cohort, discussing timely topics such as finding your own voice and how to challenge processes in ways that will increase your chance of success.

I would encourage you to consider completing the survey when it is published online and make a commitment to advance your professional leadership abilities. Annette Kennedy, the President of the International Council of Nurses stated that, “it is essential that nurses are enabled to play a bigger role in multidisciplinary teams, working to their full potential to innovate, to lead and to advocate.” The Nightingale Challenge will assist you in facing and breaking down the barriers that hold nurses back, to work to your full potential as leaders, innovators, and health advocates for your patients, colleagues, and your communities.

Members completing the program will have opportunities to continue to develop their leadership roles as members or chairs of volunteer units within AMSN. My own journey toward leadership has truly been enhanced by my membership and volunteer work with AMSN. I have achieved goals I never would have dreamed of as a young nurse, accepted opportunities that resulted in positive impacts in the profession, and met and collaborated with some of the greatest national nurse leaders both here in the US and abroad. I would love to welcome you to find your own path toward leadership; won’t you let us help you?

AMSN Legislative Brief October 2019

  • Posted on: 14 October 2019
  • By: AMSN

A presidential executive order supports nurses and other health care professionals practicing to the fullest extent of their scope and skill – a longtime priority of AMSN and other nursing organizations. Released on Oct. 3, the executive order requests that federal agencies develop regulatory proposals to “enable provider to spend more time with patients” and eliminate policies that “limit professionals from practicing at the top of their profession.” The executive order is a positive development that supports change in law and regulation, but it does not change laws and regulations by itself.

AMSN is supporting health research as a major priority as Congress continues work on its 2020 appropriations. Signing on to an advocacy letter circulated by the Friends of AHRQ (Agency for Health Care Research and Quality), AMSN requested that Congress “fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) at a level equal to or more than that included in the House bill of $358.2 million. AHRQ is an essential element of the nation’s health care ecosystem, charged with improving the quality and delivery of health care.”

Most state legislatures are not in session this fall, meaning that an Illinois bill to institute mandatory nurse staffing ratios, which is opposed by AMSN, is not moving in 2019. But one of 7 states with the legislature still in session, Pennsylvania, continues to consider a bill affecting voluntary professional nurse credentialing programs like MSNCB. AMSN has expressed concerns about the Pennsylvania bill, HB 811. It has not moved in committee and AMSN continues monitoring it.

Robin's Nest President's Column - Nightingale Challenge Accepted!

  • Posted on: 14 October 2019
  • By: AMSN

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind! I have attended a think tank on the professional identity formation of nurses in which I had the honor to collaborate with 49 other nurse leaders across education, legislation, and practice. Last week was AMSN’s National Convention and what a wonderful experience that was! More than 1,300 nurses gathered to discuss, learn, and network. It was 3 days filled with plenty of joy, comradery, and hard work. If you haven’t been to a national convention, please consider attending next year in Las Vegas – it’s money well spent, and you will make memories of a lifetime in addition to connections to friends new and old and information that is cutting edge to guide your practice.
We announced exciting initiatives during the convention as well such as the upcoming release of behavioral health modules and the development of an evidence-based practice program to help nurses develop their own evidence-based practice projects and integrate findings into their practice. One initiative that I am very excited about is AMSN’s participation in the Nightingale Challenge. This is an initiative developed by the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses in recognition of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife which is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

AMSN’s participation in the Nightingale Challenge will entail the leadership development and opportunities for volunteerism of at least 20 young professional nurses under the age of 35. The initiative will be headed up by Dr. Terry Jones and I’m sure that all those who participate will enjoy the experience. One of the members of this group will also be selected to participate at the board of director’s level as a non-voting member. This nurse will provide insight into the challenges and needs of young professional nurses and will learn about leadership at this higher level.
Today, I’m headed to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Nurses on Boards Coalition. This coalition is made up of a group of nurse leaders who are working to provide the leadership skills and knowledge to nurses so that they can serve on boards in their facilities, their communities and at the national level. I’m very excited that AMSN is a participant in this work as well; every nurse should consider themselves a leader. If we can envision it, want it ardently enough, and act upon it we can ensure that in the near future, nurses will be an important part of every conversation regarding the health of the population in the private, corporate, and legislative sectors!

As nurses who work more closely with patients than any other health professional, it should be a given that we have a seat at the board. Once we arrive there, we need to stand up, speak up, present evidence to support our concerns, and continue to help the development and progression of younger professional nurses. Individually, nurses are powerful; collectively, we are a force to be reckoned with!

CEO's Corner: Our Commitment To You

  • Posted on: 14 October 2019
  • By: AMSN

Our Commitment to You

Robin’s column this month speaks about the many ways AMSN is representing you, our members, in initiatives of importance to the nursing profession. AMSN believes that it is critical that you have a voice in these initiatives and that med-surg nurses are heard.

AMSN was excited to be invited to participate in the Professional Identity Formation in Nursing think-tank. We were one of the only specialty nursing practice associations to be invited. We were privileged to attend with the American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, National Student Nurses Association and the National Council for State Boards of Nursing. As you can see, many of the associations present are directly involved in nursing education, so AMSN was proud to represent medical-surgical nursing at the think-tank. We are excited to continue to represent all of you in this important work.

We also joined and participated in the Nurses on Boards Coalition, which aims to increase the percentage of nurses serving on professional boards of directors. We look forward to representing medical-surgical nurses in this important endeavor and demonstrating the value you can bring to organizations, professional associations and charities alike.

Lastly, as Robin noted, AMSN will be participating in the Nightingale Challenge, a program developed by Nursing Now, a collaborative three-year campaign shared by the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization. The Nightingale Challenge seeks to develop the leadership of nurses under the age of 35. We will be developing a program that will provide leadership opportunities to 20 AMSN members during 2020, which has been declared the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Stay tuned for more information and to sign up. We can’t wait to launch this program.

I hope these initiatives demonstrate our commitment to you, our members, and our commitment to the specialty of medical-surgical nursing. You are the reason we exist, and we are working very hard to serve you in ways that are meaningful and impactful. We want to demonstrate to the world the vital role each and every one of you play in the health care arena. We want to ensure your voice is heard, and you are involved in decisions impacting the health care system. We are committed to making a difference for you.