Compassion in the 21st Century: MSNCB President's Message

  • Posted on: 11 October 2019
  • By: AMSN

The practice of nursing constantly evolves. Traditionally, nurses have always been at the bedside of those who suffered from illnesses or injuries. The minds (knowledge) and hands of nurses were the tools they used to facilitate healing in the patients to whom they provided care. With all the innovations in technology, nurses have increasingly become surrounded by equipment that helps support and improve the patient’s health and wellness. It is undeniable that technology has made an incredibly positive impact on patient care. However, technology has also negatively affected the amount of time nurses spend in providing direct patient care.

According to a study performed by Hendrich, Chow, Skieczynski, & Lu (2017): A 36-Hospital time and Motion Study: How do Medical Surgical Nurses Spend their time, in which 767 medical-surgical nurses participated, nurses spent 43.7% of their time on patient care activities, patient assessment, & medication administration. The remainder of the nurses’ time was spent on documentation (35.3%) and care coordination (20.6%).

Consequently, nurses must make every effort to interact in a sensitive and compassionate manner with patients and their families, even when time seems limited by a seemingly endless array of non-patient care responsibilities. We must learn to support our nursing care teams, teaching and demonstrating compassionate care as a standard practice in all our patient interactions. We must all understand that compassion is a broader term than empathy and refers to both an understanding of another’s pain along with the desire to somehow mitigate that pain.

Clearly, demonstrating compassion is not an easy task given the number of patients who present to our facilities with addictions, mental illness, homelessness, and a lack of trust in the health care system. However, as front line staff, med-surg nurses must understand the fundamental relationships between patient care, compassion, trust, and wellness. Compassion both verbal and nonverbal is indeed an integral aspect of patient communication and is essential in developing the nurse-patient relationship.

Compassion does not require a dissertation, rather a touch, a look, a smile, and open honest communication.

Maya Angelou said it best: “They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Let’s always remember that in nursing, compassion and technology must coexist for the best patient outcomes.

Thank you med-surg nurses for adapting and thriving in an ever-changing world.

CEO’s CORNER - September 2019

  • Posted on: 12 September 2019
  • By: AMSN

Robin’s column this month referenced the important role coaching and mentoring played in her career and personal development. I was also fortunate to have many wonderful peer coaches during my nursing career and I am forever grateful for the relationships I was able to build and cultivate over that time.

AMSN feels connection is a critical component of the value we bring to medical-surgical nurses. It’s so important to us that we’ve made it part of our tagline and work continuously to provide opportunities for our members to make connections with other medical-surgical nurses to build a strong and dynamic community. Given that it is September (where has the year gone?!) and our annual convention is literally only weeks away, what better time to talk about building connections?

AMSN’s annual convention is the largest event we host, and the best in-person networking opportunity we offer. We do our best to balance your need and desire for education with the ability to network with your peers. This year we’re bringing some new and improved opportunities for you to connect with other attendees.

Each year we do an orientation session to help first-time attendees plan for their convention experience. This year we’re also hosting a networking reception in advance of our orientation session so you can meet other attendees, board members, volunteers and staff prior to the convention. The event is Thursday September 26th from 2:30 to 3:15, so we hope to see you there!

This year we’re doing even more with our convention app to foster conversation and engagement. In fact, people have already begun chatting and connecting on the app so be sure to download it and join the conversation! We look forward to getting to know you before we connect in Chicago in a few weeks.

We’ve expanded our exhibit hall booth space and have some networking couches and chairs so you can connect with friends or make new ones. We’ll have a strong staff and volunteer presence in the booth to answer any questions you might have. Stop by and visit us during the exhibit hall hours. We’ll have some great giveaways and materials for you.

We’ve significantly expanded our store onsite at convention. Last year was the first time we sold AMSN branded items at convention and it was an overwhelming success. We’ve decided that you all need more med-surg nursing gear and products, so be sure to stop and see us at the store. We have apparel, notebooks, tumblers, and other goodies for you to proudly display your love for your med-surg specialty.

We are so excited to connect with you in Chicago. There is so much to see and do! Local restaurants are looking forward to serving you and there are several tours you can participate in with your new friends. We know you’ll enjoy the education we have planned for you, and we are equally as confident that you’ll make many connections over the course of your time at convention. I look forward to seeing you there!

Robin's Nest President's Column - Leadership Challenge

  • Posted on: 9 September 2019
  • By: AMSN

I’ve been very blessed in my professional career due, in large part, to the mentors and coaches I’ve had along the way. During my initial training and then later as an academic colleague, faculty members Sandra Gottschalk, Beryl Dinges and Michele Unrein provided encouragement and guidance, accepting no less than the very best I could do. Each of these leaders instilled a love of the nursing profession in me and sparked my interest in nursing leadership.

After graduating, my first job was on the surgical unit of a local hospital. The unit director was Wilma Ross, a nurse who was always willing to provide nursing care when an extra hand was needed. She taught me that nurses earn respect of healthcare colleagues by professionalism in practice, a willingness to learn, and through excellence in care delivery. She taught me the importance of leading by example.

I’ve had other excellent coaches along my professional journey, too many to list here. But each of them taught me something unique regarding leadership. As a leader of AMSN, I want to continue to encourage others in their role as a nurse leader.

I have dedicated many years of my professional career to the professional development of new nurses. As a member of AMSN’s board of directors, I also feel a responsibility for the development of future leaders. One of the ways AMSN is doing this is through our student program. Not only do students receive free membership in AMSN, but we are also working to develop a program which will assist the nurse in their progression from student, to nurse, to nurse leader including certification as a medical-surgical nurse.

AMSN also supports leadership development of our members through participation in the Nursing Alliance Leadership Academy (NALA). Over the past several years, board members have attended NALA to network with other nursing organization leaders and to further develop the skills necessary to lead AMSN. In the future, I look forward to sending volunteer leaders who are interested in board positions to this event.

AMSN’s leadership believes that it is vital to identify and foster the next generation of leaders through training, coaching, mentoring and providing opportunities for volunteer leaders to develop leadership skills. One of the initiatives announced at the recent International Council of Nurses Congress was a challenge to employers and professional organizations to provide leadership opportunities and training to nurses under the age of 35. Another is the Nurses on Boards Coalition, of which AMSN is a member, which focuses on increasing the presence of nurses on corporate, health-related, and other boards in order to improve population health. I look forward to implementing programs in the coming months to meet each of these goals.

I would like to challenge each of you to consider your own leadership goals and skills. If you are interested in developing further as a leader, please drop me a line or visit with me at the national convention held later this month. I look forward to it!

CEO's Corner - August 2019 Connections

  • Posted on: 18 August 2019
  • By: AMSN

The Building of a Legislative Program

Terri Hinkley, EdD, MBA, BScN, RN - Chief Executive Officer, AMSN & MSNCB

Robin’s column this month speaks to the critical role nurses play in legislation impacting health care access and cost, the workplace, and workforce issues. For many years AMSN has had a legislative team of volunteers addressing legislative issues of importance to medical-surgical nurses. They’ve written position statements on topics relevant to med-surg nurses, they have signed on to letters from other nursing organizations and they tried to stay abreast of policy and legislative activities. During their annual strategic planning meeting in 2018, the Board of Directors discussed and embraced the critical role AMSN must play in advocating for medical-surgical nursing and their patients. Specific and actionable strategies were developed and we’re working diligently to deliver on these strategies and tactics.

The first step we took was to engage with a legislative expert with relevant health care/nursing knowledge. We were lucky to find Frank Purcell from Cardinal Waypoint to partner with. We sent out a call for volunteers to bolster the number of med-surg nurses that would be responsible for monitoring and addressing issues on behalf of AMSN. We surveyed you, our members, on the legislative issues of importance to you, and we built a legislative priority list based on your feedback. We conducted a two-day training program in DC for newly appointed legislative volunteers.

We have been building a program that allows AMSN to identify and respond to legislation at both the state and federal level. Our team of legislative advisors has grown to 31 individuals, who are monitoring activities in their assigned regions and bringing any relevant legislation back to the legislative team for discussion and action. We have a legislative team of 9 volunteers, chaired by Yalanda Comeaux, who meet regularly with our legislative consultant to address our legislative priorities.

As a result of this new structure and deliberate focus on AMSN’s advocacy strategy, AMSN was invited to speak at the kickoff to the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 initiative, where Linda Yoder, AMSN’s Immediate Past President was able to provide remarks. AMSN has had volunteers and/or staff attend each of the Future of Nursing Town Hall meetings in Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle and submit or present written statements. We have hosted a webinar on safe staffing, “Safe Staffing: Evidence, Issues, and Action for Med-Surg Nurses”, which is available as a recording in our online library, if you weren’t able to attend live and have another planned for November during Med-Surg Nurses Week. We have launched an online community in our AMSN Hub for members to hear about issues and news related to our advocacy efforts. Lastly, we have continued to notify membership about Title VIII funding and reauthorization legislation and recognition of the WWII-era Cadet Nurse Corps.

I hope this demonstrates our commitment to advocating for you and with you on issues of importance for med-surg nurses but also to educating you, our members, about the role you can play in legislative activities at your local, state and national level. Stay tuned, there are even more great things to come!

Robin's Nest - AMSN President's Message, August 2019

  • Posted on: 13 August 2019
  • By: AMSN

I recently reflected on the amazing journey I’ve experienced throughout my nursing career. One of the many highlights was my experience as a participant in the Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) program sponsored by the Nursing Organizations Alliance.

Each year, nurses from many different areas of practice, education levels and from throughout the country converge in Washington, D.C. to learn about advocacy and the legislative process. Initiatives related to nursing and healthcare are a key component of the discussions. The pinnacle of the experience is the opportunity to interact with the legislators from your own state in one-on-one discussions.

I spoke with my legislators about Title VIII funding and the opioid crisis. I have to admit, I was quite nervous at the thought of speaking to these legislators; after all I thought, I’m just one person with no real clout and nothing to offer that the legislators would be interested in. I confess I was also a bit cynical. My news feeds are filled daily with negativity and identity politics that convinced me that they wouldn’t even care about the topics of importance to me. How wrong I was! I shared stories from my own experience regarding how each of these topics impacted my practice and me personally. Both the senator and the representative were very interested in my perspective and we had wonderful conversations. I left those meetings feeling as if I had made a positive impact.

There’s also something special about being in the nation’s capital. It has so much history and so many wonderful sites to visit. One of my favorite places was the Vietnam Women’s Memorial which depicts the dedication, compassion, and fortitude of the women serving in the war, many of whom were nurses. These women had important roles in the conflict and met the challenges they faced head on.

Nurses today also have important roles in the many challenges we encounter including workplace violence, staffing issues, gender inequality, social inequity, and the high cost of medications which places our patients in situations in which they have to choose between feeding themselves or their family and purchasing medications needed to survive. We can choose to share our stories and use our collaborative voices to tackle the many issues we face.

Participation in NIWI was truly a wonderful experience and the knowledge I gained as a result of the internship is empowering. I am prepared to continue to advocate on issues that are important to me as a nurse and a citizen. I know that grass roots efforts can make a big difference and I remain involved, using the tools learned to make my voice heard.

Students and registered nurses are eligible to participate in NIWI. AMSN is proud to sponsor a member’s attendance at NIWI each year. The application for a scholarship will open soon. Please look for an announcement and consider how this experience can impact your own professional journey. It may very well lead you to places and opportunities you have never imagined.

Visit here to find out more about NIWI:

AMSN CEO Terri Hinkley Speaks at Future of Nursing Town Hall, Philadelphia

  • Posted on: 25 July 2019
  • By: AMSN

Health Care Workforce, Quality and Patient Safety, Select Populations and Health Equity



I’m Dr. Terri Hinkley, CEO of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board.

We are proud to support and engage this process. As care delivery changes, so too does our med-surg nursing profession.

At this project’s first hearing in Washington, our immediate past president said to focus on disparities in health care and health, transforming payment to address social determinants, and engaging nurses in information technology innovation. In Chicago, our legislative team chair said to diversify nursing, the industry needed to start in elementary schools and must engage diverse communities.

I’d like to raise an additional priority: the health, wellness, and safety of nurses. To achieve a culture of health in America, we must embed wellness everywhere health care is taught and delivered.

We know why. Burnout and injury drive nurses out. The health of nurses affects patient care, as does the presence, or absence, of mutual professional respect.

But there’s no evidence it builds wellness into our profession or our industry from the beginning.

A better approach is more difficult because it depends on everyone playing a role: Policy, industry, education, and leadership must embed nurse wellness and safety into their standards, into their education and training, and into their systems for certification, evaluation and quality.

Already important exemplars exist, such as AMSN’s PRISM recognition program.

The National Academy of Medicine can significantly advance a culture of health in America if it prioritizes development and implementation of a culture of health for nurses from the beginning.

Thank you.

CEO's Corner July 2019: The Importance of the Social Determinants of Health

  • Posted on: 24 July 2019
  • By: AMSN

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) Congress was an inspirational and educational conference attended by thousands of nurses from around the world. It certainly was enlightening to recognize that nurses around the world face some collective opportunities and challenges. As you read in President Robin Hertel’s ‘Robin’s Nest’, one focus of the conference was the importance of the social determinants of health (SDOH) in managing the health of our patients.

That topic reminded me of the times I spent volunteering as a nurse in a homeless shelter in Alexandria, Virginia. One of the things I learned very quickly was the role social determinants of health play in health and wellness of individuals. We ran a completely volunteer medical clinic once a week in a residential shelter that housed both individuals and families. We saw diabetic patients, patients with hypertension, congestive heart failure, renal disease, liver disease, COPD, and asthma - often made worse due to compliance issues resulting from substance use disorders and/or behavioral health disorders. Some, though, simply didn’t have access to or couldn’t afford medical care, medication, employment, transportation, stable housing, or nutrition.

The patients we saw each week lacked health insurance. We were the only care they received. We counseled them on nutrition, self-care, wound care, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, birth control, and more. We had a small pharmacy that was stocked through financial donations from the shelter and leftover medications from the clinic physicians’ personal practices. I helped patients apply for medication coverage through programs offered to those that couldn’t afford medication by pharmaceutical companies. I gave out medications that were expired, hoping there was enough active pharmaceutical product left in them to be efficacious. I got to truly know them, and their struggles, and I realized what mattered most to their health were basic essentials that many of us take for granted: housing, healthy food, employment, education, and social support.

For many years as an acute care nurse on a medical unit, in the ICU or the ED, I questioned patients and/or family members on the home situation a patient would be returning to. I asked about support systems and help at home. However, often I failed to ask about some of the more basic SDOH, like access to healthy food, proximity to health care, and employment and financial resources. My time in the shelter taught me the importance of those factors. I wish I had worked in the shelter at the beginning of my nursing career, it would have transformed my nursing practice.

AMSN wholeheartedly supports the work of the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 and the importance of the social determinants of health. We will continue to educate our members about SDOH and we will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to embed their use in your practice, regardless of the practice setting you work in. We know that providing these resources can help you transform your nursing practice and make a difference for your patients – not only for their presenting medical issues, but for their overall health.

AMSN Advocacy Update- July 2019

  • Posted on: 23 July 2019
  • By: AMSN

The AMSN HUB now has a place for med-surg nursing advocates! Established in July, the AMSN “Med-Surg Nurse Advocacy” community includes updates on policy agenda priorities of AMSN – and your engagement and participation! Every AMSN member is enrolled in the Med-Surg Nurse Advocacy HUB community.
To learn more and participate, connect with

Med-surg nursing priority legislation is on the move in Washington! An AMSN-backed bill reauthorizing Title 8 nurse workforce development programs (HR 728) cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee July 17 by voice vote. Its next step is a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. AMSN makes it easy to contact your member of Congress and say “Vote YES on HR 728!” Click this link to get started:

Besides committee action, nurse workforce legislation is drawing more cosponsorship support on Capitol Hill. HR 728 now has 121 bipartisan cosponsors – nearly a quarter of the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives. Its Senate counterpart, S 1399, has its original bipartisan cosponsors, Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and none additional as the committee to which it has been referred has been working on legislation to help control cost growth in health care.

The National Academy of Medicine “Future of Nursing: 2020-2030” project is hosting two more town meetings this summer, one that occurred today in Philadelphia, and then in Seattle August 7. AMSN is planning to be there and to speak out on behalf of med-surg nurses and their patients! Follow developments on AMSN’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. If you would like to attend yourself in-person or online, click this link for Seattle:

Recognition in legislation of the 120,000 women who served in the World War II era Cadet Nurse Corps has been supported by AMSN. On July 12 that support took one step closer to reality: the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (HR 2500) with a key Cadet Nurse Corps recognition provision added as an amendment by Rep. Cherie Bustos (D-IL). Read more about it from the Nursing Community Coalition here:

Robin's Nest - AMSN President's Message, July 2019

  • Posted on: 23 July 2019
  • By: AMSN

A Reflection of Nursing Around the World
by Robin Hertel, EdS, MSN, RN, CMSRN - President, AMSN

I recently attended the International Council of Nurses Congress Conference, held in Singapore this month. It was a gathering of more than 5,000 nurses from over 120 countries. Discussions and poster presentations over four days involved many of the issues nurses face on a daily basis, including safe staffing, workplace safety, quality, and the healthcare model.

The central theme of the conference centered on moving beyond the focus on disease to one that is more focused on maintaining health. A key role for nurses in primary health care involves assisting patients to remain in the home as long as possible according to Elizabeth Iro, the Chief Nurse of the World Health Organization. This requires medical-surgical nurses to expand their areas of expertise to include disease prevention and the health of the community; of taking stock of where we are individually as nurses both professionally and personally; identifying our knowledge gaps and then taking action to address them.

Investing resources in the power of nursing leadership was another focus. Even though nursing makes up 70% of the healthcare workforce, only 25% of leadership roles in healthcare are held by nurses. Yet nurses are the experts in the care needs of our patients, of the quality and safety gaps that exist in the practice environment and in staffing needs. Nurses have the power to hold the politicians and the health care system accountable for investing in the leadership potential of nurses if we collectively voice our concerns and support this with data and potential solutions. As a part of the health care team, nurses and administrative staff can work collaboratively to address the issues nurses face daily such as safe staffing and protection of the nurses and support staff from acts of violence. Having a seat at the table and actively engaging in discussions and policy development allows nurses the opportunity to change the health of our communities, our nation, and our world. Having a seat at the table is vital if the nursing profession is ever to realize a positive and collaborative health care environment in which we practice to the full extent of our licensure and do so safely.

These are big issues and ones that AMSN is helping the medical-surgical nurse to address. The major focuses of AMSN’s strategic plan include providing tools to nurses to develop and maintain a healthy and safe practice environment, assisting in the professional development of medical-surgical nurses by providing education in the areas where knowledge gaps may exist and promoting the status and profile of nursing through certification as well as legislative advocacy.

Nurses, both individually and collaboratively as a profession, can truly have a positive impact because we are experts at delivering patient-centered care while maintaining quality. We have opportunities to become more involved in the areas of policy development and turning these policies into practice while keeping patient safety at the forefront. Next year has been designated the Year of the Nurse. What will you do to move your practice and the profession forward?

AMSN & MSNCB CEO Terri Hinkley Earns Doctorate, Gains Invaluable Lens to View the Future of Nursing

  • Posted on: 27 June 2019
  • By: AMSN

In May, AMSN and MSNCB CEO Terri Hinkley, EdD, MBA, BScN, RN received her Doctorate in Human and Organizational Learning from George Washington University. The Human & Organizational Learning curriculum focuses on organizational issues such as strategic change, transformational leadership, individual and group learning processes, organizational development, and global and international issues. The degree helped Hinkley to develop a more critical lens with which to see the nursing community and its issues and challenges.

“What interested me about the program at George Washington University was that it was structured with four main pillars: leadership, learning, culture, and change. You can take those constructs and apply them to whatever challenge you are facing in business or professional life,” she says. “For me, as a non-profit executive in the healthcare industry, with a true passion for nursing, I could marry my experience and commitment to the profession with the executive leadership principals, to better explore the future of nursing.”

Hinkley completed the three-year doctoral program with a dissertation that focused on a critical issue that she feels is extremely important to nurses: second victim syndrome. She used a structural equation model to measure causal relationships between psychological capital, social capital, and second victim syndrome. In other words, she was interested in understanding how an individual’s overall life outlook and social support systems combine to impact the severity of second victim syndrome experienced by a registered nurse.

Second victim syndrome occurs when a care provider experiences an unanticipated adverse patient event and becomes victimized in the sense that the provider is traumatized by the event. The provider can feel personally responsible for the patient outcome. Many nurses feel as though they have failed the patient, second guessing their clinical skills and competence. If left unchecked, it can leave the professional depressed, feeling alone and desperate. Sadly, second victim syndrome has led to death by suicide for some nurses.

“I am interested in the impact of negative affective states for nurses: burnout, compassion fatigue, moral distress and second victim syndrome. I am drawn to them, because I really want to change the experience for our nurses moving forward. I don’t want them to have such negative experiences that they drop-out, disconnect from their jobs and their patients, or turn to alcohol and drugs,” says Hinkley. “I welcome anything that brings to light the factors that contribute to these conditions, because it means we can better help to minimize them.”

Hinkley’s research found that no matter how much hope, optimism, self-efficacy or resilience you generally had, how severely – and if – you suffered from second victim syndrome depended on how people treated you, and whether people affirmed your competency as a nurse or blamed and shamed you.

“That treatment from the nurse’s social support system was clearly the important variable in my study. You need support from your unit or team, your institution, and the industry / profession to recover from an episode of second victim syndrome. All three levels of support are important to preventing such negative effects,” she says.

Hinkley says that her doctoral degree will benefit AMSN, MSNCB, and AJJ (AMSN and MSNCB’s association management agency) more broadly, because she can see things even more clearly from the nursing perspective. She can offer more ways to help nurses navigate a rapidly changing work environment, as her doctorate research prepares her to better help the AMSN and MSNCB boards and staff to think differently about what programs and services are offered to nurses by the associations.

“I wanted to focus on the environmental factors and strategic foresight. It allowed me to look at nursing through a lens of culture and change. Skillsets and experiences and backgrounds have changed from what they were for nurses decades ago. So we need to ask: How do we address that and meet new needs of the future workforce?

“We now have a five generational workforce for the first time ever: traditional, baby boomer, Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z. That landscape alone causes disruption of support and increases misunderstandings – because each generation is so markedly different,” she says. “The Gen Zs are digital natives; they have never grown up without a smartphone. Their expectations and experiences are unique to traditionalists and baby boomers, who sometimes never fully embrace technology. Gen X-ers live-to-work, while Gen Zs want to work-to-live – that’s a very different paradigm. It means we need to think about work differently to meet both organizational and nurse needs.”

To effect change, Hinkley believes that everyone involved in the nursing community can do more to support nurses and give them the tools they need so that they can support each other. With those resources, nurses can thrive.

“I can’t express how eye-opening the doctorate program was for me. I am fulfilled knowing I will be able to apply what I have learned. I am able to look at nursing through a very special lens to study the issues affecting nurses. I know that AMSN and MSNCB will be able to meet the needs of our nurses even better as a result.”