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 Tuesday, September 1, 2015


The President's Message

Debra Kohlman-Trigoboff

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.

These words of the wise and respected Mahatma Gandhi are reflective of our members and future members who attended the recent SVN 33rd Annual Convention in Las Vegas, April 27-29.  The convention is consistent with the SVN mission to “provide a professional community for vascular nurses focused on advancing the care of persons living with vascular disease through excellence in clinical practice, education, and research.”

Those who attended the convention not only benefited through the sharing of new knowledge, but also through making new friends and being injected with new knowledge and enthusiasm by the presentations.  Those attending were inspired to view their practice in new ways, to try new techniques, to replicate other’s successes, to promote best practice, and to implement research findings into their practice.  As Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame said, “…you just grow more when you get more people's perspectives.”

The convention opened with the inspiring story of Nick Roumonada, who described his courageous recovery from a devastating bacterial meningitis infection at age 13, resulting in bilateral amputations.  He describes struggles to become a functioning person, contributing to the world around him.   He spoke about what encouraged him, his inner strength and those around him that rallied him to move forward.  Through his story, we learned ways to help our patients, to encourage them to move beyond their amputations, even under different situations.  I thought about my 90 year old patient with a below knee amputation, whose supportive family focused on her being functional again.  Their vision was for her to be up and around via use of a prosthesis.  How do you define living?  SVN is very grateful for the support of Hanger Clinic in making it possible to hear Nick’s story.

We heard from Dr. R. Clement Darling describing methods to optimize limb preservation with current endovascular approaches.  We also learned from the return of the Clinical Issue Forum, which was moderated by John Rheinsein, a prosthesist whose presentation was made possible through support from Hanger Clinic.  The focus on amputation care was enhanced by two practice based case studies presented by Carolyn Robinson and Monica Melo.

We heard about “out of the usual” practices, such as physiological amputation.  We were awakened to improve our clinical practice and assessments through several presentations, such as  Vascular Trauma:  The Power of Omission, and Postoperative Groin Wound Complications, a case study of missed infectious aortitis and mycotic aneurysms, preoperative screening for surgical risks, postoperative pain management,  preparing our patients for hyperbaric oxygen, stroke readiness in the PACU, post-op pain management, reducing the risk of endograft migration, a case study of a traumatic sentinel event, developing our own wound care program, use of a wound care technique of crest pads and more.  Each presentation enhanced our learning in some manner.

We learned new research based care of measuring the functional status in claudication, impact of various exercise modes, understating ischemic pain, and applying evidence-based guidelines related to post thrombotic syndrome. We gained new knowledge in being advocates for our patients, techniques to publish our practice, and what nurses in South Africa face in caring for vascular patients.

Pharm D, Kelly Rudd and our own, Melody Heffline, presented on the “Management of the Patient with VTE: A Case study Approach.”  This presentation was brought about through collaboration with PCNA (Preventative Cardiac Nurses Association).  Kelly and Melody presented at PCNA’s conference in early April.

The convention closed with a story from Jim Craig, the goaltender for the 1980 USA Olympic gold medal hockey team, supported by W. L. Gore through the Ultimate SAAAVE Campaign.  His story about his father, who died from an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm, awakened each of us to the importance of vigilant screening in those with risk factors. His story also reminded us to educate our patients to encourage family members to be screened for an aneurysm if there is a family history of aneurysms or smoking history.

We also celebrated! We celebrated our many excellent members and presenters through awarding the Jeanne Doyle Award, Janice D. Nunnelee Emeritus Member award, Excellence in Clinical Practice to an RN and APRN, Chapter of the Year, Travel Scholarships, Judith Troyer Caudle Memorial Award and presenter awards.  See the specifics about the recipients in other sections of this newsletter.  We heard an inspiring President’s Address from Terry DeVeaux reflecting on Making a Difference.

But we weren’t done yet! Friday afternoon’s return of the Pharmacotherapeutics Workshop was a successful presentation of multiple topics covering the treatment and management of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, neuropathic pain, diabetes, and anticoagulation/antiplatelet therapy.

Let’s not forget the many poster presentations with wonderful clinical information and quality improvement successes.  This rounded out the conventions focus “…on advancing the care of persons living with vascular disease through excellence in clinical practice, education, and research.”

This coming year, SVN will focus on Improving Lives as our vision statement reminds us that SVN will be the “premier vascular nursing organization whose members are improving outcomes for persons living with vascular disease.”

Don’t miss out!  Make plans NOW to join us in Orlando, Florida for the 34th Annual Convention on April 19-22, 2016 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.  I hope to see all of you and your families there!