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 Friday, May 22, 2015


The President's Message

Debra Kohlman-Trigoboff

As we begin a new year, most of us reflect on our experiences of the prior year and resolve to change in some way our outcome for this current year. In order to successfully navigate this plan for change, we need to understand why the change is important and how we will measure our individual success.  Or, perhaps, we have had the very best year and wish to continue on the same positive path. Navigating this plan of change takes on a global challenge for the Society for Vascular Nursing (SVN). We have embarked on new beginnings, are addressing the changes necessary to meet the challenge of evolving health care systems and the management of its success within the restraints of an unstable and unreliable economy.

The SVN is comprised of nurses with a specialized skillset focusing in vascular disease. The SVN strategic priorities provide a framework for our organizational plan (see Table 1). 1 In 2014, like many organizations, the SVN was challenged with limited financial resources in a struggling economy faced with a significant healthcare crisis. Our individual members were dealing with diminishing support for educational programs, as well as increasing work responsibility as patient acuity mounted and resources dwindled. The SVN leadership struggled with decisions for strategies to control spending, while maintaining the quality of our organization.  We needed to better understand the needs of our members and find innovative ways to implement change.

Table 1

SVN Strategic Priorities

  1. SVN will be the premier resource for vascular nursing encouraging innovation in vascular nursing practice, education, and research.
  2. SVN will advance the science of vascular nursing, translate evidence into practice, and improve outcomes for persons living with vascular disease.
  3. SVN will position its members as advocates for nurses and persons living with vascular disease.


I would like to share the celebration of some of our achievements in 2014, as a measure of success for SVN. These accomplishments may not necessarily generate a financial gain, but are integral to the continued progress, growth and ultimately the financial stability of our organization. They are the foundation that we are using to address our priorities.

Our first priority is to be the premier resource for vascular nursing in practice, education and research.  Traveling to South Africa in the Fall of 2014, SVN members provided a two day nursing symposium covering disease description, assessment and treatment to nurses in that region.  Our expertise was requested and supported by the vascular physicians, recognizing the educational needs of their staff and their desire to provide the best care for vascular patients. The resources of the SVN, profiled through our website, have drawn them to our group.  These nurses were already providing skilled and caring practice for vascular patients, but local programs did not focus on their specific practice and education needs, which include the constant innovations in vascular disease treatment and the role of the vascular nurse.  Technology will be the continued support mechanism with the South African nurses, as many have become members and will utilize our website for continued education, communication and information. This was a great opportunity to introduce our newly published Core Curriculum for Vascular Nursing. New members and publication sales will definitely support our success.  We are providing assistance to other international groups seeking to develop their own SVN chapters. This is an initiative expectation of continuous growth in membership and utilization of SVN publications.

It is of equal importance to recognize the challenges to current members and our national chapters.  As mentioned previously, many organizations are facing similar challenges. Employers are not able to provide support for travel and time off for educational needs.  In addition, patient safety is a national priority for all health care organizations. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that nearly three fourths of patient care errors occurred related to communication errors and suggested one remedy to be inter-professional education (IPE), teaching professionals to work collaboratively.1 In response to member needs and patient safety concerns, the SVN has formed new collaborative relationships. Working with the Society for Vascular Ultrasound (SVU), we are developing the first in what we hope will be a series of webinars available to our combined memberships via website technology.  These programs will allow distance learning provided by our combined areas of expertise and offered as a membership benefit to both organizations.

We have also joined efforts with The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA). Through grant support, our organizations are developing a program that will be presented during each of our National meetings this spring. Scheduled speakers are experts representing each group.  The program will be recorded, provided as a webinar on the PCNA website, and also available with contact hour accreditation as a benefit to members of both organizations. Again, the leadership of both organizations intends for this to be one of a continuing collaboration. These educational initiatives support the second strategic priority of the SVN, to advance the science of vascular nursing, translating evidence into practice. Both groups are ultimately seeking to improve outcomes for patients with vascular disease.

Collaboration with our corporate supporters is another area we are exploring.  The integrity of our educational programs is imperative; however the expertise of our members provides us with opportunities for commercial support through educational grant programs.  We have received such funding for our Wound Care module in progress.  This is another program that will be added to the on-line courses available for discount to SVN membership.  Suggestions from our key supporters will help guide us in future program development and scientific programs that are appropriate for educational grant support. Our Practice and Research Committee continues to provide us with current research review and supports our own expert nurses in the practice of research for improvement of patient outcomes.

Continuing with our third strategic priority, to position members as advocates for nurses and persons with vascular disease, our Education Committee has completed updates and revisions to our website documents.  These patient education documents are available as a member benefit and created by vascular nursing experts.  Expert resources are an important benefit to support membership, the key component of our financial stability.  As previously mentioned the newly published Core Curriculum for Vascular Nursing is an invaluable resource available and discounted to members. The Journal for Vascular Nursing (JVN) continues as a benefit of membership and offers articles current and specific to vascular nursing care. Both publications are accessible through the SVN website:

Did you know that nurses are the consistently highest rated profession since 1999, except for 2001 when firefighters reached the number one slot?2 Public opinion cites nursing honesty and ethical standards as the highest among eleven professions.  The author of the article referenced felt that this position was of particular significance given the fears associated with medical care and the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Yet, nurses held their position.

The SVN leadership has carefully reviewed our recent member survey.  You will be seeing changes in the next several months that incorporate suggestions from the survey, as well as focus on the growth and financial stability of your organization.  We appreciate the guidance of our new management in the success of these endeavors. Please consider attending the annual meeting in Las Vegas.  The Planning committee has put together an exceptional program. In addition, following the regular conference agenda, a Pharmacology post-conference session offers four pharmacology credit hours focusing on key vascular medications. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet your leaders, share your ideas, and network with experts who share your passion for the care of the vascular patient.  Register to attend the meeting now.

Doing things differently often requires some compromise and always doing the work of changing. The future for SVN is optimistic and will continue to require innovation.  Success requires the participation and support of all members.

Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
St. Francis of Assisi


  1. Salas E, Rosen MA. Building High Reliability Teams: Progress and Some Reflection on Teamwork Training. Quality and Safety in Health Care. 2013;22:369–373.
  2. Riffkin, R. Americans Rate Nurses Highest on Honesty, Ethical Standards. 2014 Downloaded from the worldwide web.


In this quarter, SVN seeks input from membership and works toward expanding the organization and its member education and benefits.

Members help us spread the word on SVN Expertise

  1. Collaboration with Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) results in joint educational grant for a program titled Management of the Patient with VTE: A Case-Based Approach, to be presented at our individual conferences in the spring.  The program will then be available for members of SVN and PCNA via a webinar access, with approval for a continuing education unit(CEU).  SVN is proud to have member, Melody Heffline represent us in the development of this program.
  2. SVN will be developing the first in what we hope will be a series of webinars in collaboration with the Society of Vascular Ultrasound.  We will be seeking member interest and relevant expertise for content development.
  3. The American College of Cardiology/ American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) has selected SVN member, Dr. Eileen Walsh to serve as a member of the writing committee for the Guideline for the Treatment of Lower Extremity Peripheral Artery Disease (LEPAD).
  4. Member, Anita Puthuparampil-Suchdeve will begin her term as our representative to the Vascular InterVentional Advances (VIVA) program for the Cardiovascular Healthcare Professionals Symposium(CHPS).
  5. Chris Owen and Tiffany Street will review the American Physical Therapy Association Guideline for Treatment of VTE. This is an exciting invitation to share our expertise in venous disease with our physical therapy associates.

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