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 Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The President's Message

Debra Kohlman-Trigoboff

We’ve all had those mornings, where we’re running out the door late, forgot our coffee on the counter, reached for an identification badge to access the hospital garage, dropped our cell phone only to have it fall under the passenger seat, while managing to lose grip on the identification badge, dropping it between the seats. The morning only gets better; as you step in to the elevator and drop your patient list with extreme precision that allows it to slip right down the elevator shaft!  Morning rounds however, gave me a fresh perspective on my ‘problems’.

Walking in to my first patient’s room, I’m greeted by Ms. M who is a 92 year old, legally blind amputee, recovering from the amputation of her right leg.  As I leaned closer to hear her softly mutter apologetic words, my heart sank to hear the sorrow and apologies escaping her mouth because she couldn’t wait any longer for nursing assistance and soiled her bed. She continued to explain that she put on her call button and was told someone was coming. However, her call for help came during the middle of a shift change and when the patient care assistant came to the door, the response was “it’s not my fault, I just got here.” It’s at this point that I need to take a breath, count to ten and remind myself that advocating for Ms. M and her well-being is the most important priority. It’s in this moment that I take the opportunity to advocate for the role of provider, professional responsibility and ethical care of our patient.

Advocacy is derived from the legal term of advocate, which means: a person who argues for or supports a cause or policy: a person who works for a cause or group: a person who argues for the cause of another person in a court of law. The meaning of advocacy for nurses is much more complex than the legal definition and often challenging to interpret.  A very common barrier to advocacy is the believing that it is impossible for one person to make a difference.

The term ‘advocacy’ as it pertained to nursing was first introduced by the International Council of Nurses in 1973. (Vaario &Leino-Kilpi,2004).  The American Nurses Association (ANA) considers advocacy an essential component of the ethical practice of nursing. Nurses have a responsibility to ensure the best patient experience, this is what we do best- leading persons to health with compassion, intelligence and competence. (Fahey, JVN 2001) One of the most effective tools that Florence Nightingale employed was advocacy for individuals and the early profession of nursing.  During her lifetime, Ms. Nightingale demonstrated a passion for improving healthcare and provided nursing with a foundational philosophy for practice that holds true today. (Selanders,2010)

One of the core values and a key element of the Society for Vascular Nursing (SVN) Strategic Plan is Advocacy for vascular nurses and persons living with vascular disease. The foundational leaders of SVN recognized advocacy as a critical component of the Scope and Standards of our specialty practice. Enhancing the caring environment, promoting the health of our patients, and supporting the vascular nurse are essential components of the mission of the SVN.  SVN Founding President Jeanne Doyle stated “Through continued advocacy efforts, and collaborative partnerships, the Society also plays a vital role in the multidisciplinary vascular specialty arena…As the recognized experts in vascular nursing; we must continue to chart the course.”  (Doyle,J, 2007) Through the continued efforts of our dedicated members we continue to influence the quality of care for vascular patients through a variety of mechanisms.

  • The Core Curriculum for Vascular Nursing- written by vascular nursing experts, providing a tool for early recognition and treatment of vascular diseases to improve quality of life and continuity of care.  This reference is recently revised and on sale now. SVN members receive a 25% discount.
  • Education materials- Booklets and patient instruction sheets designed by the SVN Education Committee and available for reference for patients as well as staff nurses not familiar with Peripheral Vascular disease and its treatments.
  • Scope and Standards of Vascular Nursing Practice- written by nurse expert members of SVN in collaboration with the American Nurses Association is newly revised and intended to guide the practice of every vascular nurse.
  • SVN Position Statement for PAD as the Public Policy Committee monitors and responds to legislative, policy and social issues that impact the delivery of care and supports SVN collaboration with other vascular-related organizations and coalitions. In addition, they have worked to gain recognition of the Vascular Nursing specialty through individual state Proclamations of Vascular Nursing week signed by the current governors.
  • 33rd Annual Convention- developed and planned by our Convention Planning Committee to provide high quality and diverse presentations that support current knowledge of the vascular nurse to ensure high quality care to our patients.  Save the date April 29-May 1st, 2015 and join us in Las Vegas.
  • The Society Promotion and Member Recognition Committee seek opportunities to advocate for and promote the vascular nursing specialty, the unique skills and accomplishments of the SVN members as a resource to other healthcare providers.
  • Clinical Guidelines and Review of current research by our Practice and Research Committee intended to improve outcomes for our patients and enhance continuity of care for the vascular patient.
  • The Journal of Vascular Nursing is a peer reviewed publication with an Editorial Board of expert vascular nurses.
  • The ABI Registry: another tool in our belt to support the community in education and screening programs.

Explore these opportunities to participate in and consider sharing your expertise.  Take the opportunity to advocate as a role model when you encounter that unfortunate patient care situation, sharing knowledge one-on-one, can bring about amazing change. One person can make a difference.

We are challenged every day to work more efficiently and often with fewer resources.  We have to make difficult decisions, discharging patients to home situations that are risky and very often unsupported.  Collaborating, exploring new methods of treatment, educating others about our practice, educating families and patients are all important avenues for advocating for quality vascular health care.

It’s during these moments that challenge us, that I’m reminded of this quote by Audry Hepburn, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”

Doyle, J., the Evolution of Vascular Nursing. Core Curriculum for Vascular Nursing2007;1:1-3.

Fahey,V., Vascular nursing in the 21st century. J Vasc Nurs 2001;19:38-41.

Selanders, L., Lake, K. & Crane, P. (2010). From charity to caring: Nightingale’s experience at Harley Street. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 28, 284-290.

Vaario, H. & Leino-Kilpi, H. (2004). Nursing advocacy – A review of the empirical research 1990-2003. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 42, 705-714.



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

•Vascular Nurses Week June 7-13, 2014
Our Public Policy and Advocacy Committee invited the State Governors to join us in celebrating those nurses who are improving outcomes for persons living with vascular disease by honoring the second week  of June as Vascular Nurses Week. Six state governors signed proclamations for this very
special celebration. Members organized many local activities that were highlighted on the SVN Facebook page.  We need to continue to promote this opportunity to recognize our specialty practice.

•The 2014-15 Board members approved and welcomed the new Chairs, Committee and Task Force members.
We are looking forward to an exciting year working with all of our dedicated volunteers.

•Core Curriculum available for purchase beginning 6/27/14.  This amazing document providing core knowledge for the specialty of vascular nursing. This is a tremendous achievement and a wonderful example of the expert knowledge available within our membership.

•Patient Education Booklets and Information pages given a face lift

Take a look at the updated versions of the SVN Patient education information.  The Education committee has revised and updated and with the assist of our new management given a new look to these documents. Please review and utilize this information to provide expert information to your patients and families.

•Conference planned for Vegas 2015- submit your Abstract now!  Plan to join us for fun and education!  Follow the website for updates on program.

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