Grant supports AACN CSI Academy Expansion

Dec. 11, 2020

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) announced it is bringing its AACN Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy nurse leadership and innovation program free of charge to a cohort of nurses caring for underserved critically ill cardiac patients, supported by a $200,000 grant it received as part of Edwards Lifesciences Foundation’s philanthropic initiative, Every Heartbeat Matters.

The initiative aims to deliver the AACN CSI Academy program to 10 cardiac surgery critical care and/or progressive care units. The program requires that selected units provide care to a significant proportion of patients from underserved populations, with an emphasis on Black communities.

The program builds additional skills for direct care nurses and leverages their expertise, empowering them as clinician leaders who effect positive changes that improve patient, nurse and hospital outcomes. Nationwide, more than 469 nurses at 82 hospitals have directly participated in the program since its launch in 2012. In total, the program has touched over 1.1 million patients and 6,200 nurses, with an estimated positive fiscal impact to hospitals of $84.2 million.

“By partnering with Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, AACN can both further our efforts to support all progressive and critical care nurses and their patients, and grow the CSI Academy program,” said Dana Woods, AACN CEO. “Academy participants have demonstrated that direct care nurses are critical drivers in creating lasting change and, ultimately, transforming healthcare. Undertaking this joint venture will empower an even broader community of nurses to make their optimal contribution.”

This grant-funded CSI Academy program is expected to begin in spring 2021. During the 12-month all-virtual program, teams of nurses from selected units will identify high-priority patient-care challenges and then develop, implement and evaluate solutions that result in quantifiable improvements. The program includes monthly education sessions and ongoing consultation and mentoring by AACN CSI Academy faculty, culminating in an online Innovation Conference where participants present their results to hospital leaders.

Outcomes from previous CSI Academy cohorts include improvements such as decreasing hospital-acquired pressure injuries, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, patient falls, delirium occurrences and length of stay, as well as increasing communication-related patient satisfaction, among other factors. These measurable patient improvements, coupled with a focus on equipping direct care nurses to drive positive change, are aspects of the AACN CSI Academy program that stood out to Edwards Lifesciences Foundation.

“Millions of structural heart and critical care patients face socioeconomic disparities that limit access to care,” said Amanda Fowler, executive director, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation. “Our Every Heartbeat Matters initiative seeks to address these disparities in partnership with nonprofit organizations, impacting each stage of the patient journey from detection to treatment, with additional emphasis on recovery through programs such as the AACN CSI Academy.

AACN offers online access to its collection of CSI Academy innovation projects ― including project plans, clinical interventions, data collection tools, outcomes and references ― as part of the program’s goal to inspire and empower as many progressive and critical care nurses as possible.

AACN has the release.