American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest association of specialty nurses in the world. It has been facilitating information resources and knowledge required by nurses to cure seriously ill and critical patients. Its objective is to create a healthcare system that adapts to requirements of patients and their families by appropriate contribution of critical care nurses. Since its inception in 1969, more than half million nurses are part of this organization. The organization has significantly promoted in establishing critical and acute care as a distinct specialty of nursing.
AACN has 235 local chapters which has been implementing its various programs and activities. It offers a number of educational products and conducts seminars and conferences at local, regional and national levels for educating nurses and keeping them up to date. It has been offering various E-learning programs such as “Basic ECG interpretation”, “The preceptor challenge”, “Essentials of critical care orientations”, “Essentials of nurse manager orientation” and “Promoting excellence in palliative and end of life care” which can be accessed on one click and are available 24/7. It has been providing grants of $500 to $50,000 for research in critical care nursing.
The organization has developed a number of documents such as “Standards of Acute and Critical Care Nursing”, “Education Standards for Critical Care Nursing”, “AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments: A Journey to Excellence”, “Scope and Standards for the Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist”, and “Protocols for Practice” which serves as a reference and helps in formulating and maintaining practice standards. AACN has been influencing health policy by participating in national forums and bringing up opinions of critical care nurses on various legal and regulatory issues.
It incorporated a certification wing AACN Certification Corporation in 1975 for offering various credentials in area of critical care nursing. The credentials provided by AACN are listed below-
CCRN: – This is a certification developed for critical care nurses engaged in direct bedside care.
CCRN-E: – This is a certification developed for critical care nurses serving adult patients in tele-ICU.
PCCN: – This is a credential developed for critical care nurses serving adult patients in progressive care settings.
CMC: – This is a credential developed for sub-specializing in care of adult cardiology patients.
CSC: – This is a credential developed for sub-specializing in care of adult cardiac surgery patients.
ACNPC: – This is a certification exam for acute care nurse practitioners.
CCNS: – This is a certification exam for clinical nurse specialists.
CNML: – This is a certification exam for nurse manager and leader.