UVMMC Critical & Progressive Care Nursing Conference Persists Through Pandemic

Critical & Progressive Care Nursing Committee Crew at 2018 Conference.

Planning Committee members from the 2018 conference at the Delta Hotels by Marriott (left to right): Tessa Lawrence, BSN, RN, PCCN – MICU; Kate Soons, MSN, RN, CCRN – PICU Nurse Educator and AACN Vermont Green Mountain Chapter liaison; Deb Hebert, DNP, RN, CNML – Nursing Director, Medicine, Psychiatry & Oncology; Caitlyn King, BSN, RN – SICU/PICU; Sean Muniz, Paramedic – HealthNet Critical Care Transport; Jada Barton, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, CCRN – Emergency Department; Emma Hennessey, BSN, RN, PPCN – MICU; Sarah Moore, BSN, RN – Assistant Nurse Manager, MICU; and Sue Toolin, MSN, RN, CCRN-K – Rapid Response Team 

The Critical & Progressive Care Nursing Conference, now in its fifth year, brings clinicians together for a program of pertinent education, knowledge sharing and community. The conference began as the very first task force of our newly established Nursing Professional Governance (NPG) structure, and nursing units represented include: MICU, SICU/PICU, Emergency Department, Rapid Response Team, Miller 3 Surgical Specialty Unit, Miller 4 Cardiology and McClure 5 Neuroscience, as well as procedural areas such as Interventional Radiology and the Cath Lab.  

The first three years, the conference was an in-person event, with presentations and a poster session. The past two years have been virtual, but still valuable, says Kate Soons, MSN, RN, CCRN a member of the planning committee all five years. Topics have included sepsis guidelines, EKG interpretation, clinical bioethics, acute respiratory failure, acid-base balance, de-escalation techniques, rapid response/escalation of care, and mechanical circulatory support at UVMMC.  

“It’s been a challenge recently to bring everybody together primarily because of workloads, but it’s one of the most rewarding things I have ever worked on,” Soons says. “As nurses, we are trained to take care of patients, and we serve on committees that improve the care of the patients that we serve or how we operate as a nursing unit. But this is completely different – we built an event that is not just educational but also social for nurses to come together.” 

Continuing education credits are available to those who attend and the AACN Standards of a Healthy Work Environment are incorporated into every conference, Soons says.  “And we have emphasized, highlighted and cheered the work of nurses through the quality improvement poster sessions.”  

The collaborative ethos extends to the physicians who present. “The physicians are all selected because they are incredibly supportive, collaborative and respectful of nursing,” Soons says. All of the Nursing leadership lends strong support to the conference, giving nurses release time to work on planning, and they attend to cheer on their nursing teams. 

Soons says the Planning Committee is particularly grateful to Deb Hebert, DNP, RN, CNML Sarah Moore, BSN, RN and for the guidance of two educators who guided the effort to attain CEUs – Sue Toolin, MSN, RN, CCRN-K and Caitlin Guilbert, BSN, RN. 

She adds that everyone should mark their calendars for the upcoming virtual conference on October 19 from 4-6 pm. More information to come. 

Committee members, past & present   

*indicates those who have served as chair  

*Jada Barton, BSN, RN, CNE, CPEN, CCRN (Emergency Department) 

Jonathan Cullen, Paramedic (HealthNet Critical Care Transport) 

*Tiffany Feldman, BSN, RN, PCCN  (Miller 4 Cardiology) 

Deb Hebert, DNP, RN, CNML (Nursing Director, Medicine, Psychiatry & Oncology) 

Caitlin Guilbert, BSN, RN (MICU Nurse Educator) 

*Emma Hennessey, BSN, RN, PCCN (MICU) 

Caitlyn King, BSN, RN (SICU/PICU)  

Tessa Lawrence, BSN, RN, PCCN (MICU) 

Sarah Moore, BSN, RN (MICU Assistant Nurse Manager) 

*Sean Muniz, Paramedic (HealthNet Critical Care Transport) 

Mary Rowley, BSN, RN (Emergency Department) 

Lindsey Simpson, Paramedic (Clinical Coordinator, HealthNet) 

*Kate Soons, MSN, RN, CCRN (AACN Vermont Green Mountain Chapter/SICU-PICU) 

Sue Toolin, MSN, RN, CCRN-K (Rapid Response Team)