Member Volunteers Needed - AAACN is forming the RN Role & Value Proposition (ROI) Task Force to develop a starter toolkit for a new ambulatory care leader to include a business case description and a return on investment (ROI) template, talking points, and exemplars that support AAACN members as they advocate for implementing and expanding the RN role in ambulatory care. Apply by July 19.

More Momentum for AAACN!

The 2019 Palm Springs conference was a festive celebration of ambulatory care nursing and AAACN’s growth.

The 1,300 nurses at the recent AAACN 44th Annual Conference in Palm Springs, CA, had a lot to cheer about: The meeting was the highest attended in the association’s history. Membership is the largest it’s ever been. AAACN has new textbooks and resources that are leading the practice. And, keynote speaker Terry Foster was really funny.

During his presentation on “Surviving and Thriving in the Crazy World of Nursing,” Foster pulled waves of laughter from attendees. But the ‘thriving’ part of the story is what particularly energized attendees and AAACN leaders, and what new President, Kristene Grayem, MSN, CNS, PPCNP-BC, RN-BC, wants everyone to know about.

Kristene Grayem (center) shares a laugh with board
members at the conference.

“These are exciting times for our specialty. The continuing growth of the conference, as well as AAACN’s membership, shows that ambulatory care nurses are being recognized for their leadership and growing influence on patient care,” AAACN President Kristene Grayem, MSN, CNS, PPCNP-BC, RN-BC, said. “AAACN is being called to collaborate with several nursing organizations and nursing leaders at the highest levels. Our voices are being heard. There is no better time to be an ambulatory care nurse!”

The conference drew nurses from all 50 states and internationally who attended education sessions presented by top experts. The courses were organized in three tracks: Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCTM), Leadership, and Telehealth.

These three areas have helped fuel the current growth in ambulatory care, as health care delivery continues to shift to outpatient settings. This growth has been so significant that AAACN leaders presented at the conference a “Year in Review” infographic to celebrate the association’s 2018 achievements.

Other thriving areas of the ambulatory care specialty include Patient/Staff Education, Pediatrics, Tri-Service Military, and Veterans Affairs. Each of these practice arenas are served by AAACN’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs). This year, as in previous years, the SIGs sponsored their own sessions and invited all attendees to join in and get involved.

In addition to the education sessions and SIG gatherings, the nurses networked with colleagues, connected with friends, enjoyed special events, and spoke with industry representatives in the exhibit hall.

Conference Highlights

Outgoing AAACN President Kathy Mertens, DNP, MPH, RN, opened the conference on Wednesday, May 8, with the official “Welcome and President’s Address.” Foster’s keynote presentation followed. The concurrent and general sessions continued through Friday, May 10.

During the conference, attendees also viewed 130 posters with innovations, case studies, and best practices presented by their nurse colleagues.

As in previous years, AAACN held a Silent Auction to help support members with scholarships, grants and awards. This year, the auction raised $4,400, which included a generous donation from Shield Healthcare and the company’s Houston Territory Representative, Laura Williams.

AAACN also debuted the new Core Curriculum for Ambulatory Care Nursing, 4th Edition, and held a presale of the latest edition of the Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCTM) Core Curriculum (pre-orders will be taken on the AAACN Website in July). Both books brought in record-breaking sale amounts.

The conference closed Saturday, May 11, with the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification Review Course post-conference workshop.

The AAACN Board of Directors (from left) CEO Linda Alexander, Treasurer Quanna Batiste-Brown, Secretary Christine Ruygrok,
Director CMDR Assanatu (Sana) Savage, Immediate Past President Kathy Mertens, President-Elect Anne Jessie,
Director Deena Gilland, and Director Kathleen Martinez.

New Officers Inducted

Grayem, who is Vice President of Population Health at Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, OH, was inducted during the conference as AAACN 2019-20 president for a 1-year term. In this role, she will lead the AAACN Board of Directors (BOD) in fulfilling the association’s strategic plan and steering the direction and vision of AAACN.

Read more about Grayem

Also inducted to the BOD as directors were Deena Gilland DNP, RN, NEA-BC, of Covington, GA; Christine Ruygrok, MBA, RN-BC, of Tujunga, CA; and CMDR Assanatu (Sana) I. Savage, PhD, DNP, FNP-BC, RN-BC, of Silverdale, WA.

View current AAACN BOD

Scholarships and Awards

At the conference, AAACN announced the new Carol Rutenberg Telephone Triage Research/EBP Project Award in honor of Carol Rutenberg, RN-BC, C-TNP, MNSc, a longtime, dedicated AAACN member. The award will be given annually to a member who works in a telehealth position for research in telephone triage. This award recognizes Rutenberg’s contributions to AAACN and honors her work educating ambulatory and telehealth nurses. An online application for the award will be posted online in July 2019.

As in previous years, AAACN presented scholarships and awards to members during the conference. View all of the The 2019 award recipients are as follows:

  • President’s Above and Beyond Award (highest award to AAACN member(s) who exceeded the expectations of their volunteer roles):
    • Stephanie Witwer, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Pine Island, MN, was recognized for outstanding contributions to AAACN since joining in 2007. Witwer has made a significant impact in many roles that include serving as column editor and reviewer for ViewPoint, and speaker and poster presenter at AAACN conferences. Witwer helped create the Care Coordination and Transition Management Core Curriculum, serving as an author, reviewer, and expert panel member, and she co-chaired the RN Position Paper Revision Task Force. She served as co-editor of the Core Curriculum for Ambulatory Care Nursing, 4th Edition, and is currently editor of the Ambulatory Care Nursing Review Questions, 5th Edition. Witwer is also an active member of the Academic-Practice Partnerships Guidelines Task Force.  
    • Carol Rutenberg, RN-BC, C-TNP, MNSc, Hot Springs, AR, was recognized for outstanding contributions to AAACN since joining in 1997. Rutenberg has served in many volunteer positions, including contributor to the AAACN Scope and Standards of Practice for Professional Telehealth Nursing, Core Curriculum for Ambulatory Care Nursing, and Care Coordination and Transition Management Core Curriculum, as a member of the Nominating Committee, and as a conference presenter. Recently, Rutenberg gifted the content of her popular telephone triage course to AAACN. AAACN will develop its own online telephone triage nursing course based on the content of Rutenberg's proven education.
  • Research Grant ($500): Amy Ellertsen, MN, RN-BC, Hanover, NH. Grant will be used for research study, “The Effect of Daily Safety Huddle Attendance Frequency on Measures of a Culture of Safety in Internal Medicine Clinic.”
  • Conference Scholarship (members in nursing 2+ years): Elizabeth “Libby” Barton, RN-BC, Belton, TX.
  • Conference Scholarship (new RNs in nursing 2 years or less): Victoria Billings, RN, Jacksonville, FL.
  • Education Scholarship: Karen Mastrolonardo, BA, RN-BC, Mount Prospect, IL.
  • Clinical Excellence Award (sponsored by the Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. Nursing Economic$ Foundation, given to a AAACN member who personifies clinical excellence in ambulatory care; $500): Amy Fulwood, BSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM, Hernando, FL.
  • Administrative Excellence Award: (sponsored by the Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. Nursing Economic$ Foundation, given to a AAACN member who personifies administrative excellence in ambulatory care; $500): Stephanie Witwer, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Pine Island, MN.
  • 2019 ViewPoint Writer’s Award (given for an outstanding article published in the association’s official newsletter, ViewPoint): Amy O’Dell, DNP, APRN, AGPCNP-BC, Advanced Practice Provider, Geriatric Rounding Service, Carle Physician Group LLC, Urbana, IL, for the article, RN Training Toolkit Development for Value-Based Care Models, November/December 2018.

View Scholarship and Award Recipients
Learn more about AAACN Scholarships and Awards

AAACN Online Library

Nurses who attended the full conference have access to an extensive source of CNE contact hours in the AAACN Online Library, which can be used for certification and licensure requirements. For more information about accessing conference content, visit

2020 Conference

The AAACN 45th Annual Conference will be held April 15-18, 2020, at the Hilton Chicago, Chicago, IL. Poster abstracts are being accepted through December 15, 2019.