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Academy Promotes Medical/Surgical Nursing Goals

Monday May 6, 2002
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Nursing organizations like the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and Association of periOperative Nurses are well-known for providing a forum for RNs to improve their skills and network with colleagues. They also, of course, offer avenues for promoting their respective specialties. The same assistance is available for med/surg nurses - they can count on valuable support from the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN).
A national organization, the AMSN is committed to advancing adult health and medical/surgical nursing, as well as providing a vehicle for meeting the educational needs of members and fostering best practices.
The adult health-medical/surgical specialty encompasses health promotion, health maintenance, and health restoration for adult patients. Adult health-medical/surgical RNs work in various settings - private practice, general acute and subacute care, home health, long-term care, and outpatient care - in urban, suburban, and rural locations.
Right now, the academy represents some 2,300 RNs practicing in all areas of medicine, surgery, and adult healthcare throughout the country. The group was established when the American Nurses Association conducted a survey of RNs certified in med/surg nursing, plus attendees at the 1990 American Journal of Nursing Conference for Medical-Surgical and Geriatric Nurses. Respondents indicated that they'd welcome a specialty professional organization since there was no such group at the time for med/surg RNs.
In the AMSN's first two years, a steering committee set priorities, began publishing a scholarly journal, and started up a newsletter. The academy, whose first convention was held in Chicago in 1992, defined its main objectives as improving the image of med/surg RNs, developing standards of medical/surgical nursing practice, and creating a core curriculum.
Today, the academy provides valuable resources to members. Among these are its bimonthly, peer-reviewed journal, bimonthly newsletter, preparatory materials for the medical/surgical certification exam, and annual convention, which this year will be held October 18-21 in Kansas City, MO. This year's theme is "Caring at the Crossroads," and the meeting will include presentations on acute illnesses and clinical issues, pharmaceutical topics, and leadership.
To keep members current on med/surg innovations, the AMSN has created an award-winning website that includes an electronic newsletter, a member's forum for eliciting individual views on adult health-medical/surgical nursing issues, and position statements regarding practice areas in which medical/surgical nurses must be
AMSN objectives continue to be refined, tested, and updated - and maintenance of professional and clinical competence continues to be a high priority of the academy, as well as the need to foster new ideas, ensure interdisciplinary collaboration, and disseminate relevant updates for clinical practice. Indeed, the AMSN's core values - commitment, opportunity, responsibility, and education - are the four pillars of the academy's philosophy that will help guide medical/surgical nursing well into the future.
Recently, the AMSN's South Florida Sunshine Region chapter enjoyed a "renaissance" after having been inactive several years. The AMSN's national president, Marlene Roman, ARNP, MSN, a Boca Raton resident and a med/surg clinical nurse specialist in Broward County, issued a call to current AMSN members in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties to bring the regional chapter back to life, and local chapter meetings are now being held at noon on the third Tuesday of the month.
Because most chapter members live in Broward, meeting sites are being rotated throughout the county. During this start-up year, members may join without paying a fee. Current membership in the national academy is the only requirement for membership at the chapter level.
There's also no charge to attend educational offerings for AMSN members. These activities, which are planned by the local chapter, include med/surg certification review and med/surg bedside emergency courses.
If you're a medical/surgical nurse practicing in the adult health area, involvement in the AMSN could be a beneficial career move. For details on the national Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, please call its office at (856) 256-2323, or write to: AMSN, East Holly Ave., PO Box 56, Pitman, NJ 08071. Also, be sure to check out the group's website, medsurgnurse.org.