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November 2015 Vol. 2 No. 3


In This Issue 

If you're reading this, you're probably already an AWHONN member. This edition focuses on the many benefits of membership. We challenge you to forward this to 3 of your colleagues who AREN'T already members and encourage them to join. And hey, if they join listing you as the one who referred them, then YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS FREE!

From the Oregon AWHONN Chair

Membership Has Its Benefits — Pass It On

by Deb Castile, MN, RNC, CNS, NE

Hello Oregon AWHONN. What a great group of men and women. I am honored to be serving you. Today we are 518 members strong. That is over 100 new members since Jan 2013 with more than 20 of them being in the last 90 days. Why have we seen such an increase in membership the last couple of years? I attribute it to you. You are reaching out to your colleagues and informing them of the benefits you have received by being an AWHONN member. AWHONN is the only professional nursing organization that promotes the health of women across their lifespan and the health of their newborns.

As a member of AWHONN you have experienced the benefits of professional growth through knowledge and information AWHONN provides in their monthly journals — Nursing for Women’s Health and The Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN). You are receiving weekly emails from AWHONN called SmartBrief’s where you receive up-to-date information on women’s health, obstetrics, current research, neonatal health and AWHONN news. You have access to AWHONN’s standards for “Professional Nursing Practice in the Care of Women and Newborns” and you receive discounts like up to 40% off at the AWHONN Bookstore, discounts on Professional Liability insurance, and other member discounts. Additionally you receive discounted registration fees to National Convention, Oregon Conference and as a bonus, Oregon AWHONN purchases the entire AWHONN webinar series for it’s membership body. That gives you 24/7 free access to more than 25 webinars and CNE contact hours. To access this benefit, visit us on the “For Members” tab at the website for more information.

Your membership in AWHONN gives you the tools to gain confidence, increase your professional knowledge and leadership skills, provides education, networking, advocacy and peace of mind. Please help AWHONN reach your colleagues and encouraging them to become members.

May we all continue to grow and learn within our profession each and everyday. I am honored to be working alongside of each of you in the care of Women and Newborns. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do. §

Feature Articles

The Medico-Legal Implications of AWHONN Membership

Editorial column submitted by Lisa A. Miller, CNM, JD

I write today to share with you my thoughts on the subject of professional association membership and its implications for risk management. This brief column represents my personal opinions which have been formed over more than thirty years as a nurse and nurse-midwife, as well as an expert in nursing malpractice cases. Following the review of literally hundreds of obstetric malpractice cases and near-miss situations, I believe that maintaining an active membership in your professional organization, in this case AWHONN, is a very sound decision from a risk management standpoint, for several reasons.

To fully understand the value of AWHONN membership from a legal perspective, one has to recognize that risk management in obstetric nursing can be divided into two distinct categories: risk reduction and risk mitigation. Risk reduction involves the development of both individual and enterprise approaches to patient safety that focus on the prevention of obstetric accidents and the development of high-reliability perinatal care, from antepartum to postpartum, conception to delivery and discharge of healthy mother and baby. The other component of risk management, risk mitigation, comes into play following an obstetric accident or unanticipated poor outcome, for either mother or infant, and is applicable regardless of whether or not errors occurred. Membership in AWHONN provides support for both aspects of risk management, and is one of the most cost effective risk management tools nurses can have at their disposal.

From a risk reduction standpoint, AWHONN offers its members a huge variety of tools and supporting materials to promote patient safety from both an individual and enterprise standpoint. Your memberships provides complimentary subscriptions to two award-winning journals, Nursing for Women’s Health and the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN). Concerned about the standard of care or looking for best practices? Every issue of JOGNN contains a review of current resources for evidence-based practice. Perhaps you manage a neonatal unit and have concerns about newborn pertussis. The September/October issue of Nursing for Women’s Health contains an evidence-based prevention protocol from a major medical center. In addition to two journals, your membership entitles you to a wide variety of free educational tools and resources, and discounts on both online and live seminars and events, including the annual convention where you can learn about the latest advances in perinatal and neonatal care. The exhibition hall at national convention offers access to an enormous variety of products and services, all designed to enhance practice. And don’t forget your state and local AWHONN offerings, like the recent Oregon AWHONN Fall Conference in Medford, a brilliant success. Your membership is also the key to networking, whether that be for a job hunt or professional advice on a clinical topic. Getting to know other AWHONN members is an opportunity to grow and advance your career and your knowledge base. Better information, best practices, and solid help with protocol development and critique are just some of the risk reduction benefits that can safeguard your individual practice and help your team avoid those preventable poor outcomes, automatically reducing your liability risk.

What about risk mitigation? We all know that working in obstetric and neonatal nursing, regardless of how safe and evidence-based our care is, we cannot guarantee a perfect outcome for each birth, every newborn. Unfortunately today in the United States, a poor outcome usually means litigation. Every nurse, every hospital system will be called upon to defend their care when litigation arises. In providing a defense, you, as a nurse or as part of nursing leadership at your institution, will be called upon to explain, under oath, what was done and the rationale behind your actions or your team’s plans and responses. To successfully defend yourself, your testimony must be both factually accurate and credible. Factual accuracy stems from your knowledge base, which should be excellent if you as an AWHONN member have taken advantages of the benefits discussed above; but your credibility is equally important and stems from both your knowledge base and your demeanor, as well as how you present to others, as in a jury. Look at this deposition excerpt from an actual obstetric malpractice case; the nurse answering questions here had over 30 years of experience in labor and delivery:

Plaintiff’s attorney: Are you a member of any professional organization?

Nurse: No, sir.

Plaintiff’s attorney: Have you ever been?

Nurse: No, sir. In labor & delivery you mean, in OB?

Plaintiff’s attorney: Any nursing organization.

Nurse: Student Nurses Association.

Plaintiff’s attorney: While you were in nursing school?

Nurse: Yes, sir.

Plaintiff’s attorney: And you’ve mentioned AWHONN before?

Nurse: Yes, sir.

Plaintiff’s attorney: And what is AWHONN?

Nurse: It’s….golly, it’s…’s kind of like one of the organizations that I guess stipulates some of the guides for labor and delivery nurses.

What do you think of this testimony? Has she helped or hurt her credibility? How likely is a jury to believe her other testimony after this? Especially when every expert for both plaintiff and defense will most likely be members of their professional organizations, as well as many co-defendants. In short, your membership is evidence of your professionalism and commitment to women and families, and it goes a long way in supporting your credibility.

AWHONN membership is the most

cost-effective way to safeguard yourself

from malpractice litigation.

In closing, I have to say that AWHONN membership is the most cost-effective way to safeguard yourself from malpractice litigation. At under $200 a year, it provides the resources you need for safe practice, protocol development, evidence review and professional networking, both within AWHONN and through AWHONN’s collaborative efforts with other professions and organizations. Enhance your knowledge base, find answers to common clinical questions, and get the latest and greatest in both professional and practice development for you and your institution. So be safe, be smart, and BE A MEMBER!! §

AWHONN Membership: The Student Nurse Perspective

Membership to AWHONN is not limited to RNs and LPNs. Students reap unique benefits from AWHONN membership as well. Here in Oregon, we have actively recruited student nurses who have a passion for a nursing career centered on caring for women, mothers, and babies. For the past 4 years the Oregon Section has selected 3 students from various schools of nursing from around the state to partner with AWHONN’s Oregon Section Fall Conference Planning Committee. Selected students are given a one year AWHONN membership and paid conference fees for their work with this committee and during the conference. Two students from Oregon Health & Science University, Ashland campus and one student from Central Oregon Community College in Bend were selected to partner with the 2015 fall conference committee. Their testimonials below describe how much they learned from and enjoyed the experience.

Before I signed up for this event, I wasn’t sure what the conference encompassed. I knew that I was interested in OB/NICU, and that this would be a great learning experience; the conference exceeded my expectations. I learned so much about different aspects of the OB and even got to watch simulations on topics including: A mother in cardiac arrest, a mother with a hypertensive crisis, and a NICU scenario. The simulations expanded my knowledge, as I was able to see what nurses do in those high stress situations. The speakers at the conference were remarkable; I learned new strategies I feel would be important to incorporate into my practice. Additionally, it was fantastic being able to network with other nurses in this field. It allowed me to meet other nurses that are passionate about similar things. I would recommend this experience to anyone, I believe in AWHONN’s mission, and I am glad that I was able to learn new information, while meeting new people.

Anna E. Brumbley, NS3

Oregon Health and Science University | School of Nursing | Ashland Campus

Participating in this year’s conference was a priceless experience for me. I am an ADN program student with limited access to labor and delivery clinical hours so the conference was the perfect opportunity for me to start building my foundation of knowledge on women’s health nursing. The simulations created a fun, safe environment to learn to work through the ‘what-if’ scenarios and the speakers were brilliant! To say I learned a lot is a complete understatement. The most beneficial part of the conference for me was the networking opportunity it provided. I was ecstatic to meet and chat with so many smart, wonderful nurses. I am definitely going to renew my membership and I look forward to attending future conferences as well as staying up to date on the latest developments via the newsletter. I strongly recommend any fellow nursing students considering a career in women’s health, obstetrics or neonatal nursing take advantage of all the benefits AWHONN has to offer!

Kenzi Klein

Central Oregon Community College

As a student member of the AWHONN committee, I was able to observe and participate in some of the tasks that go into hosting a successful nursing conference. I interacted with members of the AWHONN committee and other healthcare leaders in both professional and casual settings. I had fun learning and spending time with these inspirational women. This experience enhanced my self-confidence regarding interpersonal communication skills and professional presentation. Attending the conference allowed me the opportunity to see what continued education looks like as an RN as well as how I can give back to the nursing community by taking on a leadership role as a committee member. I am thankful for the opportunities to network with nursing role models and to learn more about women and infant health from the simulations and presentations at the AWHONN conference.

Ariel Longmire

OHSU Senior Nursing Student, Ashland Campus §

Neonatal Practice Update

The Neonatal Nurse — the “N” in AWHONN

by Pat Scheans, DNP, NNP-BC

For those of us providing care to newborns, there are several neonatal nursing organizations to choose from. While the Academy of Neonatal Nursing (ANN) and the National Association of Neonatal Nursing (NANN) are two excellent groups, they are specific to newborn care, much of it intensive care. Only AWHONN focuses on the range of care for the perinatal nurse — those nurses caring for mothers and well newborns to critically ill infants. AWHONN helps us all, from the NICU to the Family Birth Center, to provide the best care possible to our littlest patients.

The evidence-based practice guidelines that AWHONN develops are used by nurses at the bedside in maternity health care organizations and NICUs around the world. Two striking examples of these are the Assessment and Care of the Late Preterm Infant Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline, and the Neonatal Skin Care Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline.

The size, depth, and breadth of the AWHONN board and organization allows for oodles of professional development to help you improve and maintain your broad skill set as a perinatal or neonatal nurse. You may have begun your newborn care career with AWHONN’s Neonatal Orientation and Education Program (NOEP), which can be used for initial preparation and continuing nursing education.

AWHONN wrote the book, literally and figuratively on newborn care. Publications include the Neonatal Nursing: Clinical Competencies and Education Guide, as well as the Core Curriculum for Maternal-Newborn Nursing. For those of you desiring help with the certification process, AWHONN publishes the text for Certification and Core Review for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing.

Continuing education-wise, AWHONN offers monographs on neonatal conditions such as hyperbilirubinemia, and a range of webinars on neonatal topics from abstinence syndrome, to breastfeeding, to safe sleep practices. Hungry for knowledge on evidence-based newborn care? Satisfy your appetite with an AWHONN membership and all of its offerings. §

Women's Health Update

The Unknown Benefits of AWHONN Membership

by Nancy Irland, DNP, RN, CNM

I’ve struggled with writing this piece. Our theme for this newsletter is “What are the benefits of AWHONN membership?” You’ve already heard about the professional rewards of staying on top of the latest innovations in patient care, so I won’t repeat those. Like me, you might be asking, “Is that all there is?”

Turns out, it isn’t. There are some very personal, family-friendly rewards of AWHONN membership that I discovered in doing research for this article. I’ll get to those in a minute, after I do what I’m supposed to do and point out the professional benefits of AWHONN membership. The family-friendly reasons could be the argument that brings you to decide on membership, which could impact your professional life as a side effect ;-)

Personally, the professional benefits have come in retrospect. I wish I was a member when I worked at a community hospital many years ago. Very few of my co-workers were members. We didn’t understand the benefits. Looking back, however, I recognize that although we gave excellent care, we didn’t have the research to tell us “why” it was best practice. Most changes to our policies came as a result of someone hearing something at a conference, then sharing it with the manager. As such, we were often late adopters and made changes reactively, rather than proactively.

When I found a job at a hospital where AWHONN membership was encouraged, I joined because I needed to know the latest obstetrical innovations. To my surprise, my professional world expanded exponentially as a result. First, membership gave me the opportunity to be a journal reviewer for Nursing for Women’s Health. In one of my reviews, I was startled by a writer’s summary of the CDC’s Healthy People 2010 goals. I went to the site and discovered my hunch was right – she had put her own twist on one of the goals. She had mis-represented the original CDC statement. As a result of following my gut, raising a red flag, and saving the journal from embarrassment, I was invited to be a member of the editorial board for a designated 5-year term.

This led to an invitation to be a columnist for the journal during that time. I was humbled and nervous about my potential impact on nurses around the world. As such, I chose my words very carefully before print. (I was aware that there were readers like me out there who would nail me if I got anything wrong!) From the contacts I made through the journal, I was later given an invitation to serve on the national committee to develop recommendations for care of pregnant diabetes patients. I turned that opportunity down because I was busy with DNP papers. But, it was nice to be noticed by policy-makers and game changers of our international professional organization.

But, what about those family-friendly reasons for membership? I learned that AWHONN members can get travel discounts on cruises, hotel and motels, theme parks in Florida, car rental agencies, auto and pet insurance, and education. On a local level, Oregon AWHONN membership includes free CEUs through pre-recorded AWHONN webinars.

In summary, it’s an ongoing struggle for all of us to be proactive on best-practice changes. Membership helps with that. The journals I get with my AWHONN membership keep me updated on recommended practice changes that I might not otherwise have known about. There are also opportunities for funded research, should I or any of the staff nurses I work with choose to apply.

I haven’t cashed in on the theme park discounts yet, but I certainly plan to do so (maybe more than once) before I retire! Membership has its privileges, no matter what the motivation might be. §


Oregon AWHONN Portland Chapter Proudly Presents...

Live Webinar: The Role of Hospitals in Supporting Home Birth

A 90-minute live webinar on the history, challenges and rewards of supporting women and optimizing outcomes in the home birth population who require hospital transfer. Open to all! AWHONN membership not required. Earn 1.5 CEUs.

Presented by

Duncan Neilson MD, Clinical VP Women’s Services, Legacy Health

Diana Smith CNM, Practicing Midwife, Legacy Midwifery

Wed, Dec 2, 2015

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM Social hour, refreshments

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM Live Webinar

Legacy Emanuel Medical Center

Room: Lorenzen 1702

2801 N Gantenbein Ave

Portland, OR 97227

To join online, register now at After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

To join in person, please RSVP to Leona Logue at [email protected]. §

Fall Conference Update

Thank you to everyone who attended the Oregon AWHONN Fall Conference in beautiful southern Oregon. We were fortunate to not be impacted by the forest fires though the weather was plenty hot.

The conference committee was very pleased with the service and food we received by the Inn at the Commons and we would like to thank them for being such a pleasure to work with.

The post conference comments we received from attendees were overall very positive and, as always, will be used in planning future conferences. Planning for the 2016 Oregon Fall Conference has already begun! Be sure to watch for Save the Dates and other important information coming soon! §

Oregon AWHONN News

Chapter News

Southern Oregon

by Linda Veltri, PhD, RN

One advantage of AWHONN membership is the ability to connect with other AWHONN members who live and work in your community through attendance at local chapter meetings. The Southern Oregon Chapter holds meetings two times a year (fall and spring) at different locations throughout the Rogue Valley. Each meeting affords members an opportunity to network, learn about up to date issues relating to women, mothers, or newborns and obtain continuing education credits. Attendance at chapter meetings is also a great way to introduce a colleague to AWHONN. So grab a co-worker and come join us on November 3 for our 2015 fall chapter meeting at Providence Medford Medical Center from 5 - 6:30 pm. We will hold a short chapter meeting and view the AWHONN webinar Complex Case Study: Prolonged Decelerations presented by Tonia Russell, RNC-EFM. Thank you Ann Cottini for offering to host this event and to the Oregon Section for providing access to the AWHONN webinar

series. §

Every Women, Every Baby (EWEB) Update

AWHONN is a leader in promoting healthier women, safer pregnancies, stronger babies and the best prepared nurses. AWHONN does this partly through support generated by the EWEB annual campaign. AWHONN will give a free convention registration to the section with the highest dollars raised and to the highest percentage of donors in relation to their membership numbers. Oregon has won the participation category the last two years. For the 2015 campaign, Oregon is currently standing in first place for both funds raised and participation percentage. To date Oregon has had 55 individuals donate (10.7% of our membership body) raising a total to date of $ 17,120. A huge thank you to Diana Richardson for securing a $10K donation from Family Care Health Plans which put us in the lead for the total funds raised. Help keep Oregon in the lead. If you have not given, please donate to the EWEB campaign. §

A Season of Change

I love this time of year. The leaves are changing colors, the sunrises and sunsets seem more colorful and the air is crisp and cool in the mornings. The season is changing and Fall is upon us. As we experience a change in seasons, so we experience changes in stages of life. For myself and Oregon AWHONN, we will be going through a change. My two consecutive terms as your Oregon Section Chair is coming to a close. Starting January 1st, Nancy Irland will become the Oregon Section Chair. Becky Moore will remain the Secretary / Treasurer for another two years. Please help me welcome Nancy into her new role and thank Becky for her continued service to Oregon AWHONN. §


Newsletter Tip

Last edition, we asked what YOU do to keep your nursing practice up-to-date. Congratulations Alicia! Her tip earned her an gift card.

“To keep my practice up to date I like to

attend conferences (at least two a year)

and orient new hires to my department.

There is nothing like teaching and answering

questions to keep me up to date and

on top of my practice!” — Alicia

This Month’s Question

Nursing can be a high-stress job. What’s your best tip for taking care of yourself and relieving stress? Submit your answers at, select Newsletter Tip in the drop-down box. The best tip will win an gift card. §

Welcome Oregon AWHONN New Members

Laurie Armatas

Megan Barnett

Julianne Baxter

Julianne Baxter

Rosa Bounds

Tamara Bow

Lyndsey Chamberlain

Laura Chapman

Ashley Converse

Michelle Cooter

Chelsi Dencoff

Hayley Feest

Hannah Fenster

Annalyse Fogelquist

Brenton Gicker

Marina Hartnell

Christine Harvey

Amber Hilgert

Dawn Holdt

Andrea Houlihan

Jamie Kailiuli

Kassidy Lake

Stephanie Landreth

Nichole Leatherwood

Lisa Malmquist

Dawn Marten

Heidi Nielsen

Yohko Ogawa

Megan Roe

Ann Ross

Kimberly Salazar

Lydia Samuelson

Anne Simmons

Kimberly Stinger

Melissa Surmon

Pamela Weaver

Stephanie White

Haley Zarosinski

Recruit three new members and receive a free membership!