NTI 2019 Program Planning Committee

Dawn Blake-Holmes, a nursing professional development specialist, CV and critical care nursing at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, Connecticut, has over 30 years’ experience in critical care nursing as a clinical nurse, educator and clinical nurse specialist. A volunteer for AACN for the past 20 years, she is currently in the dissertation phase of her doctorate in nursing. “This volunteer opportunity has afforded me an invaluable opportunity to meet an incredible team of people,” she says. “The relationships I have developed will undoubtedly last a lifetime.”

Barbara Bosah has been an IMC nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, since 2005 and was recently promoted to nurse manager of the surgical/thoracic intermediate care units. She found working on the committee “extremely challenging but satisfying.” “The committee members were able to review over 600 abstracts and trust the process in order to make final selections,” she says. “This was an overwhelming and humbling experience.”

Mary Jane Bowles, who works as a clinical nurse specialist, critical care services, at Mary Washington Healthcare, Fredericksburg, Virginia, discovered her love of education and performance improvement during her early years of ICU nursing. She has published several abstracts related to research and written a chapter in “Cardiac Surgery Review.” “I was in awe of the rigor of the committee process,” she says, “and the intent on keeping the end user in mind. I learned how they keep the evaluations from previous NTIs in perspective throughout the entire decision-making process.”

Kristyn DeMello is a CVICU nurse in the Pacific Northwest. Though she initially went to college to do research in biochemical science, she began working in clinical trials after the significant illness of a family member and went on to pursue nursing as a second degree. “The current and trending needs of the bedside nurse is the perspective I offered to the committee,” she says. “Working on the committee has afforded me the opportunity to collaborate with stellar professionals and experience a true healthy work environment.”

Melissa Fradette, director, magnet program, nursing orientation, and integrative therapies, St. Cloud Hospital, St. Cloud, Minnesota, has been a registered nurse for over 18 years. She says she brought her experience as a veteran NTI attendee and presenter — as well as her “love of always having my nose in a current journal” — to the committee. She says: “I was inspired and amazed by the entire process, from reading abstracts, to being proud of the work being done by colleagues across the country, and finally to a group of strangers coming together to collectively decide on an NTI program.”

Brandee Georgevitch, who works as a nurse manager, same day surgery/post anesthesia care unit, Keck Medical Center of USC, Los Angeles, started her nursing career at 17 years old as a certified nursing assistant, spending several years as a travel nurse. Her role on the committee was to offer “the perspective of representing the older millennial generation with a new transition from proficient bedside nurse to novice leader.” Her committee work taught her to trust the process: “The selection committee represents a wide variety of expertise and knowledge.”

Audrey Glossenger says that as clinical educator, surgical ICU/surgical PCU at Indiana University Health University Hospital, she has “been lucky to partner my passion for nursing with a love of teaching through my role as a clinical educator.” A proud member of AACN since she was a new graduate over 30 years ago, she recently served as local chapter president. She says her role on the committee was “to represent the view of both the ICU and PCU level of acuity, addressing the unique challenges each faces.”

Paula Levett, committee chair, is a nursing practice leader, pediatric ICU/pediatric cardiac ICU, University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, and has worked in pediatric critical care for over 35 years. A committee veteran from NTI 2018, she believes her contribution to the committee was to represent pediatric and neonatal nurses and the key clinical issues they experience. “The selection process was much more data driven than I anticipated,” she says. “but it also reflected the opinions of content experts. Each member has expertise in a specific clinical specialty, academic or research setting, or administration and brought their own unique perspective to the table.”

Michele Trinka, assistant clinical professor, Texas Woman’s University Dallas, has been a nurse for over 40 years, starting in oncology and moving to critical care. She became a CCRN in 1985, working in high acuity ICU units, and settled in Dallas in 1995, moving into pediatrics. The “token academic” on the committee, she says she “learned about many different topics I knew nothing about prior to reading all the abstracts. I found most committee members had similar points of view even though we come from different parts of the country and have different experience levels.”

Sari Viitaniemi, who works as nurse manager, trauma ICU and stepdown, Delray Medical Center, Delray Beach, Florida, has primarily worked with trauma patients during her 25-year career. She is passionate about teaching and evidence-based nursing practice and teaches a critical care course at her hospital and an EBNP workshop through her local AACN chapter. “Being part of the committee has been a privilege and invaluable learning experience,” she says. “I was amazed by the talent of the diverse group of nursing professionals I met.”