Newswise — The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) honors JoAnn Grif Alspach, MSN, RN, EdD, FAAN, with the 2019 Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career.

Alspach will receive the award for her exceptional contributions that enhance the care of critically ill patients and their families, and further AACN’s mission and vision. The presentation will occur during the 2019 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition in Orlando, May 20-23.

“Dr. Alspach’s innovative work has influenced staff development and competency-based education for a generation of nurses,” said AACN board president Lisa Riggs, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CCRN-K. “Principles she framed continue to influence a wide range of materials guiding the preparation of today’s nurse preceptors.”

Alspach is a Maryland-based consultant on nursing staff development, competency-based education and competency-based performance appraisal systems. She also serves as associate faculty for the Graduate School of Nursing at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Over the past 40 years, she has consulted, published and lectured nationally and internationally on nursing staff development, preceptor preparation, competency-based education and critical care nursing.

Her career includes clinical positions as a U.S. Navy Nurse Corps staff nurse, charge nurse and supervisor; as a clinical nurse specialist at several organizations; and as director of the first critical care nursing internship program in the DC-MD-VA region.

She served as editor for AACN’s Critical Care Nurse, a bimonthly peer-reviewed clinical journal that provides a broad spectrum of continuing care information to help acute and critical care nurses inform best bedside practice in high-acuity, progressive and critical care settings for more than 30 years. In 2018, Alspach received the APEX International Award for Publication Excellence’s Grand Award for Writing for her editorial on gender bias in the April 2017 issue of the journal.

An early advocate for preceptorship of new nurses, Alspach wrote the groundbreaking document “The Preceptor’s Bill of Rights,” in 1987, followed by publishing the first educational program to develop nurses as preceptors. The program’s subsequent updates expanded to include ancillary healthcare team members.

Nationally known for her work in competency-based education, she was one of the first nurses to develop competency-based orientation programs. She published articles on the use of competency assessment to appraise and document staff performance more than 20 years before The Joint Commission made it mandatory.

As editor of four editions of “AACN Core Curriculum for Critical Care Nursing” and its companion publications, Alspach has been instrumental in identifying and disseminating the body of knowledge for critical care nursing clinicians worldwide.

She received a BSN and MSN in cardiovascular nursing from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a doctorate in adult and continuing education from the University of Maryland, College Park.

AACN previously honored Alspach with its Pioneering Spirit Award in 2013.

About the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award: Established in 1997 and named for a past AACN president, the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career recognizes extraordinary and distinguished professional contributions that further AACN’s mission and vision of a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families where acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. Recipients of this Visionary Leadership Award receive a $1,000 gift to the charity of their choice, lifetime membership in AACN and a crystal replica of the presidential “Vision” icon. Other Visionary Leadership Awards, AACN’s highest honor, include the Lifetime Membership Award and the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award.

About the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition: Established in 1974, AACN’s National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) represents the world’s largest educational conference and trade show for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Bedside nurses, nurse educators, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners attend NTI.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 with 400 members, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization. In 2019, AACN celebrates 50 years of acute and critical care nursing excellence, serving more than 120,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States. The organization remains committed to its vision of creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. During its 50th anniversary year, AACN continues to salute and celebrate all that nurses have accomplished over the last half century, while honoring their past, present and future impact on the evolution of high-acuity and critical care nursing.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; 949-362-2000;;;