VitalSmarts Partners with American Association of Critical-Care Nurses to Improve Patient Safety

ALISO VIEJO, Calif, Dec 12, 2005 – Critical care nurses now have easier access to a set of skills to help them tackle communication breakdowns that can lead to an increase in medical errors that are tied directly to outcomes like patient safety.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, and VitalSmarts, a corporate training company specializing in organizational performance, today announced they have signed a licensing agreement to offer two-day training sessions for healthcare institutions and critical care nurses that combine education on healthy workplace standards and award-winning Crucial Conversations® training. Under this new relationship, AACN and VitalSmarts will co-develop course content, while VitalSmarts’ trainers will facilitate the courses.

AACN President Debbie Brinker, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, says Crucial Conversations training has been the definitive course of action for many organizations and hospitals trying to help combat patient safety errors as they relate to breakdowns in communication – including AACN.

“AACN has embraced Crucial Conversations as the foundation for the skilled communication that is necessary to ensure patient safety and quality care,” says Brinker. “Through this joint program, both parties will be able to extend the reach of this important concept in healthcare.”

The training, called “Healthy Work Environments through Crucial Conversations,” continues the collaboration of AACN and VitalSmarts related to the research study and publication of Silence Kills: The Seven Crucial Conversations for Healthcare.

The study was released jointly by AACN and VitalSmarts in January 2005 and found more than 90 percent of doctors and half of nurses have seen colleagues make mistakes, but only 10 percent speak up in a way that solves the problem.

VitalSmarts President Joseph Grenny says learning the skills taught in this joint training venture is an essential first step in helping healthcare professionals talk candidly and safely about issues the Silence Kills study pinpointed, which include rule breaking, incompetence and disrespect.

“Healthcare practitioners frequently see problems, but too often they fail to talk about them,” says Grenny, who is also co-author of VitalSmarts’ New York Times best-selling books Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations. “We found those who embrace these skills will find outcomes like patient safety can improve dramatically.”

The first two-day educational course under this partnership will be in March 2006 with the Greater Washington Area Chapter of AACN.

For additional information about these joint training courses, please visit or


About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, representing the interests of more than 400,000 critical care nurses. Its international headquarters are located in Aliso Viejo, California. Founded in 1969, the association has more than 240 chapters worldwide and is working toward a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families, where critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.


About VitalSmarts

An innovator in corporate training and organizational performance, VitalSmarts has two training initiatives: Crucial Conversations® and Crucial ConfrontationsTM. Each delivers a powerful set of influence tools that builds teams, enriches relationships and improves end results. The Company has two New York Times bestselling books of the same titles, Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations. VitalSmarts has helped more than 300,000 people worldwide, including leaders from 300 of the Fortune 500, realize quick, hard-hitting results.

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