Karen A. McQuillan, MS, RN, CNS-BC, CCRN, CNRN, FAAN, is  President of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Karen received her Bachelors of Nursing and Masters of Science in Trauma/Critical Care Nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She has worked since 1987 as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.  Karen also holds a School of Nursing Faculty Associate position at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.  She has lectured on neurological and trauma topics at numerous regional, national, and international conferences.  Karen has also mentored other nurses as speakers and authors.  Also well published on neurological and trauma topics, Karen has reviewed and edited many manuscripts and served as lead editor for the text Trauma Nursing: From Resuscitation Through Rehabilitation (3rd and 4th editions).  She has served as an investigator on a number of studies exploring various aspects of trauma nursing care. Karen has worked in countries around the world including India and Brazil to foster improvements in trauma care.  She was awarded the Society of Trauma Nurses Trauma Leadership Award in 2011. 

Prior to taking office as President of the AACN on 1 July 2015, she served on the Board of Directors from 1 July 2011 – 30 June 2014; as President Elect 1 July 2014 – 30 June 2015 and her term of office as President ends on 30 June 2016.

1. What are your key areas of interest and research?

Acute and Critical Care Nursing; Trauma Nursing; Neurotrauma.

2. What are the major challenges in your field?
  • Overcoming barriers to providing excellent care to acute and critically ill patients and their families;
  • Establishing and maintaining healthy work environments in our healthcare settings.

3. What is your top management tip?
Remain focused in doing what is necessary to ensure excellent care to patients and their families.

4. What would you single out as a career highlight?
Serving as a mentor and resource to others so that they could make their optimal contribution to providing excellent patient care.

5. If you had not chosen this career path you would have become a…?
Marine biologist.

6. What are your personal interests outside of work?
Hiking, gardening, curling, spending time with family.

7. Your favourite quote?
"The true measure of your leadership will not turn out to be your greatest achievements, but the number of great leaders you turn out"  Kevin Cashman

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