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Penn Nursing Professor Leads National Organization

Amanda Bettencourt, PhD, APRN, CCRN-K, ACCNS-P, is the new president of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) board of directors. She began her one-year term on July 1, 2022.

“The future of nursing and health care is unknown, and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a newfound urgency for us to work together to find solutions to both long- standing issues and new challenges,” said Bettencourt. “Starting now, we step forward with a renewed sense of purpose, a commitment to action and a focus on a better tomorrow.”

Bettencourt is an assistant professor in Penn Nursing’s Department of Family and Community Health. As an educator, researcher and pediatric clinical nurse specialist, her focus is on achieving the best possible outcomes for acutely and critically ill children. Her current research involves evaluating factors influencing the research-to-practice gap in critical care settings and testing implementation strategies targeting the interprofessional team to improve evidence-based care. She was recently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, where she was appointed to the National Clinician Scholars Program and received advanced training in implementation science. Previously, she was responsible for ensuring high-quality nursing care and optimal outcomes for burn, trauma and pediatric patients as a clinical nurse specialist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, and at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida.

Bettencourt’s extensive volunteer service with AACN includes board liaison, NTI Program Planning Committee (2021), AACN – AACN Certification Corporation Nominating Committee, (2020-2021), community moderator, online AACN Peer Support Community Development Team (2020) and board liaison, Chapter Advisory Team (2019-2020).

Her additional affiliations include the American Burn Association and Sigma. In addition to presenting at the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI), she has led sessions at several other conferences, including the American Burn Association’s annual meeting. Bettencourt’s publications are in the areas of implementation science, nursing and patient safety, nurse staffing and work environments, burn critical care and pediatric delirium.

Bettencourt earned a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from the University of Florida, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Master of Science in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health care research at the University of Michigan.

Before she assumed the role as president, Bettencourt served a one-year term as president-elect. Before that, she completed a three-year term as a director from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2021, and a one-year term as treasurer from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

For more than 50 years, the AACN has been dedicated to acute and critical care nursing excellence. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. AACN is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization, with more than 130,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States.