Rachel Start, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, has been selected as the next president-elect of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses (AAACN). Start is associate vice president, medicine, behavioral and emergency services at Rush University Medical Center.
Founded in 1978, the AAACN is the only specialty nursing association that focuses on excellence in ambulatory care. Its more than 4,400 members include nurses in clinical practice, education, and research roles as well as those in management and administration.
Start will begin serving as president-elect on May 16 at the AAACN’s annual conference and will serve as president starting in 2023, with responsibilities as past president in 2024. She has worked with the AAACN for the past 10 years, and since 2020 she has served on the AAACN’s Board of Directors, which appoints the president-elect.
“I’m excited to be in this role and as always am thankful that Rush supports involvement in external, national initiatives and organizations,” Start said. “Ambulatory nursing is an emerging practice, which will lead the way towards improved value-based care for patients and populations alike while also ensuring equitable, holistic care across the continuum.”
Start has spent her nursing career in the Rush system. She began working in the medical surgical unit at Rush University Medical Center after graduating from Rush University College of Nursing. While working there, she completed her Master of Science in Nursing at the college and was elected to serve a term as president of the Professional Nursing Staff.
In 2011, she accepted a position at Rush Oak Park Hospital, where she led her team to American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition in 2016 and in 2021. Prior to her current role, she served as the hospital’s director of ambulatory nursing, nursing practice and Magnet program director.
Start was chair of the AAACN’s Nurse Sensitive Indicator Taskforce and also spearheaded replication of measures across the country in an initiative between the AAACN and the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes, which led to the adoption of these measures by Press Ganey. She was a member of the AAACN Nurse Executive Taskforce and furthered advocacy for nurses across the continuum to organizations such as the American Organization of Nurse Leaders, American Association of Colleges of Nursing and at the ANCC Magnet Commission. She founded the Illinois Ambulatory Nurse Practice Consortium, a local networking group of the AAACN, and participated in the most recent revision of the Illinois Nurse Practice Act.
She has published and presented extensively on the imperative for meaningful measurement and nursing practice advancement as related to the shifting health care landscape. She is a PhD student at Loyola University Chicago, researching the role of the ambulatory nurse, and was recognized for her contributions to advancing ambulatory nursing practice across the country by being named a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
“The nursing profession nationwide looks to Rush nurses to set the gold standard, and Rachel Start is a perfect example of why Rush nurses are sought after as national leaders,” says Angelique Richard, PhD, RN, CENP, chief nursing officer for Rush University Medical Center and Rush University System for Health and senior vice president of hospital operations for the Medical Center. “I congratulate Rachel on her appointment to president-elect to the AAACN. Her pioneering and extraordinary leadership will advance the nursing profession now and far into the future.”