Our History Starts with a Nurse
In 1969, AIMS founding member Glenda Dennis graduated from nursing school and began a journey of personal and professional growth in a field that was, itself, metamorphosing from one of simple task-oriented caregiving to highly technical expert care in a variety of different specialized fields.
Glenda found her niche as a leader by problem-solving, always taking the initiative to learn new technical skills when there was a need and looking for practical ways of meeting the needs of the patients she cared for. She never backed down when she saw a need, even when it meant taking on tasks that had traditionally been performed by physicians.
Perseverance Against the Odds
Glenda learned in the early 1990s that nurses were beginning to insert Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC) lines. Several surgeons told her that no one would ever use a PICC line inserted by a nurse, but she decided she would learn how. Ignoring the naysayers, she became the first nurse at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center in Springfield, OR to insert PICC lines. A few short years later, Glenda was not only inserting PICC lines for these same surgeons’ patients, she also started the Vascular Access Team, a team of nurses that provide this service throughout McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center.
By 2008, she had became the first healthcare professional to use ECG guidance for PICC lines in the United States. This eliminated the requirement for chest x-ray for PICC tip verification using PacerView® technology. This simple and cost-effective tool reduced radiation exposure, insertion time, and costs to healthcare organizations and patients. In the spring of 2010, the data was published in The Journal of the Association for Vascular Access.
In the following years, this technology has become the Standard of Care within health care. Glenda trained the majority of the vascular access professionals within the community and many throughout the United States.
The AIMS Team and the Future of American Health Care
In the 21st Century, healthcare continues to evolve. The barriers have become even more challenging as healthcare has developed into a massive for-profit industry. Costs are high, reimbursement is complicated, access is limited, and the needs are greater than ever before as the number of patients living with chronic disease grows.
Glenda and her partners decided to start AIMS Vascular Access in 2019 to push healthcare forward by finding simple solutions and reducing costs, keeping patients out of the hospital, working with providers to augment care in a patient-centered medical home, and providing the expertise and mentoring to nurses outside of the hospital that can be used to prevent conditions that lead to hospitalization.
Tammy, AIMS’s Managing Director, became the Vascular Access Team’s first manager in 2005.
Robyn Smith, AIMS’s Director of Nursing Services, joined the Vascular Access Team in 2009, after years of working as a critical care nurse. She quickly established herself as an expert in the vascular access field and is currently working on her Vascular Access Certification through the Vascular Access Certification Corporation. She is also one of the first nurses in Oregon to have received her CPUI (Certified PICC Ultrasound Inserter) certificate.
Finding solutions to the challenges we face in healthcare takes a team of courageous individuals willing to fight to transform our medical system into one that can meet patient needs where they are at the time when they need it most. No one understands this challenge more than nurses, and we are fighting for this revolution.