Maureen Salamon

June 19, 2017

PHILADELPHIA — The increasing prominence of nurse practitioners in primary care will be reinforced during a presentation that will examine the duration, intensity, and frequency of clinical hours required of nurse practitioner students, according to organizers here at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 2017 National Conference.

The way nurse practitioners are trained has come under increased scrutiny as the discipline becomes more integral to day-to-day patient care. Research on an innovative approach designed to promote the clinical competency of primary care nurse practitioners in a doctor of nursing practice program will be reported by JoAnne Silbert-Flagg, DNP, from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore.

Dr Susan VanBeuge

"Our conference theme this year is Nurse Practitioners Revolutionize Health Care, and that says a lot about how NPs are changing things for healthcare in the United States," said Susan VanBeuge, DNP, from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who is chair of the conference.

"We're seeing great strides happen in our role and how we're at the table with healthcare in our country," she told Medscape Medical News. "We see this reflected in this conference in many presentations talking about healthcare policy, reimbursement, and the role of NPs."

In one presentation, results from a national survey with more than 5000 respondents — the largest study of its kind to date — on the role of preceptors, who help educate nurse practitioner students but do not typically receive compensation, will be reported by Mary Ellen Roberts, DNP, from the Seton Hall University College of Nursing in South Orange, New Jersey, who is a member of the organizing committee.

"Preceptors don't get anything monetarily, but they get satisfaction that they're able to give back to the profession," Dr Roberts explained. "It behooves us as NPs to teach and train the next generation of NPs coming behind us."

Dr Mary Ellen Roberts

Other presentations will cover a diverse array of topics, including the identification and treatment of human-trafficking victims in the clinical setting, the prevention of 30-day rehospitalizations in elderly patients, and the provision of advanced endocrine care for transgender patients.

"Sessions on transgender patients have been highly sought-after by some of our NPs," said AANP President Cindy Cooke, DNP. "There's new information out there, and we want to approach everyone in a culturally appropriate way."

Dr Cindy Cooke

In addition, several presentations will focus on extremely topical themes, such as opioid use disorders and addiction. Nurse practitioners are often providers of medical-assisted treatment for patients dealing with these substance abuse disorders, Dr Cooke pointed out.

"I'm excited that there's a lot of effort being put into opioids because it's a public health problem, from the policy side all the way to the practice side," said Dr VanBeuge.

Skill-enhancement workshops and specialized seminars covering topics such as diabetes care, bedside ultrasound, spirometry, thoracic procedures, and minor surgical skills will likely be as appealing as the research presentations, the organizers report.

Dermatology, Pain Management, and Endocrinology

There has been an expansion of specialty practice groups, which are AANP communities aimed at advancing knowledge and professional development. The three new groups — dermatology, pain management, and endocrinology — bring the total to eight.

"Most research takes 15 to 20 years to get to the bedside, so we need to figure out ways to get what we're learning into patient care," Dr VanBeuge explained. "The majority of attendees who come to this conference are clinicians out there in practice," she noted. They are looking for a program with a balance of serious research and clinical applications.

The roster of keynote speakers has generated buzz because of the unique perspectives on healthcare they will offer.

Among them will be Kent Brantly, MD, the family medicine physician who contracted Ebola in 2014 while serving in Liberia with a medical mission group. Dr Brantly was the first Ebola patient in the world to be treated with the experimental ZMapp drug, and the first to be treated in the United States, at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

"He will have a lot to share with us," Dr VanBeuge said.

Dr Roberts, who has helped organize the AANP national conference for many years, pointed out that the content has become more sophisticated over time, and now offers more evidence-based findings that nurse practitioners can immediately incorporate into practice.

With this year's conference, the AANP has come "full circle," she explained. The first national conference was held in Philadelphia in 1985.

Dr VanBeuge, Dr Roberts, and Dr Cooke have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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