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Nursing symposium focuses on transplant patients’ care, needs

Oct. 16, 2014, 10:07 AM

What started as a way to gather nurse practitioners in the field of transplantation at Vanderbilt to talk about the best practices in managing patients has grown into a one-of-a-kind national conference.

The 10th Annual Vanderbilt Transplant Nurse Practitioner Symposium was held this week in Nashville. It is designed to address the complexities of managing transplant patients within the scope of practice of the nurse practitioner.

“When we first started the conference, we had less than 20 nurse practitioners at Vanderbilt’s Transplant Center who wanted to have as much information as possible about how best to take care of our patients,” said Haley Hoy, ACNP, interim associate dean of Graduate Programs at the University of Alabama-Huntsville College of Nursing and a lung transplant coordinator/nurse practitioner at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“It started off with our Vanderbilt nurse practitioners getting a better handle on how specialists work with our patients and learning the rationale behind their care.”

Hoy, along with Transplant Center Administrator Edward Zavala, MBA, collaborated to develop the national conference.

The two-day symposium, which typically attracts more than 100 nurse practitioners, has grown since the first few local gatherings.

“When I first came to Vanderbilt in 2003 there were transplant nurse coordinator educational offerings but nothing for advanced practice nurses,” said Zavala. “Attendance for this symposium grows each year and it is reassuring when I hear from transplant administrator colleagues from around the country what a great symposium it is.”

Zavala applauds Hoy’s decade-long service for placing Vanderbilt “on the map” for transplant nurse practitioners education.

“The number of nurse practitioners caring for transplant patients has increased significantly in the past few years,” said Hoy. “Our focus on acute/chronic illness and emphasis on preventative maintenance matches well with the unique needs of transplant patients.”

This year marks the first time an international participant attended the meetings.

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