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‘Boot Camp’ gives chance to hone critical care skills

Oct. 8, 2015, 9:13 AM

The ACNP/PA Boot Camp offered advanced practice nurses the opportunity to have a hands-on experience during simulated situations they may encounter as a critical care nurse. (photo by Daniel Dubois)

More than 250 critical care nurse practitioners and physician assistants from 41 states gathered at Vanderbilt recently for the fourth annual ACNP/PA Critical Care Boot Camp.

The event, spread over three days between the Student Life Center and the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment (CELA) Lab in Light Hall, was an opportunity for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to sharpen critical care skills that they can immediately apply when they return to their medical facilities at home.

“The conference delivers current evidence in the practice of critical care,” said April Kapu, DNP, APRN, Associate Nursing Officer and VUMC advanced practice director in the Office of Advanced Practice. “What can you take back next week and implement in your practice?”

The acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) and physician assistants (PAs) at the boot camp are part of an emerging field of advanced practice providers who work in intensive care units.

“At Vanderbilt, we encourage our nurses to practice at the top of their licenses, and we are pleased to be able to share our work with a national audience,” said Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., Executive Chief Nursing Officer. “We are excited to showcase our excellent interdisciplinary processes and honored to have such collaborative colleagues.”

More than 30 faculty members, from multiple departments, participated in lectures, panel discussions and hands-on activities. Topics included ventilator management, ultrasound, critical care pharmacology, ECMO, trauma, arrhythmia and neurological emergencies.

This is the fourth year for the boot camp, the idea for which came from event co-chair Janna

Landsperger, MSN, APRN, a nurse practitioner in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, and Arthur Wheeler, M.D., medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit. The event has grown quickly, from about 50 attendees at the first conference to about 250 this year.

Landsperger said the event takes a full year to plan, but that it’s very rewarding to see the knowledge that the participants take away from the conference.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “It has been a great, great experience.”

More than 780 advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) practice at Vanderbilt, a sevenfold increase over the last 10 years. The number includes Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologists, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives and Clinical Nurse Specialists.

“The contribution of ACNPs and PAs in the world of critical care is unquestionable and continues to expand,” said Lee Parmley, M.D., J.D., chief of staff of Vanderbilt University Hospital.

“Vanderbilt is honored to be a leader in this field, both in the deployment of this workforce and its training. This boot camp, with its capacity enrollment and great acceptance, highlights the outstanding collaborative work going on at Vanderbilt.”

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