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Meeting highlights Advanced Practice Nursing

Oct. 20, 2016, 8:33 AM

Ruth Kleinpell, Ph.D., R.N., ACNP-BC, was the featured speaker at last week’s Advanced Practice Grand Rounds. (photo by Susan Urmy)
Ruth Kleinpell, Ph.D., R.N., ACNP-BC, was the featured speaker at last week’s Advanced Practice Grand Rounds. (photo by Susan Urmy)

More than 100 people gathered at the Godchaux Hall Nursing Annex on Oct. 12 for the kickoff of the 2017 series of Advanced Practice Grand Rounds.

The session featured speaker Ruth Kleinpell, Ph.D., R.N., ACNP-BC, director of the Center for Clinical Research & Scholarship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Kleinpell, a visiting professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, looked at the future for advanced practice providers and strongly encouraged them to champion their roles and document outcomes to show their effectiveness.

Advanced practice nursing is a rapidly expanding field, with about 350,000 advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and 109,000 physician assistants (PAs) nationwide, with about 850 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). In addition to PA colleagues, APRN roles encompass Certified Registered Nurse Anesthestists, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives and Clinical Nurse Specialists. All practitioners are educated in nationally accredited programs, clinically trained and board certified in their area of practice.

“It just is amazing the network that you have developed here at Vanderbilt,” Kleinpell said. “It truly is a national model.”

As health care evolves, advanced practice providers are working as part of a medical team to improve outcomes and patient and family satisfaction. Technology is evolving so machines “talk” to each other and medical records are becoming electronic. At the same time, advanced practice providers have an opportunity to define their role as they come on board at medical facilities around the country.

“I often tell our nurse practitioner students that you may be the first advanced practice provider in your community setting or in your clinic, and you’ll be really developing the role,” Kleinpell said. “Now that’s challenging, but it also has its benefits as well.”

She suggested partnering with patients and families as they appear tomorrow in facilities that don’t exist today. One study she cited envisioned a network of outpatient birthing centers for low-risk obstetric patients that would include nurse midwives.

She talked about the importance of addressing burnout in the profession and addressing the health of providers as well as the people they treat.

“We definitely need to look at these integrative ways to promote our health, because we are spending a significant portion of our life at work,” she said.

Kleinpell stressed the importance of tracking outcomes to prove the value of advanced practice providers to their organizations. She suggested that providers collect baseline data to show their impact.

“When you change a care practice that’s benefited patient care, highlight that,” she said.
Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., Executive Chief Nursing Officer for VUMC, stressed that APRNs stand on the legacy of people who came before.

“This is an incredible time for nursing,” she said. “It’s an amazing time for advanced practice nursing, and we have an obligation now to people that we serve, people in our hospitals and clinics on this campus and beyond, the individuals who are learning with you.”

Advanced Practice Grand Rounds is organized by the VUMC Office of Advanced Practice, which is directed by April Kapu, DNP, R.N.

“It was wonderful to see so many faculty, physician and nursing leaders come to the kickoff and join in the celebration of advanced practice,” Kapu said.

The leadership at VUMC has created the environment in which advanced practice is possible, said Janet Myers, DNP, APRN, director of Professional Development in the Office of Advanced Practice. “We want Advanced Practice to feel like a community,” she said.

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