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Wellness strategies focus of APRN grand rounds

Feb. 1, 2018, 9:22 AM

Among those at last week’s Advanced Practice Grand Rounds were, from left, Elizabeth Card, MSN, RN, Lauren Oliver, ACNP, CCRN, C. Lee Parmley, MD, JD, April Kapu, DNP, RN, Monica Milovancev, MSN, CPNP, and Buffy Krauser-Lupear, DNP, CRNA. (photo by Anne Rayner)

There are more than 1,000 advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs) practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), and their scope of practice expands every day. With that growth, there are tremendous opportunities for positive experiences in caring for patients and families, but nurses should also take time to care for themselves, said Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN, Executive Chief Nursing Officer.

Dubree gave the keynote address, “Attaining Optimal Health and Wellness: Resilience as a Goal,” at the Jan. 23 kickoff of the 2018 season of Advanced Practice Grand Rounds, presented by Nursing Education and Professional Development and the Office of Advanced Practice at VUMC. More than 100 people came to Light Hall to hear Dubree describe wellness and mindfulness strategies that support medical professionals to build resilience and thrive under stress. Clinician wellness is important not only for the clinician, but also because it leads to better patient outcomes, she said.

Dubree defined resilience as the ability to bounce back or cope with adverse circumstances, positively adapt to stress and navigate through life. It isn’t something that is instantly acquired, but is cultivated over time, and we all have the capacity for it, she said.

“All of the things that make us worry accumulate, but we can have an ability to balance that and to adapt to it. That really is resilience,” Dubree said. “It is the way that we navigate through life.”

Resilience strategies include cognitive reframing, or avoiding personalizing events, developing emotional insight and connecting with family, friends and colleagues, she said. Balancing work and life is important, as is the skill of reflection.

Vanderbilt encourages wellness with a Nurse Wellness Committee, which has been in place since the mid-1980s. One of its recent projects was a wellness tent on the VUMC plaza during Epic Go Live, which had pet therapy, yoga and massage therapy, among other activities.

In addition to PA colleagues, APRN roles encompass Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, 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. Dubree praised their work as crucial to the health system.

“I am so proud of the work that you do,” Dubree said. “You are ambassadors for us in our health system, the communities surrounding Nashville as well as on our Medical Center campus, every day. Thank you for that.”

Nurse practitioners are extraordinarily important to Vanderbilt, said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

“If we think about all of the new ways that we are providing care — walk-in clinics, retail clinics, nurse practitioner-run clinics — we’re recognizing progressively more and more the significance of the contributions of nurse practitioners,” he said.

April Kapu, DNP, RN, associate nursing officer for VUMC Advanced Practice and director of the Office of Advanced Practice, said Vanderbilt APRNs and PAs are among the best in the country.

“They are highly trained and educated professionals who work hard to care for our patients every day,” she said. “Today’s message was for them to take some time to care for themselves. The well-being of our APRNs and PAs is critical to career satisfaction, engagement, and work/life balance and, quite frankly, essential to providing the very best in patient care.”

The session also honored the late Jerita Payne, MSN, ACNP, MMHC, director of Clinical Transplant Services at VUMC, who died on March 22, 2017, after a brief illness. Payne’s lab coat was framed and will be displayed at a prominent location at VUMC.

In addition, the 2018 Advanced Practice Ambassador Award, a new honor, was presented to Roman Perri, MD, medical director of the Adult Liver Transplant Program, and C. Lee Parmley, MD, JD, MMHC, chief of staff of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital (VUH). The award honors non-advanced practice nurses for their contributions to the profession. Daniel Brown, MD, professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and chief of Interventional Oncology, was also recognized for his advocacy and support of advanced practice.

“As an advanced practice community, we are fortunate to have so many physician partners who support and are advocates of our roles, contributions and impact upon healthcare delivery and outcomes,” said Janet Myers, DNP, APRN, director of Professional Development in the Office of Advanced Practice.

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