Spotlight on NPs

Spotlight on NPs highlights exciting achievements and activities of American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) members.

AANP President Dr. Joyce Knestrick discussed caring for diabetic patients in an article for Minority Nurse. She also shared insight about the NP role. Knestrick said, “As NPs, the key is threefold: active listening to your patients, adaptability to each patient’s unique set of needs, and the flexibility to lead or assist a care team all the way through the patient’s care continuum. So it is really NPs who are on the front lines, so to speak, with the patients battling this disease, and we work very closely with organizations who are working hard to raise awareness about diabetes and how it can be prevented, mitigated, and treated.” Dr. Knestrick also increased awareness about diabetes on a Baltimore, MD, news report. Watch her segment.

“Patients in Oklahoma are frustrated — and with good reason,” wrote AANP Oklahoma State Representative Melinda Whitten in a recent Op-Ed. Oklahoma is in the midst of a health care crisis, according to Whitten, who said, “Next year, legislators should retire outdated practice barriers and ensure patients have access to timely, high-quality, patient-centered health care. The majority of patients want greater access to nurse practitioner services, and every major study — more than 100 — shows nurse practitioner-patient health outcomes are as good or better than other providers.”

Nurse practitioners are a key piece of the health care puzzle, wrote AANP member and president of the California Association for Nurse Practitioners Theresa Ullrich in an Op-Ed for Capitol Weekly. “As we discuss how to increase the number of primary care providers in California, better utilizing the more than 21,000 nurse practitioners is a must,” Ullrich said. “Outdated bureaucratic barriers only prevent us from doing our job and providing quality healthcare for our fellow Californians.”

Congratulations to AANP Fellow Dr. Teresa Tyson, who recently received the 2017 Virginia Nurses Foundation Leadership Excellence Award. Tyson is executive director of the Health Wagon. Read more.

AANP Fellow Dr. Angela Golden shared information about colds and flu with listeners of WBGZ radio. Golden discussed ways to prevent the spread of these illnesses during the holiday season.

Influenza is a popular topic this time of year, and AANP member Jennifer Nabong shared tips to avoid the flu with members of her local community. Getting a flu shot was at the top of Nabong’s recommendations.

AANP member Sarah Dodson was quoted in a local news story urging caution when using over the counter medication to treat children’s symptoms during cold and flu season. According to Dodson,  “…many of those medicines have more than one active ingredient;  they treat cough, they help thin mucus, they have fever reducer. So if parents are giving more than one over the counter medication to their child they are potentially are double dosing their child on that medication.”

Last month, AANP member Gretchen Herda donated one of her kidneys to a stranger. “Most of us think of giving our hearts as the meaning of life,” Herda said. “Giving the kidney was just as great as having a big heart.” According to the article, “Herda has a big heart… and spends her days caring for people who are one step away from hospice.” “You wish you could do more for people,” Herda said. “This was a way of giving back.”

AANP Fellow Dr. Lynne Braun was quoted in a MedPage Today article about ways that NPs and other health care providers can help patients achieve lower blood pressure targets. Braun said, “…my performance measure, my control rate for my hypertensive patients, depends on them engaging in the lifestyle changes that I counsel them on and taking the medications that I may prescribe. It really requires the partnership between the provider and the patient and a lot of education, a lot of back and forth…” Braun stressed the importance of being accessible to patients between visits to help increase compliance with the treatment plan.

A Denver Post article about the need for health care providers in rural Colorado featured AANP members Karen Tomky and Heather Elliott. Tomky has practiced in Crowley County for more than 30 years – a county with more than 800 square miles and no physicians. (Asked Michelle C. for stats) “Nationally, fewer than 10 percent of the nation’s physicians practice in a rural area — even though such areas hold 20 percent of the U.S. population.”

Karen Mulvihill is an AANP member and co-chair of a group that educates the public about the importance of end-of-life planning. In a local news article, Mulvihill discussed advanced directives and the importance of having conversations about end-of-life plans while people are well. According to Mulvihill, “Having a piece of paper with their [patients’] wishes written in their handwriting signed by them is something concrete to take to the family … so it is really a gift to families.”

“I wanted to be a nurse practitioner serving medically underserved people. Ideally, lower-income people who have limited access to health care,” AANP member Erin Williamson told local news reporters when asked about his childhood hopes and dreams. “I love what I do because I get to serve other people and I get to stay up-to-date with newer technology, medicines, and research. Healthcare is always evolving so I get to stay on the cutting edge of things like that, but at the same time I get to sit down with somebody one-on-one and talk with them about how they can improve their health and improve their life.”

AANP member Natasha Thompson was quoted in a local news article about an electronic gaming center that helps children feel more comfortable and keeps them entertained if they have to visit the hospital. Thompson said, “Our job in the ED is to be the front door for the hospital, and we have a responsibility to let the community know that we want to provide the best care and comfort for children and adults.”

A grant received by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro will help DNP students gain the education and clinical experience they need to provide health care in rural areas, according to an article that quoted AANP Fellow Dr. Laurie Kennedy-Malone. “North Carolina, a state where 80 out of 100 counties are rural, has a substantial number of medically underserved populations,” said Kennedy-Malone, who is project coordinator/principal investigator of the “Advancing Nursing Education Workforce: Academic Practice Partnerships Today for Competent Practitioners Tomorrow” grant.

AANP member Eileen Flavin launched a mobile urgent care service that a local news article called the first of its kind in the area. “Typically we get to spend a little more time in the home with the patient than we would at the clinic,” Flavin said. “A lot of times when you’re at the clinic, people are just feeling like a number.”

A medical respite program for the homeless was inspired AANP member Alicia Hauff‘s graduate research, according to an article that credits the program with saving and improving the lives of recently hospitalized people who lack housing. Hauff said, “Housing is critical for maintaining health. Lack of housing, and the stresses that go with it, take a toll on one’s health.”

AANP member Guadalupe Robles was featured in a local news article about her role as a bilingual nurse practitioner providing primary care to patients in a rural community. According to the article, “Nurse practitioners are noted for putting patients at ease, spending time to get to know the people in order to better understand their health care needs,” and Robles’ ability to speak Spanish fluently improves her ability to connect with Spanish speaking patients.

Leslie R. Hale, an AANP member, wrote an article about the connection between Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Hale said, “Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, which means it will continue to worsen over time. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to watch your carbohydrates closely in your diet or to be active. The better you adhere to your diet and get moving, the slower the progression will be.” She offered several tips to help patients manage both conditions.

AANP member Courtney Holmes was quoted in an article about a local holiday celebration she helped organize for young people who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. According to the article, the goal is to offer a safe, inclusive, festive environment and family-style meal.

In an article for Clinical Advisor, AANP member Sean L’Huillier discussed the challenges of managing pain in a primary care practice. L’Huillier suggested that clinicians “have patience and an open avenue of discussion with patients about the expectations of pain management in primary care. At no time is it acceptable to abandon patients, or treat them as a ‘junkie.’ The goal is for pain management patients to have the best life possible while dealing with their pain.”

Congratulations to AANP member William Sabel, who is the recipient of AANP’s Idaho State Award for Excellence. Sabel said in a press release, “Idaho is a really good state to be a nurse practitioner because we have such a health care shortage here, not just with physicians or clinicians,” he said. “We were one of the early states to give full practice authority to nurse practitioners, so basically nurse practitioners can have an independent practice.”

AANP member Kristine Story was quoted in an article about a patient who lost more than 100 pounds in three years to improve his health and reduce his dependence on medications needed to treat Type 2 diabetes. Story treated Anderson for more than a decade and said, “It’s a major lifestyle change. His diabetes is so much better controlled.”

“Almost 80 percent of patients who have diabetes, who are on insulin, are not getting their A1c to goal,” AANP member Aimee G’sell told local news reporters in an article about a relatively new medical product. G’sell indicated that in her experience, some patients who use the product have been able to increase compliance with their insulin regimens.

Congratulations to AANP member Dr. Diane Riff who received a 2017 Commitment to Compassion award for her work related to outreach programs that provide health care for underserved populations in her local community and abroad. Read more.

Anthony Shaver, an AANP member, was quoted in an article about an increase in cases of respiratory illness and allergies in the Wichita, KS, area. Shaver said, “As we see more people gathered together we could get a higher prevalence of upper respiratory issues because of the close proximity of people. You can absolutely have allergies occurring in the winter time especially when the winds shift from northerly winds to southerly winds, we are getting pollens from Texas and Oklahoma.”

AANP member Dr. Stephanie Gray recently wrote a book on ways to optimize health and use functional and integrative medicine techniques to help personalize a plan for improved health. Learn more.

An article about a new center that will treat hepatitis C in Kentucky quoted AANP member Barbra Cave, who said, “While Kentucky has the highest rate of new hep C cases in the U.S., few places exist here for treatment. This is a much-needed service in the community.”

AANP member Dr. Raechel Ferry-Rooney wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the gun control debate. Ferry-Rooney said, “Because of my doctoral work in population health, I consider gun violence a health problem just like diabetes or obesity. This lens allows me to see the problem of gun violence both on the individual and community levels. I am able to listen to both sides of the argument and find the commonalities. This is not a time to take sides but to listen to each other and find a sensible compromise.”

Nuclear weapons were discussed by AANP member Constance Jordan (Maine Nurse Practitioners Association), who is part of a coalition of concerned health care and civic organizations. Jordan co-wrote an Op-Ed urging lawmakers to support changes in U.S. nuclear policy that they feel could help protect against nuclear war.

The potential effects of failing to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were recently discussed by AANP member and co-producer of HealthCetera Kristi Westphaln. Listen to the podcast.

AANP member Casey Brown wrote an article in support of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act. Brown wrote, “Palliative care does not mean that you are giving up on yourself or your loved one, and it does not mean that someone is going to die. It means that the most aggressive therapies are being provided while abiding by an individual’s wishes. This shows love, compassion and support.”

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