ACNP Conference in Nashville
I'm writing from Nashville, Tennessee, also known as Music City, site of the 2008 American College of Nurse Practitioners National Clinical Conference. Over 1,200 registrants showed for this five-day event, and almost all sessions conducted today were overflowing with interested, engaged NPs.
The keynote presentation, given by Ken Thorpe of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, tapped in to attendees' desire to see great changes in health care. Thorpe pointed out that chronic disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and that it accounts for 75% of the country's health care spending. He also noted that these chronic diseases are often preventable. He spoke about his vision of "community health teams," composed of many health care providers, with perhaps heavy reliance on nurse practitioners, who colaborate with a handful of physicians to treat their specific geographic community. He sees this as a more comprehensive version of the "medical home," which he believes will enable prevention of chronic disease (and save billions of dollars in health care spending) by offering a "risk appraisal physical" for every member of the community health team's patient population starting at age 50. He called on all NPs to get involved in their local PACs and work to improve the health care system and encourage a new health care system like the one he envisions.
NPs responded with cheers and applause and the keynote seemed to set the tone for the day; NPs interacted and engaged one another in sessions addressing topics ranging from pharmaceutical marketing and how to start your own practice to more clinical topics like overactive bladder and COPD.