Live From AANP 2010
Greetings from Phoenix, Ariz., and the 25th anniversary conference of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners! The conference has outgrown the Gaylord Resorts and this year there are some impressive crowds. At the opening session on Wednesday, the energy of the attendees was palpable as Mary Wakefield, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a nurse herself, took the podium. She assured the crowd that money has been and will continue to be allocated to the education and practice of nurse practitioners. And she described plans for nurses to become more involved in government agencies, because “nurses are an important expertise to inform our work,” she said. And she’s a supporter of NPs herself: her primary care provider for the last 8 years has been an NP.
“We as nurses have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a difference,” she said. She also quoted President Obama from a recent healthcare meeting in which he addressed nurses: “I will forever be in debt to the women and men of your profession – you are the beating heart of the healthcare system.”
Cofounder of the NP role, Loretta C. Ford, NP, also spoke. She reminded the attendees that in the face of a great demand for NPs, they must stick together for the good of patients: “The most important word in theNP lexicon is the word nurse,” she said. And she called on the memory of the NPs who blazed the trail for today’s NPs: “They would say this is a piece of cake.”
NPs saw a video about the 25-year history of AANP, and director of the Office of Health Policy for AANP, Jan Towers, NP, celebrated how far the role has come: “On the hill we don’t have to explain who we are anymore … someone always has a mother, a girlfriend, who is an NP.”
Outgoing President Dee Swanson, NP, passed on the gavel to president-elect Penny Kaye Jensen, and then attendees enjoyed a performance and blessing by a Native American drummer and dancer from Native Spirit. Stay tuned for further coverage of the event.