By Sherine Thomas

I arrived in Las Vegas on a Saturday night with very different intentions than those of most tourists. My colleagues and I were there to attend the Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Edcucation (NPACE) conference and discuss the newest recommendations for managing diabetes, controlling asthma and hypertension, STI prevention, contraception and other common ailments seen by primary care providers.

The conference started off with keynote speaker, Stephanie Ahmed, NP, discussing the role of the Nurse Practitioner in meeting the “triple aim” of better health, better care and better cost for patients. Her discussion of the major health reform drivers (aging, cost of care and MD shortage) described the unique position of NPs to make measurable, desirable changes in health outcomes for the US population. Any doubt the audience may have had about the ability of NPs to bridge the primary care provider – patient gap was erased after her presentation. By providing lower-cost, high-quality health care hopefully the US will see improvements in its health care ranking compared to other developed country in the years to come.

It was great for me to experience these wonderful presentations by nurse practitioners, for nurse practitioners. Not only were the various sessions informative but this was a great networking opportunity for me. The Northeast was well represented at the conference from speakers such as Mimi Secor, Stephanie Ahmed and Wendy Wright, who have ties to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston College, to providers based in community health, correctional health and primary care offices in the Boston area. I had the chance to speak with a number of these people, getting tips for the job search process and stories on their experiences as new graduate nurse practitioners.

My time at the NPACE Primary Care conference in Las Vegas is not one I will soon forget. I appreciate the opportunity provided to me by KILN to be updated on the new guidelines in primary care as well as to experience a new part of the country. As I prepare to enter clinical practice in a few months I have no doubt that I will use these guidelines in my practice.