By Rachel Lehouillier
I attended the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) national conference from June 22- 25, 2016 in San Antonio, TX. As a nurse practitioner student entering my final year of the masters program, it was an unbelievable experience. I would not have been able to attend this conference if it weren’t for the Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing (KILN) program; and I am so grateful to the program for this opportunity.
The theme of the conference was “Nurse Practioners (NPs) on a Patient Centered Mission.” The conference most definitely fulfilled the hopes of educating NPs on how to provide more patient centered care. Most of the sessions that I attended had to do with specific hot-button issues that have been occurring in primary care practices from around the US. For example, one of the sessions that truly opened my eyes was on how to screen for and address adverse childhood experiences among adult patients, how to detect human trafficking in the clinic, and how to recognize violence. This was especially astonishing to me because many of these populations will be present in primary care clinics, in which NPs will have the opportunity to help and make a difference. In a fifteen-minute appointment, it may be difficult to address an adult’s adverse childhood experiences and all other medical concerns. However, I am now aware that there are several tips and quick questions I could utilize. NPs can ask patients to gauge whether or not they need further counseling. In addition, each educational session offered evidence based strategies, screening tools, and online resources that NPs can use in their own practices. There was also an unlimited amount of opportunities to network with employers and NPs from all over the nation. These are just examples of the tremendous amount of information I was fortunate enough to learn by participating in this conference.
This conference validated the fact that NPs really never stop learning. I left the conference feeling anxious for my clinical to start this upcoming fall because I am very excited to be finally working in primary care clinics. I feel empowered because primary care NPs really do have the power to help change patient’s lives. NPs have the freedom to shape their assessments and practices to meet the needs of the populations they work with to provide patient centered care.