By: Kathryn Free (’17), Cindy Lee (’17), and Joy Yamasaki (’19)
Attending AAPINA’s 14th Annual National Conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa was a wonderful experience. The three of us were among 162 attendees and we were able to choose from 95 abstracts of research that were specifically relevant to the health of Asian populations for us to explore and learn about. The objective of the conference was to discuss global health issues in research, practice, and leadership relevant to nurses living and practicing in Asian communities. It was really inspiring to see how there is so much that can be done within the field of nursing through the examples of the research leaders who presented at this conference.
Over the span of three days, Cindy, Joy, and I conversed with nursing scholars from around the globe. Many of the women at our table were nursing professors at a local university on Oahu. Many of the session speakers who presented their nursing research were nurse practitioners affiliated with Queens Hospital, the MGH of Hawaii. With full scope of practice, these NPs have the ability to work independently and fully manage and operate clinics. Two NPs spoke about starting a brand new outpatient diabetes from the ground up. Having complete independence and autonomy was something these NPs did not take for granted. With such an international and diverse audience, they knew that advanced practice nursing roles do not even exist in some countries. They spoke about how grateful and fortunate they are to practice independently and how their rural practice provides healthcare to individuals who would otherwise not have access to it. We found their presentation very profound and powerful.
Withonly a handful of nursing students at the conference, Patricia Alpert, the AAPINA President, was delighted to meet us. Her two words of wisdom were to “keep going” and become either a DNP or get your PhD. She stated that nursing scholars and nursing research is going to change the field of nursing. If we truly want to make a difference, be the change.