50Forward Storytelling - NAPNAP

50Forward Storytelling

Celebrating Member Memories

As part of our year-long anniversary milestone, we set out to share members’ stories and honor the members who have helped NAPNAP grow over the last half-century. Through the hard work of our volunteers who serve on our Executive Board or committees, present at our national conference or specialty symposium, lead chapters and SIGs, develop resources, speak with the media and more, NAPNAP has flourished since our founding in 1973.

Below is a collection of treasured memories submitted by our members highlighting their involvement with NAPNAP or recognizing a fellow NAPNAP member or supporter. We invite our members to continue to contribute their unique stories about their connection to NAPNAP throughout our anniversary year by completing our story collection form.

Kelsey Habermehl
Kelsey HabermehlNAPNAP Member
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I want to thank all of my fellow board members at New York Western for welcoming me with open arms! As a new nurse practitioner, several years ago, these women took me under their wing, and I am so proud to call them my colleagues and now friends. I joined as a student member, and thanks to NAPNAP, I was able to be hired in my current role, which I love. The families of the Buffalo area are so lucky to have you all caring for their children!
Brigitte Paine
Brigitte PaineNAPNAP Member
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I have been retired for some time now, but I continued to provide health care services to two daycare centers and an after-school program for low-income families in Boston until Covid shut them down. It is so exciting to know that NAPNAP, which started as a small group of idealistic professionals and pioneers, has grown into such an impressive and influential organization. Congratulations to all for their hard work.
Laura Searcy
Laura SearcyNAPNAP Past President
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As a novice PNP with three young children, attending an out-of-town conference seemed impossible. But with the support of my spouse and education benefits from my practice, I was able to attend my first NAPNAP conference in San Antonio, Texas. My sense of anticipation was about equal parts the conference and anticipation of going solo to a professional event for the first time in 7 years. I will admit to feeling a bit intimidated at first. I had been a PNP for less than a year, had so much to learn, and didn't feel as if I had much to offer. I was immediately made to feel welcomed and supported and eagerly looked to see my new "best friends from around the country" at future conferences. Decades later, I am proud that this tradition of welcome continues.
Jo Ann Serota
Jo Ann SerotaNAPNAP Past President
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I became a member of the Delaware Valley NAPNAP Chapter in 1984 and a National NAPNAP member in 1985. It has been a wonderful journey with my fellow colleagues over the past 39 years. There was a time when the chapters and National were their own entities. It was during my time as National President (2005-2006) that I proposed one annual membership fee, which would give members both national and chapter membership. This was a complex proposal, but it succeeded with the National Office's exceptional support, as well as the NAPNAP Board and our members. I believe this enabled NAPNAP to represent and support all members across the country and expanded our chapter's membership, growth, and endeavors. I am a proud member of the Del Val Chapter of NAPNAP and have NAPNAP friends and colleagues who are dear to my heart. Thanks for the memories; it has been grand!
Debbie Gortowski
Debbie GortowskiNAPNAP Member
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I graduated from a four-year nursing program in the dark ages of 1979. I knew I wanted to work in pediatrics as I had a love and passion for children. I worked as a staff nurse in pediatrics for ten years. My knowledge and skills grew, and I wanted to do more. I obtained my master's degree in nursing in 1989. I worked part-time until finally deciding to pursue becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. I enrolled in a postmaster certification at Rush University in Chicago. In 1999 I was proud to be a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner! I immediately became a NAPNAP member. I knew the organization would provide me with the support and recognition I needed as I pursued my role. Twenty - three and a half years later, I am an experienced provider facilitating others in their roles through the many venues NAPNAP has to offer.
Mildred McCully
Mildred McCullyNAPNAP Member
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NAPNAP has always been my professional home. Through my involvement at the state and national level with SIGs, I have been able to develop leadership skills that I otherwise would not have been able to utilize. The National Conference has been my annual boost to remind me why I decided to be a PNP. The staff has changed over the years but has always been there to support me in whatever role I was taking on. I am proud to represent NAPNAP and hope that all current and future PNPs will take advantage of the benefits that involvement with NAPNAP offers.
Arlynn Manasse
Arlynn ManasseNAPNAP Member
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While working as a public health nurse, I became one of five women receiving a PNP (then PNA) certificate from Rush University (then Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's) in Chicago in 1971, the first such program in Illinois. Dr. Iris Shannon, co-director of that program, worked with others to organize and facilitate the first meeting in Chicago in 1973 of what would become NAPNAP. I attended that meeting and have been a member ever since. Hopeful but uncertain as to whether PNPs would be accepted by health professionals and then the public, those of us in the first classes spent much of our personal time formally and informally engaging with others in medicine and nursing to demonstrate that the expanded nursing role could positively impact children's health and well-being. There was much opposition along the way, but 50+ years later, I'm certain we've proven our value.
Laura Duffy
Laura DuffyNAPNAP Member
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NAPNAP has been such a great way to stay connected to old friends and coworkers. Allison, Christy and I all met at a former job while working as nurses in the PICU. After graduating from our master's programs, we all went our separate ways working as pediatric nurse practitioners. The Illinois Chicago chapter was looking for new board members in 2016, and I recruited Alison and Christy to join me on the Education committee. That was six years ago, and now we have all served as Chapter Presidents! It's been such a great honor to be part of this organization, and I can't wait to see the continued progress and growth!
Jessica Peck
Jessica PeckNAPNAP Past President
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Tasked with leading nearly 9,000 pediatric-focused APRNs through the earth-shattering COVID-19 pandemic would not have been possible without the incredible support from NAPNAP leaders and members alike who bravely shouldered the weight of the world as guardians of the most trusted profession. I truly hope I will be the only all-virtual NAPNAP president in organizational history! I am incredibly proud of the NAPNAP staff who worked together to lead the way with excellence in pioneering one of the first all-virtual national conferences in the world. Connecting with NAPNAP members daily from my home office in my tiny corner of the line quickly became a lifeline of kindred spirits who refused to abandon optimism for future generations. I'm incredibly grateful for each of you who stand shoulder-to-shoulder as experts in pediatrics and advocates for children.
Loretta BakasAllen
Loretta BakasAllenNAPNAP Member
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As a new graduate of the USAF PNP Program I wanted to be NAPNAP certified while stationed at Blytheville AFB, Ark in 1987. At that time, one had to go to a specified city on a specified day to take the exam. I was pregnant & due on that date & advised not to travel, so I called NAPNAP to see what Could be arranged. Since that "was a first-time" occurrence, they gave me permission to fly to D.C. to take the exam two weeks before the date. I almost had a panic attack the evening before when I realized I was due any day/in a strange hotel/strange city with no support. Luckily I did not go into labor, took the exam, flew home, passed, had my son & continued to practice as a CPNP in the AF until I retired.
Phillis Cunningham
Phillis CunninghamNAPNAP Past President
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During my NAPNAP presidency, there was no office, so my home was the office. As president, you took all the phone calls at your home residence. You did your president's correspondence and phone calls l worked at my home!
Mary Koslap-Petraco
Mary Koslap-PetracoNAPNAP Member
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The Suffolk County Department of Health Services commissioner where I worked asked me to start the immunization program. I met Dr. Bill Atkinson when he taught what would become the Pink Book Course for several NYS Public Health Nurses. I joined the Immunization SIG in 1994. I asked if we could have Dr. Atkinson come to the national conference to speak on updates to the schedule. NAPNAP agreed, and Bill delighted attendees with his talks every year after that until he retired in 2009. NAPNAP could not find a speaker who could fill Bill's shoes. I finally asked if I could have a small room to do an update. NAPNAP agreed, and there were so many people they were standing out in the hall! Mary Chesney asked to have NAPNAP invite me now I have been invited back every year for the last 11 years!
Linda Lindeke
Linda LindekeNAPNAP Past President
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During my presidency NAPNAP adopted a unified structure in 2009 creating a model that unified its 49 chapters located in 35 states. Prior to this time, chapters were loosely affiliated with the national organization and some PNPs were state-only members. By unifying the chapters under a national structure PNPs became national members and selected their chapter membership. This was a big transition administratively and conceptually for the national board, the staff and the chapters. The leadership of Dr. Karen Kelly Thomas and the National Office staff was essential and they all worked very creatively with the NAPNAP Board to strategize, plan and implement this new model for NAPNAP. Fiscal stewardship and inclusive decision-making were essential. Considerable effort went into working with the chapter presidents and their boards who were tasked with state-level implementation. This unity was essential for the PNP role to set uniform standards for education, practice and regulation and to work effectively with other health care and professional organizations with a single purpose and voice. Advocacy for children and families and for PNPs requires a strong presence and consistent action and messaging.
Sandra Hinesly
Sandra HineslyNAPNAP Member
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I was certified as PNP in 1980 by NAPNAP. There was little else for the few of us then. I was one of a few who started the Nurse Practitioner Interest Group in San Diego. We invited PAs to join us in fighting for prescription rights in California. Part of my training involved classes with UCSD medical students, and they let me know they did not like my role, but I eventually changed a few minds. One employer told me they were unsure what to do with me, so I had to write my job description. NAPNAP was a great help with that! I used the little handouts from NAPNAP in my practice to inform clients and coworkers of my role. I loved the role and felt like this was what I was meant to do when I became a nurse in the beginning.
Catherine Haut
Catherine HautNAPNAP Past President
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One of my best memories is the collegiality and support I received from past presidents and the NAPNAP board, who were always dedicated and invested in NAPNAP and each other!
Cathy Jordan
Cathy JordanNAPNAP Member
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National NAPNAP was the only organization offering support for the PNP role as I started my career in 1978. In Georgia at that time, there were only a handful of PNPs, and the role wasn't accepted by the Medical Association of Georgia. Having a national organization that gave guidelines for the role was very helpful in legitimizing the role in Georgia. I also served on the Advanced Practice Committee of the Georgia Board of Nursing, where we helped get prescriptive authority for APNs in Georgia. I continue to be a manuscript reviewer for the JPHC.
Linda Jonides
Linda JonidesNAPNAP Past President
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During my NAPNAP presidency, I had the opportunity to get to know colleagues on the Board as well as so many members - their experiences in providing health care and their incredible expertise and value to the association. It was truly an honor to serve as President. And having the opportunity to represent NAPNAP at other association meetings and for various projects.
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