I first became interested in NAPNAP as a new graduate because several of my local PNP mentors were involved in the Michigan Chapter. I had been exposed to policy and advocacy issues in graduate school, and found it fascinating. Therefore it was natural to pursue that focus further through my NAPNAP chapter. I became legislative chair, and then went on to become president-elect and president of my chapter. In the legislative role I became very passionate about promoting legislation that would remove some of the barriers to practice that we faced.
I was a member of NAPNAP from the beginning, but it was my role as Chapter President that lead to my enthusiasm for being more involved in the national organization. Attending the chapter officer sessions, along with all the other great sessions at the national conference, offered an incredible amount of information and helped me build my knowledge and confidence in pursuing more leadership roles. I met members from all over the country who were accomplishing great things, and was able to spend time with national board members who were supportive and encouraging, and who became role models for me.
I went on to serve on the national board as Clinical Practice Chair. In that role I was responsible for overseeing the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and for development and revision of position statements. After that, I was appointed to serve as NAPNAP’s representative on the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), an amazing experience that exposed me to yet another important aspect of APRN practice. By then I was so enthusiastic about my involvement at the national level that I ran for secretary of NAPNAP.
Unification of national and local membership had just been approved so I was responsible for supporting chapters in revising their by-laws to be congruent with the national by-laws. It has been rewarding to work with so many talented people -- members, board members, and NAPNAP staff.
My volunteering for NAPNAP all helped establish a foundation that helped me prepare for pursuing additional activities. I was an early member of the Ohio Michigan (OH-MI) Reimbursement Alliance, which grew to become the very successful Multistate Reimbursement Alliance. I have also been active in the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners, particularly with legislative and reimbursement issues. Currently, I serve as APRN representative for the Institute of Pediatric Nursing (IPN), now a committee of the PNCB.
I would strongly encourage others to become involved! All this experience has been priceless for me as far as gaining satisfaction from my career and from feeling that I had something to contribute. I was able to bring so much of what I learned nationally to apply to issues in my state. A huge bonus was all the wonderful people I have met along the way. The national conferences every year serve to recharge my batteries, help me tune up on clinical and policy issues, and to network with others who motivate and inspire me.
NAPNAP also provides a venue and framework for career, practice, and leadership mentoring, which is so important in encouraging and supporting our next generation of clinicians and leaders. As a mentor, I know I can look forward to continued involvement with NAPNAP for years to come.