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NAPNAP Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Nurse Practitioner Movement

NAPNAP Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Nurse Practitioner Movement
Pediatric nurse practitioners are at the forefront of child health innovations over the last 50 years

NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2015 – As the nation’s health care professionals prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the nurse practitioner movement during National Nurse Practitioner Week, Nov. 9-15, 2015, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is proud to have been at the forefront of this nursing evolution as the first professional society for nurse practitioners. We salute our past and present members for all they have done to promote advanced nursing practice.

Less than a decade after the nurse practitioner movement began at the University of Colorado in 1965, NAPNAP formed and held its first official meeting in Columbus, Ohio, led by Janet McCleery, CPNP, with the goal of uniting pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) across the country who felt isolated. Being a member of this newly recognized advanced practice registered nursing profession, however, presented many challenges.
“The early years were difficult in that we had to explain to everyone our role,” said McCleery, who is still a NAPNAP member. “There were so few of us that we found it difficult to communicate with each other. In Ohio, we were fortunate to have the support of the Ohio Department of Health, two certificate programs and pediatricians who promoted the role.”

For more than 40 years, PNPs have played a key role in providing high-quality, evidence-based health care across the nation in primary, acute and specialty care settings, often delivering care to vulnerable, underserved populations. PNPs and their pediatric-focused APRN colleagues have completed advanced coursework in physical and health assessment, pharmacology and pathophysiology with a focus on health promotion, disease prevention, differential diagnosis and disease management. Given their roots in nursing, they are also widely known for their holistic, family-centered care, often spending significant time educating patients and families on long-term wellness.

Pediatric-focused APRNs have been leaders in various child health innovations. They have been at the forefront of child and adolescent mental health promotion, screening and early evidence-based interventions, including the Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment (COPE) tool. They have also played a lead role in improving child health through culturally appropriate interventions enhancing parent, child and practitioner effectiveness in developing optimal practices in nutrition and physical activity. The school-based healthcare movement has its roots in pediatric nurse practitioner leadership. Pediatric-focused APRNs have also conducted and published important research on childhood asthma and related treatments.

Now in its fifth decade, NAPNAP is a successful organization growing in membership to more than 8,200 members in 49 chapters throughout the country, collaborating in 17 special interest groups, advocating for child health and access to the quality care provided by pediatric-focused APRNs, providing evidenced-based continuing education, hosting national conferences and publishing scholarly research in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care. The Journal of Pediatric Health Care, first published in 1987, is a leading publication responding to the growing demand for evidenced-based clinical and practice related research on a wide range of child health issues.

“While we’ve had a relatively stable number of pediatric nurse practitioner programs at universities across the country and graduates entering the workforce, we have a continued high need for pediatric nurse practitioners and their fellow pediatric-focused APRNs in medically underserved communities – both rural and urban,” said NAPNAP President Cathy Haut, DNP, CPNP-AC, CPNP-PC, CCRN. “The demand for pediatric-focused APRNs will continue to grow as more people seek care as provided by changes in the nation’s health care system.”

The next 50 years will see exponential growth in scientific advancement and health care achievements. Technological innovations will give researchers better tools to develop treatments and cures. New technology will also allow providers to evaluate and treat patients whether in the same room or across the country. As more states approve full practice authority for NPs, patient demand will drive providers and insurers to deliver higher-quality service at reasonable rates. Within this innovative next half century, you are sure find pediatric nurse practitioners and pediatric-focused APRNs improving child health.

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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s professional association of pediatric nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,200 healthcare practitioners nationwide with 17 special interest groups and 49 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973. It is the first nurse practitioner professional society in the U.S. www.NAPNAP.org