Dear NAPNAP Colleagues,
As COVID-19 numbers are rising across the country coinciding with arrival of the holiday season, we want to wish you, your families, your loved ones, and your patients safety, health, and wellness.
Who could have imagined 2020, the Year of the Nurse and Nurse Midwife, would have ushered in a global pandemic that has caused extreme disruption to every facet of our lives both professionally and personally? At the beginning of this pandemic, your Executive Board made the extremely difficult decision to cancel our national conference just days before it was scheduled to begin. That was a difficult choice, as it is such an essential element impacting so many ways NAPNAP works and serves both its members and children. As leaders, we are making high-stakes decisions in very compressed time frames. Many, if not most of you, are doing this every day. It is challenging.
Your NAPNAP national staff have been working tirelessly to keep providing the same excellent service you have come to know and expect. They are truly dedicated to making sure you can provide evidence-based, high-quality, accessible care to all children. Now, more than ever, children need nurse practitioners with a holistic perspective and emphasis on wellness to help them stay safe and healthy. Even though our staff are in New York City, the original epicenter of the virus outbreak in the U.S., they rapidly adapted to virtual work and pulled together as a team to be the first nursing organization to completely pivot to a virtual conference, with record-breaking attendance and rave reviews. They deserve great credit and praise.
Immediately following the conclusion of our virtual conference this summer, they immediately pivoted to consider all options for our 2021 conference. After exhaustive investigation of all viable options and an extensive survey of our membership in which 50% of respondents requested an in-person event while 50% requested virtual, a decision was made in early fall to proceed with a hybrid option. This was carefully evaluated by the Executive Board with many moving parts painstakingly considered. These factors included a review of current guidelines for community events provided by the local health department of Orange County and state government of Florida and extensive conversations with our conference host, Rosen Shingle Creek, to determine their readiness to provide an environment with stringent health and safety measures for our guests.
As COVID numbers are rising, we are continuing to monitor the situation very closely. In these days, situations and recommendations evolve quickly. It is extremely difficult to predict circumstances four months out. We will carefully consider event venue requirements, county and city mandates and guidance, CDC recommendations and prevalence of travel restrictions affecting our registrants. I assure you that Laura Nelsen, our Director of Education, has been working daily to find new and innovative technologies, procedures and policies to ensure a safe environment. Should health care officials and government orders limit in-person events, our team is prepared to transition in-person conference registrants to our virtual event to meet their educational and networking needs.
We are aware of other organizations which have made the decision to make all events virtual for all of 2021. We are in frequent contact with those organizations and have participated in several virtual, collaborative summits in which NAPNAP has been given credit as a leader in innovation and evolution. We recognize our need to serve our unique membership in this unique time. Many of these other organizations have very different situations than NAPNAP including timing of their annual conference, needs expressed by their membership, contractual and revenue circumstances and others.
We understand this is an important issue and it can be polarizing. We want to approach this respectfully, carefully and thoughtfully. With this in mind, we offer the following clarifying points:
- We ask for your patience and understanding as the staff and Executive Board work together to make very difficult decisions in difficult times. Please know we are working intensely and with great gravity to serve NAPNAP in the wisest and most responsible way we possibly can.
- We ask for respect of your colleagues’ individual circumstances that may influence the decisions they make to meet their professional needs.
- We are carefully monitoring all data related to in-person gatherings and commit to update you in the most timely and transparent way we can, should cancellation of the in-person portion be necessary. You can find a link to our conference FAQ page here.
If we cannot host our in-person conference, we’ll transition all in-person registration orders to our virtual event that kicks off on March 24 and is accessible through July 31, 2021, and offers on-demand access to more than 80 CE sessions and poster presentations. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and support as we learn to navigate this new world while continuing as experts in pediatrics and advocates for children.
Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP, FAAN