Report on the 9th National Doctors of Nursing Practice Conference

I have had a most awesome week! The 9th National Doctors of Nursing Practice Conference in Baltimore, held October 5-7, just concluded, and I was in attendance. The theme “Transforming Healthcare Through Collaboration” perfectly describes what DNPs are doing every day. In fact, the opening presentation was titled “DNP: Value and Impact” and was presented by Dr. Mary Terhaar. We are doing amazing things using our DNP Essentials. However, we need to quantify our value and impact.

During the first breakout session, my colleagues, Dr. Rebecca Sutter and Dr. Caroline Sutter, and I presented “Developing New Providers: Academic-Community Inter-professional Partnerships.” Our unique answer to community needs was adding nurse-managed primary care clinics to areas where access to care is most needed. This would help patients access the healthcare system while nurses navigate them into a permanent medical home. Our model provided faculty practice sites and clinical training sites for BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD students, as well as inter-professional education and practice with psychology, social work, health administration, nutrition, and pharmacy.

During 3 years of practice, our clinic has served over 5,000 unique patients during 7,000 patient visits, saving our community over $90,000 per month in healthcare costs. Other sessions also covered inter-professional collaboration with multiple universities, communication, DNP projects and academic-practice partnerships, and complex care management.

Poster presentations were equally informative. Dr. Christina van Hilst discussed hot spotting to meet healthcare delivery needs of complex patients. Dr. Loretta Vece shared success with integrating oral health into primary care delivered to under served populations in nurse-managed clinics. This was all just the first day!

Dr. Karen Kesten (from AACN) started off the next morning discussing “Implementation of DNP Task Force Recommendations-How is it going?” Are you familiar with these recommendations? They affect DNP graduates, DNP students, and DNP programs, and they help us articulate and study the value and impact of the DNP degree.

The next panel discussion appropriately explained nursing organization collaboration to move our profession forward and assist with DNP advocacy. Five amazing nurses shared how they were leading change and advancing health in their organizations.

I want to highlight one poster session, in particular, because I think it is just excellent: Dr. Reagan Thompson at UVA created and evaluated the use of lay health promoters or outreach CNAs to pre-screen migrant farm workers so healthcare providers could target the highest risk in the population they were scheduled to see the next week. It worked!

The final day of the conference started with a dynamic plenary session about simulation-enhanced interprofessional education. We need to start thinking about how we are utilizing interprofessional practice and how we can do this better and teach new nurses at all levels.

Next, Dr. Williams discussed a successful example of academic practice partnerships in a healthcare system to improve nursing workforce development and support APRN practice and DNP education. This initiative also provides clinical sites for students and faculty practice sites all while creating a culture that has improved nurse retention.

The last session I attended was by Dr. Clingerman: “Leading high performance collaboration using polarity thinking.” The goal presented was to prevent downsides using polarity-thinking managing differences in order to find common ground to improve outcomes. This is something we can all learn and use no matter our role.

I always love attending the national DNP conference as it is a great way to network, meet new people, catch up with distant colleagues, and learn so much more about what DNPs are doing to transform healthcare. I hope this gives you some ideas about what you could do in your role using your DNP degree.

Collaborating, innovating, and approaching challenges with a new perspective to improve outcomes is the foundation of the DNP degree. We all have the ability to improve health and optimize the well-being of our patients, our profession, and our community.

What is your contribution?

The 10th National Doctors of Nursing Practice Conference will be held next year in New Orleans. Dates are still to be decided. Learn more about attending and presenting here.

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