UAH College of Nursing to host the 2015 NANPA Symposium "Get Into the Groove of Healthcare"

nanpa symposium

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing is co-hosting the 21st annual North Alabama Nurse Practitioner Association (NANPA) Clinical Symposium: "Get Into the Groove of Healthcare," Sept. 25-26, at the Huntsville Marriott.

This year the conference is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the nurse practitioner (NP) program, developed in 1965 by Dr. Loretta Ford and Dr. Henry Silver at The University of Colorado Schools of Medicine and Nursing.

All nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, registered nurses, physician assistants, physicians, students and other health care providers are encouraged to attend. Last year, more than 300 nurses and medical professionals attended the annual symposium. The conference has been submitted to the Alabama State Nurses Association (ASNA) for approval to award contact hours. ASNA is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. The NANPA conference registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 18, (to avoid a $35 late fee).

Bobi Jo Creel, NANPA President, and Dr. Marsha Howell Adams , Dean and Professor UAH College of Nursing, will welcome symposium attendees.

The 2015 symposium features many outstanding presenters, including Wendy L. Wright. She is an adult and family nurse practitioner and the owner of two nurse practitioner owned and operated clinics in New Hampshire. She is an editor for Practice Management, an e-journal created for nurse practitioners interested in independent practice and practice management.

For specific symposium information and to register online, please visit:

The role of Nurse Practitioners

The expanded role of nurses came at a time when the United States was experiencing major healthcare changes. "There was an increased need to provide care for low income and disabled patients in the U.S. In the late 1950s through early 1960s physicians were going into specialized areas of medicine leaving a great shortage of primary care physicians. The NP role has served our nation well by providing such high quality health care in primary care, acute care, women's health, pediatrics and psychological care," said Dr. Cindy Cooke ('98 MSN, College of Nursing), President of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Board of Directors.

Cooke explained the difference between a registered nurse (RN), NP and DNP. RNs are educated by earning an associate degree or baccalaureate degree in nursing. RNs take a national exam and are then licensed to practice nursing in the state where he or she met the requirements to practice. An NP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has completed graduate studies (masters or doctorate) in areas that focus on family, acute care, psychiatric care, pediatrics, women's health, etc. NPs take national certification exams and then are licensed by the state in which they practice. The Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a doctoral degree in nursing practice. NPs are pursuing this degree to enhance and elevate the advanced practice role.

For more than 20 years, Cooke said, independent research has overwhelmingly shown that nurse practitioner patient outcomes are equivalent to those of physicians. "While other health care professions are in decline, the number of licensed NPs in the nation has nearly doubled in the last decade - there are now more than 205,000 NPs."

"In the future you will see increasing numbers of nurse practitioners in health professional shortage areas providing primary care to patients. The emphasis will be on preventative care and management of chronic conditions," said Dr. Marsha Howell Adams, Dean and Professor UAH College of Nursing.

"Over my career as a family NP, there have been many instances that seriously ill patients have been in my clinic," said Cooke. "As a family nurse practitioner, I do the same as my family physician colleagues do by referring to the appropriate area of care such as the emergency room or specialty care. Alabama statutes and regulations do limit NP practice in the state of Alabama by requiring a formal collaborative relationship with a physician to practice.

"Currently 22 states and the District of Columbia have 'full practice authority' to care for patients. In Alabama, we often have to treat the paperwork in order to treat the patient," Cooke noted. "This often presents a delay in care which is a problem for many patients. This is true in both rural and urban areas. This does not benefit patients in the long run. Increasing the access to health care benefits the health of Alabama citizens and helps reduce morbidity and mortality," Cooke said.



Joyce Anderson-Maples