My name is Summer Cross, and I am running for the Kentucky State Representative role with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. I have lived in Kentucky for 41 years, have practiced as a NP for 13 years and have educated NPs for four years. As a practicing NP and NP educator, I have seen firsthand the unique challenges NPs in Kentucky face on a daily basis. I will listen to your ideas and concerns, gather data from NPs across the state and lead with real-life changes to better serve the profession. I am committed to representing Kentucky NPs at the national level and would appreciate your vote. Thank you for your service.
Assistant Professor of Nursing, Murray State University.
The biggest challenge facing NPs in the delivery of health care over the next decade is patient access to quality health care. The Affordable Care Act has been instrumental in decreasing the number of uninsured individuals in this country; however, the number of primary care providers continues to decline as more providers (both physicians and nurses) are choosing specialties and a great deal of primary care providers are retiring. Although more lower income households are covered under Medicaid and marketplace subsidies, many rural and underserved areas remain in short supply of providers or without a provider at all. Add in the detrimental impact of compassion fatigue on those practicing in rural clinics and underserved areas, NPs are faced with difficult practice choices. AANP has the opportunity to provide support in the form of research, health policy initiatives and practice support through continuing education and potential funding opportunities. I have witnessed firsthand the impact AANP has had on my practice through conferences and CE. I had the privilege of receiving the AANP Foundation Scholarship in 2012, which was instrumental in allowing me to finish my dissertation research, receive my PhD and be promoted at Murray State University where I teach future NPs.
As an NP educator and a practicing NP, I will bring the perspective of the NP student, NP faculty and practicing NP. I recently completed a two-year contract with an Indian Health Services clinic in Alaska prior to returning to Kentucky to resume teaching. This particular experience allowed me to develop my NP skills in an underserved population and unique culture. And, as an NP educator, which is an area in great shortage at present, I offer the view of education in shaping the future of the profession. Although I have not yet held a leadership role at the national level, I am prepared to take that next step and advocate for NPs across all practice settings. My experiences as both an educator and in family practice will be valuable as decisions are made both at the state and national levels which affect NPs. My dissertation research examined the impact of state regulation of NP practice on access to care in the Medicare population, and I am dedicated to serving my fellow NPs and the profession.
If elected, I plan to represent Kentucky as an NP and NP educator in seeking health policy change that aims to eliminate restrictive practice regulation and seeks to improve patient access to quality health care. I will also represent the view of NPs in Kentucky and the unique challenges they face in my involvement with AANP initiatives. I will serve on committees that seek to enhance education for both current and future NPs through continuing and graduate education. I will advocate for the profession among state legislators. And I will continue to be actively engaged in health policy research.