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Maria McDonald, PhD, APRN, FNP-C

Candidate for Virginia State Liaison

Maria McDonald

Campaign Message:

Now more than ever, it is necessary to strengthen the provider workforce and empower the next generation of nurse practitioners for the future of healthcare. Our efforts must be directed toward supporting the education, practice and wellbeing of NPs through collaboration, innovation and policy development. My goal will be to generate awareness and support for NPs in practice, research and academia to provide quality health care, mitigate disparities, and transform our nation's healthcare system for the better.

Biographical Statement
Curriculum Vitae

Current Professional Position

Postdoctoral Research Associate and Nurse Practitioner

Leadership Experience in the Past Three Years

New City Counseling Advisory Board (current) Gold Foundation Conference Planning Committee (current) AACN Transform Conference Subcommittee (current) Journal of Clinical Gynecology and Obstetrics Peer Reviewer (2022-2023) AACN Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA) Leadership Council (2019-2023) AACN GNSA Virginia State Advocacy Leader (2019-2023) Graduate Teaching Assistantship, University of Virginia School of Nursing (2021)

Biggest Challenge Facing Nurse Practitioners and How AANP Can Help

APRNs are poised to fill important gaps in our healthcare system through innovation, research, evidence-based practice, and a perspective of compassionate care. The restriction of NP practice within many states continues to be an important hinderance in the delivery of health care and I applaud AANP in the effort to eliminate this barrier. Specifically, AANP highlights the robust education of NPs which involves building clinical competency and proficiency in health care delivery. The recognition of NP autonomous practice across all states will be a crucial step in providing equitable care particularly for underserved populations. To pursue this goal, AANP should continue to support research focused on understanding the provider workforce including NP location and specialty area. It is also necessary to understand the future NP workforce by assessing the location and specialty education of graduate nursing students across the US. This will support autonomous practice initiatives as the NP workforce develops. Finally, the use of technology has drastically shifted health care delivery and has been used by NPs across the nation for improved health care access. Understanding policy barriers that limit the use of technology and reimbursement across healthcare settings will be important to address.

Example of Initiative or Outcome of Leadership

For many years, I have served in various leadership positions in research, academia and clinical practice. Specifically, as a PhD prepared nurse and nurse practitioner, I have led multiple projects to address important gaps health care. In collaboration with mentors and colleagues across the University of Virginia, I led an interdisciplinary project focused on elucidating interactions between environmental exposures during pregnancy and maternal biological changes underlying postpartum depression. Additionally, in the last 5 years, I have served on advisory boards for organizations committed to promoting mental health awareness and access through interdisciplinary models of community-based care. My experience as a graduate student, provider and researcher led to my involvement in several policy initiatives and leadership roles. As a previous Virginia State Advocacy Leader through AACN, I assessed and supported the needs of nurses and nursing students across Virginia. As a previous AACN Policy and Government Affairs Intern, I further developed skills in drafting comments on federal policies, communicating healthcare needs to policymakers, and writing newsletters for education and policy promotion on various media platforms. I believe my unique experience and skillset will greatly contribute to the AANP team as we seek to further support NP education, research and clinical practice.

If Elected, I Propose to Advance the AANP Mission as Follows

If elected, I would advance the mission of AANP through two primary means: (1) engage NPs and graduate nursing students in AANP activities, and (2) empower NPs to provide high-quality and equitable care. As an early to mid-career APRN and recent graduate of a PhD program, I have a particular interest in developing graduate nursing students. I believe providing access to educational resources and opportunities for students to collaborate with AANP will be a crucial step in developing the future NP workforce. Specifically, I seek to partner with AANP in raising awareness about the needs of NP students, providing support through grant funding, and offering students opportunities to engage in policy initiatives which will ultimately impact their education and clinical practice. I further seek to empower all NPs to identify and provide equitable health care for diverse communities. NPs offer a unique and valuable service and must feel empowered to be leaders in the field. For NPs to feel supported and empowered, liaisons and staff from AANP must be present to listen to the specific needs of NPs in each state. In addition, offering educational materials and providing networks for community building and collaboration will likely facilitate quality care improvement.