April Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP

Candidate for President-Elect

Campaign Message:

NPs are extraordinary, everyday heroes. How do we elevate and increase access to these exceptional practitioners? Through innovative and successful practice development, as well as solid commitment to the NP role, I have worked to build infrastructure and opportunity for NPs to succeed at every stage in their career, showcasing NP practice and highlighting successful patient care outcomes. We are at a critical turning point within our organization and our profession, do we seek to innovate, or do we stay with the status quo? I ask that you make your decision based on evidence. Review my record in leadership, experience, and commitment to NPs, and to elevating and showcasing NP practice. It’s the right time to make the right choice – elect an experienced, executive NP leader with a strong record of building and empowering NP practice.

Current Professional Position

Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

AANP/ACNP Leadership Experience

For AANP, I have served as Region 4 Director, Tennessee State Representative, Fellow, Committee Chair for the regional meetings committee, and committee member for the national conference planning committee; For the Society of Critical Care, I serve as Fellow and Vice Chair for the NP Education Task Force. I am a Fellow with the American Academy of Nursing. I have served as APRN Chair for the Tennessee Nurses Association and as Co-Chair for the Government Affairs Committee. I served on a TN Governor’s Commission on Pain and Addiction Management. I currently serve on the board as Secretary for OneTennessee, a non-profit healthcare collaboration to combat opioid abuse. I have served as chair and member on several other academic, professional practice, interprofessional healthcare, and community committees and boards. I have directed community, academic and clinical courses, local and national conferences and workshops. In my professional career, I have served in several clinical and leadership roles. In my current role, I serve as the Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Advanced Practice for Vanderbilt Medical Center. For Vanderbilt School of Nursing I serve as Professor of Clinical Nursing, non-tenure track, and for the School of Medicine, as Associate Professor in Critical Care.

Biggest Challenge Facing NPs and How AANP Can Help

Access, affordability, and healthcare system barriers to care are significant challenges facing NP practice and capacity to provide comprehensive, reliable care. In addition, there are many challenges that face NPs specifically and their ability to provide quality care. Some of these include: outdated federal and state healthcare policies limiting NPs’ ability to practice at the full scope of their education, clinical training, and board certification, inaccurate negative propaganda influencing lawmakers and public awareness, educational accreditation standards, and limited engagement of NPs, often due to misunderstandings about scope of practice issues, or demanding time constraints. AANP can lead in addressing both types of challenges – first the healthcare challenges limiting access to NP care and secondly the challenges limiting the NP’s ability to practice to the full scope of the profession. AANP can address these challenges through a strategic focus on initiatives that strengthen Practice, Education, Advocacy, Research, and Leadership (PEARL). AANP members have many and diverse perspectives, with an abundance of fresh and innovative ideas for improving PEARL initiatives. AANP can learn much from the members, engage the members in initiatives, and drive success in addressing global healthcare challenges and maximizing the NP role.

Example of Initiative or Outcome of Leadership

NPs of today are seeking a professional home where they are welcomed and championed. I have devoted my career to building advanced practice infrastructure and navigating political waters to maximize NP professional practice. Within our local healthcare system, I led an amazing team in the development of a strong advanced practice infrastructure where NPs practice to scope of their education, training, and board certification. I paved the way for expansion of leadership positions to include NP directors across all service lines. This work has been nationally recognized, and I have worked to help other organizations and health systems highlight the value of NP practice and build strong advanced practice programs. These programs provide a solid foundation for inclusion of NPs as stakeholders in many initiatives. This work has extended to health policy advocacy on a state and federal level to reduce administrative and clinical barriers to NP practice. I have demonstrated a deep commitment to the NP role, to showcasing value of the NP in healthcare, and to empowering NPs to advance in their careers. I have a proven track record as a servant leader with a strong slate of deliverables and demonstrated commitment to the role.

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

The mission of AANP as an organization is to promote high quality health care, and the NP role is essential to excellence in quality care. I would work to advance the AANP mission and strategic plan by first listening to understand the gaps identified by our current AANP membership. As a membership driven organization, we must lean to our members to determine best steps in improving each element of our PEARL mission. Our members have many new and innovative ideas to improve educational offerings, scholarships, and conferences. Together, we would advocate for professional practice authority across states. I would work with our board and research committee to improve research-based grant funding for clinical, quality, and practice-based research. I would work with our members, committees, fellows, and board to increase resources and offerings for leadership development. I would advocate for diversity and inclusion throughout our committees and planned initiatives. I would seek to engage the members of AANP and understand and improve the goals as set forth by strategic plan, focused on the patient, the nurse practitioner, practice, policy and payment parity, and the organization.