Colleen Leners, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP

Candidate for Region 3 Director

Colleen Leners

Campaign Message:

In my current role as director of policy, I collaborate with various coalitions and stakeholders to increase strategic alignment among national organizations in comments to the federal government, including Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), ensure NPs are considered for federal taskforces, committees, and councils, and that NPs are at the table in policy conversations both on and off Capitol Hill.

Given today’s health challenges, AANP has a unique opportunity to truly influence policy and break down barriers to practice. As a Board Member, I would blend my policy expertise with my military background, to ensure NPs are aware of these opportunities to engage and influence policy. I would expand visibility on key issues and advance AANP’s vision as we build unity within and outside our profession.

Join me as we elevate the impact of the NP workforce.

Current Professional Position

Director of Policy

AANP/ACNP Leadership Experience

  • American Academy of Nursing, member 2019.
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 1997-Present.
  • National Humanitarian Aid Committee, 2010-2012.
  • National Nominations Committee, 2014-2020.
    • Chair, 2017-2019.
  • Organizational Structure Committee, 2019-2020.
  • Health Policy Conference Committee, 2019-2021.
  • President, STTI Zeta Mu, 2012-2014.
  • President-Elect, STTI Zeta Mu, 2010-2012.
  • Case Western Reserve University Alumni Board member, 2015-Present.
  • Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy - DNP Founder's Circle member 2017.
  • Guest Lecturer on Healthcare Policy and Leadership.
  • Navy Medical Center San Diego I was the TBI program manager for the west coast coordinating care for wounded warriors nationally.
  • I have had several leadership positions in the Army and have attended the Officers Training Course in Leadership though out my career.
  • Selected as a RWJF Healthcare Policy Fellow, 9/2014-12/2015.
    Gaining leadership skills in promoting advancements and providing advocacy in the health professions.

Biggest Challenge Facing NPs and How AANP Can Help

With more than 290,000 Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in the U.S., we have witnessed the impact NPs have on our nation’s health care and as the practitioner of choice for millions of Americans. We have seen this impact first-hand as we grapple with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this public health challenge has allowed for advances, it also presents itself as an opportunity to address some of the biggest challenges facing NPs in the coming years, including removal of scope of practice barriers. We must ensure that temporary waivers, that make sense in the long-term, are made permanent, that NPs have admitting privileges to hospitals, and are be able to be on a preferred provider list with an insurance company. Further, NPs must be eligible for new innovative platforms as they incorporate telehealth into their practice. The data that comes out of this will be vital in highlighting what NP’s do to meet the healthcare needs of the American people. AANP should continue their role in assisting NPs at the state and federal level to advocate, educate, and initiate new laws to permanently remove these barriers to practice.

Example of Initiative or Outcome of Leadership

Leadership in nursing practice and translation of care delivery into effective policy are my strongest professional attributes. I served for 16 continuous years as an NP in the United States Navy and Army. During my deployment, I earned the Bronze Star for leading a forward operating base to ensure seamless transitions of care in regions throughout Iraq. As a primary and acute care provider at the Navy Medical Center in San Diego, I created partnerships with government and community organizations for transitional care and services. I engaged in community advocacy with nongovernmental organizations to expedite recovery for veterans. My proudest achievement during that time was we did not lose one servicemember to suicide. Bridging my practice expertise with advocacy, I served as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow in Senator Thune’s office and continued my work to advance the role of NPs, especially in rural communities. My steadfast commitment to advancing the goals and mission of AANP continue today as I work with nursing organizations to promote nursing and APRN issues at all levels.

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

My proposal; to advance AANP's mission is by increasing NPs presence and impact throughout the federal legislative and regulatory processes. In my current work as a director of policy, I collaborate with various coalitions and stakeholders to increase strategic alignment among national organizations in comments to the federal government, including Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), ensuring NPs are considered for federal task forces, committees and councils, and that NPs are at the table in policy conversations both on and off Capitol Hill. As a Board member, I would elevate this work to ensure NPs are aware of these opportunities to engage and influence policy. I would expand visibility on key issues and advance AANP’s vision as we build unity within and outside our profession. Given today’s health challenges, AANP has a unique opportunity to truly influence policy and break down barriers to practice. Now is the time to maximize the power of the NP workforce.