Deborah Wachtel, DNP, MPH, APRN, FAANP

Candidate for Region 1 Director (Incumbent)

Deborah Wachtel

Campaign Message:

My first term as Region 1 Director has educated me about the tremendous responsibility this position has for maintaining the health of a rapidly growing national professional organization. I have the passion, energy, and honesty to work hard for the membership of AANP and have proven my willingness to make the hard Board level decisions to keep AANP financially solid during these challenging times, protecting your investment. This has enabled AANP to continue moving forward with innovative programs and research to support and strengthen the NP profession! We were able to rapidly address the COVID chaos with quick Board decisions, going virtual for the annual conference while decreasing registration cost for members, providing more CE than previous annual conferences. This coming year I am even more committed to virtual regional meetings for facilitating AANP member involvement while working toward improved support and empowerment of the AANP State Representatives.

Current Professional Position

Assistant Professor Clinical position SaVida Health

AANP/ACNP Leadership Experience

National: Vermont State Representative for 13 years followed by my first term on the Board as Region 1 Director.

State: Currently appointed as an education planning member of the UVM Center on Rural Addiction (CORA) I was the Vice President of the Vermont Nurse Practitioner Association from 2006-2012 followed by President from 2012-2015. I was the Chair of both the Conference Committee (2009-2012) and Legislative Committee (2013-2018). During this tenure I was instrumental in moving Vermont from a collaborative practice state into full practice authority in 2011. I was a Governor appointee to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Nursing (2011-2012); Governor appointed member of the Vermont Health Workforce Committee; a member of the Provider Advisory Group for Vermont Information Technology Leaders (2014-2018); member of the Governors Opioid Prescribing Task Force 2016-2018); Governor appointed member of the Green Mountain Care Board Provider Advisory Group (2016-2019).

Biggest Challenge Facing NPs and How AANP Can Help

The recent uptick in negative messaging from organized medicine including published documents and webinars denigrating the quality and safety of nurse practitioners. This false and negative messaging impacts the well earned trust of our patients, and policy makers, while threatening to distract our energy away from patient care in order to address these distortions. This erodes trust of our own education institutions and programs. The challenge is in a delicate balance of not giving these messages energy while at the same time overshadowing them with positive messaging and evidence-based research - both in which AANP have and can continue to excel. Continuing to strengthen the research arm of AANP is key. COVID-19 - NPs have put themselves on the front lines during this pandemic, risking their own lives while trying to keep their patients, friends, and families safe. With this enormous responsibility comes the threat of burnout, isolation, reimbursement issues, keeping practices open and staff employed. AANP has been providing support through education and COVID-update messaging, responded in record time to convert CE events into creative web-based education platforms with barely skipping a beat. We must maintain this effort while being prepared to face the next wave or new pandemic.

Example of Initiative or Outcome of Leadership

Recognizing the lack of addiction and substance use disorder education provided in the University of Vermont NP program, I worked toward integrating the concept of harm reduction into the curriculum and students are now encouraged and given the opportunity to complete the 24 hour CE towards the DEA waiver in the semester prior to graduation. Under my leadership Vermont voted for legislation that advanced this state from collaborative practice status into full practice authority by rule change. I created the legislative committee for the state nurse practitioner organization and went on to testify in the state house towards many health related bills including advancing reimbursement for treating Lyme disease, removal of prior authorizations for buprenorphine prescriptions, eliminating all exemptions for childhood immunizations other than religious, bills to move the state towards single payer health care. I also testified for global authority and removal of the transition to practice requirement. My leadership on several state boards helped to drive the agenda and solutions from an NP perspective focusing on patient and community centered decision-making. Created a role model for other NPs to follow in my foot steps as well set an example of NP leadership for my students.

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

My mission this year in alignment with the strategic plan:

  • A. Will continue to support Massachusetts toward goal of maintaining recent emergency mandate of FPA beyond expiration date of the executive order. Will continue to work with the AANP state representatives to increase public awareness of NPs through the media by improving my own use of social media for support of AANP Mission.
  • B. Will focus on working with state representatives to recruit student members and encourage their participation instate/region membership activities to promote leadership skills prior to entering the NP workforce. Increase membership retention following graduation. Will present at NP programs and state NPO meetings as requested.
  • C. Will continue my work with the Research Committee as board liaison to advance evidence-based research findings on quality and cost-effectiveness to support parity in reimbursement.
  • D. Continue the responsibility on the board to maintain organization financial health while making fiscally responsible decisions about spending membership dues to promote innovative programs and opportunities for support and growth of the NP profession, including increasing the visibility of the state representatives to the membership base of their states. Empower state representatives to work with AANP members to create a broad recruitment network.