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Retired; Clinical Associate Professor ad Honorem, University of Minnesota, School of Nursing.
Even though I am retired, I continue to be a leader in most activities I pursue and continue some of my academic work and my work with NP organizations. In the last 10 years, leadership positions, in addition to committee assignments, include:
A huge challenge is cognitive dissonance which results when providers realize their aspirations, training or ability no longer match the reality of job demands. Cognitive dissonance leads to burnout, unrealistic expectations and self-disappointment and drives providers leaving the profession and early retirement. Currently, academics mainly control training content and practice parameters with some feedback from practicing NPs. The resulting patchwork of training programs have little cohesiveness in content among programs and little relevance to the realities of today’s clinical practice. This sets up providers of all levels for disappointment because the expectations for performance by employers have been upped without appropriate training. AANP should push for a national three-year standardized curriculum providing training in hospitalization management, quality improvement, primary care, mental health, geriatrics and prevention no matter the area of concentration. To develop subsequent expertise, we should move from an apprentice model to a paid residency, perhaps supervised by a corps of retirees who carry tribal knowledge and also can socialize new grads into the profession. This model would alleviate provider shortages, ease the trauma of new grads, improve interprofessional collaboration and prevent knowledge drain. All of this would help retain workers and thus improve the delivery of care.
Over my career, I have developed seven urology practices (permanent and traveling), one prevention clinic, a TCU practice and, most recently, a vacation rental business using organizational skills and the ability to envision something that currently doesn’t exist. I have learned the ins and outs of management and honed my ability to persuade others of the merits of a particular position. Because I believe in listening to all sides of a disagreement, I enjoy the process of teamwork and gaining consensus. As a consultant and a researcher, I have learned how to present my ideas in a precise, coherent fashion while still encouraging others to consider how to apply those ideas to their current situation. I enjoy writing, love editing and adore developing new projects with a team because this leverages my communication skills, creativity, and flexibility. I transferred skills learned as an NP leader and entrepreneur into the rental business. This required confidence in my ability to learn rapidly and humility that I was going to start over as a neophyte in that business. I am happy to say that the skills I developed as an NP transferred seamlessly and this small business just celebrated five years of success!
Even though I have been retired for a year now, I continue to be active both locally and nationally in policy issues and advocacy efforts through committee assignments for various organizations whose mission dovetails with AANP. I have spent a fair amount of time in the last couple of years with MNNP talking to people who do rule making to increase access to care and awareness of NPs issues. I was working with the interprofessional Primary Care Stakeholders Committee, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health to re-design the delivery of Primary Care. This work has been suspended during the COVID-19 crisis. I continue to comment on issues at the federal level through initiatives from MNNP, GAPNA, AGS and ANA. I act as a resource and knowledge trust for younger members of MNNP. To be honest, I don’t envision going back into practice, but I can envision working with the Nomination Council to mentor and encourage a young crop of leaders and with other initiatives to help develop new models of care or education. I believe the Nomination Council is a great venue for this help vet and encourage members to move into leadership positions.