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Sarah Sparks, DNP, APRN, NP-C

Candidate for Region 10 Director (Incumbent)

Sarah Sparks

Campaign Message:

Greetings to my NP colleagues in Region 10! I have been honored to represent you on the AANP Board of Directors for the last four years and am hoping to continue to do so for another term. I have been inspired by the stories I have heard from my colleagues throughout Region 10 of all the incredible work you do everyday, despite all the challenges you face. My goal as the Region 10 Director is to develop relationships with as many NPs throughout the region as possible in order to be your voice to AANP. I will continue to work to help you connect with one another to facilitate a network of NP leaders to unite in working on health policy issues. My passion is to empower all NPs to advocate for our profession so that we can provide the highest quality health care possible to our communities.

Current Professional Position

Nurse practitioner at St. Luke's Travel Medicine and adjunct clinical faculty at Idaho State University

Leadership Experience in the Past Three Years

AANP Region 10 Director June 2020-present St. Luke's Health System Advanced Practice Provider Onboarding Development Committee 2023 AANP Idaho State Representative 2017-2020 Nurse Practitioners of Idaho President-Elect January-March 2020 (resigned following election to AANP Region 10 Director) I plan to become more involved in leadership roles at my health system as I have done more committee work there in the past and would like to do so again. I also plan to consider moving into a more permanent faculty position than an adjunct role, and this will come with multiple university-level leadership opportunities as well.

Biggest Challenge Facing Nurse Practitioners and How AANP Can Help

I think that the biggest challenge facing NPs in the delivery of health care will continue to be the shortage of health care providers. In a post-COVID pandemic world, we are facing this and many other challenges in health care. The nursing and primary care provider shortage was already looming prior to the COVID pandemic, and with even more providers leaving health care for a variety of reasons, including burnout, this will continue to be an issue for many years to come. Along with the shortage comes the continued barriers to care of restricted practice that NPs face daily. Another challenge is reimbursement. AANP can help to address these issues by continuing to collect stories from NPs and their patients to how health care provider shortage, practice restrictions, and reduced reimbursement have restricted their care. AANP can help direct grassroots efforts to help our legislators aware of these restrictions and work to remove them. AANP can work to make sure NPs are included in all policy to improve reimbursement. AANP can also help to increase awareness of the shortage of primary care providers and work to improve funding for nurse practitioner educational programs.

Example of Initiative or Outcome of Leadership

My strengths as a leader include being a good listener, motivated, honest, organized, decisive, and dedicated. I enjoy mentoring team members and NP students. I am consistent in following through with tasks and am able to delegate when needed, working to help inspire team members to complete tasks which have been delegated to them. Most recently, I have mentored two NPs who were new to my clinic and specialty of travel medicine. It has been rewarding to watch them grow into excellent providers who now have a passion for travel medicine and immunizations. My own passion for immunizations has been strengthened by this work. I began a quality improvement project as part of my Doctor of Nursing Practice work that has continued to be beneficial in my practice. We as a team worked on educating patient and their families on immunizations and determining what the barriers were when they demonstrated vaccine hesitancy. We continue to apply the lessons learned during that project to COVID vaccine and beyond during our travel medicine visits. I have been excited to see how my leadership in this area of vaccine advocacy has had a long term positive effect on my team and our patients.

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

My goal is to empower NPs in Region 10 to be advocates for our profession and to be involved in advancing NP practice where it is most important to them. Because we are a region where all of our states have full practice authority, we have witnessed the effectiveness of grassroots campaigns in health policy. My goal is to facilitate NPs to break down barriers to practice wherever they exist, whether this is at the federal, state, or even local hospital bylaws level, and grassroots advocacy can help NPs and our patients to share their stories. I plan to work with NP leadership at the state level on their initiatives to assure the quality of NP education programs by attracting high quality preceptors through incentive programs. I want to work to share the research that AANP has compiled on NP practice to demonstrate to our patients that NPs are accessible to them in their own communities and will provide high-quality care through their unique NP leadership skills. I want to take action and inspire NPs to transform health care until all communities have access to the care that they need.