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International Specialty Interest Group

Engage, Learn, Network and Progress International Practice

Our world has become a "global village.” The role of the advanced practice nurse (APN) has expanded to include providing care to multicultural populations, both in the United States and abroad. It is an exciting time as we expand our care to assist in improving health care all over the world. The AANP International Specialty Interest Group (SIG) is a dynamic platform designed to provide an international exchange of ideas and insight as we all grow together providing care to diverse, underserved populations. Many APNs are choosing to participate in volunteer opportunities to provide health care in several underserved nations across the globe. This SIG will also provide a forum to discuss lessons learned in international health experiences abroad and share best practices in third-world countries.

In addition, colleges of nursing across America are offering their undergraduate and graduate nursing students international opportunities to work providing direct care to enhance their learning experiences. The AANP International SIG can also provide a venue for APN faculty to obtain information about developing a successful international experience for their students by interacting with faculty who have been coordinating overseas experiences for years. The SIG can also serve as an exchange of ideas for providing culturally sensitive care to diverse populations, including international refugees.

In 2018, AANP's executive leadership supported the AANP International Committee’s efforts in developing an International APN Ambassadors Program. APNs from middle- and low-income countries were encouraged to apply to be considered for a scholarship to attend a national AANP conference. The inaugural program was a great success with more than 40 applications. Four international APNs were selected and attended the 2018 AANP National Conference on a full scholarship. Since then, ambassadors have been selected annually.

These ambassadors will also be invited to participate in the International SIG. Their participation in this SIG will be invaluable in helping us all to expand our vision and expertise in providing care to our global village. Join us in this exciting SIG!

Join the International SIG

International SIG Members Login

A Message From the International SIG Co-chairs

Wakako Eklund, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, FAANP
Wakako Eklund, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, FAANP

I am humbled and excited to serve as a co-chair of the AANP International SIG. I moved to the United States from Japan to pursue nursing after learning the differences in nursing education available back in the mid-1980s. Japan offered only a handful of BSN nursing programs at that time, and the concept of advanced practice did not exist. I completed my BSN in 1991 and worked in adult critical care full force. Then I found a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the mid-1990s. I became a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) in 2002 and further completed my DNP in 2013.

As a transplant from another culture, I understand firsthand the international differences in nursing climate, varying scope of practice patterns and the uniqueness of legislation governing the nursing environment — especially for advanced practice nursing. After becoming an NNP in 2002, I began active engagements with health professionals in Japan by publishing articles, reaching out to build a network, speaking at various national and regional conferences and conducting global research to benchmark what neonatal nurses and APNs do globally through the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN). I made specific efforts to promote and advocate for the advancement of the NP role in Japan over the last 15 years, and I had the privilege of mentoring NP pioneers. I have had the joy of observing NPs cultivating their field with innovations to meet the specific needs of their population foci or communities. It has been a great honor to have teaching opportunities in Japanese universities to introduce the potential of the NP role at both undergraduate and graduate levels. I plan to continue these collaborations with global NP pioneers or educators.

I am currently working as an NNP in Nashville, Tennessee, while serving on the board of COINN (actively involved in the Neonatal Advanced Practice Committee). I also serve on the Health Equity and Diversity Advisory Board at the Vermont Oxford Network, which is the largest network of NICUs, connecting more than 1,000 NICUs globally. Besides being an active member of AANP, I am active at the National Association of Neonatal Nurse as well as the National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. My life’s mission has become to maintain a keen awareness of our global colleagues and to capture collaborative opportunities to promote and advance us at all levels. I have been truly fortunate to have had numerous mentors and colleagues in my life who accelerated my professional growth. I look forward to engaging with global colleagues and future leaders during the next two years of my appointment as a co-chair of the international SIG at AANP.

Cathy M. St. Pierre, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP

Dr. Cathy St. Pierre is a family nurse practitioner (FNP) with extensive experience in research, practice and academia. She has been nationally certified as an FNP since 1982. She is currently the Associate Chief Nurse of Research and a Nurse Practitioner at the ENRM VA Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts. Dr. St. Pierre’s career path has primarily focused on serving the needs of various underserved populations, including: "pediatric and elderly populations living in poverty, high-risk adolescents and aging veterans, including those experiencing homelessness and displaced international refugees. I recently volunteered as a medical provider working in a medical mission in Guaimaca, Honduras. All of these experiences have shaped my interest in global and international health efforts. For the past three years, I have worked on the International sub-committee of AANP and look forward to serving as the Co-chair of the new inaugural International SIG for AANP in 2019. Please join us as we move this SIG to the next level!"

International SIG Forums

Join this growing SIG community and engage with other like-minded NPs with an interest in international advanced practice issues. Take part in interactive discussion and debate; gain support and explore Q&As; and always be on top of the latest available news, education and information.

International SIG Details and Eligibility

  • Annual Dues: $20.
  • Available exclusively to current AANP members.