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Faculty and Students Have Support From the American Association of Nurse Practitioners This Fall

0816 Education NF Article Fathi Fitzgerald

Discover valuable resources to support your success this academic year.

As students and faculty return to campus and online learning this fall, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is here to provide nurse practitioners (NPs) — and those studying to become NPs — with resources and opportunities designed to help you succeed. To fully explore the perspectives of individuals attending or teaching class, AANP spoke with an NP student and an associate teaching professor to learn more about how they are preparing to begin the academic year. Read on to hear from Joelle Fathi, DNP, RN, ARNP, CTTS, FAAN, about the importance of continuing education (CE) for NP students and faculty and ways you can combat fatigue. Next, Katie Fitzgerald Jones, BSN, MSN, APN — a 2022 AANP Scholarship recipient — shares how AANP opportunities and mentorships have helped her excel as an NP student. Your insights are also needed as AANP continually seeks innovative ways to increase the value of your member experience.

Joelle Fathi is a practicing NP, the chief healthcare delivery officer at the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer and a program director and associate teaching professor at the University of Washington. Fathi believes one of the strengths of the NP role is an emphasis on lifelong learning, which is enhanced by CE activities and the opportunity for NPs to share their knowledge with students and new graduates. “The sooner we lean into these options around teaching, clinical work, leadership and research, the sooner we will have a diversified portfolio and will enjoy a really full career,” Fathi states. In addition to urging NPs to consider giving back to the profession by educating the next generation of advanced practice nurses and health care leaders, Fathi expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity for NPs to earn an educational leadership certificate at the 2022 AANP Fall Conference. “A formal program to round out the skills that we have is terrific, because historically these leadership programs did not exist,” she says. “Now, in this virtual world, it’s so much more of a practical reality for us to seek additional training.” NP students and faculty returning to school in the fall have unique challenges, notes Fathi, in that “many of our students have been working on the front lines of clinical care during the pandemic. There is a lot of fatigue and emotional trauma that occurred. Most of our students worked in acute and critical care units this whole time, and many are suffering from a level of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.” To combat burnout, she advises: “We need to be patient with ourselves, and we need to support our patients [and colleagues] in being patient with themselves.”

Katie Fitzgerald Jones works as a palliative and addiction NP, is a PhD candidate at Boston College and cares for patients with substance use disorder, cancer and other serious illnesses. Receiving a 2022 AANP Scholarship — available only to AANP members — has been very useful in continuing her education, Jones told AANP. “A lot of my research is around what advanced practice nurses bring to patient encounters, particularly in patients with serious illness and substance use disorders,” she explains. “Having support and mentorship through an organization like AANP — putting out the best literature and giving the most support to nurse practitioners providing clinical care — gives me the confidence to grow my research.” Jones comes from a family of nurses — her mother, several of her aunts and cousins are in the profession. Even with this pedigree, Jones encounters the same difficulties faced by any student, which include work-life balance and prioritizing wellness. “I think one thing that I’ve had to work pretty hard on is continuing to live and enjoy my life despite this challenging phase,” she says. Jones offers this advice to support the success of her fellow students: “Find mentors who bring out the best in you and mentor you as your whole self.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way NPs and students aspiring to become NPs experience their education, as traditional classroom instruction is supplemented by remote learning. Technological advances have improved the accessibility and quality of nursing education, with innovations like simulation labs providing hands-on experience for learners. With robust academic programs and advanced CE opportunities, the future is bright for NPs. In fact, this year, U.S. News ranked the NP role as the best health care job — and second best job overall — in the country. NPs excel at delivering high-quality, person-centered care and can stay appraised of the latest innovations in health care by completing AANP CE or attending an AANP conference. AANP is here to assist you throughout your educational and professional journey by connecting you to a diverse community of NPs and NP students and by providing valuable resources and opportunities that will support your success each step of the way.

Enhance Your Education and Lend Your Voice to Important Issues

AANP offers resources for students and faculty — including grants and scholarships — to help support your academic and professional success. Members also have access to free or significantly discounted rates on CE activities in the AANP CE Center. Sign up for AANP as a student today using the code HEROES to save 10% over the regular rate, and then save even more as you register now for the 2022 AANP Fall Conference. Conference attendees have the opportunity to earn an educational leadership certificate by completing all 12 leadership sessions.

Most importantly, AANP wants to hear from you! Help inform future AANP products and services for NP students and faculty by filling out this two-minute survey.

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