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The Value of Nurse Practitioner Leadership

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By Alex Fernandez

Discover how nurse practitioners can become more effective leaders and help chart a course for the future of health care.

As National Nurse Practitioner Week approaches (Nov. 13-19), now is the perfect opportunity to spotlight the various ways nurse practitioners (NPs) lead. For many NPs, leadership occurs within their own organization — the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) — by networking with colleagues, championing health policy and serving in elected leadership positions. NPs are also asking for a seat at the table in their communities and places of practice to ensure that leadership is truly representative of the patients they serve. Meanwhile, many aspiring NP leaders look toward the future, seeking ways to improve the health care industry at large. Explore the many ways in which NPs lead — and be inspired on your journey toward becoming a more effective NP leader.

Advocating for Your Fellow NPs

When asked what advice she had for NPs looking to the take the lead, 2022 FAANP Legacy Award recipient Ruth Kleinpell, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP, FCCM, replied, “Many NPs are involved in leading initiatives within their organization — whether it’s serving on a committee or implementing a new policy or protocol.” NPs are expert clinicians who also work to improve health care delivery by championing the role of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) worldwide. Kleinpell also noted that “APRNs are really contributing and serving as leaders, so they should take credit for their work and make its impact more visible for key stakeholders in their organization.”

With the support of more than 121,000 AANP members, The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner® rings out loud and clear. Together, members support the work of their colleagues and often have their own work amplified on a national scale through journal publications and conference presentations. “I have colleagues across the nation who I can call at any time and collaborate with on various issues,” said Kleinpell. “AANP as an organization has been a tremendous professional opportunity for me, not only in terms of networking with colleagues, but also learning from others and further developing in my own role as an NP.” AANP is a member-driven organization, seeking input from its diverse membership. Help determine the future of the NP role and the direction of AANP by submitting your nomination to run in the 2023 AANP Election.

Leading the Charge in Health Equity

In a recent Member Spotlight on the future of health equity, Larider Ruffin, DNP, APN, NP-C, RN, ANP-BC, A-GNP, CRNP, CTTS, FAAN, said, “Research shows that when the patient interacts with a health care provider who they can easily identify with, they are more likely to have a positive outcome. We need to be more intentional in treating our patients as individuals while respecting and applying the platinum rule — treat others the way you’d like to be treated.” As an NP, you play a key role in addressing social determinants of health.

Help increase health equity by joining your AANP colleagues in harnessing the power of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to strengthen your collective professional and clinical excellence. Become a member of the Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Specialty Interest Group to advance high-quality, equitable health care — while addressing health disparities — through practice, education, advocacy, research and leadership (P.E.A.R.L). In partnership with your NP colleagues and AANP, you can help lead the charge for more equitable health care delivery.

Charting the Future of Health Care

All NPs are leaders, working with others to improve health outcomes. To further develop your leadership skills, complete the AANP Introductory Certificate on Leadership course in the AANP CE Center. Certificate holder, Kerrie Lasell, MSN, FNP-C, said of the course, “Nurses are dedicated to their patients but are not always at the table where decisions are made. This shifted my mindset and made me think, ‘That’s where I need to be.’ It opened my eyes to the different leadership levels available for nurses and particularly NPs.”

Completion of the AANP Introductory Certificate on Leadership course is a pre-requisite for the AANP Executive Leadership Program, which helps participants expand upon the personal qualities, relationship-building skills and problem-solving tactics necessary for effective health care leadership. Lasell encouraged NPs to apply for the program and said, “If you aspire to be an NP leader, it is truly worthwhile to set yourself up for success. Learn these skills, and with a cohort learning with you, you’ll have built-in mentorship and the ability to relate to others who are learning alongside you every step of the way. For me, this program has opened my eyes and widened the scope of things that are possible for NPs.” No matter how you choose to lead, the future of health care is bright in your hands and those of your NP colleagues.

Now Accepting Applications: 2023 AANP Executive Leadership Program

Are you ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? Apply today to participate in the AANP Executive Leadership Program, which offers two weeks of content and coaching opportunities by top experts.

Participating in this program is the perfect way to increase your leadership skills, earn approximately 50 contact hours of continuing education (CE) credit and prepare to effect systemic changes that will improve outcomes for your patients and your place of practice.

The online application portal is open now and closes on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. CT). Eligibility requirements apply.

Apply to the Executive Leadership Program