Introducing the APN Task force(2015-17)

           Established 50 years ago today, the Advance Practice Nurse (APN) role continues to emerge and evolve around the world. APN’s are licensed, expert clinicians with advanced education (most have master’s and many have doctorate degrees) and extensive clinical preparation who provide primary, acute and specialty health care services. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, there are more than 205,000 APN’s Licensed to practice in the United States. In addition to providing a full range of services, APNs work as partners with their patients, guiding them to make educated health care decisions and healthy lifestyle changes.

            Looking Beyond, we have a growing number of Indian Nurse Practitioners and other Advance Practice Nurses in the United States. With this in mind, National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA) Board of Directors met to discuss the ability of APN’s to master the complex needs of health care. The result of this meeting was the creation of an initiative which will help gather resources that maximize development and increase an APN’s impact on his/her community and global health at large. The initiative would serve as a platform for increasing number of APNs to identify and share their expertise and to enhance the professional growth of their fellow nurses.

            NAINA, Board of directors realized that our growth over the period of ten years was directed towards chapter establishment, mentorship, research, education, awards, scholarships, research grants and leadership conferences. Initiation of an APN committee for NAINA would spark a flow of ideas that would proactively work towards maintaining a healthy profession that advocates for the needs of our fellow Advance Practice nurses. The initial task force was initiated by President, Sara Gabriel, MSN, MBA, RN, Dr. Lydia Albuquerque, was elected to serve as APN, Committee chair. The members who served on the initial task force committee were Dr. Oman Simon, Dr. Solymole Kuruvilla, Dr. Jackie Michael & Varsha Singh.

            The first APN track education event was held at the 5th Biennial conference in October 2016 which was held in Chicago, during which APN’s were encouraged to present podium presentation during a dedicated session on the first and day of the conference. This event created a sense of recognition and appreciation among advanced practice nurses as there was a fairly new platform created and the representation and feedback of a committee of this nature was applauded and welcomed.

APN committee 2017-2018

Reflections of the Journey of a newly established committee (2017-18) 

National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA), a minority nurses organization for nurses of Indian origin, embraces the key message from the Institute of Medicine report (IOM), The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health released on October 5th, 2010 which states that:

          a) Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training
          b) Achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education

          System that promotes seamless academic progression

          
c) Should be full partners with physicians and other healthcare professionals in redesigning health care in United States.

Additionally, the aging American population places higher demand on the expanding need of clinically competent APNs. The health care providers, policy makers, and payers find that utilization of APNs is crucial when there is shortage of primary care physicians. There is also increasing healthcare demand with the nation’s population growth and aging patients with multiple chronic diseases. APNs deliver cost effective comprehensive healthcare, blending their clinical expertise in preventive care, diagnosing and treating the health conditions, and managing chronic diseases.

            The goal of APN forum is to provide a culturally sensitive platform to APNs, where they can receive mentorship, networking and professional development opportunities, to render culturally competent, holistic and compassionate care to the populations they serve. The APNs will also be a strong voice for policy changes in areas of health disparities affecting the aging population of Indian origin through evidence based research.

Dr. Lydia Albuquerque chaired the committee since the inception. A team charter was created during the second term and the following goals were established.

1.  Chapter representation from NAINA established chapters
          2.  APN clinical Excellence conference with CEU’s
          3.  Medical mission
          4.  Offer APN track during the 6th Biennial conference of NAINA
          5.  Create an APN directory

Goal 1:

          In the beginning of the term representations was seeked from various chapters of NAINA, a total of 12 members were represented from New Jersey, Houston, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Chicago, Maryland, Albany, New York, and Tampa, Florida. Dr. Omana Simon and Dr. Solymole Kuruvilla graciously accepted the invitation to be resource persons for the term. The committee met monthly and a team charter was formed along with the Position statement for the APN committee of NAINA. The first project was to create an APN directory and an APN list serv to disseminate information about the APN activities to NAINA members. All chapter members were requested to send a list of the names of the APNs in their chapter to be added to the telephone directory and APN list serv was created, which has been ongoing since the start of this committee.

First APN Chapter Representatives (2017-2018)

Goal 2:

NAINA 2017 Advance Practice Forum Clinical Excellence Conference

          The 2017 clinical excellence conference organized by the National Association of Indian nurses of America (NAINA) concluded on Dec 2nd at Houston, Texas. It was for the first time that NAINA as a minority organization ventured to engage in a clinical excellence conference titled “Advancing health through excellence in clinical practice”.  This conference hosted by the Indian Nurses Association of Greater Houston, Texas (INAGH) was attended by over 200 participants and were provided with 8.91 CEUs by the Southwestern University Hospital, Texas. Participants applauded the organizers for providing an opportunity to network and immerse in a day full of activities that provided thought provoking information to bring back to their own clinical practice.

          The APN committee chairperson of the NAINA Dr. Lydia Albuquerque set the tone of the conference by welcoming the hosting chapter President of Indian Nurses Association of Greater Houston (INAGH) and APN conference planning committee chair Accamma  Kallel, MSN, APRN, APN-C, CCRN to deliver her welcome address. The key note speaker Melissa Herpel, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, challenged the participants to embark on pathways to excellence in independent practice as Nurse Practitioners. As an entrepreneur, she shared success stories of her own business model, how she overcame the challenges that she faced during the process and dared to challenge the participants to go out and start clinics that would provide primary care to the communities. All other speakers delivered their topics of interest and expertise with recent practice guidelines to the participants.

         Poster presentations were coordinated by Dr. Letha Joseph, Dr. Solymole Kuruvilla and Dr. Simi Jesto.  Bindu Jacob, BSN, RN,( New Jersey) was awarded the first prize, Jessie Kurian, MSN,RN (Dallas) was awarded the second prize and  Dr. Lisa Thomas (Houston) was awarded the third prize. Dr. Rachel Koshy, committee chair of the NAINA Journal motivated the participants to submit scholarly articles for publication. The NAINA Journal was released by NAINA President, Dr. Jackie Michael. This Journal has been published for the second time with a goal to continue publications at least twice a year.

         At this conference NAINA presented a donation towards the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund which was accepted by Mr. Zafar Tahir, Houston planning commission representative on behalf of mayor of Houston. NAINA received a grant from Boston scientific and generous sponsorship from educational and pharmaceutical companies. Our grand sponsor “APRN world” an independent educational organization, started by Dr. Harila Nair, a Nurse Practitioner and entrepreneur of Indian origin  based in California needs a special mention for his  generous support.

         Conference hosting chapter, INAGH, Houston, Texas, facilitated the Gala celebration with Bollywood dancing, a grand finale of the Texan dance choreographed by the nurses of Houston chapter, and other entertainment programs. The plenary committee members along with the planning committee were given standing ovation for conducting an excellent conference which was inspiring, energizing and remarkable.

Goal 3: 

Haiti Medical Mission

            The APN committee submitted a proposal for medical mission work in Haiti in the month of September to NAINA Board of Director, with an approval in November. It was agreed that NAINA, APN committee would partner with United Light of Hope with a support of $ 2,500 from NAINA. Indian nurses of Greater Houston (INAGH) a NAINA chapter were the larger stake holders in this partnership with a donation of $25,000 as seed money to build the clinic and support a day care center. A group of seven members along with two members from United Light of Hope embarked on this journey in January of 2018. The team member who accompanied the mission trip were Dr. Lydia Albuquerque (APN committee chair, NAINA), Accamma Kallel, (President, INAGH), Claramma Mathew, David Kallel, Mariamma Mandavathi, Elizabeth Mathew , Shyla Philip( INAGH chapter members) Rose Jean- Gilles (ULH)  and Phanel Joseph (ULH) were the team leaders from United Light of Hope( ULH).The team activities involved, volunteer work at the clinic, establish the clinic flow, setting up Pharmacy, registration, documentation and providing care to men, women and children.

            Primary health care was provided care to over 400 patients during clinic hours. Other services that were provided were health education on topics like breast feeding, women’s health, hygiene, handwashing and dietary. CPR training was delivered to local health care providers and community members. While in Haiti, the team visited two schools of Nursing and provided them with CPR mannequin for their simulation lab. Onsite demonstration of CPR was offered to nursing students from both the schools.

            A community need survey was conducted and future actions will be based on the findings of the survey. The committee proposes to continue with the Haiti mission to make the project sustainable and scalable over a period of time.

            On completion of the medical mission, a poster was presented at the 6th NAINA biennial conference in Dallas, Texas. The abstract titled “Contribution of Short Term Medical Mission (STMMs)” has been accepted to be presented at Sigma’s 30th International Nursing Research Congress at Calgary, Canada. This global initiative has also been submitted for the STTI Episteme Award & Hester C. Klopper Global health Award 2019.

            NAINA provides opportunities to extend service and scholarly work through projects and initiatives. The second Haiti Medical mission has been schedule from March 24th-31st 2019. 

Goal 4:

          During NAINA 6th biennial conference in Dallas, Texas, we have solicited abstract for the APN track with an overwhelming response. The APN committee abstract titled “Contribution of Short Term Medical Mission (STMMs) was accepted as podium and poster presentation at the 6th Biennial conference, Dallas, Texas.

           As a committee chair it was a rewarding year, as the team worked together to establish and achieve the chartered goals. I would like to place on record the contributions of the committee members as follows, Acamma Kallel (INAGH), Dr. Simi Jesto (Chicago), Dr. Rachel Koshy (New Jersey), Dr. Ana George (New York), Surya Chacko,(Maryland), Jessie Abraham (Tampa Florida), Mini Tharian (Albany, New York), Achamma Abraham (North Carolina), Deepthy Varghese (Georgia), Dr. Solymole Kuruvilla ( New York), Dr. Omana Simon ( Hou ston).